Absent friends

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The impact of the marketization on higher education genres- the international student prospectus as a case in point. ( Inger Askehave, Aalborg University, Denmark)
The purpose of this article is to reflect about the marketization of higher education. It is a research about the practices of the marketization at the level of discourse in higher education. The research has two analyses.The first analysis makes a comparison between several instances of the international student prospectus genre from Finland, Scotland, Australia and Japan. The main aim is to establish genre membership and genre characteristics taking into account the text structure and the similarities in contents and “rhetorical moves”. The second study analyses the language used in the international students’prospectus from the University of Stirling in Scotland.
Well known researchers say that the marketization of higher education has to do with the use of free market practices in running schools. As a result of that, universities are spending more time looking for sponsors who support the academic researches and developing remarkable products than in the most important mission of higher educationsuch as teaching the great thinkers’ philosophy, developing non- utilitarian Knowledge and human development. As consequence, at the discourse levels the marketing practices invade higher education through the use of a discourse from the business world such as, “customers, clients, markets, corporate identity. Therefore, the colleges’ prospectuses are designed to sell the courses to theapplicants in the context of a competitive market. Universities have reached the level where they operate as ordinary companies. They do not teach courses to students, they sell courses to their clients. Apart from that, deans at the universities write texts to promote their institutions which draw upon textual, visual and design features used in advertising and promotional material. Another thing to takeinto account is the genre of international student’s prospectuses. It has become an essential marketing tool for the present university policy. These policies have to do with running a profitable business and creating competitive advantages. In order to put these strategies into practice, rhetorical moves, visual and grammatical features are used to represent the two main participants in thetext. They are the universities and their potential students. Most of the text points out that the universities represent the providers of innovative goods and services for their clients. The institutions do not emphasize the values and virtues of having a good education. In addition to this, in his PhD thesis, Gatfield does a research among 359 under graduate international business students. He asksstudents what they consider important in their choice of university education. Students say that having academic instructions, a high recognition, a campus life and a good guidance are the most important factors when choosing a university. Another study reveals that students pay attention to the learning environment, reputation, graduate career prospects, destination image and culturalintegration as well. The cultural aspect suggests that the marketing strategies are adapted according to the students’ nationalities. As a result of that, having an excellent higher education marketing structure is relevant for each college.
The prospectuses under investigation are from University of Stirling in Scotland, Waseda University of International Liberal Studies in Japan, LappeenrantaUniversity in Finland and University of Adelaide in Australia. In order to analyse the rhetorical moves in the four international student prospectus, the author takes into account the Swales’ theory. According to Swales genres are communicative events and they share a set of communicative purposes. Moreover, the communicative purpose is the rational for the genre. The rational shapes and the schematic...
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