Siloed in Their Thoughts: A Phenomenological Study of Higher Education Leaders’ Perceptions of Internationalization in Changing Times



academic capitalism, administration, internationalization, leaders, perceptions, phenomenology


With academic capitalism as a framework, we conducted a qualitative study with a phenomenological approach to explore higher education leaders’ perceptions of internationalization during the initial stages of the Covid-19 shutdown in 2020. The study’s findings indicate that, overall, administrators value internationalization as a process that creates quality educational programming. However, leaders are influenced by institutions’ cultures and priorities, and they feel isolated as they seek to appeal to constituents to promote internationalization. Aware of the increasing use of commercial models and emphasis on generating revenue to compensate for funding shortfalls, higher education leaders vacillate from emphasizing revenue to promoting educational and social value. Upper-level administrators prioritize articulated institutional commitment and administrative leadership for internationalization over curriculum and faculty policies and practices. Overall, upper-level administrators value internationalization.


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Author Biographies

Virginia Bunn Guneyli, Maryville University and St. Charles Community College

Virginia Guneyli is the Director of International Student Services (ISS) at St. Charles Community College (SCC).   She began her career as an international educator as an ESL tutor in Turkey in 1997, then an English teacher at The American School Foundation in Mexico City in 2004 and 2005.  After returning to the United States, she was an English professor at SCC for 13 years, while also serving as the Program Manager for Global Studies and International Student Services there for two years. As Program Manager, she created inbound and outbound international education programs, facilitating faculty programs and procedures for internationalization, and authored new procedures at the behest of the institution’s leaders. In addition to being the Director of International Student Services, she is also the Coordinator of the Diversity Certificate of Specialization at SCC and has presented about internationalization and diversity at NAFSA Association of International Educators, IAFOR European Conference on Education (ECE), and the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC). Virginia is a Board Council member for the American International Recruitment Council and the Region IV NAFSA representative for community colleges. She holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Maryville University (December 2020), a Master of Arts in English Language and Literature and a Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies from University of Missouri St. Louis, and a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in English from University of Missouri Columbia (Mizzou).

Dr. Jill Lane, Maryville University

Jill O’Shea Lane is the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dean of Transfer Programs at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois.  She became Dean in 2008.  Prior to her appointment to this position, Jill was an Assistant Professor of Speech at Lewis & Clark.  Jill came to Lewis & Clark in 2004 from the Lone Star Community College System in Houston, Texas where she served as an Associate Professor of Communication from 2001 - 2004.  She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois for many years.  Jill has extensive experience in higher education and government.  Jill served as the Director of Governmental Relations at the Illinois Community College Board from 1996 - 2000.  She also spent several years (1988 – 1996) at the University of Illinois – Springfield as Projects Manager of the Illinois Legislative Studies Center.  Jill has served as staff to the Illinois Legislature as an Analyst at the Illinois Citizens Assembly (1987 – 1988) and as staff in the Illinois Governor’s Office as a Budget Analyst for the Bureau of the Budget (1983-1986).  Jill has authored several publications and presented at numerous regional, state, and national conferences.  Over the course of her career, she has been involved in many community organizations including a member of the Meeting of the Rivers Museum Foundation Board (2013 – present), member of the Board of Trustees of the Jacoby Arts Center (2010 – 2013), and a volunteer at Evangelical Elementary (2004 – 2015).  Jill holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Drake University (1982), a Master of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Illinois – Springfield (1990), and a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Maryville University of St. Louis (2016).  Jill and her family reside in Godfrey, Illinois.


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How to Cite

Bunn Guneyli, V., & O’Shea Lane, J. (2024). Siloed in Their Thoughts: A Phenomenological Study of Higher Education Leaders’ Perceptions of Internationalization in Changing Times. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 16(1). Retrieved from



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