My research sits at the intersection of globalization and higher education reform. I am interested in how nations, institutions, and individuals aspire to “global” status, focusing on both organizational changes in response to globalization and transnational mobility patterns of students and scholars. I also look at cross-border circulations of institutional practices and pedagogical methods. As a qualitative researcher, I utilize ethnographic writing to make sense of people’s experiences, looking for patterns, describing relationships and meanings, and contextualizing a community in relation to its broader sociocultural setting. As an educationist, I am also interested in framing everyday experiences with the organizational behavior of schools and institutional structures and privileges.
I have embarked on a book project that analyzes student mobility trends between South Korea and the United States against the backdrop of an evolving global higher education system. Not only are US universities admitting students from overseas at an unprecedented rate, but also universities in South Korea are rapidly evolving and innovating to attract more students in a bid to become world-class institutions. Increasingly, these universities are competing over the same pool of affluent, highly educated, and mobile students–many of whom defy a simplistic binary of domestic versus foreign often used in education discourse. My research turns an analytical eye on these students while challenging how we frame “international” in higher education research.
My research has been generously supported by the Korea Foundation, Institute of International Education, Social Science Research Council, and Comparative and International Education Society. I also received the Comparative and International Education Society Higher Education SIG Best Dissertation Award (honorable mention).