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Discourses of Im/possibility: International Students at a Canadian University Open Access


Other title
university admissions and registration
Foucauldian poststructural discourse analysis
academic language and literacy
international students
policy sociology
EAL (English as an additional language)
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Fredeen, Shirley M.
Supervisor and department
Spencer, Brenda (Educational Policy Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Kachur, Jerrold (Educational Policy Studies)
Wallace, Janice (Educational Policy Studies)
Taylor, Alison (Educational Policy Studies)
Dunn, William (Secondary Education)
Guo, Yan (Education, University of Calgary) (External Examiner)
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Educational Administration and Leadership
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The purpose of this study is to describe international English as an additional language (EAL) students’ experiences in relation to their academic work, as effects of university policy at a western Canadian university. Data from interviews with students and employees were analyzed in relation to key policy documents, using Foucauldian poststructural discourse analysis and a policy sociology approach (Ball, 1997). The analysis provides a description of how these policies and practices operate discursively at the local level to create conditions of im/possibility and shape subjectivities. It reveals complex effects of internationalization policy in general and, in particular, policies in the areas of admissions and registration, English proficiency assessment, language and literacy, academic integrity, and evaluation; it then suggests implications of these effects for international EAL students’ academic achievement and success. In addition to their effects on students, internationalization policies and the increased presence of international students have a range of effects on this Canadian university, including shifts in the role of the university in the areas of monitoring international students and their vetting as potential immigrants. Finally, what is im/possible in postsecondary education in Canada is changing in part as a result of internationalization policy and the presence of international EAL students.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: Dissertation Final Fredeen
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