An international on-campus doctoral student's experiences at an Australian University during Covid-19

PhD Thesis

Bakr, Hisham. 2023. An international on-campus doctoral student's experiences at an Australian University during Covid-19. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy (DPHD). University of Southern Queensland.

An international on-campus doctoral student's experiences at an Australian University during Covid-19

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorsBakr, Hisham
1. FirstProf Patrick Danaher
2. SecondDr Meg Forbes
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy (DPHD)
Number of Pages335
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

The Covid-19 global pandemic affected the whole world in profoundly negative ways, including distinctive effects on particular groups of people. One such group was international on-campus doctoral students in Australia, many of whom experienced significant disruption to their study, and some of whom experienced stress and trauma of various kinds. This thesis presents my autoethnographic account of the effects of Covid-19 on my life as an international on-campus doctoral student at an Australian university. The impact of Covid-19 on my life that I identify and analyse in this study had significant continuing effects on my family’s and my mental health and wellbeing. This impact also reflected some of the broader continuing effects of Covid-19 on the Australian economy and society, with this thesis being only one student’s account among many other thousands of international students in an equivalent situation. Conceptually, the study was informed by the interplay between two groups of concepts: (1) at the institutional level: among university social responsibility (USR), corporate social responsibility (CSR) and customer relationship management (CRM); and (2) at the individual level: among liminality, marginalisation and mental health. I argue that, if a university exhibits a healthy and sustainable connection among its USR, its CRM and its CSR, its students will be far less likely to experience liminality, and marginalisation and mental health concerns. By contrast, I argue that, in my own case and that of many other international on-campus doctoral students at Australian universities, our experiences of liminality and marginalisation resulted directly from an ineffective alignment between our respective universities and their USR, CRM and CSR functions. This negative outcome was intensified by the Australian federal and state governments’ policies related to Covid-19, whose effect was to exacerbate the marginalisation of individuals and groups experiencing liminality in Australian society, including international on-campus doctoral students.

Keywordsdoctoral study; Australia; autoethnography; Covid-19; customer relationship management; university social responsibility; international students
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390303. Higher education
390201. Education policy
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