TIS_Leask - Higher Education Academy

Exploring new frontiers: Connecting people, policy,
ideas and action in an internationalised curriculum
17 June 2011
University of Warwick
Associate Professor Betty Leask
ALTC National Teaching Fellow
University of South Australia
Introduction and outline
‘Internationalisation of the Curriculum in Action’
An ALTC Funded National Teaching Fellowship
A conceptual framework
Characteristics of an internationalised curriculum
Challenges for Institutions
Blockers for academic staff
Disciplinary interpretations
Strategies and resources
Frontiers (wikipedia)
• areas near or beyond a boundary
• borrowed into English from French in the
15th century, with the meaning
"borderland"- the region of a country that
fronts on another country
• also means "regions at the edge of a
settled area" in North America (Compare
the Australian "outback".)
Frontiers in IoC
• the borders between ‘teaching’, ‘learning’ and
• the point where students and teachers engage
with each other and with curriculum content and
learning takes place
• the ‘regions at the edge of the settled area’,
outside the comfort zone of students and staff
• Engaging academic staff in internationalisation
of the curriculum (IoC)
The Focus of the Fellowship
‘How can we internationalise the curriculum in this
discipline area in this particular institutional
context and ensure that, as a result, we improve
the learning outcomes of all students?’
• Funded by the Australian Learning and
Teaching Council (ALTC)
• $348,000 AUD over 15 months
• Aug 2010-Nov2011
Began with a few key messages
1. It is not enough to recruit and teach
international students – this is not a valid
measure of IoC
2. It is not enough to include a few comparative,
international case studies
3. Internationalisation of the curriculum is not
about adapting our teaching and our curriculum
for offshore/transnational delivery
4. If we could get more students to go on
exchange and/or study abroad our university
would not necessarily be more internationalized
Used a definition that was consistent
with these
• An internationalised curriculum will purposefully
develop the international and intercultural
perspectives (skills, knowledge and attitudes) of
all students
• IoC is the incorporation of an international and
intercultural dimension into the preparation,
delivery and outcomes of a program of study
(Leask 2009)
...as basis for discussions with discipline
Characteristics of an internationalised
• Disciplinary driven
– From rationale to outcomes
• Context sensitive
– Multiple layers
• Future oriented
– Critical perspective on the past and present
• Founded on excellent teaching
– ‘Aligned’ and student focussed
Challenges for institutions
• Creating shared understanding across
disciplines and degrees
• Connecting policy with practice
• Engaging with academic staff on IoC
• Dealing with associated quality issues
Blockers for academic staff
• Knowing what it means, how to ‘do it’ and
measure outcomes within the discipline
• Moving beyond ‘personal’ and dominant
• Time and competing priorities
• Reward and recognition
Strategies to engage staff
1. Involvement of some key people beyond
the program team
2. Respect for the autonomy of the program
teams but willingness to challenge some
of their basic assumptions
3. Patience - the process is slow and at
times cumbersome
4. Timing – ‘the stars need to be aligned’
5. Teamwork– reflection and discussion
within program teams
6. Developing understanding that IoC can
look very different in different contexts
7. Recognition and reward for
engagement/time spent in ‘local currency’
8. Appreciation of contextual layers and
critical role each plays
What disciplines?
• Program teams in 6 universities
Public Relations
Social Sciences
Media and Communication
Applied Science
(IT, Medicine, Law)
Tools and resources
• Themed ‘literature review’
• Questionnaire on Internationalisation of
the Curriculum (QIC)
• Support materials for Action Plan
• Case studies
Where do these activities go on the
group work
Case studies
from different
Disciplinary Approaches and
Nursing: Rationale
• education can and should create the conditions
necessary for health, peace and harmony as
fundamental human rights in every society
• nurses and midwives can make a valuable
contribution to the promotion preservation and
maintenance of these conditions
(Sandstrom 1998, p.146)
Nursing: Learning Outcomes
Learning outcomes for nurses in a globalised world
• Ability to co-operate and collaborate in joint efforts
across national and cultural boundaries
• Intercultural communicative competence required for
provision of professional health care to patients from
diverse cultural backgrounds
• Ability to obtain and utilise ideas and experiences from
different parts of the world
• Ability to function within the healthcare organisations of
the future
(Sandstrom 1998)
Nursing 2010-20111
• 60% teaching staff completed QIC5 online
• Follow-up interviews with 7 staff
• Some ‘surprising moments’ e.g.
– Every course has a question about ‘what would
happen if this problem was situated in another cultural
– But staff don’t use these
• Staff induction, development and resources
• Need to make implicit explicit to staff & students
• Make more of Cambodian experience
Public Relations
• Public Relations as a discipline is culturally
constructed and culturally specific
• In 2005 curriculum was modified to include
assessment options related to application of
theory in different social and political contexts
e.g. Development/analysis of communication
materials generated in relation to:
– Power blackouts in Malaysia and Western Australia
– Water issues in Singapore & Malaysia
– Taiwanese government elections
(Surma & Fitch 2006)
PR Literature Review 2010
• Public Relations theory is not objective,
scientific or culturally neutral
• Culturally diverse student groups have
challenged normative approaches to the
• Teaching offshore is not IoC
Public Relations 2011
Four themes identified in interviews with 17 PR
professionals in Perth and Singapore
1. Intercultural challenges in PR practice
1. Role of PR – diverse interpretations
2. Understanding of international current affairs
3. Understanding and applying ICC
2. Contexts for intercultural competence
Diversity at home
Working across borders
Communicating with Indigenous communities
Doing Media relations in different countries
3. Intercultural competence and PR graduates
1. Personal attributes
2. Languages
3. Values of overseas experience
4. Intercultural competence and PR education
24 suggestions
Social Sciences (1)
• In Social Sciences we can’t easily define for
student what their professional practice will be –
but important that we help students to create a
professional identity in globalised world
• Curriculum in some areas is internationalised
already (e.g. anthropology)but could be better
articulated and made more explicit to students
Social Sciences (2) cont
• Not just about how we get students to look at
other cultures (this is the easy bit), but how we
get them to look at themselves and their own
• Need to create room for staff and students to be
more self-reflective in relation to intercultural and
cross-cultural problems/issues
• Need to incorporate IoC as part of regular
reviews such as ‘Annual Review’ rather than as
something separate and extra
Applied Science
• a curriculum based on a critical analysis of the
connections between culture, knowledge and
professional practice in science within a
globalised world
• employ problem-based methodologies
• prepares students to be flexible, adaptive and
reflexive problem solvers who can conduct
community-based as well as industry-based
(Carter 2008 p.629)
Sharing what we have learned
• Symposium
• Publications
• National and international networks
• A range of obstacles and challenges to be overcome by
staff and institutions before we can even start to talk
about the details of IoC
• Easy to underestimate how hard it is to open own and
others’ minds; to discard assumptions and take on new
ways of thinking and doing
• IoC is an intellectual challenge and needs to be
addressed by disciplinary specialists
• IoC has many different variations – no single script or
• Importance of international networks and learning
Want to learn more or contribute?
Contact me: [email protected]
Visit the website http://www.ioc.net.au
Carter, L. (2008) Globalization and science education: the implications of science in the new
economy. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 45(5), 617–633.
Leask, B. (2009) Using formal and informal curricula to improve interactions between home and
international students. Journal of Studies in International Education, Vol. 13, No. 2, 205-221
Engagement. Hawthorn: International Education Association of Australia (IEAA).
Sandstrom, S. (1998) Internationalisation in Swedish Undergraduate Nursing Education: It’s
interpretation and implementation in the context of nursing with tender loving care. Research
Bulletin 96 Helsinki: Faculty of Education: University of Helsinki.
Surma, A. & Fitch, K., (2006). The challenges of international education: Developing a public
relations unit for the Asian Region. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 3(2), 104113