Internationalisation Resources - 'Changing World' project

Description .

A Changing World: the internationalisation experiences of staff and students (home and international) in UK Higher Education

Dr Fiona Hyland (ESCalate, Subject Centre for Education),

Dr Sheila Trahar (University of Bristol, Graduate School of Education),

Dr Julie Anderson (ESCalate, Subject Centre for Education),

Alison Dickens (LLAS, Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics & Area Studies)

Much has been written about the internationalisation of higher education (e.g. Knight, 2008; Caruana & Spurling, 2007), and international student numbers have increased greatly in the UK with the Prime Minister's Initiative (PMI, 1999 & PMI 2, 2006) being one of the main driving forces for recruitment (Trahar, 2007). This project was instigated because a need was felt by the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre Network to hear from the ground, how staff and students viewed internationalisation and to explore how an internationalised curriculum might look from the perspective of different disciplines.

Fifteen focus groups were run with staff and with students, both home and international, to listen to their views on what internationalisation meant to them, how it had influenced teaching and learning, and what challenges and successes they had experienced. Participants came from a range of disciplines and from across the UK.

Staff in particular showed great awareness of the issues surrounding internationalisation with an appreciation of some of the complexities. Topics raised by participants included recruitment strategies, entry requirements for non-native speakers, PMI, fees, the "British degree", higher education institutions' (HEIs) competition for students in the global marketplace, and internationalising the curriculum. Staff and students described various techniques and strategies for creating inclusive learning environments. Many said how students and staff from across the world had enriched their lives, both personally and professionally. Staff discussed the difficulties of meeting the needs of culturally diverse groups, and both students and staff talked about how far we still have to go in encouraging some students to break out of their familiar cultural groups to socialise cross-culturally.

Home students were the hardest group to recruit for this project. Given that they have so much to gain from learning in a culturally diverse environment it is suggested that more work needs to be done in the research area of Internationalisation at Home (Teekens, 2006, Joris, van den Berg & van Ryssen, 2003), and within institutions, to engage not only staff but also home students so that all students and staff can gain maximum benefit from the changing higher education landscape.

There is also a link to a pilot videopaper including a short section of video.