First win the hearts and minds of the staff! Disciplinary understandings of internationalisation of the curriculum.

Valerie Clifford (OCSLD)

Internationalisation of the curriculum (IoC) has become an important strategic priority for Brookes. A new policy is in place that requires programme teams to address IoC at periodic review. While some disciplines already embrace IoC others have not yet engaged with it. This paper looks at areas of resistance to IoC and pathways to engagement.

Interviews were carried out with staff and students at a large Australian university with six campuses onshore and two offshore (Malaysia and South Africa), across all faculties and campuses. The aim was to explore student and staff perceptions of IoC so that the university could build an strategy to develop IoC that worked for that university's environment and culture. Although the data was collected in Australia contact with students and staff at Brookes appears to confirm that the findings of the study are also relevant to the UK context.

The students showed sophisticated understandings of IoC and welcomed this orientation in their curricula. In fact they saw it as essential to their future lives. They also saw the staff as crucial to the quality of that curricula, saying that if the staff were not internationalised then there was no hope of the curriculum being so. Staff responses differed in their understanding of, and interest in, IoC, and the responses appeared to be discipline based.

The study uses Becher's classification of disciplines into academic tribes to consider the varying staff response to IoC and then discusses the possible reasons for the response and ways to facilitate engagement. The session will assist staff to think through and articulate their own views on IoC and consider the needs within their programme teams to internationalise their curricula in ways that would assist their students to prepare them for their future lives living and working in a globalised, multi-cultural world.