Situated Professional Development for Transnational Teaching Teams

Lynne KEEVERS
University of Wollongong, Australia
lkeevers@uow.edu.au

Geraldine LEFOE
University of Wollongong, Australia
glefoe@uow.edu.au

Maureen BELL
University of Wollongong, Australia
mbell@uow.edu.au

Sumitha GANESHARATNAM
INTI Laureate, Malaysia
sumitha.ganesh@newinti.edu.my

Fauziah KP DAWOOD SULTAN
INTI Laureate, Malaysia
fauziah.kpdsultan@newinti.edu.my

Vincent LOH
INTI Laureate, Malaysia
vincent.loh@newinti.edu.my

Jane See Yin LIM
INTI Laureate, Malaysia
janesy.lim@newinti.edu.my

Abstract

Recent studies within the Australasian region have identified challenges for transnational academics, co-teachers and their students. These challenges are often related to differing cultural expectations, inequalities in power relations and the need to ensure quality standards across partner institutions (Hicks & Jarrett, 2008; McBurnie & Ziguras, 2007; Pyvis, 2011). The need for professional development of transnational teachers and co-teachers has been recognised in recent reports, and a HERDSA Guide to Transnational Teaching and Learning is in press (Melano, Bell & Walker, 2014). However, while there is an emerging literature around professional development for academic staff working in transnational programmes (Leask 2004; 2009; Hicks and Jarrett 2008; Gribble and Ziguras 2003, Dunn & Wallace , 2006), little of this work has explored how the diversity within transnational teaching teams might be used to maximum advantage.

A study of transnational education at the University of Wollongong (UOW) and INTI Laureate Malaysia (INTI) employed a practice-based, participatory action learning (PAL) approach in which transnational teaching teams identified their shared professional development needs and developed processes, resources and practices to meet those needs and support effective transnational learning. This approach was based in the thinking of Brew (2010) and others who propose that academic development should be grounded in the daily demands of academic work and take place in response to particular projects and responsibilities.

The effectiveness of the PAL approach is confirmed by the development of seven innovative 'toolkits' for professional development with transnational teaching teams. Additional project outcomes were achieved including, for example, the development of a distributed leadership approach as outlined by Lefoe & Parish (2013) and calibration of assessment in two transnational teaching teams.

The presentation explores the PAL approach to building effective transnational teaching teams and discusses the professional development principles developed from the project.

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