Carrots not Sticks, Horses that Drink: Engaging Disciplinary Academic Teams in Internationalising Their Curriculum

Betty LEASK
La Trobe University, Australia
b.leask@latrobe.edu.au

Wendy GREEN
The University of Queensland, Australia
w.green@uq.edu.au

Craig WHITSED
Murdoch University, Australia
c.whitsed@murdoch.edu.au

Abstract

Internationalisation of the curriculum (IoC) - understood as "the incorporation of an international and intercultural dimension into the preparation, delivery and outcomes of a program of study" (Leask (2009, p. 209) - is one widely accepted way of conceptualizing and responding to the challenges of preparing students to live and work in an increasingly interconnected world. Many universities have embraced IoC at the policy level, yet when it comes to operationalising the concept in the disciplines, some academics feel ill-informed, unsupported, under-confident and under-prepared, while others resist change for a range of reasons (Green & Whitsed 2013; Leask & Bridge 2013). This initiative addresses the question: "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?" The project, designed as critical participatory action research (Kemmis 2007) involves centrally located facilitators working with disciplinary teams across Australian universities. It fosters academics' scholarly, reflective inquiry into their own teaching through the development of disciplinary communities of practice and critical interdisciplinary spaces (Rowland 2006). Each team begins by reviewing their curriculum, aided by a resource designed to stimulate reflection and discussion. This resource (the QIC) was developed, trialed and evaluated in the first iteration of the project, and further adapted in the second. Surveys, interviews, observations and reflections have been collected throughout the project to evaluate the effectiveness of the process as well as the outcomes. Analysis of this data shows that this disciplinary-based approach enabled each team to develop a shared understanding of the transformative dimensions of IoC and to interpret, design and implement it in their own curricula. Factors shown to be critical to the success of this approach will be outlined in this showcase.

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