Lost in Transnational Education: Sensemaking in an International Branch Campus

Anne HERBERT
RMIT International University Vietnam, Vietnam
anne.herbert@rmit.edu.vn

Maureen LEWIS
RMIT International University Vietnam, Vietnam
maureen.lewis@rmit.edu.vn

Abstract

In the last decade research in academic development field has highlighted the need for clarity around roles, identity and purpose of academic development work; and in the transnational higher education context, awash with complex issues of equivalence, comparability, localisation and quality, this need is more pronounced than ever. In this paper, two newly appointed academic developers use a model of sensemaking and sensegiving (Bartunek et al,1999; Smerek, 2011) to describe how we processed the complex and unfamiliar context of an off-shore branch campus. Through professional conversations, interactions and observations with staff and teaching, and shared reflective dialogue we develop a degree of clarity that shapes an emergent identity and purpose. This autoethnogrpahic paper will add depth to existing theorising around the interface of academic development and transnational education.

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