Academic perspectives on internationalisation - Rebecca Hughes


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Academic perspectives on internationalisation - Rebecca Hughes

  1. 1. Academic perspectives oninternationalisationProfessor Rebecca HughesPro-Vice-Chancellor (International)
  2. 2. Overview• Internationalisation touches the working lives of academics at several levels• What is their ‘lived experience’ of this process• What can it tell policy makers?01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  3. 3. Participant nationalities01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  4. 4. Disciplines of participants01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  5. 5. Countries experienced by participants01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  6. 6. | |Locations of 53 societies on global cultural | Re f l e c t i o ns Changing Mass Prioritiesmap in 2005-2007 Figure 1 Locations of 53 societies on global cultural map in 2005-2007Figure 4 Source: Data from World Values Survey. The oval at the lower right shows the mean size of the standard deviation on each of the two dimensions within the 53 societies (the shape is oval because the S.D. on the horizontal axis is larger than on the vertical axis).01/10/12 © The Universityworld will look like that. But empirical reality today the of Sheffield icans do not overlap much with their European peers;
  7. 7. Patterns of cultural experience• Pattern 1: Outlier – ‘homebody’• Pattern 2: Low cultural WVS distance• Pattern 3: High cultural WVS distance• Pattern 4: Outlier – ‘Globetrotter’01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  8. 8. Asia-Europe Bridge required?• If replicated across larger samples these data suggest that Asian academics are being required to travel greater cultural and linguistic distances than others• A topic for further investigation is whether this is an invisible barrier to transformative and equitable knowledge sharing, collaborative problem solving and innovation01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  9. 9. Motivations to be mobile• ‘If I went there my scientific career would be dead’• ‘They sent me over here’• ‘I’ve always chosen the least paid, but I have been able to follow my interests’• ‘A nice location … I like skiing so it was a fantastic environment’01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  10. 10. Possible affective categories01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  11. 11. Academic life in a secondlanguage: challenges• ‘I asked them, do you understand what I’m saying? And I just got a blank stare.’• ‘I would try to control the accent a bit more if I was just in front of UK people.’• ‘At one point, after the second lecture, I was asked if I couldn’t speak English with a German accent because that would be easier for them to understand.’01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  12. 12. Academic life in a secondlanguage: pleasures• ‘Immediately I saw that it was a very mixed cohort … it made me feel … more confident. … It went well, it went well and yes there was a good relation with the students.’• ‘I held a meeting yesterday … we had 14 people, so out of these, two are from Belgium, five from Italy, one of my students from Turkey, one Indian student, my RA’s an Indian girl, me, there was one English guy, my other RA … so it was very, very relaxed. … the lunchtime break, the coffee was fantastic fun. We’ve been working together so we know each other.’01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  13. 13. Anxiety triggers?01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  14. 14. Experiencing being ‘foreign’• ‘I think England is an interesting country in that you can tell it’s an island. … You can tell that it’s very much this kind of island mentality of feeling like you’re closed off and people are quite xenophobic, I find.’• ‘…the main problem that I often even up to this point encounter is that, usually, labourers are non-English speaking, common ones being Polish people or even Scottish people, Scottish and Irish and they have-, they find it really hard to understand English.’• ‘I don’t have any [problems], I love the country, I love the language, if I could speak better than I can I would be very, very happy.’01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  15. 15. Experiencing being ‘foreign’• ‘I have a colleague and she’s English. I notice that sometimes she speaks to me very like child. Can… you … I say “Yes, thank you.” [Interviewer: How does that make you feel then?]• Good and bad. I mean good because at least I really understand. Bad because sometimes I say “Okay, I’m foreign, not stupid.” I understand.’01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  16. 16. Summary• Motivations to be mobile are diverse and centre on human factors: contractual stability, relationships, and intellectual stimulation rather than institutional profile. No one mentioned rankings!• Language is clearly a powerful factor in terms of both basic and accurate communication, identity as a teacher, and sense of inclusion/exclusion more generally.• Densely international communities may be less problematic than those where there is a single dominant language/culture to which a small number of ‘foreigners’ try to accommodate. 01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  17. 17. Policy points• Consider the profile of staff in the departmental community – highly multicultural or danger of isolation?• Does everyone have the communication skills for safe delivery of experimental work in a laboratory setting?• Are students able to understand the lecturer easily in terms of language delivery?• Are inexperienced lecturers being put into ‘high anxiety’ settings? 01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  18. 18. Conclusions• The research community will find their path to communication against the odds and even enjoy this process.• The novice academic or student may well be pushed into a career- changing path by encountering a sense of alienation or exclusion in a mismanaged intercultural encounter.• More research on the working lives of academics and potential barriers to internationalization of Higher Education is needed to understand these dynamics better. 01/10/12 © The University of Sheffield
  19. 19. ToDiscoverAndUnderstand.