IAU Sao Paulo Conference, July 25-29, 2004 12th General Conference: The Wealth of Diversity Parallel Workshops – Session IIIBeyond Tolerance: Higher Education a haven for intercultural dialogue and sustainabledevelopment ?Dr Walter Baets, Director Graduate Programs, Euromed Marseille - Ecole de ManagementBP 921 Luminy Science Parc 13288 Marseille Cedex 9Phone : +33 4 91827922E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.orgAbstractIntercultural dialogue is today a matter of necessity, not choice. Faculty members, staff and thestudent body are rarely a homogeneous group nowadays. Too often, higher education is based on oneprevailing cultural model: in business education it is the Anglo Saxon model, as created, mainly, bythe US Business Schools. Textbooks and teaching/learning approaches are designed in order to fitthat culture. Even the entry criteria (in business education the GMAT test) fit that one prevailingculture. With a growing internationalisation of the world, we have not paid enough attention to thecultural diversification of (higher) education. Textbooks and learning approaches are indeed highlycontext bound. However, different learning approaches, translating cultural diversity, can seriouslyenrich mutual learning. The modern university has grown out of the creative co-existence of different‘cultures of learning’ – both termed disciplines and pedagogical models – out of different ways ofseeing the world and of defining and studying it.In this workshop, a different pedagogical model is proposed, that allows not only to host culturaldiversity, but even more so to learn from cultural diversity. This model advances the notion ofdiversity as an asset of outstanding value.This model has been used for the first time, as the basis for the Euro-Arab Management School(EAMS), a joint project of the EU, the league of Arab States and the Spanish Government. Thebriefing for this school was to create a pedagogical approach and pedagogical material that could beused through a network of partner schools (in Europe and the Arab countries), allowing them eachand all to adapt to their specific settings. For obvious reasons, this model is a hybrid one, combiningface to face and virtual learning (and no teaching). The eventual network of schools and students,then could exchange in a second round their experiences in order to reinforce learning.In order to make this paper as practical as possible, it is completely related to the example of EAMS.However it should be clear that this is only one example of a possible realisation of higher education,fostering cultural diversity, with the aim to contribute to sustainable development.Keywords: diversity and higher education, sustainable learning approaches, virtual business school,networked organisation, Euro-Mediterranean region.1 Theories on learning and teachingThere are roughly four groups of theories on learning and teaching which are briefly described below(for detail, one can consult the references). It is important for a tutor to understand these theories inorder to be able to judge the advantages and the disadvantages of each one, but primarily suchknowledge equips the tutor for a discussion with potential students on the choices EAMS has maderegarding the form of its Euro-Arab Management Diploma (EAMD).The first theory is called the transfer theory. Knowledge in general and, more specifically, subject
matters, are viewed as transferable commodities. A student is viewed as a vessel positioned alongsidea loading dock. ‘Knowledge’ is poured into the vessel until it is full. Whereas the student is theempty vessel, the teacher is a crane or a fork lift. The teacher delivers and places knowledge into theempty vessel. Courses applying the transfer theory would be very much lecture-based, would includetalks from leading figures in the relevant fields (the more the better) and would provide students withduplicated course notes. Once the vessel is filled, a ‘bill of loading’, which is the diploma, certifiesthe content of the vessel. Monitoring a student means monitoring the process of filling the vessel andsometimes sampling the quality of the contents. When students fail, teachers will say that the vessel isno good, that it is leaking, whereas the student will blame the fork lift. This type of course is still theprevailing one in most business schools.Another theory is called the shaping theory. The student comes to school as a piece of inert rawmaterial: say, a piece of wood or metal. The piece is shapedusing shaping tools, which are the subject matters. The teacher is the craftsman who is able to workthe wood or metal. This theory is behind some of the educational reforms which have taken place insome business schools. The shaping theory, in conjunction with the transfer theory, accounts for mostbusiness school curricula.The travelling theory is one by which the teacher initiates and guides the students through anunknown terrain which needs to be explored. The student is the explorer and the teacher/tutor is theexperienced and expert travelling companion and counsellor. The guide not only points out the way,but also provides travelling maps and a compass: by the way, it is not by accident that this document isnamed a road book. The ‘teaching methods’ (if one can still call them such) which are most used inapplying this theory are experiential methods: simulations, projects, exercises with unpredictableoutcomes (as in certain case-studies), discussions and independent learning. In courses applying thistheory, monitoring means regularly comparing each other’s travelling notes. Tutors blame failure ofthis theory on the student’s unwillingness to take risks. From the student’s point of view, the tutor canbe blamed for poor guidance, poor equipment and imposing too many restrictions. Some criticise thistheory as limiting student initiative (compare this with the following theory). Tutors using thisapproach, which is very much the EAMS approach, need specialised skills, equipment and expertise,as well as the basic requirement of possessing a good knowledge of the ‘terrain’. Experiments haveshown that this theory is particularly effective in adult education (Walker and Baets, 2000).One step on from the travelling theory is the growing theory. In many respects, this theory does notdiffer greatly from the previous one. Rather, it is an extension of it which focuses more on the self-initiative and personal development of the student. Subject matters are a set of experiences whicheach student should incorporate into his/her personality. The aim for the student is to develop his/herpersonality. The student is like a garden in which everything is already planted. Now, it just needs togrow. The tutor (it would be impossible to speak here of a teacher) can be considered to be thegardener. The methods used are very much the same as those used when applying the travellingtheory, only they allow the student even more freedom and room to experiment. In this theory, themonitoring process consists of monitoring the personal development of the student. It should not beforgotten that becoming a manager, in many respects, is working on one’s own personality. Studentcommitment and realistic expectations in combination with a tutor who is competent in coachingpersonal development is the ideal learning situation. Some business schools have opted for a complete‘learning by doing’ approach; for instance, learning while creating one’s own company or learning bycarrying out a large project. This approach, however, is rather experimental. Although it wasEAMS’s conviction that management development has a lot to do with developing managerial skills, itdid not want to go so far as to make it the one and only approach (in those days). Today, EuromedMarseille is going all along the road in offering this pedagogical model for projects in sustainabledevelopment.It is important for each tutor to position him or herself somewhere within the framework of thesetheories. Many tutors will have a background, education and experience which is based on the firstand/or, to a lesser extent, on the second theory. Since, for reasons explained below, EAMS has chosen
to adopt the third approach to learning and teaching, in many cases new EAMS tutors will be requiredto radically adjust their concepts on teaching and tutoring. EAMS thus ran a Masters in ManagementDevelopment Programme (MMDP) with the aim of supporting and guiding tutors through thatadjustment process by means of the travelling theory. In particular, MMDP sessions on ‘Theories andPractices of Learning’, ‘Tutorial Skills’, ‘Management Competencies’, ‘Case Writing and Use’,‘Business Simulations’ and ‘Electronic Tutoring’ contribute to achieving such a paradigm shift.2 Pedagogical philosophy of EAMSEAMS has undeniably based its pedagogical philosophy on the European experience in managementdevelopment and business schools. The business school phenomenon is much more recent in Europethan in the US. In Europe, pre-business career education can be in almost any discipline. In general,student pre-career education is less of a requirement in business than in other disciplines such asengineering, law and the arts; consider the limited success, outside of the UK, of the Bachelors Degreein Business Administration. In terms of post-graduate education, ‘business’ becomes more of anoption, but still a lot of business education is undertaken at post-experience level. Practisingmanagers, often without a formal business degree, want to improve their managerial know-how andtheir managerial skills. In the case of sustainable development programs, it are often practising (SME)managers that are targeted.In order to cater for practising managers, courses must offer a high degree of flexibility. Programmesdo not need to focus on detailed and specialised knowledge in any particular field(s). Rather, thedesired outcome is for the manager to acquire a holistic view of managerial practice. A skills-drivenapproach is therefore the best way to teach/tutor management at the post-experience level.Applying the travelling theory to any particular management development programme requires anumber of different components. The EAMD includes these components. Some are better addressedby a process of self-study (the concepts), while others are better addressed via discussion groups,tutorials1 or project work (the cases and activities) (see figure 1). Knowledge acquisition is animportant component of any programme. In the case of the EAMD, knowledge is acquired throughthe self-study of formal concepts presented in electronic format. Acquisition of skills, such as thepower to motivate, is achieved via activities which need to be developed during the tutorials. Otherskills, such as problem solving, are better dealt with through developing project work. A thirdcomponent of any programme should be the development of aptitudes and attitudes, such asjudgement and flexibility, and these skills are most probably best addressed via a project on a real lifecase. Eventually, and particularly in the Euro-Arab setting, one should focus on acquiring the skillsrequired to deal with different cultures. The use of cases during tutorials could help foster thiscomponent of the programme.For the above reasons, EAMS has opted for the travelling theory of education and learning. Inpractice, many EAMS partner institutions needed to shift from the subject-centred paradigm to thelearner-centred paradigm. EAMS decided to characterise this learning philosophy in a number ofdifferent ways. EAMS programmes attempted to broaden rather than deepen knowledge. Theseprogrammes should, as much as possible, provide flexibility in terms of time and content. Attentionshould be given to developing managerial skills particularly in sit-in sessions such as tutorials. Anyprogramme should in one way or another be project-based, not only for the above-stated reasons, butalso in order to co-create new pedagogical material, in particular new case material. Given the needfor flexibility and the time constraints of practising managers, self-learning is part of the EAMSprogramme. EAMS aimed not to train a chosen few, but rather to organise its training programmes soas to be able to reach as many people as possible. The local cultural component should be present inany programme. The tutor plays a crucial role in adapting any EAMS material to local conditions.EAMS will never be able to produce pedagogical material to accommodate all particular sub-cultures1 Tutorials are group sessions involving one tutor and six to eight students.
Efficient maintenance of the pedagogical materialPublishing books takes time and any minor change requires a complete reprint. As a result, printedpedagogical material is very often out of date. In terms of concepts, this may not be too much of aproblem. In terms of cases and examples, however, it could reduce the value of the material especiallyin a rapidly changing economic environment such as the Mediterranean. By using an electronicformat, EAMS can continually update its central electronic version, which can be made available to allpartner institutions by the very next day. If a partner institution chooses to use material in print form,only that part of the material which has been updated can be printed and it can be done immediately.Flexibility in course designAlthough its initial target is to launch the EAMD, the ultimate target of the EAMS network is toorganise any possible and imaginable courses relevant to management in the Euro-Arab businesscommunity. There is an interesting demand from companies, for instance, not so much for degreecourses at present, but rather for short, specific courses: finance for engineers; telecom in the Maghrebetc. It would be impossible to support such courses with existing textbooks as there are almost noneavailable on such specific subjects and those that do exist are usually too general. In any case, atextbook seldom accommodates cultural diversity. With the pedagogical material presented in theform of an electronic database, partner institutions can download the material they specifically needfor any particular course. Course design and assembling pedagogical material go hand in hand. Oncethe database is complete, having the appropriate volume and quality of case-studies, it would be veryeasy to access pedagogical material in order to create specific and specialised degree courses. Ingeneral, electronic learning formats facilitate the process of curriculum design.Pedagogical concernsThe presentation of pedagogical material in an electronic format is very apt in terms of applying thetravelling theory metaphor which forms the basis of the EAMS philosophy. The general orientationof the project is well complemented by a system which allows tutors to easily access and isolate thoseconcepts relevant to their students and their projects. This is the main advantage of the electronicformat over the text book format. In addition, the hypertext structure facilitates learning and discoveryfor the student who browses through material.Typically, business schools use IT as an alternative to the classroom situation in order to reduce theirmarginal costs. However, it has often been unsuccessful as a learning delivery mode since it stillsupports the delivery paradigm (the transfer theory): the student is an empty vessel; a degree is anintellectual bill of loading for ‘knowledge-on-board’; teaching is a delivery service; universities areloading docks; IT plays the role of intellectual fork-lift truck. As argued earlier, the transfer theoryhas its limitations and the use of IT in order to support this approach only magnifies its weaknesses.Any use of IT, particularly in terms of learning technologies, should be based on the conversationalparadigm. Knowledge is shaped by the tools of inquiry and therefore by conversation: hence, theimportant role of tutorials. It is this centrality of conversation which makes the Internet such a successand EAMS’s hypertext approach is based on that Internet technology. Tutorials should reinforce thatconversational paradigm, rather than be based on a one-to-many or teacher-centred structure.It should thus be clear that the approach which EAMS has chosen targets students who are alreadysocialised, that is students who already contribute to human networks whether social, professional oreducational. IT-based education, or any other form of open learning, is not appropriate to groups ofpeople who are not yet socialised, which is the case of undergraduate students.
4 The role of the EAMS tutorThe EAMS tutor has a double role, one with respect to EAMS (which we are not going to highlighthere) and one as guide and facilitator to his/her students. In this section, the latter role is discussed. Ageneral description of the role of the tutor is given and then specific aspects are highlighted.A tutor is a counsellor to his/her students. The tutor does not possess all the ‘knowledge’ and all the‘answers’, but is rather someone who can counsel students and direct them to where they can findanswers to their questions. The tutor makes a selection of the appropriate learning material forevery student at each particular phase of the learning process. Naturally all students go through thesame course curriculum, but certain students may need different or additional inputs. In order tomonitor students, the tutor and the student need to agree on a plan which will support the learners intheir learning needs.The tutor needs to assess learner progress on a continuous basis. In order to do this, a procedureneeds to be set up which is transparent to the student and which will enable him/her to learn. Acombination of tutor assessment and self-evaluation by the student him/herself is one possibleprocedure. A discussion based on comparing tutor assessment with the student’s self-evaluation,would result in a constructive learning process for the student. The tutor should assist the studentwith any particular learning difficulties and if the tutor feels unable to deal with them, he/sheshould direct the student to someone who can.The most time-consuming activity for EAMD tutors will be running group sessions. These will havea variety of purposes. In the first place, group sessions facilitate group learning. Learning takesplace via the exchange of ideas and experiences and it has been noted that, particularly with a group ofexperienced managers, peer-learning proves to be very efficient and interesting. The tutor should runthe group session, rather than teach a group of students in the traditional teacher-centred way. Inaddition, in group sessions, learners can apply what they have learned. The application ofknowledge is more important than theoretical knowledge itself specifically for practising managers.This relates back to the discussion on the balance between knowledge, skills and attitudes whichshould be part of any management development programme. Group sessions need to help learners todevelop managerial skills (managerial competencies). As discussed during the MMDP, thesemanagerial skills or competencies are primarily skills which facilitate the application of knowledge orwhich allow you to do things. In addition, managerial attitudes are related to the manager’s ability todeal with people, rather than with applied knowledge. It is the tutor’s role to make sure that duringgroup sessions, some of these managerial competencies, such as problem analysis and negotiations,are developed.A tutor is also responsible for nurturing a holistic view in the student, including the (local) culturalcomponent. Students will probably view management as consisting of a combination of differentdisciplines, such as marketing and finance, which is not the case in practice. A good manager is onewho can integrate these different views, even transcend such functional views, in order to manage in awide variety of corporate settings. Such a holistic, corporate-wide view is not something which comesautomatically. Group sessions should be used as an opportunity to focus on the holistic approach tomanagement, for instance, via case discussions and through the project work). The project work isimportant for integrating, applying and focusing on managerial competencies. Tutors need tocomment regularly on any material produced by the student, in particular with regard to projecttutoring (see below). The feedback process is an important learning moment for the student.Last but not least, the tutor plays an important role in adapting any pedagogical material created byEAMS (or other sources) to the local circumstances in the different countries. It is unrealistic tothink that EAMS could ever produce material which is directly relevant to each of the European andArab countries in the network. The EAMD pedagogical material should be ready for use in a ‘generaldenominator case’. In each particular country, however, it is certain that some cases or even conceptswould not apply, or some concepts may apply differently. It is not the role of the tutor to write
specific pedagogical material. Rather, it is the role of the tutor to organise tutorials in such a way thatthey make complete sense in terms of the country in question. If a case does not apply to a particularcountry, then do not use it. Instead, ask students to find their own examples/cases.Each tutorial should be prepared in order to include a number of the ‘tutor tasks’ stated above. It is thetutor’s involvement and preparation for the tutorial which will make the quality difference betweentutorials. A tutor is a personal counsellor for his/her students, a guide in the process of learning.ReferencesBaets W and Van der Linden G,  The Hybrid Business School: Developing knowledgemanagement through management learning, Prentice-HallBaets W, Browaeys M J, and Walker R,  ADAGIO: A methodology for designing corporatevirtual universities, Nyenrode University Press,Baets W and Van der Linden G,  Virtual Corporate Universities: A matrix of knowledge andlearning for the new digital dawn, Dordrecht Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003Walker R and Baets W, “Designing a virtual course environment for management education: alearner-centred approach”, Indian Journal of Open Learning (IJOL), September, 2000