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Challenges & opportunities for academic developers working with international collaborative partnerships

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SEDA Conference, Brighton 2016

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Challenges & opportunities for academic developers working with international collaborative partnerships

  1. 1. Challenges & opportunities for academic developers working with international collaborative partnerships Bridget Middlemas & Jo Peat University of Roehampton, UK with Professor K.P Jaikiran, Kerala State University, India SEDA Conference, Brighton, November 2016
  2. 2. Some of our international collaborations • Research projects relating to learning and teaching in HE: • PICASA – UK, Armenia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Belgium, Austria, Italy • E-Taleb – Lebanon, UK, Germany & France • INCLUSION – UK, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia- Herzegovina • Working with some of Roehampton’s international partners: • European Business School – Spain, Germany & Switzerland • Schiller University - Spain, Germany & France • GLION – UK & Switzerland • Other initiatives relating to learning and teaching in HE: • FLAIR India – UK • Association of Commonwealth Scholars – Ghana, Nigeria & Kenya
  3. 3. This session • This session will review some of the challenges presented by international collaborations, and explore the potential benefits to all parties involved • It will enable participants to identify future collaborative opportunities, and understand how such experiences can really benefit their work as academic developers
  4. 4. Challenges? • Many projects involve partners working on distinct workpackages, with set tasks to be completed. However, sometimes the collaboration is more organic as relationships and understandings develop over a longer time period • Understanding the budgets and workpackages can often be very time consuming! • Language is often an issue…
  5. 5. Workshop activity – Sharing current practices • A: What is happening at your own institution? • B: How could such collaborations contribute to wider institutional discussions and policy initiatives? (such as internationalisation of the curriculum; CPD for international staff; induction programmes for new international students or staff; research or new project opportunities) • C: What is the role of the academic development / learning and teaching team?
  6. 6. Aims of our session? • Understand the ways in which international collaborative activities and projects can benefit the academic development team as well as the whole institution • Have a deeper understanding of the long-term benefits and potential impacts when collaborating with an international partner • Participate in a real-time “virtual internationalisation” activity with Kerala State University • Confidently use Roehampton’s resource pack on “Working with international collaborative partnerships” with colleagues and programme teams at their own institutions • Understand the roles of the EU, the British Council and the Association of Commonwealth Scholars as funding bodies for collaborative partnerships
  7. 7. What’s in the literature? • Many universities are now involved in international partnerships with educational institutions around the world. These partnerships can be of great benefit to faculty wishing to review the way that they work with international colleagues and students, and also contribute to a review of the ways in which institutional strategies and policies are developed in the home institution • Yet Willis and Strivens (2015) note that the role of academic developers in international contexts continues to be under-reported
  8. 8. • Disciplinary and professional ways of working can often vary considerably from country to country, so curriculum design in the 21st century needs to recognise that students must have a chance to develop what Clifford calls “the future multi‐cultural work environments of their students” (Clifford, 2009:133).
  9. 9. • Adams, Gurney and Marshall (2007) note that effective collaborations can lead to faculty participation in cutting-edge networks and innovations • Yet international collaboration can be a messy, confusing business as different stakeholders from diverse backgrounds attempt to work together, often remotely and asynchronously
  10. 10. • Being a central unit in the university has been of considerable advantage as one of the key skills for success is the experience of being able to communicate effectively with stakeholders at different levels (personal, programme level and institutional), not only so that teams are involved in planning and review processes, but also to build working relationships with those from very different academic traditions (Baskerville, 2013; Willis & Strivens, 2015). • Historically, international collaboration necessitated outward mobility of those involved, but our own research indicates that “virtual internationalisation” activities can also provide excellent scaffolding for projects (Middlemas & Peat, 2015).
  11. 11. Fostering Linkages in Academic Innovation and Research (FLAIR), a mission programme of the Department of Higher Education, Government of Kerala is a capacity building programme to raise the quality of teaching learning and research among the newly inducted faculty members of the Arts and Science/Engineering Colleges and Universities in Kerala. Motivating faculty members to adopt innovative Teaching & Learning and Research strategies, raising standards in Teaching & Learning by equipping new generation teachers with innovative skills through training, promoting excellence in research and establishment of a web based network of academicians for knowledge sharing are the major objectives of the programme.
  12. 12. FLAIR Scheme, UK-India What’s our involvement? • Hosting 3-4 annual internships of early career academics from Kerala in south India (since 2013). See the Impact Statement from FLAIR at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6lvGibvc6bdcDY0blJq eTB0OW8/view • Liaising with the British Council and the Department of Higher Education of the State of Kerala • Supporting the organisation of a conference on “Virtual Internationalisation” attended by more than 85 faculty and PhD students (spring 2016)
  13. 13. FLAIR Scheme in India • With 8 other UK universities, we host early career academics for 5-6 weeks every spring. This initiative has been very positive for all involved and has led to further collaborations, visits and projects. • It has also given us the opportunity to liaise with colleagues from other UK universities, working in discipline areas in which we have little or no existing expertise (e.g. Architecture, Medicine, Mechanical Engineering, Art and Design) • It has also reinforced the importance of planning and funding excellent CPD for the first 1-2 years of an HE teaching career
  14. 14. Ideas from our FLAIR collaboration Cultural issues / ways of doing things Language and communication skills Disciplinary differences Political awareness Student experiences of learning and teaching Professional ways of working as an academic / professional etiquette The experience of living abroad / being away from home Use of IT and e- learning / technical proficiency Standards of coursework / parity of assessment and marking arrangements Awareness of financial constraints / funding issues Understandings of referencing and plagiarism issues Classroom practices / experience of different pedagogic approaches
  15. 15. E-Taleb Lebanon, UK, Germany, France
  16. 16. E-Taleb: Professional Standards Framework for Excellence in Teaching & Learning in Lebanese Universities • E-Taleb is aimed at developing a framework of Professional Standards in Teaching and Learning in HE for Lebanon and to enable innovation and exchange of good practice and experiences relevant to similar frameworks established in Europe. • Its main objective is ‘to support the initial and continuing professional development of staff engaged in teaching and to foster dynamic approaches to teaching and learning through creativity, innovation and continuous development in diverse academic disciplines and/or professional settings.’
  17. 17. The project is intended to have high national impact, providing many outcomes including: • establishing Professional Standards Framework in Teaching & Learning LBPSF • offering a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education for faculty members • engaging in inter-university activities centred on training and educational programmes • creating ‘Centres for Teaching Excellence’ inside each of the participating universities • supporting Lebanese universities in accreditation programmes • developing human capital and talented experts in teaching and learning • publishing Lebanese Journals on Teaching and Learning
  18. 18. What’s our role? • Advising faculty on a major data gathering exercise, using the e-Delphi technique • Working with colleagues in Lebanon on data analysis of responses from more than 800 faculty, students and senior administrators • Working with faculty in similar roles to our own, but in very different settings and in different subject areas
  19. 19. E Taleb - Key considerations: • The Lebanese PSF has to be their framework, just supported by us, not designed by us • The cultural context is all important • Issues arose that were absolutely key for them, which may not have occurred to us e.g. socio-political awareness • ‘Diversity’ has a very different interpretation in the Lebanese context • The notion of hierarchy in terms of the importance attached to certain voices was key • Complete support from the Lebanese Government, but the initiative is completely HEI-led
  20. 20. Making us really think about what “professional standards” means • Revisiting the UKPSF, and thinking again about some of the text • Whose “ professional standards” are we talking about? • Is our model too UK / too EU centric?
  21. 21. Activity: World Café session on “Opportunities and possibilities in 2016-18” Roehampton’s CPD activity pack “Working with International Collaborative Partners” • Learning from each other • Contributions to the curriculum review process • Stakeholders activity Cultural issues / ways of doing things Language and communication skills Disciplinary differences Political awareness Student experiences of learning and teaching Professional ways of working as an academic / professional etiquette The experience of living abroad / being away from home Use of IT and e- learning / technical proficiency Standards of coursework / parity of assessment and marking arrangements Awareness of financial constraints / funding issues Understandings of referencing and plagiarism issues Classroom practices / experience of different pedagogic approaches
  22. 22. How has working collaboratively with international partners enabled us to reflect on our own practice? • Gives us the opportunity to work with colleagues across all discipline areas, at home and in partner institutions • Encourages us to reflect on our own professional practice, and its applicability / relevance in different settings / contexts • Enables us to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of international staff and students • Given us insights into the importance of socio-political and socio-geographical factors
  23. 23. How has working collaboratively with international partners enabled us to reflect on our own practice? • Enabled us to confidently undertake projects and activities with our own colleagues at Roehampton: • Support and advise on major curriculum reviews with a range of subject areas • Improve our internationalisation policy and strategy • Review the way that overseas academics are made to feel welcome / at home • Work more confidently with staff at all levels, from laboratory technicians to senior management and the professoriate • Developed our working knowledge of working virtually with colleagues in remote areas
  24. 24. Last thoughts? • What can you take home today? • What are the main challenges for your own institution? • Could your own team be involved in some similar projects? • How could such projects impact on your institutional policy and strategy work? • How do we ensure that we share our expertise but do not impose our preferences?
  25. 25. References • Adams, J; Gurney, K. & and Marshall, S. (2007) Patterns of international collaboration for the UK and leading partners. UK Office of Science and Innovation, at: http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Education/documents/2007/07/13/OSICollaborationSummaryRepo.pdf • Baskerville, S. (2013) A guide to UK higher education and partnerships for overseas universities. UK Higher Education Unit • Clifford, V (2009) Engaging the disciplines in internationalising the curriculum. International Journal for Academic Development , Vol 14, 2009 - Issue 2 • Cummings, J. & Kiesler, S. (2007) Coordination costs and project outcomes in multi-university collaborations. Research Policy 36 (2007) 1620–1634 • Guth, S; Helm, F. & O’Dowd, R. (2012) University Language Classes - Collaborating Online. A Report on the Integration of Telecollaborative Networks in European Universities. INTENT project, at: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.457.9608&rep=rep1&type=pdf • Laycock, M; Yahchouchi, G; Shrives, L & Peat, J. (2016) SEDA and the Lebanese Professional Standards Framework. Educational Developments, September 2016 • Middlemas, B. & Peat, J. (2015) ‘Virtual internationalisation’ and the undergraduate curriculum in UK and overseas universities . Journal of perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, Vol 3, No 3 (2015) • Peat, J. (2016) Reflections on a conference in Kerala. Educational Developments, September 2016 • Villar-Onrubia, D. & Rajpal, B. (2016). Online International Learning: Internationalising the Curriculum through Virtual Mobility at Coventry University. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, v20 n2-3 p75-82 2016 • Willis, I. & Strivens, J. (2015) Academic developers and international collaborations: the importance of personal abilities and aptitudes. International Journal for Academic Development, Vol 20, No 4, pp 333-344

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