The Faculty’s associate dean (global engagement) Bryony Whitmarsh told The PIE News the choice of theme, a first for the faculty, would help advance the university’s recently released Global Engagement Strategy.
“The University’s new Global Engagement Strategy means that internationalisation is now a strategic imperative for the University. This gave us the opportunity to put it under the spotlight,” she said.
“Student mobility alone will not develop intercultural capability”
“The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, with its focus on the study of society and how people process and document the human experience has a leading role to play in the university’s engagement with the process of internationalisation.”
The conference started with an address by Chris Chang, pro-vice chancellor (global engagement), who reminded the audience that internationalisation is not just about recruitment, but the benefits it can give to the local community.
The keynote speech was delivered by Viv Caruana, reader in HE internationalisation at Leeds Beckett University.
She invited the audience to reflect on the true purpose of internationalisation – “creating global citizens, not members of the global elite” – and pitfalls.
Again, the focus was on decoupling internationalisation from mere student recruitment and student mobility, towards a pan-institutional approach.
“Student mobility alone will not develop intercultural capability – internationalisation needs to be embedded in the curriculum,” she said.
The breakout sessions – which included a workshop on decolonising the curriculum which proved very popular with the attendees – were followed by a presentation of the work of the Council for At-Risk Academics.
Feedback has been positive, Whitmarsh noted, and the conference has helped the staff unpack the meaning of internationalisation.
“We have started to develop a common language to explain our commitment to a curriculum that encourages the capacity to empathise with people of different backgrounds through open-mindedness and sensitivity to diverse perspectives – clearly identifying synergies between internationalisation, equality and diversity,” she said.