Support to Internationalise the Curriculum (IoC)


Internationalisation is at the centre of the university’s vision for the future.  It is our long-term aspiration to embed it across all university activities which includes our approaches to learning and teaching.

All our students, home-based as well as international, will benefit from an education that prepares them for global citizenship and successful employment in today’s global labour market.

GCU’s Internationalisation Strategy and our new Strategy for Learning emphasize the importance of “global learning” as an integral part of the student learning experience. Research shows that embedding it in the taught curriculum is the most effective way of widening our students’ international horizons.

What does ‘internationalisation of the curriculum’ mean?

There are many different views of what it means. The following definition by Betty Leask (2009) is the one of the most cited.

“(An internationalised curriculum) will engage students with internationally informed research and cultural and linguistic diversity. It will purposefully develop their international and intercultural perspectives as global professionals and citizens”.

IoC - Employability and Transversal Skills (the example from SCEBE)

The University is submitting for the first time a nomination for the Collaborative Awards for Teaching Excellence (CATE).  PEETS - Promoting Excellence in Employability and Transversal Skills (skills which are readily transferable and flexible) is an international 4-partner collaboration.  PEETS comprises Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), Scotland, Lahti University of Applied Science (LAMK), Finland; The Hague University of Applied Science (THUAS), The Netherlands, and Constructionarium (Scotland) Ltd.

As “new Universities”, with student populations from 5,000 to 25,000, we offer 4-year degrees including Computing, Engineering, Marketing and Business.  Supporting widening participation students is a priority (eg GCU recruits 40% from SIMD40 backgrounds). These students are less inclined towards, but have the most to gain, from study abroad. Constructionarium, our industrial partner, provides hands-on learning in civil engineering and construction management.

We built upon successful longstanding relationships:

1)    GCU and Constructionarium’s “real-life” managed simulations

2)    GCU and LAMK’s interdisciplinary “short-term European Study Trips” and winter schools

3)    LAMK and THUAS’s joint winter schools

Wider team support in each institution comes from various departments including careers, student well-being, diversity etc.

In 2016 we were awarded €294,000 for a 3-year Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership that has been used as a stepping stone to develop our self-sustaining PEETS initiative.

Together we create industry informed, multidisciplinary and intercultural learning designs and resources to enhance the professional development of HEIs students and staff.


Download the full CATE Submission_2019CATE Submission_2019

IoC Module Guide

Teaching staff and staff supporting student learning seeking to support students as global citizens can gain receive some useful guidance through the 'Internationalising the Curriculum: a guide for staff' .

Global Perspectives

The Global Perspectives Project supports staff from all subject disciplines in internationalising their curriculum. The project

  • explores what internationalisation of the curriculum means in practice
  • identifies the best mechanisms for embedding it in all schools
  • provides tools and resources for staff
  • delivers CPD workshops to enhance intercultural awareness

The project team works in collaboration with academic staff, student representatives and relevant support services.


COIL stands for Collaborative On-Line International Learning. Coordinated by the State University New York (SUNY) it is a learning and teaching approach that uses internet-based tools and innovative on-line pedagogies to connect students and staff from universities in different countries. Integrated into the taught curriculum at module level it aims to enhance the intercultural competence of academics and their students. GCU is one of COIL's 17 Global Network Partners.

Watch this video from our Japanese partner university, Kansai University in Osaka, to get a first impression of the COIL approach.

Internationalisation Research

Refereed Journal Publications

McKinnon, S., Hammond, A. and Foster, M. (2017) Reflecting on the Value of Resources for Internationalising the Curriculum: Exploring Academic Perspectives, Journal of Further and Higher Education (Published online 21 Aug 2017)

McKinnon, S., Smith, A. and Thomson, J. (2015) A window to the world: using technology to internationalise entrepreneurship education. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, Vol 3, Issue 3 (2015), pp 15-23

McKinnon, S. and McCrae, J. (2012) Closing the gap: preparing computing students for employment through embedding work-related learning in the taught curriculum. Industry & Higher Education, Vol 26, No.4, Aug. 2012 

Schröder, M. and McKinnon, S. (2007) Learning good judgement: young Europeans’ perceptions of key consumer skills. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 31, 152-159.

McKinnon, S. and Schröder, M. (2006) Young Europeans abroad in Scotland: an exploration of how attitudes to consumer credit reflect dimensions of culture. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 30/4, 360-368.

Book chapter

McKinnon, S. (2012) A mismatch of expectations? An exploration of international students’ perceptions of employability skills and work-related learning; in: Ryan, J. (ed.) (2012)  Cross cultural teaching and learning for home and international students: Internationalisation of pedagogy and curriculum in higher education, pp 211-225, Abingdon and New York: Routledge. 

Recent Papers in Peer-Reviewed Conference Proceedings

McKinnon, S. (2013) What does it mean for us? Academics’ perceptions of internationalising the curriculum: The Global Perspectives Project at Glasgow Caledonian University’, Proceedings of theInternational Enhancement Themes Conference: Enhancement and Innovation, QAA, Glasgow