GCU event explores how to internationalise the curriculum

29 May 2015

L-R: Jackie Gillespie, Dr Viv Caruana, Sabine McKinnon, Dr Anne Smith, Dr David Moore

L-R: Jackie Gillespie, Dr Viv Caruana, Sabine McKinnon, Dr Anne Smith, Dr David Moore

Academics from the UK and US came together at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to discuss the benefits and challenges of internationalising the curriculum.

The one-day event explored local, national and international approaches with the aim of answering the question: ‘How can we give students the opportunity to widen their international horizons and prepare for global citizenship?’.

Dr Viv Caruana, Reader in Internationalisation of Higher Education at Leeds Beckett University, gave the keynote address, and Professor Jon Rubin and Mirjam Hauck, from the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Center at the State University New York (SUNY), presented via a direct video link. The COIL Center works with institutions from across the world to support students in communicating online with their peers abroad. GCU was the first Scottish university to sign up as a Charter Member of the COIL Global Network.

Staff members from GCU’s three academic schools also presented their approaches to embedding internationalisation in their subject-specific curriculum. Dr Anne Smith, Glasgow School for Business and Society, presented on a COIL collaboration in enterprise education with Kansai University in Osaka, Japan; Dr David Moore, School of Engineering and Built Environment, shared his experiences of a COIL project in audio technology with SUNY; Michael Bromby, Glasgow School for Business and Society, spoke about using technology in a module on healthcare, law and ethics; and Jackie Gillespie, School of Health and Life Sciences, presented a COIL project on inequality in the provision of healthcare with the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Bangladesh.

The event was hosted by Sabine McKinnon, manager of GCU’s Global Perspectives Project, the University’s strategic change initiative on the internationalisation of the curriculum. Led and managed by GCU LEAD (Centre for Learning Enhancement and Academic Development), the Global Perspectives Project supports academic staff in embedding international and intercultural aspects in the taught curriculum on all programmes.

Sabine said: “Internationalisation is at the centre of GCU’s vision for the future. It is our long-term aspiration to embed it across all University activities, including our approaches to learning and teaching. This event offered delegates an insight into the different ways of internationalising the curriculum.

“The keynote address invited us to think about the meaning of concepts like intercultural understanding, global citizenship and the common good. The contribution from our colleagues in New York showed us how we can take very practical steps using internet-based tools to raise students’ international awareness, and GCU’s own local champions inspired everyone to follow their example – an excellent starting point for the University’s internationalisation journey ahead.”