Curriculum development through international collaboration. Roger Woods

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1 Curriculum development through international collaboration Roger Woods March 2011

2 Author Roger Woods is a professor of German at the University of Nottingham and former Chair of UCML. He was Vice-President, then Provost of the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China for three years. He is currently an Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Nottingham, and in this role he takes the lead in Internationalising the Curriculum and in the University s Europe Strategy. Published by Published by UCML with funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. University Council of Modern Languages (UCML) t: +44 (0) f: +44 (0) e: Copyright This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

3 1 Introduction UK universities have generally accepted that the benefits to students of an internationalised curriculum are real and significant. It is likely that a school of modern languages is already the most international school in any university, and it can lead the way in internationalising the curriculum through joint delivery of programmes with overseas universities. Such collaboration may take the form of articulation agreements or Erasmus Mundus collaborations. Schools of modern languages can also take the lead within their institutions in developing key partnerships with a limited number of overseas universities. Curriculum Development through International Collaboration Background In the run-up to the introduction of higher undergraduate fees, universities are looking for ways of marking themselves off from each other, and this can be achieved not least by offering students a range of international opportunities. University management boards have generally accepted that the benefits to students of an internationalised curriculum are real and significant, and these benefits have been usefully summarised as follows: Students display an ability to think globally and consider issues from a variety of perspectives; They demonstrate an awareness of their own culture and its perspectives and other cultures and their perspectives; They appreciate the relation between their field of study locally and professional traditions elsewhere; They recognise intercultural issues relevant to their professional practice; They appreciate the importance of multicultural diversity to professional practice and citizenship; They appreciate the complex and interacting factors that contribute to notions of culture and cultural relationships; They value diversity of language and culture;

4 2 They appreciate and demonstrate the capacity to apply international standards and practices within the discipline or professional area; They demonstrate awareness of the implications of local decisions and actions for international communities and of international decisions and actions for local communities. 1 It is likely that a school of modern languages is already the most international school in any university. Typically a school of modern languages will have an extensive network of teaching and research links with overseas universities, and it can therefore serve as a model of good practice and/or innovation for the university as a whole. When it comes to internationalising the curriculum, schools of modern languages can lead the way in joint delivery of programmes with overseas universities. These may take the form of articulation agreements or Erasmus Mundus collaborations. Articulation agreements These typically involve a UK university establishing a link with an overseas university to accept students onto undergraduate or postgraduate courses. Students at the overseas university must successfully complete a foundation course and are then accepted into the first or second year of a UK university programme. An articulation agreement may also enable graduates from an overseas university to be accepted onto a postgraduate course at a UK university. Schools of modern languages have not made as much use of articulation agreements as they might. There is strong demand for such agreements from countries such as China, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, and modern languages colleagues should ensure that their programmes are promoted by International Office staff who travel to these countries for student recruitment purposes. Undergraduate or masters programmes that offer a combination of lnternational Communication (communication theory, intercultural communication, foreign languages) and Business (management, entrepreneurship) would be popular offerings. 1 Michael Davidson, Towards international graduateness,

5 3 Erasmus Mundus This European Commission initiative supports the development of joint masters degrees and joint doctoral programmes within Europe and between European and international institutions. Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters programmes are one or two year full-time programmes between three or more institutions, at least two of which must be in the European Union. Student mobility is an essential part of the programmes, with students required to study in at least two European countries. The scheme provides up to 35,000 to institutions to cover set-up costs. Generous scholarships and stipends are also available. Each year, international students receive 4,000 towards travel costs, 8,000 for tuition fees and a 12,000 towards living costs. European students receive 4,000 per year towards tuition fees and 6,000 towards living costs. A 3,000 travel allowance is available if they travel outside Europe as part of the programme. The model for awarding scholarships actively promotes a multi-national student body. The number of scholarships awarded is variable, but is expected to be between 7 and 17 per annum, per programme. The scheme also provides scholars scholarships of 1,200 per week for up to three months for living and travel costs for academic staff associated with the programme. The Erasmus website gives details of all existing programmes. At Masters level in the Arts and Humanities these currently include: Master/Laurea Specialistica en Cultures Littéraires Européennes Global Studies - A European Perspective European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations Philosophies allemande et française dans l'espace européen Master's Degree in Women's and Gender Studies German Literature in the European Middle Ages International Masters in Natural Language Processing and Human Language Technology European Masters Program in Language and Communication Technologies Master of Cultural Landscapes Multiculturalism: Master Degree in Learning and Teaching of Spanish in Multilingual and International Contexts

6 4 Territoires européens (civilisation, nation, région, ville): identité et développement ( n.php) Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorates are full-time joint doctoral programmes between three or more institutions and are up to four years in length, at least one of which must be in Europe. Students complete their doctoral training in at least two European countries and spend at least two-thirds of their registration period in Europe. International students can spend a maximum of one semester outside Europe; for European students the maximum is one year. Generous funding is available, with up to 50,000 provided to the institutions for set-up costs. All students receive either 10,800 (non-lab based) or 21,600 (lab-based) contributions towards tuition fees over a 36 month period. Living costs are 100,800 over 36 months for students on an employment contract at their institutions and 50,400 for those receiving a stipend. Travel costs of 7,500 for international students and 3,000 for European students travelling outside Europe are also available. Annual calls for proposals are issued each December, with proposals due for submission by the following April. Results are announced in September and approved programmes commence one year later. There are currently just two Erasmus mundus joint doctoral programmes in the Arts and Humanities area (Cultural Studies in Literary Interzones, and Text and Event in Early Modern Europe), but the scheme seems well suited to schools of modern languages. Key Partnerships There is a trend among UK universities to develop a strategic focus on particular parts of the world that in turn leads to key partnerships with a limited number of overseas universities. Key partnerships are characterised by the breadth, depth, and variety of joint activities in teaching and research. Schools of modern languages are well placed to identify appropriate key partners on behalf of their institution.

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