Supporting Internationalisation through Languages and Culture in the Twenty-First-Century University

by Mark Orme (Volume editor)
©2015 Edited Collection VIII, 199 Pages


‘Internationalisation’ is a key issue impacting on higher education today, but what is actually meant by this term and how does it relate to the notion of ‘global citizenship’, which also features prominently on the higher education agenda? How does the promotion of foreign language learning and intercultural communication help inform the pursuit of internationalisation? And, as the twenty-first century progresses, how are universities meeting the challenges of developing languages-based curricula that reflect the requirements of an increasingly global marketplace?
This book brings together ten interconnected chapters from an international group of scholars who explore how language teaching and learning strategies and cross-cultural understanding support the cause of internationalisation in the modern higher education arena. The book will be of interest to both managers and practitioners who require an understanding of how the promotion of languages and intercultural knowledge informs the cause of internationalisation at strategic and operational levels within contemporary higher education.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editor
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • The ‘Business Case’ for Internationalisation
  • Culture Change and Exchanging Culture: The Role of Languages in Internationalisation
  • Embedding Internationalisation within the Ethos and Practice of University Teaching
  • Internationalisation in an International Context
  • Is Sex a Laughing Matter? An Intercultural Perspective on Advertising
  • Critical Reflections on the Impact of Events to Promote Language-Learning Awareness among Secondary School Students: Are We Doing Enough?
  • How to Enhance International and Domestic Students’ Interaction? A Case Study of the Design and Development of an International Business Module
  • Internationalisation: Teaching Grammars, Teaching Cultures
  • Promoting Cross-Cultural Understanding through Literature: How Turkish Tea Found its Way into German Fiction
  • The Translator as Intercultural Mediator: Applications for Translated Graphic Novels in the Language-Learning Classroom
  • The Worldwise Language Advantage Programme: Using Rosetta Stone to Promote and Enhance Language-Learning Awareness among University Students and the Wider Community
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
  • Series index

← vi | vii → Acknowledgements

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all contributors to the conference organised in July 2012 at the University of Central Lancashire on which the present volume is based. A special note of thanks is extended to Elizabeth Roberts for her organisational efficiency in relation to that event. My thanks are also given to colleagues at the University of Central Lancashire for their support and encouragement both in the organisation of the original conference and in the preparation of this publication. Most notably, I acknowledge the assistance of Isabel Donnelly, Robert Kasza, John Minten, Pradeep Passi, John Quirk, Melinda Tan and Daniel Waller. Finally, and above all, a huge debt of gratitude is due to Alessandra Anzani, Mary Hartley Charlton and Christabel Scaife at Peter Lang for their patience, advice and support throughout the preparation of this book. Thank you all.

Mark Orme

Preston, August 2014 ← vii | viii →

← viii | 1 → MARK ORME

The ‘Business Case’ for Internationalisation

Internationalisation is a key issue impacting on Higher Education today. As the Times Higher Education highlighted back in 2010, ‘[t]here can be no doubt that higher education is internationalising at a rapid rate’ (Mroz 2010: 5). In that same edition, citing the International Association of Universities’ Global Survey, based on a sample of 745 universities from 115 nations, ‘internationalisation’ appeared in the institutional strategies of 87 per cent of them, with 78 per cent of institutions noting its increasing importance in the previous three years (Mroz 2010: 5). According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) publication, ‘Students in Higher Education Institutions 2012/13’, there were 2,340,275 students studying at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK that academic year. Of these, 425,265 were students originating from outside the UK.1 Eva Egron-Polak, secretary general of the International Association of Universities, deems internationalisation to have moved from a ‘marginal topic’ in recent years to a ‘“mobilising policy” for transforming higher education across the globe’ in the modern world (cited in Williams 2012: 19). Comprehensive internationalisation, as Hudzik puts it, is an ‘institutional imperative, not just a desirable possibility’ (2011). What, though, is actually meant by ‘internationalisation’, and what are the intersections between this concept and that of ‘global citizenship’, which also frequently features highly on the modern Higher Education agenda? How does the promotion of foreign language learning and intercultural communication help inform the pursuit of internationalisation? And, as we progress into the twenty-first century, how are universities meeting the challenges of developing languages-based curricula which reflect the requirements of ← 1 | 2 → an increasingly global marketplace? These are among the questions to be addressed in the present volume.

Based on an international conference held at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the United Kingdom in July 2012, the contributions to this book aim to explore different but complementary aspects of the internationalisation debate. A useful starting point for the collection is the often-cited definition from Knight (2003: 2), who states that internationalisation is ‘the process of integrating an international and intercultural dimension into the purpose, functions or delivery of post-secondary education.’ At my own institution, as for so many others, this process finds expression in initiatives to internationalise the curriculum, student experience, research and knowledge transfer and student recruitment strategies. As Malcolm McVicar, former Vice-Chancellor of UCLan, recently put it, ‘[a]t the centre of our university’s strategy is a commitment to internationalisation. We are convinced that, as a higher education provider, it is our responsibility to prepare our students for the global marketplace and, as such, they need to be exposed to international experiences’ (McVicar 2012: 30). Such comments very much reflect the wider global imperatives championed in Higher Ambitions: The Future of Universities in a Knowledge Economy, commissioned by the UK government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2009:

Universities are one of the key ways in which people from outside Britain engage with us, and through which we engage with the world. Our universities need to be strongly committed to internationalism; attracting students from abroad; collaborating with institutions overseas; and bringing their expertise to bear on global challenges. They should instil a sense of internationalism in students by teaching European and global perspectives and encouraging language-learning and study abroad. (Higher Ambitions 2009: 14)

It is clear that, in the twenty-first-century university, internationalisation is an important indicator of success. It is the conduit for sustaining and enhancing the status of an institution, where cultural diversity is embroidered into its very fabric. According to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, fees from international students generate between £5.3 billion and £8 billion each year (Christie 2010). In the UK, where one in five ← 2 | 3 → students are international (Morgan 2010: 11), international student recruitment is becoming an increasingly important aspect of institutional strategies. Having a proactive and inclusive approach to international student recruitment is deemed fundamental to a successful ‘world-class’ modern university. International student diversity encourages intercultural communication and understanding and this, in turn, is conducive to effective learning and teaching. As one international student recently commented, ‘[i]nternational students bring in money, innovation and good diplomatic connections, three things this country needs desperately right now’ (Christie 2010). Vince Cable, the UK’s business secretary, would agree, observing that international students are ‘good for the country and good for universities’ (cited in Gill 2013: 5).

While consolidation and development of international student diversity can be achieved by targeting new markets, institutions need to remain vigilant with regard to external pressures impacting on international student recruitment and plan accordingly. (An example from the UK in this regard is the debate surrounding immigration policy which commentators such as Travis (2010) consider a determent to study in the UK.) At the same time, initiatives which champion ‘internationalisation at home’ – some examples of which are explored in this volume – can be developed through institutional Community Engagement activities, so that domestic students have an opportunity to work with international students (and vice versa). The task of instilling ‘a sense of internationalism in students by teaching European and global perspectives and encouraging language-learning and study abroad’ (Higher Ambitions 2009: 14) is also finding increasing visibility through recent initiatives set out in the Position Papers from The British Academy, Language Matters (2009)2 and Language Matters More and More (2011).3 More recently, the Manifesto Campaign for Languages (2014), established by the British Government’s All Party ← 3 | 4 → Parliamentary Group on Languages, promotes the value of languages in the global marketplace.4

The chapters comprising this volume are intended to contribute to the ongoing debates surrounding internationalisation. By way of introduction, Elspeth Jones examines the role of languages in supporting internationalisation and the opportunities which language learning can bring to institutional strategies of internationalisation and the movement towards internationalising curricula. How can we, as linguists, address these issues and articulate to ourselves, to students, to the academic community and to future employers where the synergies lie with wider objectives? This opening chapter will address these questions and suggest implications for pedagogy and communication with stakeholders.

The internationalisation of teaching and learning strategies in UK Higher Education is addressed by Paul Reid. Although UK-based universities appear to have been relatively successful in internationalising institutional services, they do not appear to have been so successful in embedding an internationalisation ethos with respect to teaching. This contribution draws both on published studies and on primary research conducted by the author with international postgraduate students, academic and support staff in UCLan’s School of Health. Findings suggest that UK-based lecturers working with non-UK students still approach teaching largely from an Anglocentric perspective, which fails to respond effectively to the different learning experiences of non-UK students. The contention is that universities in the UK have not successfully met the increasing need for staff to become fully conversant with the internationalist agenda. Reid charts the ways in which HE lecturers have responded to the education of increasing numbers of international students, and outlines the challenges presented to often firmly held beliefs about the nature and purposes of a university education. The chapter proceeds to discuss a range of proposed solutions ← 4 | 5 → to address the apparent reluctance of some staff to adopt an authentically inclusive approach to the teaching of international students.

Research into internationalisation and the Student Experience has tended to focus on the situation within Anglophone countries and through the lens of the English language. However, the dominance of Anglophone countries in the reception of international students worldwide may omit questions which arise in other contexts. In her contribution, Tricia Coverdale-Jones focuses on the international context of Transnational Higher Education (TNE) and examines policies applied to the reception of international students in non-Anglophone contexts. She considers Japan as an example in contrast to the UK, with some additional comparison with the experience of internationalisation in China. Coverdale-Jones observes how government policies and varying approaches to English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) have an impact on the internationalisation of higher education.

Sex/nudity or humour has been the base of advertising campaigns for a long time. Delia Jackson and Silke Engelbart address the influence humour and ethnic background can have on the acceptance of sex appeal advertisements by audiences from different cultures. In this research, four nationality groups from China, France, Germany and Spain are shown humorous sex appeal and non-humorous sex appeal advertisements from six countries in focus group settings. Focus group discussions show that there are clear differences between levels of acceptance, depending on whether participants originate from a ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ culture. Jackson and Engelbart provide a different perspective on the challenges of internationalisation: it is important for advertisers who operate at a national or international level to be aware of the implications of the reactions of consumers from different cultural backgrounds towards sex appeal ads.

Sarah Ishmael and Robert Kasza discuss and critically evaluate the impact of Worldwise Skills Events organised at UCLan which can be broadly defined as language-enrichment days aimed at secondary school pupils. The events’ main objective is to give pupils an interactive experience of languages which they may not be receiving through traditional educational routes and to enhance their engagement in language learning as part of their further curriculum. During an event, pupils take part in five different activities: an introduction to interpreting; a cultural competence ← 5 | 6 → quiz; a Rosetta Stone sampler; a workshop on information and communication tools for language learning; and a Chinese calligraphy workshop. An attempt is made to make acquiring languages seem ‘cool’ from the students’ point of view and/or linked to employable skills. The events are promoted to all secondary school pupils but, to date, the majority of cohorts have been pupils of Year 9 (usually ages thirteen to fourteen) who are coming to the stage where they are being asked to choose their options for GCSE-level examinations. However, the advantages of the language option are not always evident to pupils and parents, and schools are increasingly turning to academic institutions for support in presenting language learning as a valid aspect of career development. Ishmael and Kasza focus on the use of data and feedback in evaluating the impact of such events and reflect on how findings can be used to further improve the event scheme. Pre- and post-event questionnaires, pupil and teacher feedback and available statistics are compared and contrasted to identify and assess opportunities for secondary and tertiary collaboration in the language-learning process.


VIII, 199
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (November)
higher education global citizenship intercultural communication
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2015. VIII, 199 pp., 14 fig., 5 tables

Biographical notes

Mark Orme (Volume editor)

Mark Orme is Principal Lecturer in the School of Language, Literature and International Studies at the University of Central Lancashire. His teaching and research interests embrace aspects of contemporary France, with particular reference to French existentialist thought and literature and French cinema, as well as the psychology of teaching and learning. He is the author of The Development of Albert Camus’s Concern for Social and Political Justice: ‘Justice pour un juste’ (2007) and co-editor of Albert Camus in the 21st Century: A Reassessment of His Thinking at the Dawn of the New Millennium (2008) and La passion du théâtre: Camus à la scène (2011).


Title: Supporting Internationalisation through Languages and Culture in the Twenty-First-Century University
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