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Sharing Perspectives on English-Medium Instruction

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Edited By Katherine Ackerley, Marta Guarda and Francesca Helm

English is increasingly used as a medium of instruction in European higher education not only in northern countries, but also in the European ‘south’. This volume is fruit of a project which was carried out in a public university based in the north-east of Italy with the aim of delivering professional development for university lecturers engaged in EMI. It begins with an overview of the European context, the Italian context, and some of the arguments against the indiscriminate spread of English as a medium of instruction in higher education. The volume then focuses on the microcontext of the university, giving voice to the various stakeholders in EMI. These include researchers, lecturers, administrative staff, those involved in professional development and students. The central part of the volume presents the views and experiences of twelve EMI lecturers from a range of academic disciplines. In sharing these perspectives on EMI, the volume hopes to stimulate critical dialogue and research on the many issues involved in this aspect of internationalisation in higher education institutions.

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The civil engineer (Nadia Ursino)

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NADIA URSINO1

The civil engineer

The Civil Engineering Department of the University of Padova is experi­menting a transitional organisation format that should allow a gradual and progressive process of internationalisation of the Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. The basic courses are taught in Italian and the optional courses are taught in English. Students are free to choose two of these EMI courses in order to integrate the basic instruction that they receive in their own mother tongue. Erasmus students have to attend EMI courses unless they are very good at Italian.

I teach a fundamental course in Applied Hydraulics in Italian to undergraduate students of Civil Engineering (there are about 200- 250 students every year), and the course in Water Drainage and Distribution Systems (WDDS) at the Master’s level. This course deals with hot topics in water management, from the local scale of integrated water management and reuse to the global scale of water grabbing across different countries and global water crisis. Just 10 to 15 students attend the lectures every year and about 50% are Erasmus students. The Erasmus students are often more fluent in English than the Italians are.

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