Internationalization at Home in Action

Updated: Jun 2

by Angel Fan, Project Officer, CLEAR, CUHK


Introduction

Cultivating global perspectives and entrepreneurship among students and a more internationalized curriculum complement the University's student mobility scheme and the recruitment of international teaching staff.


A new project (TDLEG 2019-2022) is now underway: ‘Internationalization at Home 2.0: Enhancing the design and implementation of the home curriculum’ to invite the teaching body to share the vision of the University, and to understand the need to review their curriculum design.


The aim is to promote a more internationalized curriculum, initiated by the academics themselves, opening up more opportunities for students to engage in international issues, communicate with students from overseas universities and learn from international experts through video conferencing or guest lectures.


In this blog post, I explain how the new project will work and the thinking behind it. I explain how CUHK academics can apply for a grant for projects that are aligned with Internationalization at Home 2.0.


There will be a proposal writing workshop to help people who want to apply for a grant and I give details at the end of this blog post.


Background to the project: Internationalization of the curriculum

A three-year (2016-2019) project conducted by the Centre for Learning Enhancement And Research (CLEAR) which supported the teaching staff at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (‘the University’) to internationalize the curriculum of different faculties was carried out to align the collective efforts towards a common goal – enhancing teaching and learning quality.


The aim of the project was to realize one of the objectives of the strategic plan: to cultivate a global perspective and entrepreneurship among students of the University. A conceptual framework of internationalization of curriculum (IoC) was introduced to guide the process and to provide a framework for curriculum review.


These documents were drafted along with the University’s strategic plan by the executive committee from the top and senior management levels. These policy documents were then uploaded into the public domain for stakeholders to download and view. The mission statements, objectives, and policies of the University were to be communicated to, shared with, and enacted by the teaching body together with students’ active participation.


It was envisaged that the change measures would only be carried out successfully if actions were taken through smaller-scale, discipline-specific projects as implementation tools, the process of the implementation monitored, reviewed, evaluated and improved regularly, and adjustments are made in the next round of project initiatives.


This would not only sustain the impact of change, but also enhance the depth and breadth of internationalized curriculum design and its implementation. Collective efforts from academics and project officers to actively review the curriculum design and learning activities become the key process of change were anticipated. This was necessary to put the plan forward successfully, articulate the strategic plan and put words into actions. In the end this would enhance the institution at all levels.


How the earlier project worked out

In the initial stage of the project, the participating teaching staff who expressed interest and willingness to internationalize the curriculum reflected that they were not informed about the IoC in the university’s strategic plan.


They expected more support from their respective faculty leaders and colleagues both financially, in terms of funding projects, and spiritually in terms of staff morale and team spirit. This reflects the need of project initiatives to act as implementation tools to bridge the communication gap between top-senior management and the teaching body.


The new project: Internationalization at Home 2.0

As I explained in the introduction, a new project (TDLEG 2019-2022) is now underway: ‘Internationalization at Home 2.0: Enhancing the design and implementation of the home curriculum’ to invite the teaching body to share the vision of The University, and to understand the need to review their curriculum design.


Academic colleagues will work with project officers on collaborative projects and curriculum review and re-design initiatives aligned with the Internationalization at Home 2.0 project. The project outcome is that a more internationalized curriculum, initiated by academics themselves, opens up more opportunities for students to engage in international issues, communicate with students from overseas universities and learn from international experts through video conferencing or guest lectures.


This flexibility of creating a meaningful internationalized curriculum by academics realizes the objectives set by the senior management and leaves an impact on the students through various learning activities.


This echoes Carter and Halsall’s remark that ‘continuance was crucially about nurturing and sustaining commitment, to what started out as a project, at the transition point to institutional implementation’ (Carter, K. and Halsall, R. (2000). Development projects as a vehicle for managing change in higher education: learning from the journey, Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 5:3, 317-348. DOI:10.1080/13596740000200081, p.343).


A new top-down and bottom-up partnership approach

What is most important to successfully utilize this project initiative approach is ‘a sensitivity to the de-centred, loosely-coupled, professionally-autonomous context of HEIs as organizations’, which also requires ‘top-down and bottom-up action’ in ‘a mixture of accountability and development strategies’ (Carter and Halsall, p.344).


To sustain the effect of change of an internationalized curriculum, Mertova and Green stress the importance of the establishment and support of clear lines of communication and responsibility for internationalization of the curriculum between the senior management, faculties and schools’.


I believe that this project is structured to provide the necessary clear lines of communication along with flexibility and adaptability. Through curriculum review and evaluation, the definition of an internationalized curriculum is discussed, and disciplinary specific needs are addressed by both the project officer and the academics who participate in the project. Changes are made in the re-design or renewal of the current curriculum to achieve the objective of nurturing global perspectives and entrepreneurship in students.


Teaching Development and Learning Enhancement Grants

To ensure the sustainability of good practices, a Grant Scheme for the internationalization of curriculum is being introduced in the 2019-22 triennium. Application for the funding is now open. Interested CUHK teachers should refer to the Guidance Notes regarding assessment criteria, financial and reporting arrangements, and complete the application form, as provided in the TDLEG website: https://www.cuhk.edu.hk/clear/tdg/index.html .


Completed application forms should be sent to Ms. Sally Ching, Secretary of the Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning, via email to aqs@cuhk.edu.hk by 15 July 2020, with the specification of the subject “Application for Grant Scheme for Internationalization of Curriculum”.


Workshop on writing proposals

A CLEAR (online) proposal writing workshop will be held on 8 June 2020 to support academics who are interested in applying for this Grant Scheme. Details can be found at: http://cuhk.edu.hk/proj/iah/ In this workshop, Professor Angela Daly, Associate Professor of Law at Strathclyde University (former Assistant Professor of Law at CUHK) will share her experience of collaborating with CLEAR in internationalizing LAWS3340 The Internet and the Law in 2019.


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