With COP26 on the horizon here in Scotland, the world’s attention is, quite rightly, fixed on the global climate emergency. However, it’s important we don’t take our eyes off another critical and urgent societal emergency – the pandemic of discrimination, in all its forms.
Students want to create a more sustainable future. They want opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and actions to address the climate crisis and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
If you are thinking about decolonising your curriculum and wondering where to start, do no not worry, you are in the majority. Many people are supportive of the idea in principle but are not sure what to do.
In an increasingly digital and connected world, the concept of internationalisation at home, by which students can learn and engage with global perspectives regardless of their location, is becoming more important. Even when students opt for local careers, their work will be impacted by increasing diversity in their own communities, by global developments and by events in other geographic areas. Introducing international and intercultural dimensions into university courses are therefore key elements that support students in their preparation for this future.
The internationalisation of teaching and learning has seemed, in recent months, to be almost synonymous with digital cross-border scenarios. Formats such as virtual mobility and virtual exchange have been widely adopted. No doubt, these can be highly engaging and inspiring formats. But they present just one way of internationalising the curriculum and providing all students with an international experience on their home campus.
It’s annual accounts season at universities. Up and down the land, a handful of university colleagues will have been straining their eyes on spreadsheets and bringing together the narrative that tells a story of how their university has performed over the past year.
Traditionally many universities have designed new programmes led by the research interests of academics, with employer and industry consultation relegated to an afterthought.
Programme specifications and module proposal forms have been tossed under the noses of random employers, asking for feedback on courses that are already developed. This has often been a tick-box exercise to demonstrate to the academic validating panel that employer consultation was sought, simply paying lip service to the critical need for employer engagement.