- Professor Ann Caesar, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education (Quality and Standards), University of Warwick
- Beatrice Merrick, Director of Service and Research, UKCISA
- Silkie Cragg, Societies Officer, Warwick SU
- Vicki Baars, VP Union Development, NUS
A Holistic Approach to Integration
- Associate Professor Betty Leask, University of South Australia
Integration is variously defined, including as 'an act or instance of integrating a racial, religious, or ethnic group' and 'behaviour of an individual that is in harmony with the environment' (thefreedictionary.com). This implies that integration may involve actions on behalf of the hosts or the sojourners to 'integrate', ensuring the actions of individuals comply with and are therefore in harmony with, those of the dominant group. Indeed, it is common to assume that it is international students as the 'outsiders' who must make all of the adjustments needed to integrate into the university community, and that it is the job of those who work with them to help them to understand how they must change their behaviour in order to fit in, or integrate. There are stories of various levels of success in this endeavour to fit 'square pegs into round holes'. Such an approach is neither desirable nor workable. We are losing valuable learning opportunities when integration is approached in this way.
I suggest that if we focus on a 'holistic' approach to integration we will achieve better learning outcomes for international and domestic students. A holistic approach to integration will emphasise the importance of every part of the institution, and everyone in it, being ready and able to make adjustments to their behaviour and expectations to embrace difference. This is in stark contrast to an approach that requires minority groups who appear to be different to make all of the adjustments. A holistic approach to integration will focus on the development of a campus and classroom culture that values diversity for the learning opportunities it provides. To achieve this, the first task is to position and define students and staff across the institution as creators rather than receivers of this shared culture. The second is to ensure that they receive the support they need to identify and understand the opportunities and respond to them appropriately. In this presentation I will provide examples of interventions that illustrate this approach.
Promoting Dialogue: Challenges and Opportunities
Professor Helen Spencer-Oatey, University of Warwick
Building on the importance of a holistic approach to integration, I explore the issue of promoting dialogue. For effective integration, it is important that people engage in meaningful dialogue, and this, almost by definition, entails both parties mutually adjusting to each other’s needs and interests. Dialogue between home and international students and staff, of course, can take place in numerous contexts, and one of the most crucial is in the classroom, especially in seminars and workshops.
In this talk, I start by considering some of the challenges that both home and international students report in engaging in dialogue in class, according to a large amount of survey data we collected in the summer of 2012. I contrast it with some data collected in Belgium from engineering students of mixed nationalities who had received a course in intercultural communication. An informal comparison of the two sets of responses suggests that the Belgian students, who had received the training programme, acquired much more effective strategies for engaging in meaningful dialogue with each other. Moreover, the data suggests that without that training, levels of frustration can be become high. I argue, therefore, that if we want to promote meaningful dialogue between home and international students and staff, some awareness-raising and strategy workshops need to be offered to all involved.
A. Bridge the Gap: Connecting Home and International Students
Dr David Killick, Leeds Metropolitan University
Crossing 'cultural boundaries', working with diversity, getting outside our boxes – it isn't easy, it might not even be 'natural', but we all think it's important, and there's quite a bit of research which suggests it enhances learning, opens minds, creates confidence, and even improves student satisfaction and retention. So, what's to be done? This workshop will introduce two sets of resources developed through the HEA/UKCISA 'Connections' project and released under Creative Commons licences for the sector. What are some of the barriers? What can university staff do to facilitate cross-cultural contacts, what role might the Students' Union play, and what kind of 'first steps' could students (home and international) take beyond the classroom? An experiential workshop where we'll be encouraging you to share your experiences and ideas.
B. Enhancing integration through training and assessing intercultural skills
Dr Claudia Harsch, University of Warwick
Integration between local and international students can be greatly enhanced through the development of all students' intercultural sensitivity. This workshop will demonstrate how Critical Incidents (CIs) can play an important role in intercultural training and assessment. Workshop participants will gain hands-on experience in developing a Critical Incident scenario. These scenarios will then be used to come up with a range of suitable follow-up questions for training and assessment. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear first-hand from students on Warwick's MSc in Intercultural Communication about how the use of Critical Incidents has contributed to their intercultural growth.
C. The SU view of internationalisation
Daniel Stevens, NUS, Jovanna Yiouselli, University of Essex Students' Union, Fadi Dakkak, University of Sheffield Union of Students and Silkie Cragg, University of Warwick Students' Union
This session will examine best practice of Students' Unions with established internationalisation activities and explain the approaches they've taken to internationalisation. NUS will introduce the session explaining the work of the Internationalising Students' Unions project.
Integration Activities: How can we know what works
Panel session chaired by Stephen Williams, University of Warwick
Orientation/Buddy Schemes: Emily Lim, Internationalisation Officer and Sophie Potter, President of World@Warwick
Community Engagement: Pete Clarke, Community Programme Leader and Becca Keiser, Master's student participant
Student-led Activities: Anders Engsas, One World Week Coordinator 2012
Quick Fire Round-up of Best Practice
Chaired by Beatrice Merrick, UKCISA