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Internationalisation of higher education
  • Increasing inclusivity in the classroom for an improved learning experience. A case study. Helen Spencer-Oatey. Presentation at the Inside Government forum, Enhancing the International Student Experience in UK Higher Education, Congress Centre, 3 April 2019
    • Brief abstract: shares key findings from the Promoting Integration on Campus report and the Global Education Profiler (GEP) surveys as they relate to:
      • Harnessing the benefits of a diverse student body by encouraging students to consider each other’s approaches to learning and ways of gaining understanding of a studied topic
      • Encouraging frontline teaching staff to be more observant of the needs of international students in their seminars and lecture halls, recognising the variety of interaction styles, and adapting pedagogies accordingly
      • Outlining the importance of training staff in cultural differences among international students and exploring how this can impact on approaches to, and experiences of, learning and teaching
      • Imparting recommendations for better collection and use of data to determine how best to support international students’ learning
  • Fostering 'global graduates': What are the routes to intercultural competence? Helen Spencer-Oatey. Webinar for SIETAR Switzerland, 15 January 2019.
    • Brief abstract: There are numerous compositional models of intercultural competence (those that identify the various components of IC competence) and yet there are surprisingly few developmental models (those that unpack the process of gaining competence). This is problematic, because without understanding the developmental process, our attempts to foster such development in our students or clients has no firm foundation.
      In this webinar, I explain key contextual factors that need to be in place for fostering ‘global graduates’ and report on Global Education Profiler data on students’ perceptions of the global education opportunities and support they are getting at their universities. Drawing on the Global People Growth Model, I describe key routes to intercultural competence and introduce some tips, tools & resources that can help. 
  • Interaction and integration in multicultural classes. Helen Spencer-Oatey. Plenary talk at the one-day symposium, Classroom Interaction at the Internationalised University, University of Surrey, 10 December 2018.
    • Brief abstract: Research has indicated that interaction and integration can be valuable stimuli for learning in multicultural contexts, in that they can provide students with valuable ‘out of their comfort zone’ experiences (e.g. when required to work with people whom they wouldn’t naturally choose to work). But to what extent do students value such opportunities and how far are they actually engaging with them? In this talk, I report on the findings from a large-scale study on students’ desires and experiences of interaction and integration in their classes. 2360 domestic and international students from six universities across four European countries completed the Global Education Profiler (GEP), which asks respondents to answer questions in two ways: ‘Importance to me’ and ‘My actual experience’. I report the issues that were most important to students, the largest gaps between 'importance' and 'experience' ratings, and some of the students' comments on staff performance! Some fascinating opinions emerged!
  • How well are we fostering 'global graduate' skills. Learning gain insights from the Global Education Profiler (GEP). Helen Spencer-Oatey. Paper given at the Legacy Project event, Learning Gain: An agenda for change. Woburn House, London, September 2018.
    • Brief abstract: Many universities are hoping that increased recruitment of international students and higher volumes of staff and student mobility will foster 'global graduate' skills. Yet research demonstrates that this is insufficient in itself. In this presentation, I draw on intercultural learning theory to outline what kind of educational context is needed in order to foster ‘global graduate’ skills, and I explain how the diagnostic tool, the Global Education Profiler, can offer detailed insights into the importance that students attach to a global education environment and the extent to which they engage with it. I report the findings from a study of 2360 students from six universities in four different European countries. I end by outlining the policy implications of our research findings.
  • The internationalisation of higher education. Strategic planning for trajectories of growth. Helen Spencer-Oatey. Plenary presentation given at the LEAD project 5th workshop, Ankara, Turkey, 1-5 May 2018.
    • Brief abstract: In this talk I start by asking 'why internationalise?' and what counts as 'good internationalisation'. I then explore foundational elements for developing a strategic plan for internationalisation. Drawing on some empirical data from the Global Education Profiler, I demonstrate the insights that can be gained and how these can be used for policy planning purposes.
  • Internationalisation and the development of global graduates. Insights from the Global Education Profiler (GEP). Helen Spencer-Oatey and Daniel Dauber. Presentation given at various universities, 2017-2018.

    • Brief abstract: This presentation explains the design of the Global Education Profiler (GEP) and presents findings from a case study to illustrate the insights it can yield.
Intercultural skills for business and beyond
  • Managing Relations across Cultures: An Evaluation perspective. Helen Spencer-Oatey. Presentation given at Warwick Applied Linguistics seminar series, 20 January 2021.
    • Brief abstract: The current pandemic has elicited both wonderful collaboration and divisions between ‘them and us’, demonstrating the importance of relational management. In this talk, I focus on the evaluation process. Drawing on authentic interactional data and post-event comments, I illustrate the multiple elements involved in the judgements (positive or negative) that we make of others and their behaviour, and how these judgements may be ‘unfair’ if our respective foundations to them are different. I consider how culture plays a role in this process. I end the talk with a brief discussion of the challenges of gathering suitable data for this kind of research and analysis. A detailed treatment of the issue can be found in our new book, Intercultural Politeness, published in January 2021 by Cambridge University Press.
  • Culture, language and business relations. Helen Spencer-Oatey. Plenary presentation given at the 30th IATEFL BESIG (Business English Special Interest Group) conference, Malta, 10-12 November 2017
    • Brief abstract: The aim of this talk is to explore this complex interrelationship between culture, language and business relations, first drawing on recent research in the field of intercultural communication and then considering practical steps that can be taken. The talk is divided into three parts.
      Part 1 focuses on models of intercultural competence. Part 2 explores the impact that culture can have on language and business relations. Part 3 presents some tools for developing students’ intercultural competence.
  • Communication Flexibility and Intercultural Competence in Business and Professional Contexts. Helen Spencer-Oatey. Plenary presentation at the 14th Association for Business Communication Asian-Pacific conference, Guangzhou, China, 27-29 November 2015
    • Brief abstract: Numerous studies have focused on the competencies needed for effective intercultural interaction, yet as Kühlmann and Stahl (1998) argue, what the components really mean is often unclear. In this talk, I focus on ‘communication flexibility’ and explore how experienced professionals operationalize it in practice and the challenges they encounter in doing so.
  • Understanding intercultural competence for Business. Insights from the eChina-UK Programme. Helen Spencer-Oatey. Plenary address at the first Chinese national conference Intercultural Business Communication, University of International Business & Economics, Beijing, China, 22-23 May 2010.
    • Brief abstract: Business is increasingly international in scope, and yet the consequences of this for the staff involved are frequently overlooked. In the first part of this talk, I first outline multidisciplinary work on the nature of intercultural competence and then consider research into business discourse. I argue that both research approaches and foci are needed, and that each is inadequate for our understanding of intercultural competence for business without the other. In the second part of the talk I report a study that has tried to combine both perspectives: the Global People eChina-UK Project, which formed the final phase of the eChina-UK Programme
GlobalPeople eChina-UK Project presentations: International collaborations
  • Intercultural competence for international collaboration. Experiences of the eChina-UK Programme. Helen Spencer-Oatey. Presentation given at the 2009 China-EU Multilingualism Conference, Beijing, 30-31 march 2009.
    • Brief abstract: International partnerships/collaborations are a vital element of current higher education, yet their intercultural aspects are frequently overlooked. As the business sector has found, the emergence of global companies is less easily matched by the development of ‘global people’. Not only is it difficult to develop such qualities, but there is also little agreement on what competencies are in fact needed for effective intercultural interaction. In this presentation, I will draw on the intercultural experiences of members of the eChina-UK Programme to consider the latter issue.
  • Global People: Supporting international partnerships. Stuart Reid. Guest talk, Quality Assurance Agency, Bristol, 28 July 2009.