Developing intercultural competence in university staff: Augmenting internationalisation a range of professional staff members across Deakin University was interviewed to identify their strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and expectations on professional development in intercultural competence. Recommendations were made about how to offer such training.

Year: 2012

Author: Andrew, Helen

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Abstract:

 n 2011, Deakin was one of several universities preparing for their Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) Cycle 2 audit.  Internationalisation was one of two specific themes selected by AUQA for in depth review during this audit. This research was focussed on one specific aspect of internationalisation - the importance of intercultural awareness and competence in university staff.

In response to the impending audit, critical self-reviews were conducted across the University.  During these reviews, an hiatus in the provision of staff development in intercultural communication became evident. One of Deakin's core commitments is to have an international outlook, and one of the strategies to achieve this goal is to provide professional development programs for staff to enhance their ability to work in an international environment. However this is where the gap emerged as there is no training offered to staff in the area of intercultural competence.

Thus, investigation into targeted professional development in the area of intercultural competence to support the University's goals in relations to internationalisation was the basis for this research. 

 The scope of the research was limited to professional staff; and the study was confined to the aspect of internationalisation that concerns intercultural competence. The research posed the following questions:

 What views are held by professional staff on the nature of an adequate professional development program in intercultural communication that would be relevant to developing the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes required by University staff?

  • What issues bear on the question of whether such a program should be compulsory for staff across the University?

 In order to allow a deeper examination into participants' understanding of the research questions, and to gauge the importance they placed on the issue of training in intercultural competence, the following questions were extrapolated from the key objectives and formed the interview questions:

  • What is the meaning of internationalisation?
  • What are the University policies around Internationalisation at Deakin?
  • What training programs in intercultural communication are currently provided for University staff at Deakin?
  • In what sense is a training program actually required to develop intercultural communication skills in university staff?
  • What views are held by professional staff on the nature of an adequate professional development program in intercultural communication that would be relevant to developing the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes required by University staff?
  • What issues bear on the question of whether such a program should be compulsory for staff across the University?

 

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