SEDA Spring Teaching Learning and Assessment Conference 2015

Internationalising the Curriculum: What does this mean? How can we achieve it?

14 May 2015 - 15 May 2015

Location: Marriott Victoria and Albert Hotel, Manchester

SEDA Spring 2015 Conference handbook

The process of internationalising HE within the context of learning, teaching and research is a sector-wide concern with far-reaching implications. (HEA, 2014)

There are many definitions of internationalisation though few of these definitions acknowledge the distinctive disciplinary communities that exist within academia (Leask, 2013) and much of the discourse frames internationalisation as more of a synonym of international education, in other words a summing up of fragmented and rather unrelated terms, than a comprehensive process and concept. (De Wit, 2013) Is this problematic for educational developers?

As Montgomery (2009) states: the social interaction that takes place in the complex social environment of the university in the 21st century is fraught with tensions that relate to culture, social status, and educational background. As part of this complexity, there appear to remain some preconceptions or prejudices on all sides of the social interaction between international students, home students, and also staff. For example, the suggestions that international students don't want to mix or like to stay with their own nationality are sometimes made by staff and students, and these criticisms extend into the classroom with comments such as they don't contribute to discussions and they are reserved in class. This discourse can be seen as part of the deficit model that is applied to the social and academic experience of the international student, and this may have an influence on the social interaction of students and staff.

The conference focuses on how, as a community of academic developers, we can support our institutions and colleagues move away from this deficit model to meaningfully embed the positive benefits. For example, as recently highlighted through research by the HEA (2014) engaging in the process of internationalising HE can benefit the formal and informal curriculum within HE and beyond, by providing the opportunity to:

  • capitalise on the diverse range of knowledge, experience, cultures, languages, beliefs, values, attitudes and meanings within the academic community, for academic enhancement and success;
  • deepen personal and interpersonal learning and development, helping promote cohesion, a sense of belonging, participation and success within the academic community;
  • broaden the range of perspectives and experiences which inform it, helping to influence future prospects;
  • enrich its design and delivery, using the process and products of international connections, to enhance practice, success and future sustainability;
  • surface and confront a range of inherent and complex humanitarian issues in a secure environment, as part of making a global responsible contribution to global society
  • respond to diversity and changing demographics within the academic community;
  • evidence the impact of activity associated with the process of internationalising HE to inform practice.

Internationalisation is a wide theme and as such we would welcome you to invite colleagues from European, transnational, or global initiatives involving many partner countries.


  • Recent, current and likely future developments in internationalising the curriculum which have important implications for the thinking and the practice of educators and developers
  • Effective educational practice which embeds internationlisation in the practice of both staff and students
  • Innovative practice in educational development which takes advantage of diverse beliefs, values and cultures
  • Supporting and encouraging integration and co-operation between the growing number of connections now commonplace in HE
  • Strategies and techniques for the critical and effective embedding of new approaches which make appropriate use of internationalisation theory
  • The possibility of international competences (ICOMS) that can be considered alongside traditional learning outcomes
  • Work placements, study abroad and staff mobility opportunities
  • How technology can support the internationalisation of the curricum and working with international partners
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