Engaging Alumni to Support Languages and Internationalisation
- Date: 9 Jul 2012
- Start Time: 10:00 am
- Location/venue: The University of York, Heslington, York, England, YO10 5DD
The Higher Education Academy Discipline Workshop and Seminar Series
This seminar will explore how internationalisation can provide new, meaningful opportunities to engage graduates around the world, especially through the perspective of cultural expectations and language learning. It will also examine ways in which alumni can be engaged to contribute to an institution’s internationalisation strategy.
The session will advocate for infusing alumni engagement across a range of internationalisation activities, and will share innovative policy, practice and evidence across a number of institutions. Strategic institutional activities will be discussed, alongside departmental activities, specifically in the area of languages, which are directly aimed at enhancing the quality of the student learning experience. Evidence from the UK will be presented and discussed, along with learning from abroad, including the US and China.
Internationalisation typically focuses on activities such as international recruitment, student exchange, strategic overseas partnerships, and research collaborations. Effective internationalisation must deliver more than a portfolio of operational activities; it should influence organisational culture to achieve a deep-rooted and rewarding international culture, with measurable global impact. Critically, effective student internationalisation does not focus solely on overseas students: it should also focus on the needs of students from the UK, promoting ‘global citizenship’ and an international education for this community. The role of languages and cultural understanding is critical here.
Effective alumni engagement strategies align the university’s priorities with the giving potential (philanthropic and non-philanthropic) of graduates. Institutions in the UK have increasingly large numbers of alumni based internationally (including emigrants from the UK) who have the potential to add considerable value to internationalisation efforts. Institutions are challenged to find innovative ways to maintain links with disparately spread alumni communities, where the traditional Western models of engagement (events, reunion weekends, mentoring programmes etc.) may not be practicable or represent best practice in different cultures.