2 September 2014

Fostering global competence - are students the only target?

At the recent IEAA National Symposium on Fostering Global Citizenship and Global Competence held in Melbourne, delegates were asked to critically examine what is meant by global citizenship and global competence and how they can best be embedded into higher education.

Whilst the two terms have gained increasing currency in a wide range of circles, including political, social, cultural, economic, diplomatic and educational contexts, they are also subject to definitional flux in the face of understandings of cosmopolitanism and a sense of global-mindedeness.

International Education Association of AustraliaInteresting, but not unsurprisingly, the focus of the National Symposium was on students and their global citizenship needs. Program themes included "Preparing students for global citizenship", "Generation G - global connectedness and global responsibility" and "Fostering global citizenship and global competence among Australian higher education students – current practice and future directions".

What place here, however, for staff in higher education and their own understandings of global citizenship? Do academic staff already possess the necessary global skills to survive and prosper in higher education? If not, how are these skills developed? And to what extent will the global skillset of students depend on the global competence of their teachers?

Professor Zlatko Skrbis (Professor of Sociology and Vice-Provost (Graduate Education) at Monash University) touched on this in his remarks, when he commented that we need to facilitate "a cultural transition" in the attitudes of academic staff towards global citizenship. 

Although many in the room agreed with this sentiment, it is not obvious that tangible examples of good practice were easy to identify.

Do you know of examples of good practice in staff development which could inform the Outcomes Report from the Symposium? If so, please let me know!