Globalizing curriculum depends on both students and faculty
- The National Survey of Student Engagement results show that approximately three in five students believe their courses allow them to showcase their own perspectives on issues, while about 60% of student respondents believed their professors and courses respected the "expression of diverse ideas," and about half report the classes identify their own norms and biases, Inside Higher Ed reported.
- Though students are open to culturally expansive classes, success still depends on how faculty are engaging students with the material, with another Inside Higher Ed article citing studies showing students tend to be averse to foreign faculty members with accents and often avoid taking classes with foreign teaching assistants.
- Critics of NSSE's methods who say they are not productive to academic progress, citing the ineffectiveness of "agenda-driven" student engagement, say it is more important to focus on training students how to consider inclusiveness and diversity within curriculum — with appropriate faculty training to help that process.
Diversity and inclusiveness is not only about how the teachers view the students, and the role that the international community plays is significant. With American businesses increasingly looking beyond national borders for sources of work, ignoring the importance of international engagement could leave students at a disadvantage. International training and experience is increasingly viewed as an attribute; the Institute of International Education recently reported that 68% of student survey respondents who had traveled abroad for an extended period said that this experienced help them attain a job offer or a promotion.
But even though students are open to culturally expansive courses, they can still be hesitant to engage with this type of curriculum if they are not comfortable with the faculty or their teaching methods. This means colleges and universities ought to continue promoting more cross-cultural collaboration and study abroad opportunities with students from different nations. But at the same time, these higher ed institutions also need to acknowledge the importance of how administrators can train their faculty and students to teach each party how to understand cultural differences rather than simply interface through the curriculum which, as the Rotterdam study reveals, can ultimately fracture the relationships.
For instance, positions of leadership occupied by international academics can present the bridge necessary to help reduce biases between students and professors. College presidents have spoken out about the benefits of attracting individuals from previously underrepresented groups into college leadership, and there could be a similarly sizable impact for international educators and administrators. A focus on higher level recruitment from international talent pools may also address how international student collaboration is affected by the reported drop in international student enrollees that quickened in the past year.