Message from the Director of CETL – Grahame Bilbow

HKU’s vision statement for 2016-2025 specifies Internationalisation as one of the 3+1 I’s supporting the University’s commitment to being Asia’s Global University, alongside Interdisciplinarity, Innovation and Impact. The University is aiming to provide all students with an international learning experience through ‘further developing our curricula and our vibrant, cosmopolitan campus, nurturing globally-minded thinkers and leaders, and providing space and opportunity for students to gain exceptional learning experiences outside Hong Kong’ (HKU, 2015).

Of course, internationalisation is not a new concept for HKU. Over the past decade, the University has increasingly dedicated itself to preparing students for ‘the global era’. Considerable efforts have been made to increase the diversity of the student and staff body, as well as to establish collaboration around the world. In 2015-16, HKU was ranked third most international university in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. According to the latest figures, the University has academic links with more than 400 overseas universities and hosts over 9,000 international students. Approximately 60% of our academic staff come from overseas (HKU, 2016).

Despite the University’s achievements thus far, in light of HKU’s aim to be Asia’s Global University, perhaps it is the time to take a more critical look at the premise of internationalisation, specifically in terms of its impact on student learning. In support of the University’s vision of providing all students with an international learning experience, we might want to ask the following questions:

  • In what ways could our students, regardless of their nationality or cultural background, benefit from a more diverse learning environment?
  • How do/should we leverage our collaboration with overseas and Mainland Chinese partners and student/staff diversity on campus to better prepare our graduates to live and work in a global society?

One key to ensuring that internationalisation benefits every student lies in the design of the curriculum (and co-curriculum), pedagogy and assessment. As Teekens (2007) argues, the main issues facing internationalisation at home are the curriculum itself and the creation of a new context for teaching and learning for all students. Leask (2015) defines internationalisation of the curriculum as follows:

‘Internationalisation of the curriculum is the incorporation of international, intercultural, and/ or global dimensions into the content of the curriculum as well as the learning outcomes, assessment tasks, teaching methods, and support services of a programme of study.’ – Leask 2015, originally from Leask 2009, p. 209

CETL has started to surface exemplary practices in internationalisation at this University through the UGC-funded Community of Practice (CoP) Project, making reference to current international best practice. So far, we have created seven briefings discussing the impact of internationalisation on students, staff members and the curriculum. These materials can be downloaded from our website:

We have decided to dedicate the next two issues of our e-newsletter Teaching and Learning Connections to the theme of internationalisation. The current issue (September 2016) presents innovative projects and programmes on internationalisation of teaching and learning, mostly at curriculum level. We are much obliged to a number of colleagues at HKU who have generously shared their programme designs and insights. We are especially grateful to Professor Chng Huang Hoon, Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education) of the National University of Singapore (NUS), who has offered her views on the development of global citizenship and shared NUS’s vision and plans in respect to internationalisation.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Teaching and Learning Connections. By profiling good practices and innovative programmes, we aim to provoke more discussion on the topic of internationalisation of teaching and learning as one possible means of achieving HKU’s vision to be Asia’s Global University.


  • HKU (2015). Asia’s Global University: The Next Decade Our Vision for 2016-2025. Available at:
  • HKU (2016). Quick Statistics. Available at: Accessed September 20, 2016.
  • Leask, B. (2009). Using formal and informal curricula to improve interactions between home and international students. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(2), 205-221.
  • Leask, B. (2015). Internationalisation of the Curriculum. London: Routledge.
  • Teekens (2007). Internationalisation at home: An introduction. In H. Teekens, (Ed.). Internationalisation at home: Ideas and ideals (pp. 1-11). EAIE Occasional Paper 20. Amsterdam: European Association for International Education (EAIE).
Professor Grahame T. Bilbow
Professor Grahame T. Bilbow

Director, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Hong Kong

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