Message from the Director of CETL – Grahame Bilbow
Our beliefs about diversity and equity are fundamental to how we set about the tasks of designing and implementing institutional strategies to further internationalisation. As respected scholars in the area of internationalisation in higher education, de Wit and Jones, have commented on the importance of inclusive internationalisation, ‘An inclusive internationalisation must take into account the varied socio-political, economic and demographic contexts in different parts of the world and must address the issue that current internationalisation policies and practices are not inclusive and exclude the great majority of students in the world’ (de Wit & Jones, 2017).
De Wit and Jones remind us that, in the interests of helping all of our students develop their capacity to work collaboratively with peers from different backgrounds, we need to keep the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion uppermost in our thoughts. Only when we, and our students, take full account of the importance of these values will our education become truly internationalised.
Valuing diversity and promoting equity are particularly important at HKU, where we host students from over a hundred countries around the globe, and where we aspire to become ‘Asia’s global university’.
Important steps have already been taken, of course. For example, HKU was one of the signatories in April 2015 of the international HeforShe initiative, a movement for gender equality fostered by the United Nations. In 2017, a group of teachers and scholars in the Faculty of Arts developed guidelines on inclusive language for all HKU teachers, which seek to ensure that we do not use language in our teaching, research and service to the community that reflects prejudiced, stereotypic or discriminatory views about others. To take initiatives such as these further, I believe it is essential that we embrace the values of diversity, equity and inclusion in our curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment design. Only through systematic, intentional inclusion of these values in our teaching and learning endeavours can we help our students to become the ethical, inclusive and tolerant citizens we so need in the modern world.
This issue of Teaching and Learning Connections contains five articles that focus on aspects of diversity and equity in the internationalisation of teaching and learning, and explore how teaching and learning can be designed to address these and other related issues. The authors approach these issues in a variety of ways, but they are united in their interest in creating more inclusive learning environments. Gina Marchetti and Elizabeth LaCouture’s article provides a comprehensive discussion on how the curriculum of Gender Studies in the Faculty of Arts embraces diversity and promotes inclusion. Dina Iordanova, a visiting professor in the Faculty of Arts shares the approaches and practices she uses in her courses that intentionally restore gender balance in film education. In the Faculty of Education, Elizabeth Barrett and colleagues describe how they promote diversity and inclusion through experiential learning that situates their student teachers in local communities consisting of children and parents with a range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Charlie Dannreuther, from the University of Leeds, encourages students to form partnerships with non-profit-making organisations to tackle global issues. Finally, Ivy Lai, a HKU alumna, shares a reflective account as a former HKU Worldwide Exchange student and describes how such experiences help nurture global citizenship among students.
I do hope these articles stimulate your thinking about how we can promote diversity and equity through our teaching and learning endeavours. Clearly, more can and needs to be done to build a truly inclusive community at HKU that is capable of helping our students to become globally responsible citizens. However, the articles in the issue provide us with some hope that we are moving in the right direction and making progress.
- de Wit, H. & Jones, E. (2017). Improving access and equity in internationalisation. University World News. Retrieved from https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20171206071138138 [accessed 1 May 2019]