September 30, 2009, by Teaching at Nottingham

National subject specifications and the international context

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Mike Clifford, Faculty of Engineering: “We’ve always taught sort of UK spec on everything from health and safety through to patent law through to sort of work place ethics. And a few years ago, I sort of looked around me and thought actually how relevant is some of the material we’re teaching? You know, should we be teaching UK spec? after all, we’re a UK university, or should we be looking at the students that we have and realised that many of them are not going to be practising in the UK, they’re going to be practising in other cultures so students from overseas that come and do the degree at Nottingham, and equally, students from the UK that have done the degree here but will end up in placements overseas, big multinational companies employing them so it’s quite likely they’re going to spend some time outside the UK and they’re going to have to adapt to other working practices.

Dariusz Wanatowski, Faculty of Engineering: “In civil engineering, very important, British standards are very important, and specification as well, so I have to follow British regulations. But I know from my colleagues in Malaysia, that they have to adjust a little bit their programme to address issues related to Malaysia more closely than in UK. So this, I think, this affect more them than us at the moment.”

Mike: “So the decision was to teach UK spec but also to look at the principles behind why we come to the decisions on things like ethics and codes of conduct that we do, so to teach them in a much broader framework so that the students will have the tools to interpret whether their own cultural situation means that they have to take a different approach.”

Stephanie Bridges, School of Pharmacy: “We work very, very hard to get UK accreditation for the whole course across the two campuses, and so we’ve very much got to think about the UK angle, and we had to show to the Pharmaceutical Society that students were becoming familiar and were being exposed to UK pharmacy, the profession of pharmacy in the UK.

“There is the Malaysian Pharmacy Board, yes, and they have slightly different regulations, but also because we have the UK accreditation then the Malaysian Pharmacy Board are happy to accredit the course along similar lines as well.

B”ut I think it’s important that even though it’s a UK body that we’re answerable to, there’s no escaping that pharmacy is multicultural and global, and so there has to be an acknowledgment of the different cultures. And I think it would be wrong, as I discussed earlier, it would be wrong to teach to a sort of only UK model, or only British or whatever.”

Rebecca Moor, Legal Skills Advisor, School of Law: “The undergraduate students who come here, and this is just my sense based on a random selection of students I see who come to see me, the self-selected group who come to see me, they’re here doing undergraduate degree because they want to practice in the UK. So even if they’re not from the UK, they know they are getting a very specific type of degree and they came here because they intend to work as a solicitor or, I suppose, a barrister.

“The curriculum on the postgraduate level is much broader, although there are modules that focus specifically on UK, let’s say, human rights law, there are many, many modules that focus generally on international law, which of course, is in no way specific to the UK.”

Stephanie Bridges
School of Pharmacy
Mike Clifford
Department of Mechanical, Materials & Manufacturing Engineering
Rebecca Moor
School of Law
Dariusz Wanatowski
Department of Civil Engineering

Extracts from interviews with staff and students about experiences of internationalisation. This video was originally published as part of PESL’s Learning from internationalisation collection. Produced November 2009.

Posted in EmployabilityInternationalisationLearning outcomes