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Editorial

Penny Welch and Susan Wright

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Making the best of an inappropriate textbook

Using an ‘international edition’ to teach critical thinking and intercultural understanding

Kristina C. Marcellus

Abstract

In this report, I outline and provide examples of an approach to using an international edition of an introductory sociology textbook to facilitate cross-cultural learning and critical thinking skills in an EFL (English as a foreign language) environment at a small engineering university in the United Arab Emirates.

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Chinese transnational students and the global education hierarchy

Anders Sybrandt Hansen and Stig Thøgersen

Recent years have seen a tremendous increase in transnational education mobility. The two trends of international integration and marketisation of higher education have made for a situation in which increasing numbers of aspiring young people worldwide seize the opportunity to study abroad as part of their higher education. No other nation sends more students abroad than China. In 2014, 459,800 students left the country to study abroad (Ministry of Education 2015); and 22 per cent of all international students enrolled in tertiary education in OECD countries in 2012 came from China (OECD 2014: 350). To explore the many dimensions of this huge wave of educational migration we hosted a conference at Aarhus University with the title Chinese Students Abroad: Reflections, Strategies and Impacts of a Global Generation in March 2014. The initial versions of the first three articles in this issue by Heidi Ross and Yajing Chen, Kirsten Jæger and Malene Gram, and Qing Gu were presented at this conference.2 The fourth article, by Naomi Yamada, examines the education of ethnic minorities inside China and thereby throws light on another, but related, effect of the marketisation of Chinese education.

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Editorial

Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. Important social aspects of contemporary higher education are addressed in this issue by authors from a number of countries and social science disciplines. These range from learning and teaching concepts of capitalism and alienation, to the impacts of computerised university administration, the systematic ways certain categories of students fall through cracks in the academic pipeline, and how to reintroduce social activism into a ‘professionalised’ curriculum and teach social justice through international study visits.

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Editorial

Sheila Trahar

Transnational higher education (TNHE) is a term used for a range of international activities but most commonly it describes programmes where students are located in a different country from the degree-awarding institution. Partnership models include distance learning, dual degrees, franchising and ‘flying faculty’, where academics from the degree-awarding institution fly to another country to teach a programme there. TNHE partnerships are established between institutions for several reasons, not least because of the increase in marketisation of higher education together with the reduction in public funding in many contexts. Interrogating how ‘commercial imperatives nest with academic integrity’ (Sidhu and Christie 2014: 2) is important as many TNHE partnerships are established between ‘Northern’ universities, in particular from Anglo-Celtic countries such as Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.A., and those from the ‘South’ or the ‘East’. Care needs to be taken, therefore, in exercising academic integrity in learning, teaching and assessment in contexts with different academic traditions from those of the degree-awarding institution.

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Neoliberal turns in higher education

Jakob Krause-Jensen and Christina Garsten

Over the past decades, higher education has been profoundly restructured across the world. With remarkable consistency educational reforms have been put forward that rest on a particular and similar rationale: to achieve global competitiveness and adapt to the advent of the so-called ‘knowledge economy’. The ramifications for universities have been dramatic: institutions have changed, roles of students and university employees have been re-defined and the concept of knowledge itself altered.

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Editorial

Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences.

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On theorising and humanising academic complicity in the neoliberal university

Alex Posecznick

Most academics that I know take it for granted that higher education in capitalist countries has become deeply corporatised over the last thirty years. But as an undergraduate student in the 1990s, dreaming of joining the ranks of the professoriate, the institutional and structural changes that were transforming the university were largely hidden from my view. Looking back, I had no idea how such trends might be impacting the men and women who excited my intellect and set me on an academic path. I did not even think to ask.

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The Ethnography of the University Initiative: A decade of student research on the university

Gina Hunter and Nancy Abelmann

Welcome to this special issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. As guest editors, we are delighted to be able to share the experiences of the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI, www.eui.uiuc.edu), a multi-disciplinary course-based initiative that fosters student research on their own universities and is

housed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I). EUI is at once a pedagogical approach, a teaching community and a digital archive. EUI also works as a research agenda committed to student engagement with university practice and policy – and thus to institutional critique. In this editorial introduction, we provide an overview of EUI’s history, innovations, organisational structure and guiding values. We also introduce this issue’s authors – faculty members, an administrator and a former student – all of whom have taught with EUI and have documented here the ways in which taking the university as a research subject transformed their courses and teaching, and in some cases, their programmes and learning.

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The promise and practice of service learning and engaged scholarship

Bonnie Urciuoli

Service learning and other engaged scholarship programmes ideally operate in an academic framework to enhance student understanding of citizenship and community engagement. In reality, given the constraints on institutional budgets, such programmes are likely to be underfunded and academically understaffed. Structured as choices on an institutional menu, programmes are routinely touted as transformative though what they transform may be indeterminate. The ways in which such programmes are presented encourage students to interpret transformation as personal experience, valued to the extent that students can do good in the world by acting as agents of progress, solving problems for people imagined to need their expertise, ideally in exotic settings as unlike students' routine lives as possible, while students develop skills and connections useful in their post-college careers. This construction of engaged scholarship readily lends itself to institutional promotional language but can undermine students' effective action in actual projects.