A recent planning day for the UWA International Centre provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on the meaning and importance of internationalisation at our University.
A commitment to high quality is inseparable from a world-class university's international focus. In the longer term, quality will be recognised and judged in terms of international impact. This is especially so in the global marketplace for knowledge in which universities and other providers operate within a climate of rapid technological advances and increased competition beyond national boundaries. I
nternationalisation provides us with a fundamental opportunity to enhance our research capacity and educational programs, as well as allowing us to reach higher levels of overall performance compared to best practice world-wide.
As a research-intensive university, the phrase in UWA 's mission statement "at the highest international standards ..." is critical to our future. This is the fundamental standard against which we must be measured as a University and against which we must measure our own activities.
As a result, we also have a responsibility to ensure our students are not only qualified at an international standard, but are culturally competent world citizens with the capacity to create, distribute and exploit knowledge for the benefit of society.
In order to continue to attract the highest calibre domestic and international students, we need to pay utmost attention to how well we prepare our students for their future careers.
Yet Western Australia is an island with water on one side and sand on the other. So, for our students to gain an international perspective, we must build links, many of which will be northward. Because we share a time zone (give or take a couple of hours) with 60 per cent of the world's population and the nations holding the greatest promise of economic prosperity in this century, it makes sense for us to build relationships with universities in our ‘zone' and to encourage internationalisation in all our activities.
In regard to teaching, this means the development of inclusive and international curricula to ensure that graduates have the skills to operate in an international environment. It means increasing the numbers of students undertaking study periods overseas; developing a stronger commitment to international student programs; supporting international outreach; and developing more collaborative teaching programs with overseas universities.
In the area of research, our commitment to internationalisation must continue to be through the conduct of research with greater international impact.
The planned appointment in coming months of a new Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) will provide us with a new opportunity to shape our strategic international direction. In this way, we can ensure that we harness the forces of internationalisation to shape the future of the University, as well as providing enduring benefit to the State.
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