International Academics and their Impact on Students’ Expectations of Study Progress in Australian Universities

By Nina Maadad.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the last two decades the increasingly globalised tertiary education system has witnessed academic staff and postgraduate students from other countries working and studying in Australian institutions, a situation which is not without its problems (Guilfoyle, 2006; Symons, 2001; Ingelton & Cadman, 2000). Language, isolation, teaching and learning, cultural shock and personal problems are being reported by international academics as factors affecting their work. This has necessitated a rethink of both curricula and assessment practices. Moreover, the diversity of academic staff in tertiary institutions evokes interesting patterns of interaction with other staff, students, learning material and context for learning. This mixed methodology research study explores how international academics from non-English speaking backgrounds at the University of Adelaide experience cultural change, language barriers, academic challenges and differing teaching styles and expectations. The experiences of respondents from diverse geographic, cultural, professional and educational backgrounds are documented. This research paper scrutinizes various types of international academic staff: lecturers, tutors, supervisors across a range of disciplines. Managing the workload and professional development of international academic staff has to take into account the wealth of experience, expertise as well as knowledge that these people bring to the university environment. Five academics were interviewed to document their experiences of cultural change, challenges regarding language and varying teaching methodologies and what they were expected to impart to students and how. A case study was conducted to analyse those factors influencing their employment and the impact these had. Twenty staff members (ten males and ten females from the University of Adelaide) participated. Data was collected and analysed quantitatively.

Keywords: Teaching, Learning, Culture, Language

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 12, pp.99-114. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 887.379KB).

Dr. Nina Maadad

Bachelor of Teaching Coordinator, Languages Coordinator and Lecturer, School of Education Faculty of the Professions, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Nina Maadad is a lecturer, the BTeach Coordinator and the Languages Coordinator at the School of Education in the University of Adelaide. The topic of her thesis was “Adaptation of Arab Immigrants to Australia: Psychological, cultural, social and educational aspects”. Her research focus is on Culture, Language and education.


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