Global Citizenship in Higher Education: Evolving Policy and Practice from a Comparative Perspective

Lead Research Organisation: Bath Spa University
Department Name: Sch of Education


The next few years represent a critical moment for universities. Around the world there is increasing interest in understanding how universities can train students to become global citizens. However, many people wonder - what is meant by the term "global citizenship"? A useful perspective on global citizenship is provided by the "Profile of a Service-Learning Programme in India" which explains that:
"Those who live in the 21st century will have dual citizenship---one, each person's national citizenship and the other the global citizenship. The former is a legal status represented by documents such as the passport while the other is more a set of personality traits, attitudes and values operating in the relationships with peoples of other cultures and countries."
The key point illustrated by this quote is that global citizenship transcends nation-state boundaries. It requires an open mind, dedication and experience to develop certain attitudes, values and acquire skills for participation. The premise here is that higher education today can contribute to the public good by training more global citizens who enter society not only with technical know-how, but also with cultural awareness, a strong sense of civic responsibility and the skills needed to participate as active citizens in a globalized world.

The development of the global citizenship agenda in higher education is becoming more common across North America, the UK and Asia. Much of the original thinking about global citizenship education and many innovative practices in global citizenship education in universities have emerged out of the US. Within the UK many universities are substantially engaged in broader internationalisation efforts and boast very diverse student enrolments. It is therefore not surprising that within the UK there is increasing receptivity to the global citizenship agenda in higher education. In the case of Asia, Hong Kong universities are undergoing massive restructuring of their undergraduate degree programmes - moving from a three-year to a four-year undergraduate degree programme that offers more opportunities for international and multidisciplinary curricula. The changes in higher education in Hong Kong are underpinned by greater focus on general education and the integration of civic engagement and global citizenship into the curriculum. It should be noted that Hong Kong is of particular interest given their current investment in redesigning the undergraduate curriculum, but we are also seeking to include practices in Taiwan and mainland China as they too are undergoing curricular change and are looking to internationalise their curriculum.

Our project proposes to bring together top scholars and practitioners from Europe, Asia and North America to comprehensively explore the existing pedagogical theories and models that are guiding universities' focus on developing students as global citizens. The participation of researchers from a diverse array of countries will culminate in a three-day symposium to explore how universities are promoting global citizenship and analyse what research is needed to guide the future development of the concept in higher education.

This networking project will provide a unique opportunity for researchers and practitioners to investigate:
o How is global citizenship conceptualised in universities and how can general education foster the development of citizen scholars?
o How do existing pedagogical theories and models promote global citizenship and how can their effectiveness be measured?
o How are universities attempting to better prepare students to be global citizens who will compete in a global marketplace?
o What further research is needed to inform future higher education policymaking?

All of these questions will be posed with the intent of developing a coherent and meaningful programme for future comparative research on global citizenship policy and practice.

Planned Impact

A major beneficiary of this project will be higher education leaders seeking ways in which they can develop a stronger global citizenship focus within their universities. Presidents, Chancellors, Deans and Vice Principals need more input on current trends in global citizenship education along with research that illustrates its impact. In addition, government and educational policy-makers will find this research agenda of use in assessing how curricular reform can stimulate production of university graduates who are better prepared to meet the demands of the global marketplace.

The research agenda will highlight outcomes stemming from global citizenship curriculum, emphasizing those best practices that are most worthy of direct investment. We expect that this research agenda will be of particular interest to government and policy-makers. As well, charities and foundations focused on promoting social mobility via education (such as Oxfam) will find research on global citizenship curriculum of interest as it is one means by which students can develop skills, attitudes and perspectives for more effective civic and social engagement. Finally, students themselves will benefit from more informed development of global citizenship curriculum that will broaden their skills and develop attitudes and knowledge to navigate the culturally complex global marketplace.

The outcomes from this networking project will be shared on a dedicated project website. In addition, the PI and Co-PIs will undertake dissemination activities including presentations at key international conferences such as The British Council's Going Global Conference, the European Association of International Education (EAIE) Conference, NAFSA and the Asia Pacific Association for International Education. Such conferences attract higher education leaders as well as policy-makers who are interested in research and best practices in global citizenship education.


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Description This international partnership and networking grant brought together a unique group of scholars from UK, USA, Canada, Asia and mainland Europe to explore the emerging practices in global citizenship education within higher education institutions.

A literature review early in the project revealed that greater scholarly discussion of emerging concepts and practices in the area of global citizenship could benefit practitioners and inform practice on an international scale. The Global Citizenship Symposium held in December 2013 in Hong Kong provided a number of thought-provoking perspectives on global citizenship practices in higher education and ideas for future directions in research.

It was evident that universities would benefit from more comparative research on global citizenship practices. The symposium brought together a diverse group of scholars to discuss future directions for research and areas of overlapping interest where collaboration might be possible. Two main proposals for future research were (1) developing longitudinal studies to understand both the long and shorter-term impact of global citizenship curriculum on graduates and (2) developing studies that place global citizenship into a framework tied to national economic and social development goals - which would help make global citizenship curriculum more meaningful to policymakers.

Both of these directions for future research would benefit from being undertaken on an international multi-site basis.
Exploitation Route The Symposium proceeding (referenced in the outcomes section), provide a number of ideas for future research directions. As well, many of the participants would likely be interested in collaborative projects.
Sectors Education,Government, Democracy and Justice

Description The Symposium Proceedings are available on the project website and so are available to practitioners as well as researchers. Some collaborations have developed as a result of the project. For example, co-PI Robin Shields is the lead editor for a proposed book entitled, Global Citizenship in Higher Education: Cross-cultural Perspectives and Practices (currently under review by Bloomsbury). Many of the contributors were participants in the symposium. As well, Dr. David Mendez, Associate Vice President for International Affairs at the Ana G. Mendez University System and is the new host of the United Nations Academic Hub on Global Citizenship, participated in the symposium as a means to help develop his knowledge base in the field: The UN Academic Hub works to influence practice in educational institutions around the world.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Education
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Scholar exchanges between Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Bath Spa University 
Organisation Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Country Hong Kong 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution In March 2013, 2013, Dr. Jodi Anderson had a four-day visit to Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Site visits were undertaken at Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Institute of Education ad Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Meetings were held with academic administrators as well as faculty at each of the campuses. The focus of meetings was institutional initiatives in global citizenship as well as research focusing on global citizenship. In May 2013, Dr. James Xing undertook a site visit to England. Visits were made to the University of London Institute of Education, University College London and Bath Spa University. The focus of meetings was institutional initiatives in global citizenship as well as research focusing on global citizenship. Meetings also served to identify potential participants in the Global Citizenship Symposium.
Start Year 2012