Higher education guarantees global citizenship, or does it?

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


    Statements of graduate attributes have gained prominence in universities nationally and internationally in recent years (Barrie, 2006; Bowden, Hart, King, Trigwell, & Watts, 2002; Jones, 2009). Increasingly, such statements include global citizenship as an “attitude or stance towards the world” that students develop during their studies (Barrie, 2004). This paper draws on a comparative analysis of Australian university graduate attributes statements from the last fifteen years (Bosanquet, Winchester-Seeto & Rowe, 2010) to examine the meanings of global citizenship in a higher education context. In describing global citizenship, institutions frequently refer to a plethora of related concepts including intercultural awareness, cross-cultural competency, inclusivity, diversity, globalisation, sustainability, leadership, multiculturalism, internationalisation and community engagement. A review of the literature around graduate attributes demonstrates four broad conceptions of their purpose: employability; lifelong learning; preparing for an uncertain future; and acting for the social good (Barnett, 2004; Barrie & Prosser, 2004; Bridgstock, 2009; Pitman and Broomhall, 2009). The latter two are closely aligned with the attribute of global citizenship, with an emphasis on transforming the student, the curriculum and the future (Bowden & Marton, 1998) and acting to benefit the broader community (Bowden et al, 2002). This paper examines three challenges in embedding global citizenship – however it might be defined – as a graduate attribute. First, the values and assumptions concerning the purpose and nature of higher education evident in graduate attribute statements (Barrie & Prosser, 2004) and institutional definitions of global citizenship. Second, the difficulties of impacting on teaching practice (Harvey & Kamvounias, 2008; Hughes & Barrie, 2009) in a context of rapid curriculum development. Third, the impact on students. In Australia, this is a particular challenge in light of the Bradley Review of Higher Education, which has prompted a major change in student cohort, with a 20% increase in students from lower socio-economic populations (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent, Sacles 2008).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEnhancing Learning Experiences in Higher Education International Conference
    Subtitle of host publicationconference proceedings
    Place of PublicationHong Kong
    PublisherThe University of Hong Kong
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    EventEnhancing Learning Experiences in Higher Education International Conference - Hong Kong
    Duration: 2 Dec 20103 Dec 2010


    ConferenceEnhancing Learning Experiences in Higher Education International Conference
    CityHong Kong


    • global citizenship
    • graduate attributes
    • higher education review

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