Developing expertise: ‘International Champions network: lunchtime series’
This suggested programme uses the toolkit to develop the expertise of a group of individuals, such as ambassadors or 'champions'
||To develop the skills and understanding of a network of student ambassadors/champions, and indirectly frontline staff, support services and academics through a collaborative approach
||Ambassadors/champions, International Office Manager/Student Support Manager
||1 hour weekly/bi-weekly/monthly as appropriate
||Any, but especially What is international?, Cultural Awareness, The International Student Journey, Education Systems and Culture, Partnerships and Outward Mobility
||Blended learning (group sessions)
The concept of the ambassador or ‘champion’ is one where a member of staff takes responsibility for promoting the international agenda within their department or faculty on behalf of the International Office. [NB: There is no suggestion here that they should be assuming the role(s) of the International Office]. Often, they are working in isolation and there is little time given for the post – if any – so a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly approach to this may be the most appropriate.
The idea is to create a network of ‘champions’ who have the opportunity to share their experiences, and explore together potential solutions to challenges. They probably have no official line-management function, so instigating change can be difficult. As they are also likely to come from a range of backgrounds, they will bring different expertise and skills. These can be harnessed to develop the team and strengthen its position.
1. The 'champions' - in conjunction with the International Office - will need to agree key areas for their own development. This may include things like:
- skills or knowledge gaps
- 'international' roles
- 'international' processes
2. Having identified these, either individually or 'buddied up', they can work through the relevant modules, build on their knowledge through face-to-face lunchtime meetings and keep in touch through the online members' forum. Notes, tools, completed activities and reflections can all be shared.
3. If the 'champions' are more experienced, they might be happy to drive the institution's international/global strategy within their faculties, or support the International Office in identifying and meeting needs. This could be particularly helpful in improving and standardising processes, and filling skills gaps amongst staff. Once again, having a better understanding of how systems work will help them help others, using modules like Internationalisation, Partnerships and Outward Mobility.