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Updates from the IoC project

190626 IoC in a pod - University of Mons’s CLIL station (Content and Language Integrated Learning)

Jennifer Valcke was invited to speak by the association of language centres in Francophone Belgium (ARILUF) on 23rd May 2019 on the role of language(s) in the internationalisation of Higher Education. The event was organized by the Institute of Modern Languages ​​UCLouvain, in collaboration with the Language Centre of UMONS. Jennifer gave an interactive plenary session in French and English and asked language experts to consider the needs of students who are learning in English to mainly communicate with other non-native speakers, and reflected on what competences are necessary for teachers to communicate effectively in the international classroom, with a specific focus on oral delivery and pronunciation.

Julie Walaszczyk, from the University of Mons, took the opportunity to interview Jennifer on internationalisation of the curriculum, internationalisation at home and the intended learning outcomes of the international classroom on the University of Mons’s CLIL station (Content and Language Integrated Learning), and you can listen to the interview here.

190509 Staff training focusing on empowering support staff in internationalisation

The IoC-project has identified the support staff as important change agents in the process of internationalising the curriculum...and the university as a whole. Read the blog from the workshop in Porto learning about the SUCTI-project.

190426 Students – our partners!

The whole world met up in one room on a Friday afternoon! 16 students from 6 study programmes at KI ignored the sun outside late on a Friday afternoon to engage in reflections about internationalisation.

Students from the Global master programmes readily agreed that their classrooms were as multicultural and diverse as the people in the room that day. Although taught through Swedish, the study programmes in Medicine and Nursing also agreed they worked and studied in an international environment. Our students are already thinking beyond national and international…they are the next generation of global citizens!

A framework for the disucssion

To give our invited students a framework, Helena and Karin from PHS gave the students a short introduction. A quick Gapminder presentation on how the demography of the world will change over the next century in terms of population increase, but also in terms of its aging. This stimulated the students into thinking about their future, where and with whom they might work, and what skills and values they need in order to live and work responsibly in a globalized world.

They were presented with the very topical Sustainable Development Goals and how SDG 4.7 explicitly mentions the responsibility higher education institutions have to prepare them for global citizenship.

Who are you and your fellows?

In small group discussions, students addressed issues related to internationalisation inside and outside their classrooms.

To start with, they had to define themselves and their classmates according to the following questions:

Why did you come to KI?

What language(s) do you speak?

Where are you local?

Why do you think internationalisation is important? 

Who are you and who are the people you’re studying with?

Students want more interprofessional education and reflection

There was so much energy in the room! The students mentioned several times how the discussions and group work we were doing with them was adding value to their reflections and experiences, specifically because these discussion were happening across different disciplines and with fellow students with diverse backgrounds. In the international classroom, 1 + 1 really makes 3! 

Students mentioned how enriching group work was and that apart from selecting KI for its international environment, the students also came here with expectations that the training was interprofessional…and in this respect KI did not meet their expectations – quite the contrary! Students asked for more interaction, more reflection and more collaboration across the different disciplines.

Learning from eachother

Students mentioned that KI teachers often overlook the many opportunities for involving students as partners, use the critical incidents that happen due to differences based on values, backgrounds, and cultures. Some of these opportunities, instead, happen outside the classroom and are seized by the students themselves, but without guidance.

The students will play an important role in the continuous work of the IoC project. We need to reach to them; they are such a valuable source of knowledge and experience. They are our privileged partners! 

Follow the process through updates from the IoC-team.

190310 Reporting from the CUGH Annual Conference

The annual conference of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health was held in Chicago March 8-10 this year with the theme of Translation and Implementation. Participants from KI included Anna Mia Ekström and Karin Båge as well as Dell Saulnier who had her poster accepted and entered into the Lancet Poster competition.

Below, we share some of our highlights!

Corruption in the health care sector – the elephant in the room

One of the strongest talks delivered, was the keynote on corruption in global health by Patricia García, Professor and former Health Minister, Peru. She spoke of corruption in the health-care sector – or the elephant in the room as she expressed it.

She highlighted the importance of addressing, researching and reducing corruption in health, especially as this sector is such an attractive one for corruption. She pointed to the fact that very few research publications have been published on this issue in the recent decades. Although the number of research articles are increasing, they are nowhere near the level of other global health issues such as HIV.

She ended by urging the global health community to focus more attention on this huge issue in the health care sector at large.

Lessons from the Global Burden of Disease Study

Christopher Murray, Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Alan Lopez of the University of Melbourne, who were both the 2018 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Awardees, gave an overview of their impressive work developing the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study and online interactive tool (that researchers at KI have developed further for the Swedish context).

They gave an overview of how their work has developed since they started in 1990 collecting this data and how IHME has now signed an agreement with the World Health Organisation for enhanced collaboration around the GBD health data. Some of the main take-away messages were the conclusions from the GBD study of which we have listed three:

  1. Globally, there is an epidemiological transition taking place where fewer people are dying prematurely from most causes. However, communicable or infectious diseases and diseases associated with maternity, new-borns and nutrition are declining faster than Non-Communicable diseases (such as diabetes or heart attacks) or injuries.
  2. There is also another shift taking place globally, that is a reflection of this first point, and that is that while premature deaths are declining, years lived with disability is not. This is becoming a more important measure of ‘burden of disease’ on a society. After all, what ails you is not what kills you. Globally, major causes of long-term disability are things such as mental health, musculoskeletal disorders, substance abuse.
  3. Finally, while health (measured as life expectancy) increases the more a country develops socioeconomically. However, there is a 10-year variation in life expectancy across countries at each level of development. And when countries develop overweight and obesity stand out as major risk factors that increase with development.

A great debate, Refugee Health and Education and Global Health

The Great Debate session was supposed to focus on whether the field of global health should prioritize existential threats, including climate change and environmental degradation, over more proximate health concerns. However, the two main debaters, Stephen Luby, Deputy Director, Stanford University Center for Innovation in Global Health, who argued for the statement, and Agnes Soucat, Director of Health Systems Governance and Financing, WHO who argued against, were in fact mostly in agreement.

Quite a few sessions focused on education in global health, where competency based education and ethical considerations for short term exchanges in global health (STEGH) were more prominent topics and drew large crowds. Intentionality stood out as a key issue; i.e. a clear intention with the exchanges have to be communicated to all parties involved in these exchanges and the implied ethical implications also have to be well-thought through and clarified.

One of the more surprisingly vibrant panel discussions was on humanities in global health. Not only did it discuss ethics and intercultural communication, but also storytelling and the importance of self-care in order to sustain health care provision.

The main message that really hit home, was how humanities can help students conceptualize broader issues such as understanding ethics in a larger perspective beyond research or medical ethics.

We recommend you to attend in 2020

All in all, the conference was quite dominated by US academics and researchers, but many other perspectives were included as there was quite a good mix of presenters from all over the world. As is sometimes the case in global health, many of those presenting were medical doctors and those trained in public health. It would have been interesting had there been a larger presence of representatives from other health professions and also from other fields such as social workers, political scientists, sociologists, political economists, members of civil society organizations and professionals in education science. However, it was worthwhile attending this conference and we would recommend more researchers, students and teachers from all of KI’s departments to attend the CUGH Annual Conferece in 2020 when it will be held in Washington DC. Researchers and teachers at KI can definitely contribute to enriching the perspectives at the conference!

181231 Looking back ...and forward

We've made it, we've come to the end...of 2018! Before we sign off and head into end-of-year celebrations with our families and friends (and definitely not our computers), we just want to take a moment to look back at this year and remember as well as celebrate some of our achievements.

The launch at the Congress
We began 2018 by launching our STINT funded project Internationalisation of the Curriculum (IoC) at the KI Educational Congress in March, by having an entire track dedicated to internationalisation of education here at KI and beyond. International experts within the field, like Betty Leask (whose model developed in Australia we are basing our work on), Kevin Haines and Robert Wilkinson. If you didn't make it to the conference, no problem - because we managed to record a short video with Betty Leask where Jenny spoke to her why universities should internationalise in the first place. You can watch it here.

About mid-way through the year, we started working with the five programmes that are involved in our IoC project (Nursing, Dentistry, Biomedicine Bachelor and Master as well as Occupational Thearpy). In a 4-hour long workshop, we covered steps 1 and 2 out of the 5-step model and got the teachers thinking about how international their programme already was, and what other ways of thinking and doing were possible? We were also very excited to hold a workshop with the unit for student support services, to discuss and reflect on their very important role in implementing and developing internationalisation of education at our university.

Feedback on goals in the action plan
As the deadline for all study programmes implementing the goals listed in the Action Plan for Internationalisation drew nearer (Dec 2018), we started giving feedback to all the programmes that had answered the Återrapportering survey sent out in 2017 regarding teaching in English, including matters relating to global health, as well as teaching in the international university. It was very interesting to see what the different departments reported about their various study programmes, it is clear that the needs and support vary, but it is fair to say that there is great potential that could be further utilized if time and resources were directed that way.

Getting the students involved
Toward the end of the year, we were very excited to reach out to the students! For two weeks, our team was located on Solna and Flemingsberg campuses, asking students to participate in a survey on basic global health knowledge and learning through English. More than 400 students participated! The survey was based on the Gapminder factfulness quiz and also asked more open ended questions about students personal experiences of learning through English at KI. Beyond a free lunch, incentives for the students to fill out the questionnaire was also the possiblity, if all answers of the gapminder questions were answered correctly, of winning a copy of Hans Roslings Factfulness book, that he co-wrote with his son and daughter in law (who also signed the books). Three lucky winners were drawn and are about to receive their book any day now. It is so rewarding to read the results of the survey - it is very clear that students need to more global health knowledge (only 8% of students got all the questions right), as well as more support for learning through English.

Looking forward to 2019
This year’s activities, along with consulting on KI strategy 2030, managing workshops at the Global Health Research Conference and the annual EAIE conference, participating in the sub-committee of the Consortium of the Universities of Global health, leading other workshops and attending other conferences, makes us look forward to 2019 and taking our work further, solidifying internationalisation at KI to an even greater extent.

Lastly, we are also very grateful for the enthusiastic and very helpful support of our new team members Emma Hägg and Karen Gustafsson who have made our work more fun and more productive! Welcome on board and we look forward to developing our work and team in 2019!!

Thank you all - teaching staff, administrators, communicators, students and colleagues! It's been a great year and we look forward to new beginnings and continuation of the project together.

Happy holidays and happy new year!
Jenny, Karin, Emma and Karen

181130 Are you an expert in Global Health?

During three lunchbreaks in November the IoC-team, together with student ambassadors, asked KI students on Flemingsberg and Solna campuses to answer a survey.

The purpose of the survey is to help us understand what KI students already know about Global Health and learning through English, and help us monitor student knowledge of these issues, which have been set in relation to internationalising education at KI. The scope of the questions are based on the questions from Gapminder and participants who got a full score were entered into a lottery to win a copy of Factfullness signed by Ola Rosling.

We obtained a stunning 409 responses and close to 8% scored all correctly. Apart from using these results as a base line of student knowledge to work with in the years to come, we had many interesting discussions with students!

Students who had learned about global health in their studies asked for more. They were truly interested and engaged! The interest for participating in the survey went beyond what we had expected - free sandwiches were served to those who answered, but when we ran out many students took the test anyway, just to find out what they know and do not know about Global Health.

Take the test on the Gapminder webpage and become Gapminder certified. Find out if you are a global health expert, too!


181128-29 Attending a spotlight seminar in the Hague

One of the teammember attended a crash course on Internationbalisation at Home...or internationalisation of the curriculum - which is just the same! Read the blog.


181115 Biomedicine revealing the international in the already international….

The last IoC workshop to be done was with the Biomedicine Bachelor and Master programmes. These programmes are fully taught in English and have a majority of international students in the student body. The discipline in itself, fully embedded in research, is international by nature.

Despite the cultural and linguistic diversity of the student cohort, teachers discussed how they tend not to intentionally harness this diversity in order to enhance the quality of learning. Further discussions led to how these programmes could leverage their international research collaborations in order to spark collaborations in education, and thus strengthen the nexus between research and education.

Academics raised concerns about having the competence to assess intercultural competence and language competence and Jenny clarified that we need better language support at KI and that we need to rethink our assessment methods. Naturally, the continuous professional development of teachers at KI must adapt to these new needs and equip teachers with new skills. The Unit for Medical Education at LIME is running a pilot course on “Teaching in the International Classroom” and this course provides training in exactly these aspects.

One of the great strengths of both these programmes, is the integration of ethics into their curricula, as was plainly seen in the exit poll carried out in 2017. Intercultural competences are in many ways related to ethics, since they enable students to form and express an informed opinion about international social and/or political issues, as well as demonstrate social involvement.

Teachers need to articulate ethics within the broader perspective of global engagement and intercultural competence, which are two of the expected outcomes of an internationalised curriculum (as well as language competence and international disciplinary learning) Once this link is clearly established, students will reflect on these issues and will be able to understand and use them!

181025 Including, involving and engaging administrative staff in IoC

The incorporation of an international and intercultural dimension into the content of the curriculum as well as the teaching and learning arrangements and support services of a program of study. (Leask, 2015)

The IoC team, together with the head of the International Relations Office, Anna-Lena Paulsson, were invited to arrange a workshop on internationalisation for the Education Support office at their retreat in Lidingö.

For two hours, we asked each other questions about how many languages we speak, where we feel at home in the world and how international we all are. This made all participants realise what an essential asset administrators are to drive and sustain change. Indeed, university administrators are change agents for fostering internationalisation on our campuses for teachers, for researchers, for students and for leadership and need to be involved in encouraging Internationalisation at Home (IaH) for all of us.

There is an Erasmus+ project focusing exclusively in empowering administrative staff for internationalising the curriculum called Systemic University Change Towards Internationalisation (SUCTI). We hope the next step will be to invite them to KI to delve even deeper into concepts, training and best practices!


181010 Workshop with the Dentistry programme

On Wedensday, October 10, Jenny Valcke and Karin Båge led an interactive workshop with teachers and student representatives from the Dentistry programme at Flemingsberg Campus. It was an afternoon full of discussions, revelations and reflections on what the programme is already doing in terms of internationalizing their education, but also identifiying the opportunities for improvement.

Resources in place - how can we use them?

Participants soon realized that many resources and situations that were already in place in the programme, were not being used in a pedagogical way to create an international learning experience for all students. In fact, it became clear that the Dentistry programme has great potential for further internationalisation as the programme already has many international resources, from the student body, exchange students and patients in the clinic who are very international, to dentists from outside the EU being trained for a Swedish license (KUT) and teachers and guest researchers working at the department and at KI.


Participants were asked to identify their needs through filling out a survey on how international they thought their programme and courses were already and answer questions regarding their own international experience and training as well as look at the formal structure of their programme (curriculum) and the results from the most recent Exit Poll.

Finally, they circulated the room in a world café brainstorming ideas on how to address those needs as related to Supporting students, Language and intercultural competence, Global Health and Using teaching and students mobility. All results will feed in to the next steps of the project, when those ideas will be listed according to feasibility in order to prioritise implementation. Make sure to follow our blog to stay updated and inspired on how the project is going!


180926 Five programmes are beginning to internationalise their curriculum!

Nursing and Occupational Therapy are the first two study programmes to delve into the process of internationalising the curriculum. They have already covered the first two steps (see diagram below) of the research-based quality enhancing project led by Dr Jennifer Valcke at LIME and Karin Båge at the department of Public Health Sciences that is partly funded by a STINT Strategic Fund for Internationalisation.

Dentistry and the Biomedical programmes (both bachelor and master programmes) will begin in the coming months. The goal is for all of the five programmes to complete one round of this iterative process by 2020. The result will be shared through recommendations and best practice with all universities in Sweden.

An inclusive process

Those of you who attended the Educational Congress earlier this year may remember the keynote Betty Leask, the result of her research forms the basis of this project.

This is an inclusive process that aims to draw on the expertise of all stakeholders in the education of our future colleagues and health professionals. As such,the project leaders are also consulting university leadership, student support services (such as UFS and programhandläggarna) as well as course administration and students of course.

New members in the team

Finally, we are very happy that Emma Hägg and Karen Gustafsson have joined our team. We look forward to learning from their experience of working with students and alumni at KI as well getting inspiration from their energy and many ideas!

Expect to see us around campus! If you are curious to learn more, please visit our website or send us an email!