International Infusion in Practice – From Cultural Awareness to Cultural Intelligence


  • Angela Margaret Sutherland Glasgow Caledonian University
  • David Edgar Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Peter Duncan Glasgow Caledonian University



internationalisation, Erasmus, case study, cultural intelligence, intervention


United Kingdom (UK) Universities strive to increase international student numbers and claim to be internationalising the student experience. In parallel student-centred approaches appear to be the norm across learning, teaching and assessment strategies. However, a tension exists in delivering both of these claims concurrently in that domestic and inbound international students often have different experiences, expectations, needs and perceptions regarding pedagogy, support and curriculum. While programme delivery centres on the UK educational mode, universities tend to accommodate orientation for all students centrally, as a largely homogenous group.

This paper explores the experiences of inbound Erasmus exchange students from several European Union (EU) countries to determine if student-centred approaches are adequate to meet their needs. It also examines possible gaps in the tutor-student pedagogic experience, expectations and perceptions.

With reference to gap analysis, a case study of a module in a post-1992 University is explored. Observation, focus groups, policy analysis and quantitative analysis of student results are used to make sense of the intercultural pedagogic experiences of the students and potential implications for curriculum design and delivery.

Findings indicate that the processes and procedures put in place to support Erasmus students in navigating UK pedagogic styles, assessment and curriculum are insufficient to truly support the student journey in a way that student centeredness would imply. Key areas of discord revolve around curriculum structure, assessment style, expectations and pedagogic approach. In essence, the cognitive and intangible processes and aspects of the student journey are problematic with evidence to suggest that poor cross-institutional communication and generic orientation compound the challenges.

The research is particularly significant in that it highlights the need to provide a more reflective and reflexive approach to working with Erasmus students, requiring a shift away from a mechanistic focus on systems, structures and cultural awareness towards cultural intelligence.

Author Biographies

Angela Margaret Sutherland, Glasgow Caledonian University

Angela Sutherland is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Business Management, Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University. Her doctoral studies investigate internationalisation challenges within Scottish Business Schools, particularly the integration of diverse nationalities at postgraduate level. She leads the direct entry Level 3 business programmes and is Academic Advisor for inbound Erasmus exchange students.

David Edgar, Glasgow Caledonian University

Professor David Edgar is Professor of Strategy and Business Transformation. His research and scholarship are in strategic management, specifically dynamic capabilities, responsible management, business complexity, and innovation. He works with a range of organisations on Business Transformation projects relating to innovation, ethical sustainability and knowledge/talent management.

Peter Duncan, Glasgow Caledonian University

Dr Peter Duncan is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Business Management, Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University. Current research interests relate to the strategic use of information systems; innovation; and the use of wikis to facilitate enterprise education. He leads the University’s Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) programme.


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