Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: Implications for Teaching, Learning and Leadership

In the last 15 years in the Australian higher education sector, international student enrolments have grown from close to 100,000 in 2002 to over 300,000 in 2017, with the majority of these students from mainland China. In parallel with this growth, the Australian higher education sector has focused on Graduate Attributes (GA). GA have been defined as core abilities and values that are needed both socially and professionally, and that are developed in students during their studies and experiences in higher education. GA are also used to inform curriculum and learning outcomes. GA have been expressed as belonging to a 2020 vision for Australian higher education whereby the system produces graduates with not only the requisite knowledge and skills but also the understandings, capability or attributes permitting the individual to think flexibly or act intelligently in intercultural situations. Currently 12 Australian universities include GA that encompass statements on cultural competence and the ability of graduates to engage with diverse cultural and Indigenous perspectives in both global and local settings. But what is meant by cultural competence and what are the implications for teaching, learning and leadership? This presentation will unpack cultural competence within the higher education context, identify the challenges faced not only by students but academics and leadership, and suggest ways in which cultural competence can be meaningfully engaged and applied.

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Posted by IAFOR