DS 83: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16), Design Education: Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity, Aalborg, Denmark, 8th-9th September 2016

Year: 2016
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Christian Tollestrup, Kaare Eriksen, Nis Ovesen
Author: Ebbert, Chris
Series: E&PDE
Institution: School of Architecture, Design, and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University
Section: Diversity
Page(s): 676-681
ISBN: 978-1-904670-62-9


In an international, western design study program hosted by local partner universities in China and
India, curriculum planning, timetabling, language use, culture, assessment, and motivation posed
challenges to handling issues in ethnically mixed student collaborative learning situations on
managerial, teaching, and student levels. The paper is situated in the intellectual context of education, more specifically of international
cooperation and collaboration in interdisciplinary learning, deriving information directly from the
author’s personal findings as dean of a French design study program permanently hosted by partner
institutions in China and India from 2010 to 2014. Literature of comparable content was found to be
Enacting Diverse Learning Environments: Improving the Climate for Racial/ Ethnic Diversity in
Higher Education, by Hurtado, Sylvia, Jeffrey Milem, Alma Clayton-Pedersen, and Walter Allen,
Washington, 1999.
The author suggests that partner-institution hosted, multidisciplinary transcultural Western graduate
study programs must be fully formulated with variables within the course descriptor for collaboration
with a host institution on one hand, but require autonomy within their host institution to function
according to their accredited home specification to be of lasting and robust value to both their home
institution and their host institution. Collaboration gains a stronger basis through individually
curriculum-based assessment on both sides, the host institution’s full legal backing for visa
requirements, and a common long-term strategic vision by both partners, such as joint degree creation
and teacher and student exchanges.
The author bases his findings on experiences within the framework of a partner-institution hosted,
multidisciplinary, transcultural graduate study program of a French tertiary institution, operating in
branches in India and China. The study program was based on a curriculum provided by the French
mother institution, and delivered in English language to a body of students recruited mainly from
France. The locations were university campuses in Bangalore, India and Shanghai, China, owned by
partner universities which supplied space for teaching events, as well as staff and some of their own
students for selected collaborative efforts. Students were enrolled both by the French mother
institution and the Indian and Chinese partner institutions for administrative purposes, and received
their master’s degrees in transcultural design from the French mother institution after one academic
year of attendance and another year of industry placements.
During these operations, the author had opportunity to observe and deal with issues arising from the
ethnic diversity of backgrounds of students and staff. The issues affected the operations on student,
teaching, and managerial/ administrative levels, and mostly satisfactory solutions to them could be
found in most instances.

Keywords: Partner institutions, China, India, curriculum planning, timetabling, language use, culture, assessment.


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