University Language Centres have traditionally been on the outskirts of University governance. Yet more recently with the well-documented and swift movement towards internationalisation in Higher Education, many University Language Centres have now taken on a pivotal role in the process of internationalisation and University governance.
This paper discusses how the recently-drafted University of Padova Language Policy was devised from research and practice carried out by the Language Centre over a 6-year period, and analyses the broad range of implications of the policy on University Governance.
Since the Bologna Process decisions in 1999, the University has actively promoted EMI (English-Medium Instruction) with the aim of attracting international students and scholars and has funded an ongoing programme devised by the language centre to provide support for lecturers teaching in English and the implementation of a range of activities and courses. Despite the success of the programme - or because of it - it became clear that many issues had yet to be faced, one of which was the absence of a Language Policy. In fact, it is interesting to note how the language policy came long only after the emergence of EMI, and not before.
The considerations behind drawing up the Language Policy, its content and implementation are discussed. The paper will consider how analyses of the Language Centre EMI programme helped define the Language Policy, and will consider language for academic purposes (teaching, research) as well as the role of the Language Policy in maintaining the University's identity, services, and communications, starting with the need to tease apart the terms ‘EMI' and ‘Internationalisation' and to recognise that successful internationalisation is not just providing courses in English. Although the Policy is based on our research in the field of EMI, it is not limited to EMI but recognises the importance of creating a language environment which reflects the University's role in the international sphere, as well as stakeholders in the local community.
The divergence of points of view between language teaching experts and University governance is discussed, and how the document became a tool in negotiating this divergence.
Questa presentazione mette in luce il modo in cui è stata ideata una politica linguistica e le considerazioni in merito al processo di Internazionalizzazione all'Università di Padova che hanno successivamente evidenziato la necessità di una politica linguistica. Il Centro Linguistico è stato fondamentale nello sviluppo del documento che unisce l'analisi di un progetto di sostegno per i docenti dei corsi di EMI all'attuale politica di Internazionalizzazione portata avanti dall'Università. Evidenzia i motivi per i quali una politica linguistica sia necessaria e analizza gli ambiti che quest'ultima mira a coprire, così come i metodi per rendere internazionalmente valido un curriculum e staff training che a volte viene trascurato.
Il Centro Linguistico Universitario è stato un importante punto di riferimento nella formazione di questa politica ed è di conseguenza divenuto maggiormente influente nel University Governance.
- Ackerley, K., M. Guarda and F. Helm (eds). 2017. Sharing perspectives on EMI. Bern: Peter Lang.
- CercleS Position Statement on Language Policy in Higher Education in Europe
- Clark, C. 2018. "The case of the Non-Native Speaker in EMI". In The teaching of languages in the new millenium: The Challenges of Internationalisation. Venezia: Edizioni Cà Foscar
- Wächter, B. and F. Maiworm. 2014. English-Taught Programmes in European Higher Education. The State of Play in 2014. Bonn: Lemmens.
- Wulkow Memorandum on the Identity and Profile of Language Teachers In Language Centres In Higher Education Institutions
Caroline Clark is Associate Professor of English Language in the Department of Political Science, Law and International Studies at the University of Padova, and is Director of the University Language Centre. Her more recent research and published articles are concerned with English Medium Instruction, Language Policy and the process of internationalisation in Higher Education. Other fields of interest include Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics, where she has numerous publications regarding the fields of journalism and Politics.