Invited sessions

Institutional language policies: challenges and good approaches

This invited session aims to share good practices in institutional language policy and identify dilemmas and challenges in developing and implementing a university-wide language policy in relation to national legislation, in an international comparative perspective. It will focus on national regulation on language of instruction policy in higher education (policies on home language instruction, rules on offering English as medium of instruction, broad policy discourse) and institutional policy such as choices on language & language of instruction policies. The invited speakers will address questions such as:

What are the considerations in setting the institutional language policy? In which ways do our language policies fit within our broader institutional strategies, and how do they change our universities and cities?

What dilemmas and obstacles do we encounter in developing language policies at the institutional level? Do we see tensions between (sub)national and institutional language policies? How can we understand the different language policy discourses and approaches (and potential differences /convergences) within an international comparative perspective?

Can we identify good practices in shaping our universities’ language policies, taking into account our national and regional contexts?

What do our national visions, and strategic approaches to language policies in higher education look like, and how can we understand them within their national contexts?

What challenges do higher education institutions face in shaping their language policies, and do institutions deal with them?

The Integration of Refugees into Higher Education in the context of Englishization

Following the influx of forced migration to Europe in and around 2015, universities had to respond to an increased demand for higher education for refugees. Whereas language proficiency in the national language is an integral part of civic integration processes, proficiency in the national language does not always suffice when refugees want to pursuit their studies. Even for study programs that are taught in national languages, English skills are often expected, for example in order to be able to study relevant literature in its original version. Hence, (aspiring) refugee students find themselves confronted with multiple language expectations and requirements from various sides. Simultaneously, life histories and current conditions of living often influence refugees’ process of language learning, and their academic achievements. In the context of Englishization, study programs’ language requirements pose additional challenges but also provide chances for refugee students and their (re-)integration into higher education.

The roundtable discussion brings together different actors, refugee students/alumni, and scholars to discuss the integration of refugees into higher education in the context of Englishization. Questions that will guide the discussion are if and how Englishization can be a driver for inclusive internationalization of higher education, and how refugees need to and can be linguistically prepared for a successful academic integration.

The Impact of Englishization on Institutional and Departmental Cultural Practices at Dutch Universities

English-Medium Instruction (EMI) has become a normative, if contested, institutional feature in universities in the Netherlands. Despite its expansion, there is a dearth of research looking at how its introduction and subsequent proliferation have impacted institutional and departmental language and cultural practices at Dutch universities beyond formal teaching and learning practices. This roundtable discussion seeks to bring together different stakeholders from Dutch universities (students of all levels, programmes and language backgrounds, post-doctoral candidates, adjunct and full-time professors, support and administrative staff) – with a focus on the host university, the University of Maastricht, to explore existing research on EMI and local institutional language and cultural practices and define potential areas for future research.

This roundtable discussion will look at a wide range of language and cultural practices. Topics and areas of interest may include but are not limited to: informal interactions in liminal and everyday settings between local and non-local staff, students or university personnel; EMI’s impact on student and staff social integration and informal learning; EMI and university community engagement practices; the role of EMI in identity construction and social group formation amongst university stakeholders.