Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Third International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Pedagogy and content evolution in cross-border higher education: Evidence from an American-Singaporean cross-border partnership
Dara R Fisher

Last modified: 30-05-2017


Reflecting larger trends in business, economics, and communications, the field of higher education has undergone a rapid period of globalization and internationalization over the last half century.  While much scholarship has been devoted to the policies and practices of cross-border higher education work, little research has examined the mechanisms by which educational practices and approaches are modified and adapted when moved across cultural contexts.

This paper addresses this gap by examining the processes by which foreign and local partners adapted and modified American educational approaches to fit the needs of Singaporean students in a large-scale cross-border higher education partnership.  Developed based on a year of immersive ethnographic fieldwork at the Singapore University of Technology and Design – a new university established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – the findings of this paper show that local and foreign partners utilized three distinct strategies to modify American pedagogical and curricular approaches to fit the needs of the Singaporean context: collaborative mentorship and guidance, incremental modification of content and practice, and enabling and facilitating student-driven change.  This paper presents an overview of these findings, as well as their implications for future work.

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