Global-mindedness as a Professional Skill: Embracing Individuality and Empowering Students

Theresa Davey1

1. School of Engineering, Tohoku University, Japan

ICMAT 2019, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Invited oral presentation in Educating and Mentoring Young Materials Scientists for Career Development

Academia is increasingly global, and it is more and more common for scientists and engineers to work in several countries, and have colleagues from all over the world. Navigating the cultural differences in these settings successfully can require particular skills and care, but the development of these skills is rarely prioritised in an academic environment.

In such global and international settings, building your own identity as a researcher is increasingly important. In any environment, there can be a lot of pressure to conform to a particular model of research or learning, and this can pose a particular challenge for those outside their native culture. Embracing and presenting individuality as a strength is an important step in having successful academic relationships and personal confidence that is crucial to career development, but can be challenging for students and early-career researchers who may be out of their comfort zone.

This talk will discuss navigating various cultural contexts while developing and maintaining a strong sense of personal academic identity. This approach to an academic career can also be applied to empowering the next generation of scientists and engineers. Increasingly international universities call for teaching styles that allow students to embrace their individuality and feel confident in their own academic identity. This talk will discuss active learning techniques to meet the needs of very diverse classrooms, with particular focus on helping students to feel confident in their own learning style.