International Conference BIMU
„Bi- and multilingual universities:
European perspectives and beyond“
Bolzano, September 20-22, 2007
Book of abstract
The Conference proceedings will be published on-line by the library of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (coming soon)
Further information about the next BIMU (coming soon)
Background and aim of the conference
The international conference “Bi- and multilingual universities 2007: European perspectives and beyond”, which was hosted by the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and organized by the Language Study Unit, aimed to bring together scholars, instructors, university leaders and administrative personnel working in bi- and multilingual universities, so as to provide them with a terrain for scientific and didactic discussion, enabling a comparison of practices, approaches, results and networking opportunities.
With the goal of continuing the discussion on multilingual higher education initiated by the 1st conference on bi- and multilingual universities held in Fribourg/Freiburg in 2003 and subsequently continued with the 2nd conference in Helsinki 2005 (see http://www.palmenia.helsinki.fi/congress/bilingual2005/) , “Bi- and multilingual universities: European perspectives and beyond” in Bolzano placed particular emphasis on bottom-up, application-oriented research, as well as on the critical analysis of practices and policies on the one hand and on the promotion of exchange of experiences and information on the other. Furthermore, a major objective of the conference was to highlight current best practices, but also obstacles and limits faced by multilingual universities across Europe and to place them against the background of the language policy adopted by the EU to promote functional multilingualism in society.
The multi-faceted nature of multilingual higher education is a well-known reality for students, educators, scholars, administrators and university leaders acting in environments where two or more languages are used in informal every-day communication, teaching and learning, decision-taking, planning, negotiating. While such a reality may be seen, perceived and tackled from different perspectives representing focus and priorities of different subjects, it is clear that all of them are strongly interconnected, and that solutions to problems can be only found within interdisciplinarity and interaction. The issue of English as a medium of instruction and as lingua franca, for instance, involves not only questions of international standards and certifications, but also the consideration of the communicative habits of the single disciplines; planning coaching measures for subject-matter instructors can be based on established CLIL -experiences and profit from investigations into academic communicative styles; discussing the kind of competence required of prospective students and to be reached by graduating students has to take into account the needs of workplaces but also to establish solid links with secondary education prior to university. Following such considerations, the conference was broken down into thematic areas that would allow participants to explore in detail those varied points of view, to compare them and to relate them to each other, so as to gain a comprehensive overview that would include didactical, scientific, organizational, economic and policy aspects of multilingual higher education.
Following parallel sessions were organized:
- Institutional language policies and everyday practices: case studies
- Language competence of incoming and outgoing students
- Autonomous learning and extra-curricular measures
- English as language of instruction and as lingua franca
- CLIL, coaching for subject-matter instructors, analysis of academic discourse (lecturer and student communicative practices),
- Minority languages and higher education
- Schools and workplaces: synergies with higher education
The official languages of the conference were English, German and Italian; contributions in French and Spanish were also accepted. On a total of 51 presentations from European and non-European countries (Australia, Belgium, Cameroon, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Quatar, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland) 35 were given in English, 10 in Italian, 4 in German, one in Spanish and one in French.
Anne-Claude Berthoud (Lausanne)
Jasone Cenoz (Basque Country)
Lucie Courteau (Bozen-Bolzano)
Liliana Dozza (Bozen-Bolzano)
Rita Franceschini (Bozen-Bolzano)
Mirja Saari (Helsinki)
Local organising committee (Language Study Unit)
Christoph Nickenig (Bolzano-Bozen)
Daniela Veronesi (Bolzano-Bozen)
Helen Joris, Verena Gartner, Chiara Moser, Manuela Perilli, Cristina Quatraro
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