4 November 2010

A comparison of professional university staff in Australia and Asia will be the focus of a travel grant received by UQ’s School of Education Manager Dr Kaye Eldridge.

Dr Eldridge has been awarded a $10,000 Peter Karmel International Travel Grant by the Association of Tertiary Education Management (ATEM) to identify some of the cultural assumptions commonly made by university managers that might not apply when they are working with foreign universities.

“Australian universities are forming an increasing number of complex partnerships and relationships with foreign universities," Dr Eldridge said.

"It is important that we understand how these universities might be organised differently from us, if we are to work successfully with them.”

The project will involve an examination of the organisational structure, roles and working relationships of professional staff at the school level in universities in Australia, Malaysia and Thailand.

“In particular, I hope to look at the composition and roles of professional university teams in these countries and identify how they might be similar or different due to cultural circumstances," she said.

"For instance, we could reasonably expect that the relationships between professional and academic staff might be more casual and less distinct in Australia if compared with Thailand, which has a more hierarchical society structure.

“I am hopeful that the findings from this research will provide a structure for university staff to understand both their colleagues in other countries and also to further understand their own approaches to university administration and the cultural values that underlie them."

Last year, Dr Eldridge worked on a project with the Thai Ministry of Education with regard to a reinvigoration of their Australian Studies Centre in Bangkok, a Centre that is responsible for promoting the teaching and research and a general awareness about Australia in Thailand.

Media: Beth Hensler, Senior Marketing and Communications Officer, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (3365 8820 or b.hensler@uq.edu.au).