Language and Learning in the Master of Accounting at Macquarie University
Although, in policy terms, the drive to internationalise Australian universities can be linked to economic imperatives, internationalisation can also be seen as presenting opportunities for students and their teachers. As noted by Johnson and Kress (2003), diversity can be seen as productive, ‘particularly when different ways of knowing and different ways of doing are brought in to transform that which we think we know’ (p. 6). Rather than being seen as static cultural sites, universities can be regarded as ‘dynamic, evolving and generative contact zone[s]’, that are created and recreated by participants engaged in the educational process (Doherty & Singh 2005:55). At the very least, local and international students can benefit from the experience of increasing their cultural awareness and finding new ways of interacting with each other - experiences to draw from when later working with culturally diverse groups of colleagues and clients in Australian workplaces or elsewhere in the world.
Macquarie University’s Master of Accounting programme has been subject to a number of changes, particularly in terms of growth, student profile and accreditation requirements since its inception in 1997. The programme is one academic entry point for graduates without an accounting or business degree who are seeking to enrol in the professional educational programmes of CPA Australia and the Institute for Chartered Accountants in Australia - two professional bodies that represent the interests of the major employers of accounting graduates in Australia. It began as an accredited graduate conversion programme in accounting in 1991. Legislative changes and increasing competition led to a name change and the introduction of the Master of Accounting in 1997. Since then, the Master of Accounting programme has grown considerably, from 390 student unit enrolments in that year, to 1850 in the first half of 2007, with 200-250 new students commencing each trimester.
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