“How Time Flies”: Taylor’s Professor Reflects on Ten Years of Being A Visiting Professor at MCi in Austria

Having been a Visiting Professor at the Management Centre Innsbruck for the last 10-years, Professor Perry Hobson reflects on how their approach to internationalisation has created a unique and lively learning experience for both their local and their exchange students.

Prof Perry Hobson (far right) with students at MCi Innsbruck, Austria

Internationalisation of the curriculum and student mobility present universities with several challenges, and this is particularly the case when you are a German-speaking institution in central Europe. MCi is a public-private partnership University of Applied Sciences, located in Innsbruck (Austria). Launching their Tourism Business Studies programme some 15-years ago, they realised that they needed to internationalise their students and their curriculum. After all, Innsbruck and the wider Tyrol region is one of the world’s leading Alpine winter ski and summer hiking destinations. However, one of the most significant challenges was that they deliver their programme in German – and this realistically meant they would only be able to attract a few international exchange students. They decided that one semester would be taught entirely in English, and that would also be their ‘exchange semester’. This meant that their own MCi students would be able to go out on exchange. For those who couldn’t go on exchange, the plan was for the world to come to them. Not only in the form of the incoming international exchange students, but also through a series of international Visiting Professors who would be brought in to deliver parts of the curriculum. Along with other well-known tourism academics, such as Prof Ady Milman from the University of Central Florida (USA), Prof Kaye Chon from Hong Kong Polytechnic University (SAR-China) and Dr Chris Bottrill from Capilano University (Canada), each Visiting Professor delivers a series of Guest Lectures. Professor Perry Hobson, the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement at TU, was first invited to go to Innsbruck as a Visiting Professor in the 2006-7 academic year. He is now amongst the longest-standing Visiting Professor - having been invited back every year for over a decade. As he commented, “its pleasing to know that such a diverse group of students having given me such positive evaluations over so many years”. He also pointed out, “The focus of my lectures is on hospitality and tourism innovation and change” adding that, “When I first visited MCi 10-years ago, I think the iPhone had only just been launched and the iPad hadn’t been invented. Many students didn’t even have laptops, and as I recall we had no wifi in the classrooms. Come to think of it, AirBnB hadn’t started either - and last year they sold 80 million nights! Such is the speed of change and innovation today”. Given that the student body is typically made up of 80% international exchange students, it’s a very global learning environment with students coming from a wide range of countries such as; France, Turkey, Poland, USA, Canada, Lithuania, S. Korea, and Germany amongst others. Both MCi and Taylor’s University are accredited by THE-ICE international accreditation body, and Taylor’s students can exchange to MCi for a semester. For more information on the Taylor’s University School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts click here - (Global Matters 2017