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Academics unsure about EMI

Academics’ attitude towards EMI is best described as ‘ambivalent’, new research has found.

Researcher Roger Geertz Gonzalez found that lecturers at the University of Hamburg, Germany, agree that English is important for international partnerships and recruitment. However, beyond appreciating EMI as ‘practical’, they fear that this will lead to loss of scholarship for German.

Most staff said they were hired ‘for their English skills rather than faculty expertise and training skills’. Job descriptions for foreign applicants stated that they needed to be ‘proficient in German or English’, giving the two languages equal status.

One lecturer, Gonzalez reports, threatened to sue the university when EMI was introduced, and then left. Another, while acknowledging the importance of internationalisation, refuses to teach only in English.