MANAGING MULTILINGUAL UNIVERSITY ENVIRONMENTS: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

M. Guzikova, O. Kocheva, T. Vershinina

Ural Federal University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
The article examines transformation of the language environment at the universities striving for internationalization of education. To achieve the ambitious goal of internationalization, universities are supposed to drastically increase their publication activity, attract international students and academics, and increase their academic and employer reputation. On that premise, universities in the non-English speaking countries face the challenge of improving the English skills of their students and teaching staff. Their organizational practices in this field are analyzed on the expert opinions about the internationalization efforts of Russian, Brazilian and Chinese universities.

With a special emphasis on the case of Russian polytechnic universities, the article shows the main alternatives in decision-making on developing a language environment. The alternatives are substantiated by the results of the English proficiency tests taken by the students and academic staff of the eleven engineering institutes of Ural Federal University (URFU). The analysis of the alternatives shows that the feasibility of creating an effective language environment at the university striving for internationalization as well as improvement of the language proficiency can increase when the model of such environment has an open architecture aiming at an intensive questioning of existing teaching approaches and attitudes.