Critical times: producing the global graduate in a pandemic

The challenge

The production of the global graduate is central to the purposes of the contemporary university, with competencies such as mobility, global mindedness, intercultural awareness and global citizenship frequently identified as desired graduate learning outcomes or attributes.

The COVID 19 pandemic exacerbated existing challenges that raise questions about what future may be possible for this global graduate. These include a hyper-competitive graduate labour market and a corresponding decline in the availability of graduate jobs that erode the value of a higher education credential as a guarantee of opportunity and advantage.

It also raised questions that have been less well explored to date — questions about how academics understand and experience their role in promoting the global graduate during these critical times. We do not know what academics believe to be the core knowledge, dispositions and capabilities that count for the future and how those beliefs may be changing. These questions have particular implications for academics in the field of teacher education, who are expected to develop global competencies in preservice teachers.

Project overview

This Australia–New Zealand research project sought to understand what imaginaries of the global graduate are promoted by Australian and New Zealand universities and how teacher education academics within those universities understand and experience their role in producing that graduate. It sought to shed light on how such academics shape (and are shaped by) the underlying discourses around the global graduate. It asked how the global graduate can be realised during times of precarity, uncertainty and disposability and, in such times, what knowledge counts for the future.

The project explored these questions through interviews with teacher education academics in Australia and New Zealand as well as a review of Australian and New Zealand universities’ publicly available materials describing their production of the global graduate.


Exploring how teacher education academics understand the formation of the global graduate in critical times is integral to understanding the sort of learner that schools and faculties of education seek to produce. It also has the potential to shed needed light on the practices of such academics and how these continue to be affected by the impacts of COVID-19.

In the first instance, the project inform the publication of three scholarly journal articles. It will also be used to establish and generate opportunities for funding and partnership for a Phase Two international project.

Project team

In collaboration with:

  • Dr Juliana Ryan
  • Nadia Infantes


2020 – 2022




More information

Watch a video about the project: Critical times

Blog post: What forms of resistance did higher education academics undertake during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Journal article: Bronwyn E. Wood; Rosalyn Black; Lucas Walsh; Kerri Anne Garrard; Margaret Bearman; Matthew Krehl Edward Thomas; Juliana Ryan; Nadia Infantes 2024 Teaching in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2023.2300950




global graduate, global competencies, critical times