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International Education Strategy and Marketing

RSS FeedNews and Views

This News and Views page is my Blog.

I use it to:

  • View from Prague Congress Centre - EAIE 2014share tips and advice on internationalisation approaches
  • highlight training, conferences or events that I am involved with
  • link to helpful or interesting news items, reports or other resources
  • comment on topics relevant to those working in international education

This page shows the ten most recent blog articles. A complete list of all articles since the blog started in May 2014 can be found on the Blog Archive page.


Vicky Lewis Consulting Blog


Through the looking glass

Posted on 16 May 2019 at 16:12 by Vicky Lewis

Seeing internationalisation in a different light

Through the looking glassAt the end of my last blog, I expressed the hope that – over coming years – we (those of us working in higher education) will ‘critically engage with the “why” of internationalisation… and remember that the benefits… should be felt by all stakeholders’.

Earlier this week I read a University World News article by Stephanie Doscher (Florida International University), which asks the question ‘why internationalise?’.

The author draws on Simon Sinek’s concept of ‘why’ as a values proposition: the ‘purpose, cause or belief’ that gives rise to what you do and how you do it. She concludes that ‘under the right conditions, internationalisation significantly increases interactions among diverse people, ideas and perspectives, leading to enhanced knowledge production and the fulfilment of higher education’s fundamental purpose’.

As such, internationalisation is seen as an essential vehicle for HEIs to fulfil their ultimate mission (‘the production and exchange of new knowledge about the world and its inhabitants’), rather than an optional extra.

This set me thinking about the gulf between the dominant drivers for HE internationalisation in the UK (which are still largely instrumentalist) and those which might come to the fore if internationalisation was treated as integral to HE’s core purpose.

Read full blog post...


25 years in international higher education

Posted on 8 Mar 2019 at 10:33 by Vicky Lewis

What's changed?

I was going for a run the other morning when it dawned on me that 2019 marks my 25th year in international higher education (which certainly makes me feel my age).

EAIE Winter 2016 ForumA lot has changed since I started out on a nine-month contract as a part-time International Officer at what was then University of Wales Lampeter (now part of University of Wales Trinity St David). The institution had never had an International Officer before and my role was a hotchpotch of Erasmus exchange coordination, international marketing and international student support. Plus a few random other duties on the side.

It stood me in good stead for my next International Office role at Edinburgh Napier University. This was ostensibly an International Recruitment Officer post, but (thanks to a long-term vacancy) started off with a frantic scramble trying to organise an international orientation programme and getting new students settled in. From international recruitment (which seemed to involve marketing and communications as well), my remit broadened to include international partnerships and establishing a study abroad programme, as I worked my way up to Deputy Director.

Then, in 2000, I moved to the other end of the UK to set up Bournemouth University’s first International Office. It was helpful to have had hands-on experience of so many different roles myself. New challenges included taking over from the Business School the management of preparatory English programmes, which introduced me to the worlds of academic administration and, in due course, public-private partnerships. I also experienced my fair share of institutional politics thanks to thirteen years on the University Leadership Team.

Since 2013, I’ve been working for myself as an independent consultant, specialising in international strategy development and planning for higher education providers and related organisations. That’s provided me with some wonderful insights into the cultures and priorities of different types of institution – both in the UK and overseas.

So, what’s changed in the world of international higher education over the last 25 years?

I’m going to highlight three key changes – one at individual / operational unit level, one at organisational level and one at national / international level. They’re drawn mainly from my experience of the UK context, so I’d be interested to hear whether they resonate in other parts of the world.

Read full blog post...


Governing body engagement with TNE strategy

Posted on 18 Sep 2018 at 14:27 by Vicky Lewis

'Very supportive, if confused...'

This blog is the final one in a series, outlining the findings of a small survey 'Supportive if confused'conducted in June 2018.

It expands on some of the top level findings presented at the TNE-Hub Symposium on ‘Transnational Education: Innovations in Practice’ on 11 July 2018. Presentations (in my case a joint one with Dr Janet Ilieva, entitled: Evolving TNE approaches: from short-termism to sustainability?’) are downloadable from here.

The survey investigated:

  • how TNE drivers and approaches have changed for UK HEIs over the last few years;
  • the priority that UK HEIs give to different modes of delivery and levels of study in their future TNE strategies;

and

  • the kind of engagement that governing bodies have with TNE strategy.

My first blog covered the first topic of how institutional TNE strategies and drivers have changed in the UK HE sector over the last few years. You can read it here.

The second blog explored which TNE delivery modes (and levels of study) are most prominent in UK HEI’s future strategies – available here.

This final blog in the series highlights key findings from my survey question about the nature of governing body engagement - and draws together key insights from the survey exercise as a whole.

Read full blog post...


Preferred TNE delivery modes

Posted on 28 Aug 2018 at 11:42 by Vicky Lewis

UK HEI future strategies

Future strategies

This blog is the second in a series, outlining the findings of a small survey conducted in June 2018.

It expands on some of the top level findings presented at the TNE-Hub Symposium on ‘Transnational Education: Innovations in Practice’ on 11 July 2018. Presentations (in my case a joint one with Dr Janet Ilieva, entitled: Evolving TNE approaches: from short-termism to sustainability?’) are downloadable from here.

The survey investigated:

  • how TNE drivers and approaches have changed for UK HEIs over the last few years;
  • the priority that UK HEIs give to different modes of delivery and levels of study in their future TNE strategies;

and

  • the kind of engagement that governing bodies have with TNE strategy.

My first blog covered the first topic of how institutional TNE strategies and drivers have changed in the UK HE sector over the last few years. You can read it (and find out about survey methodology and caveats) here.

This second blog explores which TNE delivery modes (and levels of study) are most prominent in UK HEIs' future strategies.

Read full blog post...


Changing institutional TNE strategies and their drivers

Posted on 26 Jul 2018 at 15:54 by Vicky Lewis

The UK picture

As I’ve mentioned here, here and elsewhere, there seems to be increasing UK HEI sector talk about developing long-term, deep, multi-faceted institutional partnerships and collaborative delivery models with international partners.

 

TNE-HubIn the area of transnational education (TNE), partnership approaches with host country partners are becoming more equitable, less ‘one-way-traffic’ (see pdf of this UUKi / British Council report from 2016). And fears about the implications of the Brexit referendum are resulting in UK HEIs going out of their way to demonstrate commitment to current and future institutional partners. The sector is keen to show that it is not retreating into nationalism and insularity – quite the opposite.

 

However, financial imperatives are still strong. Thanks to various recent government policy decisions, institutions feel under pressure to find ‘replacement’ income streams for what is perceived to be ‘at risk’ international student fee income.

 

Against this background, I thought it would be interesting to run a small survey to investigate:

  • how TNE drivers and approaches have changed for UK HEIs over the last few years;
  • the priority that UK HEIs give to different modes of delivery and levels of study in their future TNE strategies;

and

  • the kind of engagement that governing bodies have with TNE strategy.

 

The survey took place in June 2018 and I presented some of the top level findings at the TNE-Hub Symposium on ‘Transnational Education: Innovations in Practice’ on 11 July 2018. Presentations (in my case a joint one with Dr Janet Ilieva, entitled: Evolving TNE approaches: from short-termism to sustainability?’) are downloadable from here.

 

Based on the survey, this blog makes some observations about recent changes to institutional approaches and drivers for TNE.

Read full blog post...


Five years of consultancy

Posted on 25 Apr 2018 at 15:25 by Vicky Lewis

Observations on going independent

It’s coming up for the fifth anniversary of setting up my business, Vicky Lewis Consulting, which specialises in international strategy development and marketing planning for higher education providers in the UK and beyond.

Vicky as a child steering a boatI’ve had a lot of people ask me what I like best about working for myself. That’s easy to answer: the flexibility; the opportunity to make a difference quickly; the chance to get to the nub of an issue that a client has been grappling with internally (and may have misdiagnosed); the ability to say no to projects that I’m uncomfortable with; the credibility accorded to a neutral, external party; not having to be sucked too far into internal politics. I could go on.

My children were five and three when I started my business and it was a huge bonus to be able to work around their school and nursery day, rather than having to fit their needs in around my work commitments. The immediate impact was reduced stress because I didn’t constantly feel guilty: guilty towards my employer for not working the very long hours I did before having kids; and guilty towards my children for not feeling able to get away from work for class assemblies and sports afternoons.

Yes, there was less money coming in for a while, but it was absolutely worth it.

Read full blog post...


What international education needs

Posted on 21 Mar 2018 at 14:24 by Vicky Lewis

Inclusive approaches on every level

Inclusive approaches

There have been some significant shifts in the global discourse about higher education internationalisation recently. The Western perspective that has tended to dominate, with its assumptions that internationalisation is ‘a good thing’, is being challenged. Is it positive for everyone? And have we been guilty of taking a narrow (and lopsided) view of what it’s all about?

 

I attended UUKi’s International Higher Education Forum (IHEF) in Nottingham on 14 March. It was clear from the opening plenary (which involved speakers from universities in Japan, Switzerland, Canada and the USA, as well as a representative for Pacific Rim institutions) that internationalisation means different things in different contexts. However, there was broad recognition of the wider societal role of international education: the need to face outwards and to operate across institutional and national boundaries to tackle shared global challenges; the need to embrace more egalitarian and inclusive approaches to internationalisation; and the need to measure its success in new ways such as public service commitment or advancement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Chris Tremewan, Secretary-General of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, called for a redefinition of internationalisation in HE, moving from competitive self-interest to global common good.

 

This echoes recent calls for a re-examination of what universities are for: from, among many others, Shaun Horan (who emphasises their role performing ‘a service to humanity’) and Mike Boxall (who outlines a vision of them being ‘leaders and orchestrators in a variety of multi-partner “learning ecosystems”’, helping to address challenges at local, national and global level).

Read full blog post...


Taking note

Posted on 16 Mar 2018 at 10:01 by Vicky Lewis and Julie Vincent

Listening and learning to deliver the best for our clients

Recently, Vicky Lewis Consulting and Vincent Consulting, both Higher Education specialists, partnered for the first time on a project related to international strategy development and decision making. We collaborated extensively and presented to the client together.

The feedback from the client was very positive and, as they are happy for us to share it, here it is!

Taking noteFollowing a competitive tender process, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) commissioned Vicky Lewis Consulting and Vincent Consulting to undertake a significant piece of market research to help inform our strategy for increasing international postgraduate enrolments. We wanted to be confident of basing our decisions on rigorous data analysis coupled with a holistic understanding of the sector environment.

Vicky and Julie worked with us over a number of months. They were a joy to work with, keeping us informed every step of the way, but not overloading us with queries. Their depth of understanding of the HE sector was immediately apparent and they engaged effectively with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.

The final report was an exceptional piece of work - exactly what we needed to steer our planning. It was clear that they had listened to stakeholders and produced something absolutely tailored to LJMU’s needs and stage of development. This also came through when Julie and Vicky presented their findings to senior staff. We were delighted with the way they collaborated seamlessly, pooling their collective expertise, and would highly recommend them.

Gemma Smith, Head of International Recruitment, Liverpool John Moores University

Read full blog post...


Inclusivity

Posted on 27 Sep 2017 at 14:19 by Vicky Lewis

A key theme from EAIE conference 2017

The European Association for International Education (EAIE) annual conference took place in Seville from 12-15 September. For me (and many others), there was one key theme that ran through the conference: inclusivity.

The Strategy & Management Expert Community asked participants in their Feature Session on the Wednesday morning to give a one-word response to the question ‘what will be future trends in society and internationalisation in your opinion?’. A word cloud was generated and the term inclusivity (or inclusiveness, inclusion) featured extremely prominently.

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Transnational education toolkit

Posted on 6 Jul 2017 at 09:43 by Vicky Lewis

A useful Higher Education Academy resource

The UK’s Higher Education Academy recently (June 2017) published a useful transnational education (TNE) toolkit, prepared by Dr Karen Smith (University of Hertfordshire).

ToolkitIt provides a wealth of valuable advice for anyone involved in delivering TNE. While written specifically for the UK context, many of the lessons it shares are transferable.

It covers topics such as:

  • the quality assurance and enhancement of TNE
  • the logistics of TNE teaching
  • teaching, learning and assessment in TNE
  • relationship building (with TNE students and with the TNE partner institution and its staff).

Each section draws together advice from a range of credible sources, signposting to these sources as appropriate. There are helpful checklists of questions that staff / institutions should be asking themselves; and mini case studies from those who have direct experience in the area under discussion.

Read full blog post...

 
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