further & higher education

Raising Standards of Transnational Higher Education

further & higher education

08:45 - 15:40

Thursday 13 December 2018

The Hatton- etc Venues, Central London

This Forum will provide attendees with the opportunity to discuss innovative and effective methods for delivering transnational educational programmes across the UK higher education sector. Attendees will hear from leading policy figures with regards to ensuring high quality standards throughout TNE programmes and important trends affecting the sector. In addition, best practice case studies will provide examples of embedding a long term TNE strategy, tailoring programmes to meet TNE students needs and building a successful international partnership.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Higher Education Sector.

Job titles will include:

  • Principles
  • Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors
  • Heads of Quality Assurance
  • Collaboration Managers
  • Heads of Quality Standards
  • Directors of Student Services
  • Heads of Student Support
  • Associate and Deputy Deans
  • Student Experience Coordinators and Managers
  • Heads of Recruitment
  • Quality Managers

This Forum is also open to the Private Sector in order to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Dr Fabrizio Trifiro, Manager International, The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) 
  • Dr Karen Smith PFHEA, Principal Lecturer in Collaborative Research and Development, School of Education, University of Hertfordshire
  • Esther Wilkingson, Head of International, Jisc
View the agenda and additional speakers


UK universities now provide qualifications to more students overseas than to international students in the UK. All but 15 of the world’s countries receive some sort of transnational education services from UK universities.

According to the Universities UK’s February 2018 report, The Scale of UK Higher Education Transnational Education, the number of students studying for UK degree programmes overseas is now 701,010– up 5.3% from the previous year, and 17% since 2012. Furthermore, 82% of UK universities now offer TNE, with 23 universities currently having more than 5,000 students registered on their overseas programmes.

To further support UK universities and to help ensure they deliver high-quality TNE programmes, the Higher Education Academy established the Transnational Education Toolkit. The tool kit was designed to support TNE providers, focusing specifically on quality assurance and enhancement. As well as TNE logistics, teaching and relationship building.Furthermore, The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) published a Transnational Education Review Handbook in February 2018. The aim of the review was to provide the funding bodies with expert insight into the capacity of UK providers and help safeguard standards and improve the quality of their TNE provisions.

With the UK higher education sector facing an uncertain future due to an undefined post-Brexit landscape, it is now imperative that UK universities continue to broaden their international scope by establishing a variety of TNE delivery methods. Failure to provide high quality TNE programmes and embed international partnerships into the heart of a university could see the UK fall behind in what is already one of the most competitive international markets.

Paul van Gardingen FRSA, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, the University of Leicester

Paul van Gardingen is Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement at the University of Leicester with a focus on enhancing Leicester’s portfolio of international partnerships and projects.  He is also Chair of International Development in the School of Geology, Geography and Environment.

Paul previously held the UNESCO Chair in International Development at the University of Edinburgh. From 2010-16 he was the Director of the UK’s ESPA programme. Paul has extensive experience working in research and higher education in developing countries covering Africa, Asia and Latin America with wide experience of implementing, designing and managing development research across a range of social, economic and cultural contexts.

David Carter, Head of the International Study and Language Institute (ISLI), The University of Reading

David Carter is Head of the International Study and Language Institute (ISLI) at the University of Reading. ISLI is an academic School that promotes the University’s global ambitions in various ways.  ISLI supports international students through an International Foundation Programme and pre-sessional and in-sessional English programmes; offers global opportunities to the wider student population through its Erasmus and Study Abroad Office and an Institution-Wide Language Programme; and supports engagement with other universities worldwide through its International Partnerships Team and the provision of short courses to build capacity in English teaching and general pedagogy.

In his previous role David was a Teaching and Learning Dean with special responsibility for global engagement, including the quality assurance of international partnerships. He was instrumental in setting up NUIST-Reading Academy, an MoE-sponsored joint institute in Nanjing, which this year has welcomed 300 new students across six programmes.

Malcolm Butler, Director of Global Engagement, University of Sheffield and Member, NCUK Board of Directors

Dr Malcolm Butler has a degree in Physics from the University of Warwick (1989) and a PhD from the Department of Engineering Materials at the University of Sheffield (1993). He then spent eleven years working across the UK and Europe for British Steel/Corus (now Tata Steel) in a variety of technical posts culminating in being the R&D Programme Manager for a £9M annual R&D programme.

In April 2017 Malcolm became the Vice-President of Global Engagement. His key role here is to drive the Internationalisation Strategy of the University of Sheffield through the leadership and direction of all international activities and to closely support the President and Vice-Chancellor and members of the University Executive Board in their international activities. The Global Engagement team delivers inter-nationalisation through overseas student recruitment, student exchanges and summer schools, staff mobility schemes, identifying research opportunities, and developing international partnerships.


Registration, Refreshments & Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Piera Gerrard, Programme Director – Global Engagement Office, University College London (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Ensuring High Quality TNE Standards across UK Universities

  • The QAA approach to TNE: an overview of how QAA has so far reviewed UK TNE
  • Outlining an overview of recent TNE related activity, including the review of UK TNE in Hong Kong, a project on the UK TNE student experience in Singapore and Dubai, and international engagement to strengthen cross-border cooperation in quality assurance
  • Looking forward: outlining the key challenges and opportunities for the future of TNE review, and discussing possible ways forward to ensure that the quality assurance of UK TNE remains fit for purpose, and trusted and valued internationally

Dr Fabrizio Trifiro, Manager International, The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Connectivity, Content and Insights: Solutions for Student Success in Transnational Education

  • Examining Jisc’s portfolio of TNE services to ease the issues of connectivity, access to content and monitoring student experience
  • Ensuring access to seamless connectivity between sites at home and overseas, as well as access to content and administration systems; to create a fully equitable and high-quality experience for TNE students
  • Discussing how Jisc can support universities in their TNE endeavours through other potential services and tools to support teaching, learning, and the student experience, such as Global Connect and the impact that this has had

Esther Wilkingson, Head of International, Jisc (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Successfully Transitioning from a Joint Programme into a Joint Institute

  • Outlining the planning process of transitioning a joint programme between the Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology (NUIST) and the University of Reading into a joint institute, which established the NUIST Reading Academy
  • Sharing guidance on successfully establishing a new joint institution, including how providing the Reading Academy with greater autonomy in personnel, financial and administrative affairs ensured a smooth transition
  • Examining the major challenges faced during the transitional period, such as establishing recruiting procedures which are in line with the parent institutions and ensuring robust student management during the change
  • Highlighting the impact the new institution has had on both parent universities, as well as the overall TNE programme delivery process

Dr David Carter, Head of the International Study and Language Institute (ISLI), The University of Reading (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectually Embedding a Transnational Education Strategy Across a University

  • Examining how the University of Leicester established their first international campus in China by partnering with the Dalian University of Technology
  • Sharing guidance on how to effectively create a TNE strategy which embeds the campus within the university, including undertaking shared visits to better understand ground operations
  • Outlining how an international campus helps to create graduates with qualifications and experience to ensure they have the skills needed to tradition into the international workforce
  • Understanding the importance of recognising the differences between the international campuses, and how this protects their identity and ensures longevity

Professor Paul van Gardingen, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor – International and Research Development, University of Leicester (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Afternoon Keynote: Supporting the effective Delivery of Transnational Education in UK Universities

  • Highlighting available support for HE leaders and TNE teaching staff, such as HEA’s ‘Transnational Education Toolkit’, which provides reflective questions, prompts, checklists, templates and tips.
  • Understanding the importance of embedding staff and student engagement in existing quality assurance mechanisms for TNE programmes, such as student questionnaires and periodic reviews.
  • Sharing examples of utilising a holistic approach to professional development for TNE partners, for example online professional development modules and UK partner visits, as a method of sharing best practice and improving teaching.
  • Supporting the development of transnational teaching, learning and assessment and recognising the importance relationship building in the delivery of TNE.
  • Developing robust mechanisms for institutional learning from TNE experiences.

Dr Karen Smith PFHEA, Principal Lecturer in Collaborative Research and Development, School of Education, University of Hertfordshire (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Highlighting Important Trends in Transnational Higher Education

  • Examining the emerging theme and importance around the need for a ‘TNE Champion’ within both HEI’s, to ensure consistency of quality and delivery
  • Sharing best practice guidance on ensuring an international campus is successful, including establishing primary responsibility for awarding qualification, external quality assurance and designing the academic programme/curriculum
  • Examining the different delivery methods of international distance learning, such as MOOCs and third-party distance learning, including how HEI’s can best utilise these to improve their TNE programmes
  • Outlining the next steps for the British Council in supporting UK HEI’s with transnational education, including highlighting emerging markets and current TNE hotspots

Liz Dempsey, Higher Education Advisor, British Council (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Outlining an Award Winning Collaborative Approach to Transnational Education

  • Examining the process of maintaining and Re-licensing the Sino-British College (SBC) project, an international university college in China, jointly established by the Northern Consortium and nine UK universities
  • Outlining the collaborative procedures in place to ensure students are supported throughout their education and not lost in transition between different international higher education institutions
  • Highlighting the challenges of managing a collaboration which is the only partnership of its kind in China involving multiple UK universities, as well as providing programmes for over 3,000 TNE students
  • Examining how NCUK work collaboratively to ensure TNE students are placed in the most suitable university course and placement

Winner of the 2018 Educate North & UK Leadership’s award for International Transnational Education

Malcolm Butler, Director of Global Engagement, University of Sheffield and Member, NCUK Board of Directors (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Attracting TNE Students Through Tailored Online Degree Programmes

  • Outlining the process and key challenges of establishing a partnership with Laureate International Universities to deliver online degree programmes worldwide for over 8,000 TNE students
  • Examining how the online programmes were designed to cater for specific TNE learners, such as working professionals looking for postgraduate qualifications and the impact this had on the programmes
  • Exploring how the university ensures high quality learning across all their international distance courses
  • Recognising the importance of facilitating an online space for TNE students to learn together and build networks in the absence of physical proximity, which has seen over 16,000 TNE students remotely enrol University of Liverpool

Prof Helen O’Sullivan, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Online Learning, University of Liverpool (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

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