further & higher education

Raising Standards of Transnational Higher Education

further & higher education

08:45 - 15:30

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) 
  • Maddalaine Ansell, Director Education, British Council
  • Dr Karen Smith PFHEA, Principal Lecturer in Collaborative Research and Development, School of Education, University of Hertfordshire
  • Dr Esther Wilkinson, Head of International, Jisc
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments & Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Piera Gerrard, Programme Director, UCL Qatar and Global Engagement Office, University College London (CONFIRMED)


Morning 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

Dr Esther Wilkinson, Head of International, Jisc (CONFIRMED)


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)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


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 – Global Engagement, University of Leicester (CONFIRMED)


Special 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)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


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

Maddalaine Ansell, Director Education, British Council (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Understanding How Oversea Partners Affect Transitional Education

  • Highlighting the changing trends of host regions and the impact this has on UK universities
  • Examining the evolving provisions in TNE delivery
  • Analysing some of the challenges facing UK universities regarding TNE, such as the UK’s relationship with the EU post-Brexit

Dr Neil Kemp, International Higher Education Consultant and Board Member, Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


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)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change


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.

Piera Gerrard, Programme Director, UCL Qatar and Global Engagement Office, University College London

Piera works for UCL as part of the Global Engagement Office team and is the Programme Director for UCL Qatar. She is currently working with UCL Qatar to deliver a change programme, the first phase of which has been completed and this has reshaped UCL Qatar’s academic programme. She is also responsible for stakeholder relations and championing UCL Qatar’s work within UCL London.

She has extensive experience of working internationally in Higher Education including developing international strategies, trans-national projects, international partnerships and student recruitment. Her previous roles have included Marketing Director NCUK, Director of Oxford Brookes International, Head of International Relations at the University of Salford and Deputy Director of Education UK at the British Council.

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.

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

Dr Karen Smith is Principal Lecturer in Collaborative Research and Development in the School of Education at the University of Hertfordshire.

Karen’s research is centred around how higher education policies and practices impact on those who work and study within university systems. One particularly strong strand of her research is transnational education, where Karen is particularly interested in the support and development of those who teach transnationally.

Karen is the author of the Higher Education Academy’s (now AdvanceHE) Transnational Education Toolkit. Karen’s web profile can be found at: http://go.herts.ac.uk/karen_smith

Maddalaine Ansell, Director Education, British Council

Maddalaine is a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge where she studied Classics. She then studied and qualified as a solicitor practising with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and later the US law firm Sullivan and Cromwell LLP. After six years, she joined the civil service on the fast stream.
She has held a number of appointments including with the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Home Office and BIS. She worked on the HE White Paper for the then Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, and was appointed to Deputy Director, International Knowledge and Innovation in 2011 where she was responsible for the £375 million Newton Fund. Maddalaine became Chief Executive for University Alliance in January 2015. She joined the British Council as Director (Education Policy) in November 2018.

Dr Neil Kemp, International Higher Education Consultant and Board Member, Council for Education in the Commonwealth

Neil Kemp is an international higher education consultant and advises and supports universities and governments. He publishes regularly and has contributed to education and training projects in over 20 countries. His research and consultancy interests relate to the economics of education, internationalisation of education & training, transnational education and international student mobility (including recruitment, market analysis & communication strategies).

He commenced employment as an apprentice and, after a physical sciences degree, completed a PhD in electron spectroscopy. He developed an interest in the economics of education while working in India and was a visiting fellow at the Institute of Education, (now University College), London.

Neil lived in Asia for 20 years (eight years each in Indonesia and India plus Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan) and was Country Director, Director of Education UK and Director, Science and Technology in the British Council. His current and previous responsibilities include Board member at the Council for Education in the Commonwealth, Member Commonwealth Scholarships Support Group (UK); Professional adviser to the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI); Visiting lecturer, Edge Hill University (MA International Higher Education Management); Board member at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex; Board member, Open University Worldwide.

Esther Wilkingson, Head of International, Jisc

Dr Esther Wilkinson is a specialist in higher education strategy, and the Head of International at Jisc, the body powering the UK’s higher and further education’s teaching, learning and research and inspiring its digital transformation. Esther leads Jisc’s international strategy and strategic development of Jisc’s transnational education support programme.

Esther has worked in various roles in higher education, as Assistant Director in the Universities UK International Unit; the UK Research Councils for over 13 years; the Open University and a brief spell as a police officer. Esther has a BSc Hons, DIC and PhD in Chemistry from Imperial College.

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

Fabrizio Trifiro’ leads QAA’s work on TNE, international cooperation, and the international student experience, managing the international work QAA undertakes on behalf of the UK funding bodies. He has developed the QAA’s TNE Review Handbook and international engagement strategy, and manages their implementation.

Fabrizio led the development of the Toolkit Cooperation in Cross-Border Higher Education: A Toolkit for Quality Assurance Agencies, published by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, as well as the QAA’s Guide for UK higher education providers Supporting and enhancing the experience of international students in the UK.

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