Higher Education is increasingly a global industry. Most higher education institutions (HEIs) now operate internationally in some way. This leads to both opportunities and threats.
While the nature and scale of an institution’s international engagement varies, most HEIs are involved in one or more of the following:
The reason why international activity is of interest to a governing body is that an institution’s international strategy and ambitions often involve significant financial and reputational benefits and risks.
For instance, the recruitment of international students or engagement in internatonal partnerships may be a deliberate strategy choosen to reduce the institution’s dependence on Home and EU students and diversity its sources of income. If successful such a strategy may result in considerable financial (as well as other) benefits. Conversely, if the strategy is unsuccessful and the new income secured is insufficient to match the additioanl expenditure incurred, pressure may be brought to bear on the institution's budget. Further, as institutions are responsible for the standards of their awards regardless of where they are dellivered, collaborations with an international partner carry risks in relation to quality assurance, and hence reputational damage.
As a general ‘rule of thumb’ for any proposed international activity, the larger the planned scale and scope and the faster the speed of development the more significant are likely to be the resources neeeded, and the greater the institutional risks.
For further information consult Governors' briefing Note No. 7: International students and developments.
The Getting to Grips with Internationalisation provides an introduction on the topic for governors.
Governors' role in international partnerships and collaborations is examined in the following presentation:
A report based on the case studies of 9 universities in the UK, Australia and the USA in delivering degree programmes offshore looks at the staffing issues that can arise. .
Six case studies of how international activities are managed in UK universities are discussed in the followng report:
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