Going Global is the British Council’s annual conference for leaders of international education. Advance HE participated in this year’s conference (theme: ‘Global Connections, local impact’), that took place in early May in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The event is always popular and this year more than 1,000 delegates were in attendance, the majority of whom were higher education (HE) leaders at either an institutional or national level.
The conference provided numerous opportunities for delegates to explore and debate the future of higher education, including key notes, panel sessions and masterclasses. Advance HE had the pleasure of running two of these masterclasses; a ‘Strategic Leadership in Turbulent Times’ masterclass co-led by our Chief Executive Alison Johns with Jo Chafer, a leadership development specialist and Advance HE Associate and another entitled ‘Developing World-class Education’ that I facilitated.
Through the work of our predecessor agencies, Advance HE already has very good relationships with the British Council and we have worked together on a number of successful projects in recent years. The British Council invited us to deliver the masterclasses and given the level and seniority of delegates at Going Global it was a great opportunity to raise the profile of the work we do.
In Alison and Jo’s masterclass, participants came from 7 countries including Myanmar, Nigeria, Singapore, Vietnam and Libya. This enabled a very welcome breadth of perspectives on turbulence and the various strategic responses leadership has to play with in these very different contexts and situations. Our first discussion aimed to debunk some of the limiting myths of ‘leadership’ for delegates to be able to create leadership in a way which works for them in their space.
Alison then went on to share some of the Advance-HE learnings on academic governance, specifically on the role and functionality of governing bodies in balancing the tensions of market, policy and autonomy and of the needs of key and very different stakeholder groups.
The ‘Developing World-class Education’ masterclass focused on the development of teaching standards in the UK and in particular the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning and the associated Fellowship scheme. As well as evaluating the framework itself, the masterclass demonstrated how the Fellowship scheme has been used to facilitate strategic and cultural change within institutions and the emerging evidence of impact at various levels within institutions. We concluded the session by evaluating how teaching standards and recognition schemes such as Fellowships could be applied to support the development of world-class education in the contexts of the participants.
Delegates participating in the ‘Developing world-class education masterclass’
The session included two film ‘case studies’ that articulated an institution-wide picture of Fellowship, from the points of view of senior leadership, teaching and support staff and students themselves. The films, provided by the University of Exeter and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), illustrated how teaching is recognised and rewarded within these institutions and what can be achieved when teaching and educational excellence is championed by senior teams. They are inspirational, they rightly celebrate the excellent work that is underway and illustrate how Fellowship can be used to enhance educational practice in different contexts and I am incredibly grateful to colleagues in these two institutions for collaborating with us to produce such valuable resources that really helped to bring Fellowship, and its benefits, to life for the masterclass participants.
During Going Global we also exhibited and promoted the wider Advance HE services and met with a number of Ministerial delegations to explore mutually beneficial partnerships in the advancement of HE. Many of Advance HE’s areas of expertise are global priorities. From establishing effective governance to the development of leadership capacity and teaching and learning enhancement, many countries and institutions are interested in partnering with Advance HE and UK institutions to progress their work in these areas.
A delegation from Afghanistan discusses ambitious plans for HE reform with Alison Johns on the Advance HE exhibition stand.
Participating in Going Global gave us an opportunity to both raise the profile of UK higher education on this global platform but to also develop relationships that ensure Advance HE remains at the forefront of global development in those priorities, enabling us to share that learning with our member communities.
Since returning from Malaysia, we’ve followed up conversations with a number of conference delegates and are currently arranging for a number of them to visit several UK HE providers to share and learn. The topic of transnational education (TNE) was also widely discussed during Going Global with interest in particular from UK HE providers who are considering how they can most effectively support teaching and learning enhancement in their off shore campuses. This is another area we intend to continue to explore in support of our members.