2021 Virtual Study Tour Opportunity

David Law, Chair of the AUA’s International Higher Education Network explains his proposal for a virtual study tour and how you can get involved.

AUA: International Higher Education Network

David Law

Chair of IHEN

Webpages that are written to encourage international students to go to Greece speak about the country as the birthplace of academia (which is, of course, a Greek word).  This country is certainly the origin of much that is widely valued in Western intellectual traditions.  An AUA study group is soon to start work on higher education in Greece, more specifically on the connections between British universities and Greek HE.  As an AUA team, the focus will be on how our professional services can play an active part in the fostering and success of partnerships.

It is a particularly interesting time to consider partnerships with HEIs in Greece.  The Greek government is working with British Council on a project to encourage co-operation.  All the Greek universities have joined this project.  We can be confident that our interest in British-Greek partnerships will be welcomed.

Greece has become the top host country for UK TNE in the EU (19,725 TNE students in 2019-20). TNE student numbers have grown 25% in a 5-year period.  Although 70 UK HE providers have TNE operations in Greece, 5 account for 60% of provision. 

However, the vast majority of UK TNE partnerships in Greece are with licensed colleges without degree-awarding powers. This system offers options to students who cannot access the state system or travel overseas to study, but the state university sector has at times been openly hostile to what they consider a shadow higher education system. One of the themes that we will look at is whether Brexit makes a difference to the future of this ‘shadow’ system.

It is not too late to apply to join the Virtual Study Tour if you are an AUA member, or if you are about to join the Association.  We have already appointed two experienced co-leaders and there are six other team members who have had their applications accepted.  Four of the six were part of the group that reported on British involvement with Joint Institutes in China following the first AUA Virtual Study Tour.


Opening Session / Setting the Context,   https://youtu.be/MQZCnMf0AKk

Dual and Joint Degrees,  https://youtu.be/bcERMZ5eSCE

Research collaborations,  https://youtu.be/bqoEiCuAhqM

Summer and Short Courses and Closing Remarks, https://youtu.be/vm8WXKEHLVg

The previous Virtual Study Tour was a learning experience for all of us.  With a common objective of discovery, and a commitment to shared professional learning, we knocked on some virtual doors and found a great welcome. Our Association is held in high regard.  This means that, as a team, we can get to places and talk to people who might not give time to individuals.  We also found that enthusiasm for the subject was the main quality needed to benefit.  Several team members knew very little about the subject before the start.  All that is needed is the confidence to ask some questions and a readiness to reflect on the answers.

A Study Group like this operates by initially taking stock of the resources of the group.  The China group began by making a collective effort to level to share experience and understandings.  Those who know a bit more about the subject will help those with less experience.  At this stage of educating ourselves we invite some external experts to help us.

The second stage is to decide on some themes that are of interest to the group and to consider how best to examine the themes.  Then we put a programme together.  It can take three months to complete the tour.  Not everyone participates in everything,  but everybody must show commitment to making the project work.

Because we operate using Teams, we can be flexible.  Last time the sessions were recorded so that colleagues who were unable to attend particular meetings of interest could catch up in their own time.  We can also be flexible on the size of the Study Group.  We already know that we have a fully viable group, but we also know that we could operate with a group that is twice the size. 

While we have reached our minimum recruitment numbers from the applications we have received so far, we wanted to provide the opportunity for more people to apply before we begin to assess applications for participants. This is why we have extended the closing date for applications.

I’m interested! How do I apply?

We invite AUA members, and others, to express interest in joining the tour. 

There is no requirement to have any experience of international partnerships.

Why don’t you give it a try?  Please write to me to let me know if your are interested via d.law@keele.ac.uk.

To apply, please complete the form here.

Our co-leaders are Samantha Heffernen (QMUL) and Helen Duell (Edge Hill University).

If you would like advice about what it was like last time you can contact Emma Marku, University of Kent (e.l.marku@kent.ac.uk), or Janine Melvin, Liverpool John Moores University (j.m.melvin@ljmu.ac.uk).  Both have agreed to answer emails or to talk with colleagues.  They will both be members of the Greek team. 

Find out more about previous study tours.