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

In 2020, responding to the COVID-19 emergency, AUA took a decision to run its annual Study Tour as an online activity.  During 2021 we have considered how the pandemic has ebbed and flowed, how travel advice has often been changed, and the guidance given by government to universities.  Our decision is, for a second time, to operate online and run another Virtual Study Tour (VST).

This year we want to investigate the interactions between HE in Greece and in the UK.  The precise content of our enquiries will, as always, be determined by the members of the team but likely themes are:

• the potential for dual degree collaborations
• how Brexit makes a difference to the context of partnership
• strategic partnerships in education and research
• short-term student mobility and summer schools
• government policy and policy initiatives to encourage collaboration

Whilst the range of possible themes is broad, there will be a unifying connection coming from our common interest as members of the AUA.  Our interest is in how colleagues working in professional service functions can contribute to making international partnerships a success. 

Last year we were fortunate to have the assistance of colleagues working in the International Unit at UUK and experts from British Council.  This year, I am confident that we will receive similar support.

Colleagues may already know that in March there was a project launch for a major initiative run by the British Council Greece, the Greek Ministry of Education and the British Embassy in Greece.  This is designed to encourage close relationships between universities in Greece and in the UK.  Subsequent to the launch event, the British Council has worked hard to bring institutions together.  In particular, an online conference was held at the end of June. 


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

We found last year that those who participated in the China VST learnt a great deal both about a particular kind of transnational collaborative form (the Joint Education Institute) and about the development of higher education in China.  Our VST21 will be designed again to be valuable professional development.  In Asia, China is the biggest location for UK TNE; in Europe, the same can be said for Greece.

Colleagues who would like to find out more about VST20 are invited to read the report published by AUA.  Please use this link: https://ahep.ac.uk/aua-viritual-study-tour-report-tne/

We are now recruiting for the VST21 team and we are looking for colleagues who have an interest in the subject and expect to have time available to be active participants.  This is what the VST20 Report had to say about the commitment:

Inevitably some members of the VST put more time into this activity than others. All colleagues were advised at the start that it would probably take each individual 40 hours of work. The way we worked allowed for some variation in commitment but, to be sure, everybody played a very active.

Organising the meetings required significant administrative effort and we were fortunate that a colleague volunteered to be a Co-ordinator for the VST. We also appointed three individuals to be Team Leaders.

Our aim is to start the tour in September and to conclude before Christmas.  The report will be published in spring 2022.

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.

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.

If you are interested in joining the team, please complete the form here.

The initial phase of activity will be an internal discussion to consider the scope and structure of this project.  The Co-ordinator of the AUA’s International Higher Education Network will advise the team both about how we organised ourselves for VST20 and what areas of enquiry are likely to be particularly fruitful.

Requests for further information may be made to d.law@keele.ac.uk.

Find out more about previous study tours.