Making transatlantic HE connections at Imperial

Dr Camille Kandiko Howson, Associate Professor of Education

On 11 July 2019 the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship hosted a group of 24 Executive Doctoral students studying higher education management from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. The students are mid-career professionals who have full-time roles ranging from Assistant Provost & Director of University of Florida Online at the University of Florida to Senior Associate Dean of Technology-Intensive Education at Georgetown University and Legislative Director, Council of the District of Columbia, and undertake their doctoral studies at the same time.

The Executive Doctoral students had an introductory session with Vice Provost Professor Simone Buitendijk and Assistant Provost Alan Spivey and engaged in discussion about implementing the Learning and Teaching Strategy. The students were particularly interested in aspects of leading cultural change and funding and finance.

A dynamic panel discussion on Admissions, Widening Participation and Outreach followed with Catherine Eames, International Student Recruitment Manager, Andrew Tebbutt, Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach, Caz Ulley, Head of Student Recruitment and Marketing and Mel Williams, Director of Admissions and Student Support. Debate included the characteristics that were included under the ‘access and widening participation’ banner, how outreach and admissions teams work in parallel, and the Exec Doc students were surprised to learn about the multiple levels that Imperial engages with through its outreach activities.

Following lunch, staff from the Centre and the Educational Development Unit participated in an active research networking session, sharing topics of study, current projects and similarities and differences in the US and UK systems. Imperial research and teaching staff and doctoral students benefited from speaking about their current research and learn from fellow students. Contacts have already been made from the event and future collaborations are in discussion.

The day concluded with an invited session on UK HE Politics and Policy from Professor Andy Westwood, Vice Dean for Social Responsibility, Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester. There was lively discussion and debate about global challenges facing UK and US higher education, the challenges and opportunities for research intensive institutions such as Manchester and Imperial and ways that higher education can help foster connections across increasingly divided societies.

The visit highlights the leading role in evidence-based higher education research and scholarship that Imperial is investing in, and the global reach of the activity.