The Internationalisation of Higher Education Research and Teaching

22 Nov 2016


On 22nd November 2016 at 3 - 5pm the British University in Dubai will host a lecture and seminar event

“The Internationalisation of Higher Education Research and Teaching:
What does it mean and where is it going?"

The event is open to all with an interest in higher education in the UAE – academics, students, administrative staff and leaders, and officials and organisations of Emirate and federal government.  It will be led by senior science and engineering professors from one of BUiD’s UK university partners:

  • Professor Stephen Flint, Associate Vice-Principal for Internationalisation and Professor, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, UK.
  • Professor Andrew Gale, Director of Professional Development Programmes, School of Mechanical, Aeronautical, and Construction Engineering, University of Manchester, UK.

It comprises a lecture followed by dialogue about the phenomenon of increased movement of students, academics, degree programmes, and universities beyond their national origins.  The event addresses the dilemmas and dynamics of internationalisation.


The global terrain of higher education is neither even nor equal.  Higher education is stratified by rankings of a global order that itself reflects historical patterns of economic and political dominance and inequality:

“As one of the key elements in the globalization of science, the research university is at the nexus of science, scholarship and the new knowledge economies. The research university educates the new generation of personnel needed for technological and intellectual leadership, develops the knowledge so necessary for modern science and scholarship, and serves as an element of worldwide communication and collaboration. All but a few research universities are located in the developed economies of the industrialised world” (Altbach, 2007: 112).

Universities set up operation in countries other than their own national setting.  Academics and students move countries in increasing numbers. Curricula change to include issues of transnational origin. Teaching and learning processes encourage analyses of contemporary problems from perspectives that encompass the varied cultural and ethnic origins of people of a single national setting. They also stimulate reflection on the different starting points, involvement, and implications of these contemporary problems across different nations.  However,

“the rationales, benefits, outcomes, actors, activities, and stakeholders of internationalisation … vary enormously across regions, nations, and from institution to institution. … There are countless examples of positive initiatives which illustrate how collaborative scholarship, cross-border education exchange, and campus-based internationalisation strategies contribute to the development of individuals, institutions, nations, and the world at large.  … Twenty-five years ago, could anyone have anticipated that international academic mobility for students, as well as scholars and professors, would have the potential to grow into a highly competitive multi-million dollar international recruitment business? … The original goal of helping developing country students to complete a degree in another country and then return home to contribute to national development is fading fast as nations compete in the twenty-first century brain race” (Knight, 2013: 84-5).

Globalisation is “a process in which basic social arrangements within and around the university become disembedded from their national context due to the intensification of transnational flows of people, information and resources” (Beerkens, 2004:13). Practices that expand higher education beyond national contexts include seeking income from international students or research funds, setting up international off shore operations - whether physical or virtural - including seeking the accreditation of a body of another nation for that operation. “In all these examples, HEIs’ space of operation is no longer congruent with the regulatory space of national government” (Marginson, 2006: online).

Altbach, P. (2007) Peripheries and Centres: Research Universities in Developing Countries. Higher Education Management and Policy (19)2, pp. 111-134)

Beerkens, H.J.J.G. (2004) Global Opportunities and Institutional Embeddedness: Higher Education Consortia in Europe and Southeast Asia. PhD Thesis, University of Twente. Sourced online 23/10/16:

Knight, J. (2013) The changing landscape of higher education internationalisation – for better or worse? Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education (17)3.

Marginson, S. (2006) Values and Globalisation, OECD. Sourced online 23/10/16:

Structure of the Event

Please arrive from 2.30pm. Refreshments will be available.

The event will start promptly at 3pm

Following the lecture participants will apply the issues to the particularities of the UAE context by taking part in prepared exercises.  They will be encouraged to debate possible  answers to these questions:

  • Are there different starting points, patterns, and needs for internationalisation in the UAE?
  • Are there unique trends, motivations, risks, and impacts of internationalisation in the UAE?

The event will close with concluding remarks at 5pm.

If you have any questions on registration, the organisation, and logistics to:

If you have any questions on the subject and the speakers: Dr Rachel Johnson, Registrar and COO, BUiD:


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