Last week in London, ACE convened a diverse group of eight U.S. faculty and administrators for CIGE Global Connections: U.K. Networking Intensive.
Jointly developed by ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE) and Universities UK International, the four-day program brought a select U.S. delegation to the United Kingdom and was designed to facilitate professional networking and collaboration between the participants and their U.K. counterparts.
Participants attended a conference organized by Universities UK; explored the U.K. higher education system in meetings with experts, including Universities UK staff, government representatives, and campus leaders; spent a day on a specially assigned U.K. campus; and networked with U.K. and U.S. colleagues and ACE staff.
Robin Matross Helms, director of CIGE, and Sean O'Connor, head of International Engagement (non-EU) at Universities UK, served as program leaders.
“Customized matching of U.S. delegates and U.K. host campuses was a key component of the program’s success,” Helms noted. “We took into account academic strengths, institution type, mutual interests, and various other factors in making the pairings. It was exciting to see our efforts pay off—as a result of the campus visits, every pair of institutions has already initiated at least one collaborative activity.”
Members of the group made connections based on individual roles, shared interest in international education, their academic disciplines, and as stakeholders in higher education. They represented multiple roles on campus, from provost to faculty member, which helped ensure engaging dialogue and a diverse experience.
In addition to concrete outcomes in terms of collaborations, participants gained a variety of other takeaways from their time in the United Kingdom, including:
- A broad and deep understanding of the U.K. policy environment. One participant remarked, “We read about these policies in the paper, but now we really understand them, and see how they impact campuses.”
- An understanding of key issues to address in U.S.-U.K. partnership development, such as term lengths, credit equivalencies, and funding.
- New insights on good practices for partnerships, such as using technology to broaden access.
In the coming year, CIGE will gather information from all the participants about the partnership activities they have already initiated, create a toolkit of relevant resources, and explore options for similar programming.
To read more about CIGE’s global partnerships, see here. To find out more about upcoming internationalization events or initiatives, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.