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Sessions A

Sessions A - Wednesday 28 June,  3.15-4.15pm

A1 Exploring the use of ‘WeChat’ as a social media tool to engage Chinese students

Category: General interest, UKCISA funded project/research

This presentation will focus on the approach, findings and impact of the project funded by UKCISA. The project aims to promote the International Student Support services available at The University of Sheffield for our Chinese students, with a special focus on immigration, integration and careers service, through one of the most popular social media tools - ‘WeChat’ (‘Weixin’ in Chinese). It will provide an insight in ‘WeChat’ as a new channel to communicate with Chinese students.

There will be a live demonstration on how the WeChat platform operates and how to publish a post on WeChat. There will also be an opportunity for audience to take part in an interactive session on WeChat. Audience are encouraged to bring their smart phone/mobile device to attend the session.

Target Audience: Professional service staff working with international students and those with an interest in developing new way to communicate and engage Chinese/international students.

Presenters:  Fang Zheng, International Student Adviser, The University Of Sheffield; Yiyun Ling, Sheffield China Gateway Scheme Coordinator, The University Of Sheffield

Fang works as an International Student Adviser at the University of Sheffield. Her primary role is to provide immigration advice to International students studying with Tier 4 student visa. She also has a strong interest in working with International students in non-immigration areas and providing support for enhancing the international student experience.

Ling works as Sheffield China Gateway Scheme Coordinator at the Careers Service, the University of Sheffield. The scheme is to match Chinese speaking students at the University of Sheffield with UK businesses that are developing trading links with China, by the provision of placement opportunities with such businesses. It provides the businesses with language and culture skills, improves students employability skills, and most of all enhances UK - China mutual economic benefits in the long term through alumni relationship development.

A2 GradLink UK: how UWE Bristol's award-winning careers site can help your international students to compete effectively in the global graduate job market

Category: Student experience

GradLink (www.gradlinkUK.com) is a specialist careers site for international students studying in the UK. The website, produced by the University of the West of England, has a global network of over 400 overseas employers, and has been used by thousands of international students from over 100 UK universities. GradLink has been shortlisted for five major awards in three years (including winner of the Times Higher Award).

Development of the GradLink site has involved travelling to work closely with graduate employers across Asia, Africa and America. This has provided a unique insight into what global employers really look for in UK graduates, and how international students should be selling their UK education overseas.

This session will present some of these key findings of this work. It will also explain how international students at your university can benefit from the GradLink site, and how your staff can use it in their work.

Presenter:  David Gee, Head Of Global Employability; Founder of GradLink UK, University Of The West Of England, Bristol    

David is Head of Global Employability at UWE Bristol and Founder of GradLink UK, the awardwinning careers site for international students. David has travelled extensively to work with graduate employers and organisations across the globe for the development of the GradLink site, and he has built a very strong understanding of overseas graduate job markets. David has contributed to government research reports and national newspaper articles on global employability. He has also spoken at numerous key conferences in the UK and overseas.

A3 Advice work on Planet SID

Category: Immigration compliance

This session reflects on how International Student Advice work at Exeter has changed since the introduction of the Student Information Desk (SID) 5 years ago. We will be demonstrating the system’s functionality from diary management to casenotes, correspondence and document storage. We explore how to achieve OISC compliance and provide a smooth service on an online platform. We will also explore how the one-stop-shop idea has evolved over time and how this has affected the various services it frontlines, International Student Support being just one of them.

Presenters:  Suzanne Aburagheb, International Student Support Team Leader, University Of Exeter; Laura Shepherd, International Student Adviser, University Of Exeter   

Suzanne and Laura are International Student Advisers at the University of Exeter. Suzanne has worked on campus since 2007 in a wide range of roles involving different aspects of the international student journey from recruitment to programme administration but mostly immigration advice. In her current role she is responsible for the implementation of immigration policy and process within the International Student Support Office and manages the advisers and support staff within the team.

Laura has over 16 years in the advice world under her belt, in wide ranging roles at universities and in the voluntary sector. She is an experienced trainer on advice work topics and currently copresents the Cultural Awareness training for staff at the University. Laura is passionate about developing quality services that exceed the expectations of the international student community.

A4 Alumni and international students

Category: General interest

This session discusses the benefits of international teams, registry and alumni offices working together to support and build lifelong relationships with students and alumni. The session will cover the challenges to collaborative working and how these challenges can be overcome. We draw on the experience of a previous UKCISA Pilot Project to use international alumni to aid pre-departure support for international students to improve satisfaction and performance. We talk about the benefits of participating in the British Council Alumni Awards, including case studies and examples of different ways universities have used their involvement to enhance student recruitment and support. We discuss ways to demonstrate the value of international students and alumni to an institution, the higher education sector and the UK as a whole and why it is important for HE to invest in this.

Presenters:  Bryony Inge, Alumni Campaign Manager, British Council; Alice Perry, Head of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine   

Bryony Inge Bryony is Alumni Campaign Manager at the British Council. She manages the Alumni Awards, an awards scheme that celebrates UK universities' outstanding alumni and how they've used their UK education to make a positive difference to their community, society and countries around the world, Bryony has worked at the British Council for ten years on a number of large-scale programmes.

Alice Perry Alice is Head of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Alice has worked in Alumni Relations for over 10 years. Prior to joining the School, Alice was Deputy Head of Alumni and Development at University of London International Programmes. Alice has worked closely with colleagues in higher education international marketing and student recruitment throughout her professional career. At the School Alice successfully applied to run a prestigious Prime Minister’s Initiative Pilot Project to explore ways involve international alumni in pre-departure support and establish best practice for the sector.

A5 AISA - you're not alone - how to network online and at regional meetings to share best practice with other advisers

Category: General interest

Do you wish you could communicate with other advisers and share good practices? If you are a member of AISA you can! Come to this interactive session to find out more about the benefits of being an AISA member and how you can use our new LinkedIn group to share resources and ideas. If you prefer face to face networking you can find out about our regional networking groups that take place twice a year. We would like to hear your ideas about how we could improve networking opportunies and on-line presence. This session is for AISA members and non members.

Presenters:  Sally Saca, Head Of International Student Advice Team/AISA chair, Oxford Brookes University; Sarah Sherwin, International Student Adviser/AISA Secretary, University of Bristol   

Sally is Head of International Student Advice Team at Oxford Brookes University and is repsonisble for advice, compliance and the international student welcome and social programmes. Sally has worked at Brookes for 9 years having previously worked in similar roles supporting international students at the University of Bath and the University of Sussex. She has been a member of the AISA Executive for 3 years and in currently one of the Joint Chairs.

Sarah is an International Student Adviser at the University of Bristol. She works within the International Student Visa Advice and Compliance team. Sarah has worked at Bristol for 9 years having previously worked as an adviser in both FE and HE since 1999. Sarah has also worked in education as a student financial adviser and housing adviser. Sarah has been a member of AISA Executive for 3 years and is currently the AISA Secretary.

A6 The changing landscape of international education – using data insights to understand student perceptions and expectations

Category: General interest

In an increasingly volatile world the UK is facing intense competition to recruit and maintain its market share of international students. At the same time students and parents have become even more discerning, with their needs and expectations evolving rapidly, presenting a real challenge for staff that work in international student support services. This session will share with attendees the latest online search and enquiry trends from Hotcourses as well as the findings from IDP’s most recent annual student buying behaviour study. This will help to foster greater understanding of emerging patterns of demand in key overseas markets and also demonstrate how the UK is perceived in terms of key attributes such as safety, visa accessibility, affordability and graduate employability in comparison to other study destinations.

Presenters:  Petra Vahalova, Marketing Officer, IDP Education; Aaron Porter, Director Of Insights, Hotcourses Group

Petra has been part of the IDP team since 2011. In addition to her current role within the Marketing Team, where she is involved in both internal and external communications, she has enjoyed roles within the Client Relationship Team as well as a six-month secondment to Bangkok as the UK Destination Manager for South East Asia. Prior to IDP, Petra worked in educational tourism, sales and marketing.

Aaron Porter is the Director of Insights for the Hotcourses Group. He works extensively across the higher education sector, both domestically and internationally. A previous President of the National Union of Students (NUS), he has also served on the board of HEFCE, UCAS, the Higher Education Academy and the European Students' Union.

A7 The virtual diary - from induction to acculturation

Category: Student experience

The Virtual Diary project involved the newly arriving international students creating online video diaries that communicated their journey to Manchester. The video documents the whole process from when they decided to study their subject and the reasons they chose to come to the UK, not just the physical journey. The aim of this induction project was to help international students to understand and adapt towards their new learning culture. It was embedded with support structures and facilitated activities to aid acculturation and Peer Mentors to facilitate sessions.

The presentation will talk you through the project and include first hand feedback from students, actual video diaries, best practice that came out of the research and will look at how this induction process can be adapted and translated in other contexts.

Presenters:  Janine Goldsworthy, International Student Experience Tutor, Manchester School Of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University; Alan Holmes, International Director, Manchester School Of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University   

Janine Goldsworthy is International Student Experience Tutor in Manchester School of Art. Janine has worked for three years developing research projects to aid acculturation and internationalisation of the curriculum in the school of art, working directly with international students from arrival to graduation both BA and MA. Janine teaches on the MA Professional Platforms module and has taught for two years on the International Art and Design Foundation. Janine is a practicing Fine Artist and Director of Ny Space Gallery in Manchester and has recently returned from residencies and exhibitions in China and the Netherlands.

Alan Holmes is the International Director for Manchester School of Art, responsible for implementing the faculty’s strategy on International work which includes international recruitment, developing relationships with partner institutes and leading on internationalisation of the Art School curriculum.

A8 Social and interactive activities for international Students - a joint presentation by the University of York and Oxford Brookes University

Category: Student experience

The University of York will outline their Winter Hosting programme, which matches international students alone at Christmas with members of staff and the local community and provides students with an insight into a traditional British Christmas. Oxford Brookes will discuss their social activities aimed to give to the students a bigger role in their social programme, i.e. not just simply attending but having an active role. Some of the most popular activities are: the International Students’ Quiz, Global Buddies' social meetings, weekend trips and the Languages Cafe.

Presenters:  Alison Learwood, Immigration & International Support Adviser, University Of York; Louise Saunderson, Immigration & International Support Manager, University Of York; Laura Granda-Mateu, International Student Administrator/ Event Coordinator, Oxford Brookes University; Stephen Davies, International Student Adviser, Oxford Brookes University

Alison has worked as an Immigration & International Support adviser for the last 9 years at the University of York. Previously she was a Civil Servant and was a Home Office Presenting Officer in Immigration appeal courts.

Louise has worked in the Education sector for many years, at a number of institutions. She has introduced a number of initiatives during her 8 years at the University of York and Winter Hosting is one that she is particulalry proud of, feeling that it has had a very positive impact on the student experience for the international student population.

Laura Granda-Mateu graduated in 2008 with a Master’s in History and Cultural Anthropology. Since then she has acquired a background in the field of cultural and social events management, working in different institutions and Not-for-profit organizations, in diverse countries such as Bulgaria, Mexico, Malta, Palestine.

Stephen Davies has been an international Student Adviser for over ten years and specialises in creating and using technological solutions.

A9 The OIA: our approach to reviewing complaints and cases involving international students

Category: Special interest

This session is aimed at staff who want to know more about the OIA and our procedures. Delegates will have the opportunity to develop their understanding of the role and remit of the OIA, to discover how the OIA looks at complaints and through the use of case studies, discuss common themes in complaints and appeals, particularly those relating to international students. There will be lots of opportunity to ask questions.

Presenters:  Alison Walker, Assistant Adjudicator, OIA; Claire Skelly, Assistant Adjudicator, OIA   

Alison joined the OIA in October 2013 as an Assistant Adjudicator working on a range of complex complaints across a variety of subject areas, including those involving international students. Alison has a background, in Higher Education administration, mainly specialising in academic quality and standards and academic appeals. Prior to joining the OIA she was an Assistant Registrar with responsibility for academic appeals and academic regulations at Kingston University. Over the previous 15 years she also worked at the University of West London, Royal Holloway University of London and the National Union of Students.

Claire has been an Assistant Adjudicator at the OIA since November 2015. At the OIA she works on a broad range of complex complaints across a variety of subject areas, including those involving international students. Prior to the OIA, Claire worked as an Investigator at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman where she was responsible for conducting investigations into complex complaints relating to NHS care and services.

A10 Enhancing the employability of UK-educated Chinese students

Category: Special interest

This session will share the outcomes of our research into Chinese student career planning; and illustrate how this research has been used to develop a suite of open access Pre-Arrival and Enterprise Education materials to enhance the employability of Chinese students.

The objectives are:

  • To provide a picture of the opportunities and challenges for UK-educated Chinese students (and other nationalities) to enter the Chinese labour market on graduation.
  • To share these sector-wide, open access Pre Arrival and Enterprise Education materials and online resources.
  • To look at how these resources can be further developed to support the UK sector.
  • To discuss the challenges and opportunities in supporting UK-educated Chinese students and what next steps we may wish to take as a sector.

This will be of interest to anyone with contact with UK-educated Chinese students; an interest in understanding more about the Chinese labour market and the attributes Chinese employers look for, mapped against Chinese students' career perspectives.

Presenter:  Esther De Perlaky, International Employer Liaison Manager, University Of Warwick 

Esther works as the International Employer Liaison Manger at the University of Warwick. During her four years in this role, Esther has focused on developing not only international graduate employer relationships but also initiating strategies to develop students' employability skills and knowledge. Over the past 18 months, Esther's particular focus has been on working, sector-wide, to enhance the employability of UK-educated Chinese students. Esther's work has encompassed managing UK and China research projects to better understand the perspectives of Chinese students, alumni and graduate employers. Esther is currently using this research to develop, through funding from the UK Government, a suite of resources for UK careers practitioners and UK-educated Chinese students to support and enhance employability outcomes.

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