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Sessions F

Sessions F - Friday 30 June, 9.45-10.45am

F1 Working and communicating effectively with Chinese students

Category: Student experience

This practical, interactive session is designed for anyone who wants to get a better insight into Chinese culture and to have a greater understanding of Chinese students. It will also show you how to use different Chinese social media platforms to engage with Chinese students prior to their arrival, and give a taste of Mandarin Chinese. It will cover a few basics about the Chinese education system, and highlight the differences between university life in China and the UK. The session will also touch on the issue of culture shock and the challenges Chinese students may face during their transition to life in UK universities as well as communication issues that can arise when working with Chinese students and colleagues. Finally, a short, fun Mandarin lesson will help you to greet your Chinese students and introduce yourself in Mandarin. You will have an opportunity to learn and practice the pronunciation of 20 most common used Chinese names. You will have learnt some useful words and phrases in Mandarin too.

Presenter:  Vicky Li, International Student Adviser, City, University of London

Vicky has been co-designing and co-delivering cross cultural and Chinese culture training to staff in a number of universities in the UK since 2010. She has an in-depth and current knowledge of China, Chinese cultures and Chinese students, as well as an international experience of living, studying and working in a different cultural context. She has studied and worked in China, UK and US. Vicky has completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the UK where she started her journey as an international student and as such experienced different stages of student life in a new culture and environment and its related challenges. She has been working in HE (in China and UK) for over 10 years. Her personal interest in culture and language has led her to become a qualified Chinese language teacher in the UK in 2008.

F2 Making internationalisation real?

Category: Student experience

With the increasing number of international students on the campus, the drive for comprehensive internationalisation is becoming an essential component of our universities' agendas.

Coventry University has implemented the whole institutional approach to internationalisation with the aim to provide all students with international experience across all levels of study.

The internationalisation provision is wide reaching and ranges from traditional mobility to specialised projects involving global leadership, intercultural competence, work experience and languages training.

This session aims to share and reflect upon the experience of Coventry University and to provide best practice examples. The audience participants are encouraged to engage in lively discussion about the role of international students in the internationalisation agenda and enhancement of their student experience.

Presenters:  Albina Szeles, Intercultural Engagement Manager, Coventry University; Alun DeWinter, Intercultural Engagement Manager, Coventry University; Suzanna Tomassi, Acting Deputy Director at the Centre For Global Engagement (CGE), Coventry University  

Albina Szeles is currently an Intercultural Engagement Manager at Coventry University, the UK where she is responsible for cultural education programmes for both students and staff including experiential University-wide intercultural training. In addition, she also supports the Internationalisation of the Curriculum agenda and Online International Learning across the University.

Since arriving at the Coventry University, she has played the key role in the Internationalisation Agenda including the development of new collaborative partnerships, student and staff mobility, visiting scholars programme, summer schools and other commercial international programmes.

Prior to starting her career in higher education Albina obtained bachelor and several master degrees from top Universities based in the Italy, France, Russia and the UK. As a ‘global graduate’ and Higher Education practitioner Albina is a strong advocate of intercultural preparation and importance of intercultural competence development for both students and staff.

Mr Alun DeWinter is the Intercultural Engagement Manager at the Centre for Global Engagement at Coventry University. Alun is the programme manager for the Global Researchers Programme (GRP), which aims to support postgraduate research students in achieving internationalisation and gaining intercultural competences. Having completed its pilot year, the GRP has successfully assisted a significant number of Coventry University research students in mobility and in presenting papers at overseas conferences. Alun has spent 10 years within the Higher Education sector and has recently co-authored a book chapter (under the name of Alun Evans) titled 'Linking attainment to interculturalism and global citizenship' in Steventon, G., Cureton, D. and Clouder, L. (eds) (2016) Student Attainment in Higher Education: Issues, controversies and debates, Abingdon: Routledge. He also has an upcoming publication titled ‘The Benefits and Challenges of Embedding Intercultural Competencies into the Postgraduate Research Provision’, with publication details forthcoming.

Dr Suzanna Tomassi is Acting Deputy Director at the Centre For Global Engagement (CGE) at Coventry University in the UK. In 2015-16 alone CGE supported approximately 12,000 students to engage in internationalisation worldwide, from language classes, studying or working abroad, international fieldtrips leadership and research development to cultural workshops, Summer Schools, and work experience in the UK.

Suzanna has been working within the HE sector for many years. Over this time she was promoted through a number of different jobs at three different universities. She spent 11 years in business development, working with international partners, setting up and successfully managing collaborative provision.

Suzanna is passionate about the HE sector and this made her complete an MBA programme in HE Management (Institute of Education, University College London) while her PhD focused on HE and regional development.

F3 Housing guarantors schemes – a partnership approach with universities Cancelled


F4 Right to study checks: using technology to meet our UKVI requirements whilst limiting the impact on the student experience

Category: Immigration compliance

Right to Study checks have now become part of the standard procedures for Tier 4 sponsors to remain compliant. In September 2016 Anglia Ruskin scanned ID/Evidence of their RTS for every student (International & home/EU) registering on campus. Using Document Readers provided by Validate in liaison with our student management systems our objective was to collect the documents without negatively impacting on 'Welcome' and provide an equitable experience for all our students. This presentation will cover the background on how we delivered this project from getting senior management buy-in/ sign off in July 2016 for delivery in September, the technical and logistical aspects and the lessons learned. We plan to share processes with the room and facilitate the exchange of best practice ideas on how Tier 4 sponsors implement and monitor Right to Study.

Presenters:  Caroline Shanahan, Head International Student Advice Service, Anglia Ruskin University; Alex Lock, Compliance Officer, Anglia Ruskin University 

Caroline is the Head of International Student Advice Service with over 20 years experience of working with international students. She initially started her career recruiting international students before moving onto a wider support role and leads on the delivery of orientation/welcome activities, international student engagement and managing the international advice service at ARU.

Alex has worked as a Compliance Officer within Anglia Ruskin University since 2014. Alex is responsible for the data integrity and projects relating to all students subject to immigration control as well as Tier 4 Attendance Monitoring. Within the Compliance team and using his IT background he has led on the operational aspects of the Right to Study project primarily the construction of processes and procedures and future developments linking to our student records system. Alex is a member of the Immigration Compliance Network (South East) and is currently based at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge Campus.

F5 Reducing your refusal rate without breaking the bank

Category: Immigration compliance

Institutions face pressure to ensure they remain compliant and to reduce refusals rates. Yet they are under increasing pressure to save money. Is it possible to reduce your refusal rate within the confines of existing resources, and without placing additional burdens of already overworked staff?

I will explain the challenges we faced, the measures that were taken, and the resulting significant reduction of our refusal rate. This session will also give colleagues the opportunity to share their experience of how they are addressing the issue of refusal rates.

By the end of the session I hope colleagues will be able to take away some practical, cost neutral or affordable strategies, with the aim of helping reduce their refusal rates.

Presenter:  Christina Peters, Head Of International Student Support & Tier 4 Compliance, University Of Hertfordshire    

Christina has gained nearly 20 years’ experience in international student support through her work at three UK institutions. She has worked in HE and the private sector and has been Head of International Student Support at the University of Hertfordshire since 2004.

In her current role, she is responsible for the management of the International Student Support Team. In 2014, she was given additional responsibility for the management of the Tier 4 Compliance Team.

Christina has a particular interest in staff training and development, to ensure a university-wide understanding of immigration compliance and coordinate a cohesive strategy for the reduction of refusal rates.

F6 Putting the fun in cultural awareness training

Category: Staff support

Have you ever dreaded going to mandatory training? Have you had to deliver that training and dreaded it? Was it to a mixed audience of staff and/or to students? In a post Brexit environment I believe Cultural Awareness training is more important than ever to ensure our institutions are informed and welcoming to all students and staff and yet this topic can be seen as controversial and confrontational by some participants. In this workshop we will explore some strategies for putting the fun into training that could be seen as boring/not relevant/condescending. We will also look at how to ensure the whole audience is engaged and that it leads to positive experiences.

Presenter:  Sue O'hara, Student Support Officer: Transition And Integration, University Of Exeter    

Sue has worked in International Student Support at the University of Exeter for over 10 years. During that time she has delivered training to staff, existing students and new students. She is passionate about devising training that is not only relevant but interesting and fun.

F7 Nottingham PG Certificate in international student advice and support

Category: Further education, Staff support, Students' Union

Join Max Biddulph from the University of Nottingham and current and past students of the PG Certificate for a taster and information session. Find out more about the programme: How is it organised? What topics are covered? What will you gain from the qualification? This is an opportunity to ask questions directly to the programme leader and students who have already embarked on the course

Presenter:  Max Biddulph, Associate Professor in Education and Counselling, University of Nottingham

Dr Max Biddulph is based in the School of Education at The University of Nottingham and is the programme leader for the PG Cert In International Student Advice and Support. Max has more than thirty years experience working in Education across the secondary and higher education sectors, working with international students both in the UK and the Far East.

F8 Net migration numbers in the UK: reality check

Category: Immigration, Students' Union

In the years of Conservative government and since the EU referendum the topic of immigration in the UK became increasingly more discussed and covered by the mainstream media. One of the most prominent promises of the Tory government is to bring down the net migration and reduce immigration into the UK. However, how is the net migration calculated? What definition is used to define a migrant? How is the Home Office monitoring the amount of people coming in and going out of the country? Are the numbers widely reported in the news outlets and quoted by politicians the reality?

This sessions aims at explaining how the net migration is calculated, what statistical information and definitions are used by the Home Office and how it affects certain groups of migrants, specifically students. Anyone interested in finding out the answers to the above listed questions is welcome.

Presenters:  Magda Janiszewska, Student Adviser, University Of The Arts London; Paul Rossi, Head of Student Advice and Funding, University Of The Arts London   

Magda Janiszewska has previously worked for the Refugee Council in a number of client-facing roles. Currently working at the University of the Arts London as a Student Adviser and attending a part-time MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development at SOAS.

Paul Rossi is Head of Student Advice and Funding at the University of the Arts London. He has worked in international student support provision for 20 years, both in Further and Higher Education.

F9 Job creators, not job takers: cultivating student entrepreneurs

Category: Student experience

International Entrepreneurs is a bespoke enterprise programme for international students at the University of Sheffield. It develops their entrepreneurial skills, enabling them to apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Visa to set up a business in the UK (supported by the University), or back in their home country.

Due to increasingly strict visa regulations, universities across the UK often do not engage with international students in regards to enterprise, this not only impacts the student’s experience of studying in the UK, but also means the economy loses out on some fantastic business and innovation ideas. The International Entrepreneurs Programme will contribute to correcting this, and allow innovative ideas to flourish on our university campuses.

The session will provide delegates with a toolkit to implement similar programmes within their own universities. It will also outline what we have learnt from the pilot and changes we intend to make for future iterations.

Presenters:  Rishabh Kumar, International Student Intern, The University of Sheffield; Mark Collier, Head of International Student Support, The University of Sheffield   

Rishabh Kumar is a final year economics students from Pune, India. Passionate about student representation, Rishabh has been elected to the position of Economics Councillor for the Students' Union, Vice Chair of the BME committee, Chair of the LGBT society, and as the NUS delegate to the national LGBT conference. As an intern at USE he developed Liberating Potential: a programme to engage with students from groups that are unrepresented in enterprise (BME, LGBT, Disabled and Dyslexic and Women). Following the success of this programme he identified a need for an enterprise programme that specifically dealt with the needs of International Entrepreneurs, taking into account cultural differences and the challenges of the immigration system. From this he developed the International Entrepreneurs Programme.

Mark Collier has been working at the University of Sheffield since August 2012 as Head of International Student Support. The team is responsible for immigration advice, PBS policy development, and orientation & integration activities. Mark was elected to the UKCISA Board of Trustees in June 2015.

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