Day 1: Future challenges, concerns and opportunities, cream teas and trophies

Blog for members
29 June 2017
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We welcomed more than 390 delegates to UKCISA 2017 in Exeter yesterday. Always lovely to watch our delegates reconnect with old friends and make new contacts.

Our newcomers welcome was highly attended with a number of colleagues learning top tips and hearing from a few of us at UKCISA. Our Devonshire cream tea was enjoyed by many (with an overwhelming majority that cream should be first!) and a traditional British bbq (indoors due to torrential downpour) to reflect on the day’s events and meet more of UKCISAs network of members.

First plenary: challenges, concerns and opps for international  students

Chaired by Koen Lamberts, our opening plenary saw Lord Bilimoria give us a brief update on how the landscape (both political and public opinion) has changed over the last 12 months and reminded us just why international students are so important to the UK. He reiterated their importance in terms of soft power, economic value but also added the benefits of providing a wider cultural experience to UK students.

He said:

"While the UK may be divided in terms of Brexit, when it comes to international students there is unanimous consent." 

Second plenary: the future of international student mobility

Professor Sir Steve Smith welcomed us all to Exeter and shared his views on the future of international student mobility. He spoke passionately about how rankings are becoming more important for international students.

 "We know that rankings have a much more significant impact on international student recruitment in comparison to UK student recruitment."

Paul Webley Award for Innovation in Education

Manchester Metropolitan University was revealed to be the winner of the 2017 award for their research exploring the impact of recruitment strategies on international students’ experiences in the UK.

Nottingham Trent University was highly commended for their project engaging and encouraging international students and alumni to deliver STEM curriculum activities.

Edinburgh College was also highly commended for their work creating year-round volunteering opportunities for FE students.

You can read our overview of the awards ceremony. Well done to all, we’ve had some outstanding reports from our grants scheme this year. To find out details about how to apply for a grant next year to improve, explore or develop the international student experience visit our information page.

Jane Woodley is Web and Comms Manager at UKCISA. You can keep up-to-date with more conference news by following us on Twitter.