Summer time has come – but just before you go…….
I realise (or it seems) as if many colleagues (and most of government) have now escaped on leave but for those who are still ‘toiling in the vineyard’ just a few, brief points to cover.
UKCISA’s Annual Conference
Firstly to say once again many thanks to all those who came and especially to all those who presented at our Annual Conference last month. It was a jam packed programme with fascinating keynotes from our President Lord Bilimoria and Exeter’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir Steve Smith and it was really encouraging to hear him (a VC and former President of Universities UK) say:
I’d also like to say how much I admire UKCISA as an organisation and what it has achieved. It has worked tirelessly to lobby government on all the key issues, representing the sector in the widest sense. And in particular it has consistently lobbied the Home Office and UKVI on the potential impact of proposed policy changes on visas, and has of course worked closely with member organisations to raise awareness of all the key debates. So on behalf of Exeter and all your members, a huge thank you to UKCISA for everything you do to help us provide world-leading support to our international students, and crucially to continue to do all we can to attract bright minds from around the world to study in this country. It is an honour for us to be hosting your prestigious conference here in Exeter.
All the presentations which we received are now on the website for members to see and in next to no time it will be time to start to plan next year’s 50th anniversary conference – in Edinburgh (27 to 29 June) – do put dates in diaries now.
UKCISA’s grants programme
Secondly a final reminder that the deadline to apply for one of UKCISA’s grants is 5pm on Tuesday 1 August (i.e. early next week) so please do get any final proposals in by then.
We have arranged for two sets of assessors to look at either the ‘pilot project’ or ‘research’ bids and to rank them prior to a moderation meeting at the end of August and we therefore hope to be able to give colleagues news of which we can support early in September.
Professional Development workshops
We have, however, already now supported nearly 40 projects over the last couple of years and so, as a new initiative this year, we are planning a series of ‘UKCISA Professional Development workshops’ in Glasgow (probably November), Manchester and London to hear how and what some of these have achieved and how some of the latest ones are planning to improve some aspect of the international student experience. Each is likely to include a series of relatively quick-fire presentations on how student support has been improved and an opportunity for all to discuss possible ways on implementing similar schemes (or applying research conclusions) more widely.
And the good news is we have just decided to make these free of charge for all Primary Contacts (and possibly also for a nominee of a Primary Contact so that two colleagues from each member institution can come together) and hope to have dates and details by the end of next month.
Education Sector Forum
Finally I have also just done a ‘members only’ note of the latest meeting, last Friday, of the Home Office’s Education Sector Forum. This is quite a substantial report with much detail for those who like to keep up with such things but……… ending where I started, I doubt much real action or change before government reconvenes after the summer.
Best wishes to all
Dominic Scott, Dominic Scott, Chief Executive, UKCISA