I’m delighted to join UKCISA as Chief Executive. It’s a privilege to join such a successful and valued organisation, with a mission that inspires and motivates me. In my roles at Universities UK and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, I’ve interacted with UKCISA at several levels - as member, partner, even conference presenter - but I’m thrilled to finally get the insider’s perspective on the importance of UKCISA’s services to international students and the UK education sector.
I have always admired the quality and breadth of UKCISA’s membership services, but it’s even more impressive to see the work of my team up close.
My very best wishes to Dominic in his retirement. He has left me a highly respected and influential organisation, with a talented and committed team. And of course, it’s a fascinating time to lead UKCISA. The Immigration White Paper and recently launched International Education Strategy provide opportunities for the sector, and a wealth of recent research clearly demonstrates how international students both benefit and contribute to the UK. All of this translates into a genuinely positive message for students considering the UK as a study destination. Of course, the continued uncertainty around Brexit poses a significant challenge for the sector, and impacts on the information we can provide to EU students.
But what is assured is that all international students are welcome in the UK and that we want to provide the best possible experience for them while they are here. And it’s obvious to me, after just a few days in the role, that the sector is united and working collectively to amplify that message, both in the UK and overseas.
It’s clear from the conversations I’ve had this week with several members that our advice and support is invaluable. My priority as Chief Executive is to build on our excellent reputation, raising our profile and demonstrating our impact at sector and policy level, to ensure we are seen as the sector representative for all issues affecting international students, their families, and individuals and organisations who work to support and advise them. I’m also eager to work with my team to explore innovative technologies and delivery mechanisms to enable us to reach all those who need our advice and guidance in a cost effective way. I’ll work collaboratively with other sector organisations to ensure that UKCISA continues to deliver a high quality service to its members, using its expertise and experience to provide comprehensive advice and guidance (and persuasive arguments for those who are yet to be convinced!)
I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the next few months. I hope to get out to visit many of our members across the UK, to better understand how you benefit from our services, and how UKCISA can support you and your institutions. And of course, I hope to see as many of you as possible at our Annual Conference at Keele University in July. I can’t promise any legendary dance moves, though…
Please do feel free to get in touch, introduce yourselves and share any feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below.