Paul Webley Award for Innovation in International Education winner announced

22 November 2018

(L-R) Jenna Mittelmeier,  the Open University (now moved to University of Manchester) and Suzanne Faulkner, University of Strathclyde.


Each year a panel selects from our pilot projects and research to celebrate innovation in international education with our Paul Webley Award. 

Highly commended: University of Strathclyde
Strathclyde ran a project Supporting the engagement and experience of international students in group-work activities.  

This project used Lego Serious Play (a thinking, communication and problem solving tool) to help overcome some of the  challenges faced by international students to engage in group work by building models with Lego to tell the story of their experience. This practical, hands-on technique offers a safe environment for students to discuss and share knowledge. 

At the end of the project, 60% of non-native speakers and 50% of native speakers agreed or somewhat agreed that “I was able to communicate more effectively in the LSP session when compared to normal group work settings.” 

Winner: Open University and University of Dundee
Open University and University of Dundee's research 'STRIDE: Social Transition Research into International Doctoral Experiences' examined international students’ social support networks as they transition to PhD study in the UK. 

The researchers found that social networks were invaluable sources of support for doctoral students at both institutions. In many instances, social support was key to ‘surviving and thriving’ during the doctoral experience.

The judges liked the mixed methods approach of longitudinal reflective diaries, social network analysis surveys (a way of visually mapping social networks) and interviews. They were particularly impressed with the blog written by students about their experience which has now reached over 3,500 readers from 68 countries. 

Jenna Mittelmeier,  the Open University (now moved to University of Manchester) and Suzanne Faulkner, University of Strathclyde were presented with their award and certificate by our President, Lord Bilimoria at our joint Enhancing the International Student Experience conference with UUK on 15 November.

The report offers eight practical recommendations for the sector based on the research.  

The full report of all 17 projects and research is about to go to print, members will be sent copies shortly. It will also be available on our website in early December. 

Read more about our grants scheme.