The University’s Governing Council approved our new International Strategy a year ago, which focuses on developing mutually beneficial collaborations and working closely with educational institutions and businesses around the world.
Since then, we have seen a significant improvement in our international recruitment performance – including over 3,000 international applications last year, our first students graduating from HELP University in Kuala Lumpur in April and our first Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) Global cohort joining us in September. We have also enhanced our in-country engagement, and developed initiatives to further internationalise the student experience at Derby.
Sustainable student recruitment
We have established Outreach Support Centres in China and India to support recruitment and partnership development activities. In October, eight senior University representatives travelled to China to open the support centre and visit potential partners, government agencies and agents. We are also using short-term courses in key regions overseas to raise awareness of the University internationally, while our summer school initiative allows us to establish our collaborative partners’ students as both Derby ambassadors and a potential recruitment base. New Global Regional Engagement Groups bring together those with particular regional expertise from across our Colleges, enabling us to develop a platform to promote further international activity. Groups for China, South East Asia, Africa and Japan have already been set up.
International student experience
We are committed to enhancing the quality of the student experience by providing an internationalised curriculum and by offering study, work and volunteering opportunities overseas. Our International Student Experience Group was set up in November 2017, made up of a mix of academics and directorates. The group is so far working towards:
- Improving the graduate employability of international students
- Embedding good practice in building an integrated community
- Supporting progression between different stages and awards
- Establishing a hardship fund for international students
A new Student Experience Framework aims to globalise our students’ outlook, from overseas travel to in-programme placements. A successful pilot in January saw 40 students visit Iceland, supported through the International Travel Awards scheme and led by the Student Experience team. Two further visits have since taken place to the USA and Hungary.
New Derby English Language Centre
We have established a new Derby English Language Centre, which brings together all of our English language courses under the banner of the Institute of Education. The Centre’s provision, aimed at improving international students’ English language skills within an academic environment, will be delivered both at Derby and overseas, laying an essential pipeline for overseas students to progress to our degree programmes.
International collaboration and research
This year, Derbyshire and Toyota City celebrate the 20th anniversary of their twinning agreement. The initiative supports our International Strategy by giving us a platform to enhance our profile in Japan with businesses and universities in and around the Toyota City area. Activities include cultural exchanges; a joint research project with a Japanese university focusing on nature connectedness and nature networks; opportunities relating to sports, with the city hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup; and collaborations in motorsport for student grand prix and race car design through joint student projects.
We are proud to have strong academic partnerships with institutions across the globe. Our academics are collaborating with international colleagues on a wide range of research projects and exchange schemes, including:
- Dr Katy Chamberlin, Lecturer in Geoscience, is working with Tokyo’s National Museum of Nature and Science, and the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology, investigating the role of magma mixing in assembling and triggering volcanic eruptions. Dr Chamberlin, with the support of University funding for Early Career Researchers, visited Japan in the summer to undertake field work.
- Continuing our long-standing collaboration with Rutgers University in New Jersey, Professor Ashiq Anjum visited the Rutgers Discovery Institute – a leading centre for research in data science and high-performance computing. Professor Ashiq played a key role in a jointly published paper with Rutgers on Clusters, Clouds and Grid Computing.
- A collaborative exchange took place in early March between our Business Management students, and our partners in Barcelona and Athens. Students were able to experience the same programme but taught in different countries over a two-week period. The scheme was a huge success and it is anticipated it will be continued in the next academic year.
- Professor Paul Lynch, from our School of Environmental Science, has been supervising two PhD students at the Universiti Putra Malaysia on the use of plant cryopreservation to conserve medicinally significant herbaceous plant species. Both students have completed their PhD vivas and are now working with their supervisors to publish their research findings.