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A Guide to Offshore Staffing Strategies for UK Universities

Fielden, J. & Gillard, E. A Guide to Offshore Staffing Strategies for UK Universities. UK Higher Education International Europe Unit, London, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-84036-244-2. Pages: 48.

With the ever-increasing number of students enrolled in trans-national universities, this latest publication from the UK Higher Education International Europe Unit, a London-based organisation, offers an in-depth look into the critical and shifting role of institutional offshore staff (e.g. faculty and administrators).

The report focuses on nine case studies of British, Australian and American higher education institutions with branch campuses in Australia, Bangladesh, China, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. Furthermore, it examines key questions such as:

  • Where are institutional human resource decisions being made (i.e. at the home campus and/or offshore campus)?
  • Which types of incentives (i.e. benefits) are offered to staff who agree to move and work offshore?
  • How do institutions train offshore staff to ensure the same level and quality of education (e.g. teaching, research, student support, learning outcomes, etc.) as the home university?
  • How do trans-national institutions overcome operational barriers (e.g. immigration, visa and legal issues) for their offshore staff?
  • How well are institutions integrating relocated and local (i.e. nationals from the location of the branch campus) staff to form an optimal working environment?
  • How are institutions further responding to the broadening dimension of internationalisation? Moreover, how are these institutions attracting multi-nationals from outside the home and branch-campus countries?
Additionally, the report asserts that the overarching aim of quality in trans-national education requires increased funding and patience. The authors point specifically to the fact that it takes time and commitment to develop the same level of infrastructure and institutional capacity abroad as is found at home universities. Acquiring third party funding with the help of external partners is another important issue for consideration..

UK Higher Education International Europe Unit