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Brussels, 19 March 2010

Taking care of the ‘brains’ - Principles and practice in international student support


In the increasing global competition for the best ‘brains’, the quality and attractiveness of an institution does no longer depend only on its academic, teaching and research standards: services to students have come to play an important role in the quality assessment – and thus attractiveness - of institutions. However, the development of English-taught programmes and increasing recruitment abroad do not always go hand in hand with the development of suitable and adequate services for international students, and several continental European universities seem to be lagging behind their competitors internationally. But what services should be available? Which of them are essential and which simply ‘nice to haves’? What do international students really need, and how can those needs be addressed within the institutional and national frameworks? What is the impact of all this on the attractiveness of an institution in the international higher education “market”?

This ACA seminar looked at the overall trends and presented models of good institutional and national practice in support for international students. It also present the main outcomes of a recent student survey run by ACA on the support needs of international students. The afternoon working groups enabled participants to discuss and share good practice in addressing some of the main problematic areas in welcoming and caring for international students. The seminar was open for all those involved in internationalisation of higher education, and targets especially institutional policy makers and management, as well as practitioners of internationalisation and/or student support.  


Thursday 18 March 2010


Seminar dinner at Il Pasticcio

Friday 19 March 2010


Registrations and coffee


Opening and welcome
Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA


Student support in Europe: an overview of developments and trends
Maria Kelo, ENATIS Project Coordinator


What do students need and what do they like? From essentials to ‘nice-to-haves’
Tim Rogers, Director, International Education Consultants UK
Stephne Du Rand, Jobs Team Coordinator, Erasmus Mundus Alumni Association 


Coffee break


The role of national level initiatives in enhancing international student support
Stephanie Knobloch, Division Communications and Marketing, DAAD

Dominic Scott, Chief Executive, UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) 


From individual responses to institutional strategy – adopting a  ‘whole institution approach’
Kristian Thorn, International Director, Aarhus University




Working groups:  How to do it? – Good practice in addressing problem areas


WG I: Information and communication: Talk so that students will listen, and listen so that students will talk
Tim Rogers
Dora Longoni, Politecnico di Milano


WG II: Avoiding ghettos: integration of international students into the academic community and surrounding environment 
Ursula Hans, Humboldt University in Berlin 
Stephne Du Rand
ChairPer Christian AndersenUniversity of Southern Denmark


WG III: Addressing needs at all levels – Training staff to be international 
Elspeth Jones, Dean Leslie Silver International Faculty, Leeds Metropolitan University
ChairMaria Kelo




Panel discussion: ‘To-do’s on student support and impact on institutional attractiveness
All speakers


Conclusions and end of seminar


Maria Kelo

Maria Kelo is a Programme Manager at the European University Association in Brussels since January 2010. Within the EUA she works in the Governance – Autonomy & Funding Unit, where she is in charge of the Autonomy Scorecard project. 

Maria was a Senior Officer at the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) from 2003 to 2009. At ACA she was responsible for the acquisition, development and implementation of several large scale projects and studies on internationalisation of higher education, as well as ACA events and public relations activities. Her main projects have regarded transnational education and international student support. Maria has also worked as researcher at the Eurydice Information Network and as trainee at the DG for Education and Culture of the European Commission. Maria has an MSc in Philosophy, Policy, and Social Value from the London School of Economics and a BA in Modern European Studies from the University College London. She has also studied at the Scuola Normale di Pisa.

Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers is the former Head of Student Recruitment & Admissions at the London School of Economics & Political Science.  With 16 years of experience in international student recruitment, university administration and management, educational marketing and press relations, Tim is regarded as a leading international education consultant.

Since establishing his own educational consultancy, International Education Consultants UK, in May 2003, Tim has developed a client list that includes Ministries of Education, institutions, companies and organisations in 17 countries.  His work has focused on a variety of issues, including institutional strategic development, international student recruitment strategies, the importance of brand building in the international education market, online education marketing, international league tables and the improvement of student services.

Tim provides commentary on all aspects of the internationalisation of education and student populations around the world and his views are widely published.  He is also currently a lecturer on the MA programme in Higher and Professional Education at London’s Institute of Education.

Stephne Du Rand

Stephne Du Rand is a member of the Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association (EMA) and the Coordinator of the EMA Jobs & Careers Team ( EMA currently represents over 5000 students and alumni of Erasmus Mundus courses. Stephne is an alumni of three universities herself, having graduated from an Erasmus Mundus double Masters course in Aeronautics and Space Technology (EuMAS). She studied in South Africa, Italy and France. Stephne lives in Hamburg, Germany, and works in parallel as Aerospace consultant for a project with Airbus.

Stephanie Knobloch

Stephanie Knobloch is head of unit “support for international students” at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), a non-governmental agency for international exchange and cooperation, operating with public (federal) funds. She is responsible for coordinating funding programmes for German HEI with the aim to enhance student support structures.

Prior to this position, she has worked for more than eight years in the department “Communication and Marketing” of the DAAD, holding different positions in the field of higher education and research marketing.

Dominic Scott

Dominic Scott OBE has been Chief Executive of the recently renamed UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA, formerly UKCOSA), since 2004. Prior to that he held a number of senior positions with the British Council including postings to Norway, Egypt and India where he was Director of Education Promotion from 1995-2000.  He is a member of the UK Border Agency’s Joint Education Taskforce (JET), the UCAS International Board, the British Accreditation Council, is Chair of the UK NARIC Advisory Council and was, until recently re-configured, a member of the Prime Minister’s Initiative (PMI) Strategy Group,.

UKCISA promotes the interests of international students and those who work with them.  It has over 500 institutional members including every university in the UK and the majority of further education colleges that are active internationally.  It liases with government and advises on all aspects of the international student experience including legislation, regulations and policy which relate to fee status, visas, immigration, employment and other rights, restrictions and entitlements.  It also now leads for the UK on the PMI ‘Student Experience’ strand.

Kristian Thorn

Kristian Thorn is the International Director at Aarhus University, Denmark. His responsibilities include international mobility of students and researchers, development of strategic partnerships and internationalization of education. Mr. Thorn has a background working for the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation focusing on research collaboration with China and the Danish Ministry of Finance with responsibility for public sector modernization. He worked for five years in the World Bank’s Human Development Department as an Education Specialist with responsibility for higher education and innovation projects in Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. Among other things Mr. Thorn has publications in the areas of accountability for results, international mobility of the highly skilled and the financing of tertiary education.

Dora Longoni

Dora has a Master of Arts in Modern Languages and Literature from the University of Milano, Italy. She has been working within the field of international relations for the Politecnico di Milano since 1996. She started as a Study Abroad Advisor for the International Relations Office of the School of Engineering, and then moved to head of the office for the promotion of EU cooperation programmes and coordinated several EU funded projects.

At present, Dora is Head of the International Projects Service, which has 17 staff members. The main task of the Service is the implementation of internationalisation policies of the Politecnico di Milano, with a special focus on international marketing of programmes and credential evaluation of foreign students, which has led to the setting up of a Marketing and promotion office and of an International Admissions Office in 2005.

Dora is a Board member of the EAIE Professional Section Management of Programmes in Lifelong Education (MOPILE) and has been a trainer in two successful editions of the EAIE training course “Implementing exchange programmes.”

Ursula Hans

Ursula was educated at the University of Bonn, Germany (in history, American Studies and Chinese) and got her post graduate degree at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (in culture studies). During her studies she spent two years overseas acquiring first hand participant knowledge of study abroad in the USA and on Taiwan. She started her career in the international office of the Universität Witten/Herdecke, Germany´s first private university, where she left to join the University of Goettingen to serve as their international research officer. Since 2006 she has been director of the international office of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where she has put an emphasis on counteracting the effects the changeover to the BA/MA structure has had on outgoing mobility.

Per Christian Andersen

Per Chr. Andersen has since 2000 been director of student affairs/registrar at the University of Southern Denmark.

In the eighties he was a driving force in developing international study programmes and implementing Erasmus in the Danish university sector. In this capacity he was one of the founding fathers of FEDORA, the European organization for guidance and counseling in European HE.

He has published or participated in a number of evaluations and studies on guidance and counseling and was the editor of The FEDORA Charter on Guidance and Counseling within the European Higher Education Area. He has also been on the advisory board at a number of European projects, among other the ENATIS project, conducted by ACA.

Per Chr. Andersen has also been working in the private sector for a number of years, holding senior positions in management, marketing, HR and communication. Per Chr. Andersen is a member of several professional organizations, boards and committees and is the chair of The Advisory Board  of the Danish Education Support Agency.

Elspeth Jones

Elspeth Jones is Professor of the Internationalisation of Higher Education and International Dean at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, where she is responsible for leading internationalisation across the University.  With a background in applied linguistics and TEFL, Elspeth has many years’ experience of international learning, teaching, assessment and cross-cultural issues. She worked in Japan and Singapore for seven years and was an exchange student in Germany.  Her output includes Internationalisation and the Student Voice (Routledge 2010), Internationalising Higher Education (edited with Sally Brown) (Routledge 2007) and Setting the Agenda for Languages in Higher Education (edited with David Head, Mike Kelly and Teresa Tinsley) (CILT, 2003). She has delivered keynote speeches around the world and authored a range of chapters and articles on comprehensive internationalisation.  Elspeth is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Studies in International Education. She initiated Leeds Met’s International Reflections webpage in September 2003 and edited it until June 2009.

Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), a consortium of European and global agencies which support international cooperation in higher education. ACA is a think-tank which promotes innovation and internationalisation in higher education. Bernd was born in Giessen (Germany) and studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany).  He lives in Brussels (Belgium) and is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

Bernd’s career has been focused on international higher education. In his first post, at the University of Kassel (Germany), he devised international degree programmes in cooperation with universities abroad. He later joined the British Council, before becoming the Director of the international office of the Fachhochschule Darmstadt. Moving on to Germany’s internationalisation agency DAAD, he became the head of this organisation’s European section. He subsequently became Director of Higher Education in the Brussels Socrates Office, with overall responsibility for the Erasmus Programme in Europe. In 1998, he took up his present post as the director of ACA. Bernd has published widely on international matters in higher education, and he is a frequent speaker at European and international education conferences. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Higher Education and.  He also works, as an expert advisor, for many international organisations


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