International Strategy for Higher Education Institutions

Global Strategies Report - April 2021

GSR Cover


This report is designed to be of practical use to those who are responsible for (or play a significant role in) the development of their institution’s internationalisation or global engagement strategy – whether that strategy is articulated via the institutional strategic plan, a separate supporting strategy, both or neither.

It draws on a study of 134 current UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) strategic plans and 26 internationalisation strategies; in-depth interviews with 12 senior stakeholders; and a review of recent conferences, webinars and publications.

Insights are shared, alongside questions to be considered by HEIs as they reflect on the kind of global engagement strategy they should pursue in the context of a much-altered global higher education landscape.

Now is the time for broad and deep strategic thinking to take place in our sector and it is hoped that this report will help to stimulate the discussions that are needed; and to strengthen the institutional strategies that emerge.


"This research undertaken by Dr Vicky Lewis on the global engagement strategies of UK universities is a 'must read' for anyone seeking to lead on internationalisation and global engagement in their institution. Based on her research, Vicky outlines key considerations for scholars and practitioners alike, and encourages new ways of thinking about strategy and performance in this key aspect of a university's external engagement. With the global pandemic challenging our assumptions about international higher education and student/staff mobility, Vicky's research offers invaluable practical guidance and advice for international leaders."

Dr Douglas Proctor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement),

Swinburne University of Technology

An Executive Summary can be downloaded here

Overview of key questions for HEIs to ask

In my consultancy work, I find that putting time and effort into coming up with the right questions to ask during the consultation phase of new strategy development – or when a strategy is being reviewed – pays huge dividends. They can be used to stimulate valuable discussions with a range of different stakeholders, serving to challenge assumptions, spark ideas derived from divergent thinking and, ultimately, make the strategy itself richer, more sustainable, more distinctive, and more reflective of institutional values, mission and character.

Each chapter in Part 3 of my main Global Strategies Report concludes with a set of key questions to act as a prompt for leaders as they engage in discussions on the future shape of their global engagement strategy.

An Overview of key questions for HEIs to ask can be downloaded here as a separate report.

Since one of the objectives of the report is to stimulate discussion, comments and observations – either direct to me or on social media – are welcomed.

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Vicky Lewis

30 June 2023 at 08:25 (Comment 1 of 2)

Thank you so much for this lovely positive feedback, Dee. It means a lot coming from someone with your depth and breadth of experience.


Dee De Rocha

29 June 2023 at 22:05 (Comment 2 of 2)

I have worked in International Higher Education for over 25 years, across a broad range of marketing, recruitment, partnerships, TNE and global engagement projects for a range of organisations and countries. In my humble opinion, this is one of the most insightful and thought provoking reports I have read to date. Thank you Vicky!


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