This News and Views page is my Blog.
I use it to:
This page shows the ten most recent blog articles. A complete list of all articles since the blog started in May 2014 can be found on the Blog Archive page.
Posted on 13 Nov 2023 at 15:40 by Vicky Lewis
Back in August 2023, Durham University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen O’Brien, wrote a piece for the Higher Education Policy Institute, which argued that the current need for cultural diplomacy means there has never been a more important time for language study.
This inspired me to put out a call on LinkedIn to any languages graduates and speakers of multiple languages in my network. I asked them the following question:
‘What skills has language learning given you that you apply in your job?’
This blog takes as a starting point the many insightful responses I received.
It then delves into some broader issues relating to learning and using other languages, which I had great fun discussing with Professor Chris Hill and Professor Judith Lamie on their Think Education podcast in October.
This is all quite topical in light of the publication of the latest International Higher Education Commission report, ‘Is the UK developing global mindsets?’.
Posted on 7 Nov 2023 at 08:00 by Vicky Lewis
You know how you attend an amazing conference, come away buzzing with ideas, then day-to-day commitments take over and push all that learning to the back of your mind? We figured we’d try to maintain momentum following the recent EAIE annual conference in Rotterdam.
So we got together to chat about the themes that really resonated with us. This blog includes some of our reflections in an effort to share our learning with those who were unable to attend the conference – and to reignite enthusiasm among those who were there.
Posted on 4 Jul 2023 at 15:02 by Vicky Lewis
Now I’m going to share two case studies, drawn from strategy projects I’ve worked on with universities, to illustrate different approaches to engagement. Each institution’s context and ambitions are different, so there is no ‘one right way’ of doing this, but I hope this blog generates some useful ideas.
It’s worth noting that the international strategy development process can be relatively short and sharp (e.g. 2-3 months from start to finish) or considerably longer (e.g. the best part of a full academic year). (If interrupted by a pandemic, change of leadership or other significant event, it can take longer still.)
In a number of cases, I’ve been involved in the full development process (both long and short). In other instances, I’ve been invited to help at specific points in the process: for example, initial research and horizon scanning at the start of the process; stimulating discussions part-way through the process; or providing a ‘critical friend’ review of a draft strategy towards the end of the process.
In this blog, I’m going to focus on cases where I’ve been involved from start to finish.
Posted on 28 Jun 2023 at 09:36 by Vicky Lewis
My previous blog explored why engagement is such an important part of the international strategy development process.
The three main reasons I outlined for engaging with stakeholders correspond broadly with three key (but overlapping) stages in the process of strategy creation:
(discussing why international engagement is important for the university community and getting challenging issues out on the table).
(unlocking input and insights from key stakeholders).
(getting relevant people to take ownership of specific elements of the strategy).
This blog highlights the role of institutional context, some pitfalls to avoid and some guiding principles I’ve found useful.
Posted on 18 May 2023 at 12:25 by Vicky Lewis
Over recent years, I’ve worked with a number of UK universities to facilitate and support the development of their strategies for internationalisation or global engagement. Client institutions have varied in profile. I’ve worked with HEIs large and small; long-established and relatively youthful; comprehensive and specialist; research-intensive and teaching-focused; highly internationalised and just starting out on their internationalisation journey.
Organisational priorities, cultures, resources and operating styles have differed greatly. This has an impact on the most effective way to consult with key stakeholders and engage with the wider community in the course of strategy creation.
Dr Nicki Horseman recently wrote an excellent blog for Halpin, entitled Why engaging your community should be the first step in creating a strategy. In this, she highlights the benefits of effective engagement and urges those involved in directing strategy creation to reflect on the process (not just the measures of success) in order to learn lessons for future iterations. She notes that, for each institution, the strategy development process is ‘part of living and demonstrating its culture and values’.
This struck a chord with me. Today’s blog reflects on why the consultation and initial engagement phase is so important. A future blog in this series will consider the different approaches that can be taken.
Posted on 4 May 2023 at 14:52 by Vicky Lewis
Well, it seems like no time at all since I wrote a blog marking the fifth anniversary of becoming an independent consultant. Suddenly, it’s my tenth anniversary. How did that happen?
I feel the need to mark the ten-year point in some way and have been wondering what to say. Should I pass on top tips, lessons learned, or consider what advice I’d give myself if I was starting out today?
In the end, it struck me on an early morning walk that what I really want to say is a huge thank you!
Posted on 26 Apr 2023 at 16:58 by Vicky Lewis
In a quirk of timing, the UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly, used a major speech (reported on here by the BBC) to call for the UK to have a more constructive but robust relationship with China in the same week that the EAIE featured on its blog an article (by Dr Janet Ilieva and me) on the relationship between the UK and China.
(Our article is one of many interesting articles in the EAIE’s Spring 2023 Forum magazine, whose theme is ‘Risk and Response’.)
Although coming at this from quite different angles, we both propose that taking an isolationist stance towards China would be a huge mistake.
According to the BBC, Cleverly argued that ‘the UK must engage with Beijing to tackle “humanity’s biggest problems”’ and that isolating China ‘would be a betrayal of our national interest and a wilful misunderstanding of the modern world’.
Posted on 25 Apr 2023 at 14:52 by Vicky Lewis
I’ve been aware for some time that my Vicky Lewis Consulting website was in need of a content update and reorganisation.
It had developed somewhat organically over the (nearly) ten years that I’ve been an independent consultant.
I have finally got around to giving it a much-needed content refresh.
Posted on 17 Apr 2023 at 16:51 by Vicky Lewis
Back in September 2022, I started a three-part series of blogs on the topic of ethical international strategies. Part 1 (Insights and quandaries) and Part 2 (Harnessing diverse perspectives and shared agendas) appeared, but I didn’t get around to writing up Part 3 (Reframing business models and processes) until now.
While it’s still broadly based on the presentation I gave at Universities UK International’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Forum in July 2022, I’ve added in a few ideas that have struck me as I’ve been working with UK universities and engaging with discussions on ethical internationalisation over the intervening period.
This much-delayed final blog in the series shares some thoughts on how business models, processes and operations might be reframed in order to support ethical strategies for international engagement. What are the repercussions for institutional operating frameworks of taking an ethical approach?
Posted on 11 Mar 2023 at 17:37 by Vicky Lewis
I had great fun recently chatting to Professor Judith Lamie and Professor Chris Hill as a guest on the International Voices series of their Think Education podcast. If you haven’t come across it yet, do check it out – it’s a great resource and includes conversations with many more illustrious names than mine!
We had a wide-ranging discussion, including:
Finally, Judith put me on the spot with her ‘where to from here?’ question. I wanted to end on a positive note and what popped into my head was the recent piece of research by The Policy Institute at King’s College London for the World Values Survey which revealed that UK attitudes to immigration are among the most positive internationally (and have become steadily more positive over recent years) – which provides a useful counterpoint to the impression given by some parts of UK government.