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The Idea of the International University - Lecture by Sir Drummond Bone

Coming just a few weeks after City has been shortlisted in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management awards for 'Outstanding International Strategy', Professor Sir Drummond Bone's lecture on 'The Idea of the International University' could not have been better timed.
by Sarah Birdsall

The lecture took place on Thursday 5 May to an audience of staff, students and a range of interested people.

A member of City's Council, Sir Drummond will take up his new role as Master of the University of Oxford's Balliol College in October.

Introduced by our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Curran, Sir Drummond started by telling the audience in the Oliver Thompson lecture theatre that 'internationalisation' is the latest "buzz word" in both higher education and government circles, not just in the UK but around the world.

But Sir Drummond made the point that it is important for universities to be clear about why they "do internationalisation". In his view the reasons should be about improving education for their students and improving collaborative environments for academics and it's not just about recruiting international students, which is an expensive activity that has been going on for many years at UK universities. "There's a difference between recruiting and selecting international students", he said. Many universities are seeking to 'top up' their funds with as many international undergraduates as possible, especially as the new UK fee regime gets underway. Says Sir Drummond: "That market is not sustainable long-term".

The lecture then touched on international partnerships and networks such as City's World Cities World Class network. Sir Drummond feels that these networks should reflect every aspect of a university's activity, from research collaboration to student exchanges and enterprise partnerships.

Sir Drummond went on to talk about how expensive and high risk he considers the overseas campuses set up by UK universities to be and questioned "how international?" they are if they offer only a "Western pedagogic model".

Predictions for the future of the international university were Sir Drummond's next subject. He thinks that in the next few years the UK higher education sector will see an influx of overseas providers, initially working with UK higher education providers but eventually offering UK degrees.

Sir Drummond ended his lecture by outlining that for UK universities, whatever their internationalisation strategy comprises, the benefits to students should be paramount. Those benefits are that they are better placed in the international job market and that they become global citizens due to their direct experience of other cultures.

Professor Dinos Arcoumanis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) thanked Sir Drummond for delivering his fascinating and topical lecture.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.