The view from over here: Branch campuses and their role in the development of Middlesex as a global education provider Lois Smith
Session outcomesBy the end of this session, delegates will be able to:• identify some of the main perceptions of teaching and learning at branch campuses;• compare and contrast academic work at branch and main campuses; and• have a raised awareness of the place of branch campuses in the context of Middlesex as a global university.
Middlesex as a ‘global’ university‘Middlesex is an international university with roots in London. The focus for now and for the future is … realising our international ambitions with the development of new overseas campuses that make it possible for students around the globe to study and gain a Middlesex degree wherever they live.’University Mission Statement Available: http://www.mdx.ac.uk/aboutus/mission/index.aspx
Middlesex as a ‘global’ universityCurrently TNE tends towards the ‘hub and spoke’ model with foreign partner institutions and fly-in / fly-out faculty.BUT some institutions have moved beyond this to full offshore campuses:‘...a fundamental reconceptualization of the traditional place-based concept the university.’ (Armstrong, 2007, p. 132)What does Middlesex as a ‘global’ university mean to you?
Middlesex as a ‘global’ universityCross-campus standards:‘In reality, offshore programmes ...can never be the same quality because the resources built up on the home campus over decades or centuries cannot...be reproduced elsewhere.’ (Armstrong, 2007, p.136)A recent study of int.sts at a UK university found that 73% felt the quality of education at branch campuses was not as high as at the main campus. (Wilkins & Huisman, 2011)How are academic standards maintained?
MDX as a ‘global’ universityInternational university = nationally based but with links to other nations.Global university = global reach/activity (research and teaching) with a definite continuing presence in other countries, yet still with a dominant presence in a single country.Transnational university = not identified with one country, e.g. European University.(Barnett, 2004)
Maintaining academic standards: programme content Key points from the video: • Avoiding ‘dumbing down’ content • Adapting content to suit local needs • Applying ‘expected’ standards • Using the same material – textbooks, slides etc • Providing relevant examples from current research
Maintaining academic standards: assessment Key points from the video: • Transparent assessment system • Coordination with London • Exams marked in London • Clear structures and processes
Maintaining academic standards: work practices Key points from the video: • Reflection on results and student feedback • Improving personal teaching strategies • Staff appraisal system and institutional support for CPD • Keeping up to date with international developments in own field
What our students say...• ‘British education’ key factor in choice of university• Diversity of staff and students• Same academic standards as London• Strong identity with British university, but also with the global reach of MDX.
To conclude...Your branch campus colleagues and students see themselves as part of MDX as a university that has a strong British identity, but also has a global presence. They are acutely aware of their own role in upholding and developing the international reputation of MDX.What about you? How do you identify with the staff and students at the branch campuses?
ReferencesArmstrong, L. (2007), Competing in the global higher education market place: Outsourcing, twinning and franchising, New Directions for Higher Education, no. 140, Winter, pp. 131 – 138Barnett, R. (2004), Seminar at University of Lancaster, 7th July.Wilkins, S. And Huisman, J. (2011) International student destination choice: the influence of home campus experiences on the decision to consider branch campuses, Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 61-83.