July 13, 2012, by Chris Ennew
The Nottingham Global Network
The growth in transnational higher education is well documented, with UK institutions playing a leading role in delivering degree programmes outside of their home market.
International research collaborations have also seen significant expansion in recent years with more and more institutions looking to build strategic partnerships to enhance the quality of research and magnify its impact. Cross institutional delegations have mushroomed as Universities worldwide look to grow their international partnerships and the number of MoUs had grown exponentially. Increasingly the challenge for Universities is to turn paper agreements into genuine partnerships which are deep and enduring. And while teaching and research may often involve different types of institution, there are opportunities to link the two to build genuine institution-wide strategic partnerships.
A challenge for many institutions is how best to develop links that have originated in individual discipline areas into broad-based institutional partnerships. The Nottingham Global Network brings together a group of prestigious universities from as far afield as China, India, Europe, Thailand and Indonesia as a mechanism to try to address this particular challenge. The common factor between them is that they are all currently engaged in teaching collaborations with the University of Nottingham. For the first time the group met face to face in Malaysia, home to the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia campus for over 10 years. There were two full days of debates, informative case studies and the sharing of best practice around the subject of teaching and research partnerships. While the first day was based in Kuala Lumpur, the second was held out at the University’s campus in Semenyih, home to over 4,000 domestic and international students.
This was the first time that the University had brought together its teaching partners from across the globe. It provided a real opportunity for the partners to not only engage with the practice of teaching partnerships but also to extend their collaborations both with the University of Nottingham and with other partners in the network. Particular targets included broadening existing teaching partnerships into new subject areas and developing teaching links into research links.
The two day event culminated with the launch of the University’s Knowledge Without Borders Network (http://www.nottingham.edu.my/Knowledge-Without-Borders-Network/index.aspx) with a keynote address from Dr Fernandez-Chung, who was at the heart of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency and the Ministry of Higher Education for much of the last decade, whilst also maintaining an impressive academic career examining policy and practice issues in the sector. She talked about some of the challenges facing Malaysian universities, in particular the difficult balance between economic or business imperatives, and wider nation-building or ethical concerns.