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Heriot-Watt University is located in Scotland’s city, Edinburgh and has four campuses in Dubai, Stromness (Scottish border), Riccarton and Galashiels. The university has a solid base of over 17,000 students (part-time and full-time students, distant learners, and supported learners).
Among them, 10,500 studies through international programmes provided by learning partners while 7,000 study in Scotland universities with 1/3rd being international students (Foskett and Foskett, 2006). Herriot-Watt University has become the first Scotland University to successfully set a campus in Dubai and deliver top-notch education within a first country.
Also, Heriot-Watt has brilliant staff and strong research capabilities that have made it leading universities in the international league tables. Considering that Heriot-Watt is going international by expanding its campuses in Africa, the U.S. and Asia, what benefits and achievements will it get?
Strong numeracy and literacy skills required globally can never be underestimated. As the Education Services Australia (2011) notes, the achievements student make in learning institutions are key determinants of individual successes at economic and social levels. Therefore, there is increased importance of benchmarking and monitoring learning institutions to enhance the success-ability of individuals in our society.
Going international by expanding to the U.S., Africa and Asia implies that Heriot Campuses will have the benefit of innovative assessments designed by the international experts. This will make sure that the universities attain rigorously monitored technical standards.
Also, campuses will receive assessment results, which entail comparisons of a Heriot-Watt campus with other Heriot-Watt campuses. These results can help evaluate each campus on its own and come up with multi-faceted learning approaches that will culminate to quality education.
Heriot-Watt University offers learning opportunities in sciences (food science, applied psychology, applied biology and sports) and built environments (urban studies, civil engineering, architectural engineering, construction surveying and management).
The university also offers learning opportunities in languages and management (management, law, economics, finance and accountancy), and studies in engineering and physical sciences (physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, combined studies and mechanical engineering). These subjects require intense research. For instance, the study of languages entails in-depth linguistic studies that are not limited to Australia.
Likewise, management is a field that requires effective strategies that should not be limited to Australia, especially if the students are studying international management. Continents such as Africa, Asia, and America offer diverse environments that provide varied research opportunities.
For instance, in comparison to Scotland, the United States is a techno and research advanced country, Malaysia is a promising techno- and research country while and Nigeria is untapped. Through international exchange programs, Heriot-Watt campuses will get opportunities to learn from the U.S., study Malaysia’s strategies in techno advancement, and take the unexploited opportunities in Nigeria to conduct research.
This will lead to innovative technologies and researches that can be of benefit to the campus, students, and the international community at large.
For example, language students will extend their linguistic studies to Africa, while economic students will research on the U.S. economy and get to discover ways through which other countries can come up with beneficial economic strategies. Likewise, Nigeria is an oil-rich country and students studying in Heriot-Watt’s Institute of Petroleum Engineering can benefit immensely from research studies conducted in Nigeria.
Developing Global Students
Going international implies that Heriot-Watt students will have a chance interact with students from the U.S., Nigeria, and Malaysia. The international knowledge and learning acquired will assist students in understanding and accepting various community and cultural perspectives. In addition, students will have more knowledge of global issues and improve their problem-solving and analytical skills in multi-faceted environments.
This is because they will garner skills to confront challenges in unfamiliar environments and comfort zone. As a result, there will be increased self- awareness and self-development will lead to improved self-esteem, confidence and social poise. Notably, they will also have the chance to learn different languages through practical engagement.
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As Wildavsky (2010) notes, the world is now becoming a global village and employers are in need of globally oriented employees. Therefore, Heriot-Watt students will easily become the target of prospective employers in every field. In addition, students will be flexible enough to focus, compromise, succeed and feel comfortable in ‘foreign’ environment during challenging times.
Offsetting Negative International Universities Perceptions
As the Education Services Australia (2011 notes, there are negative characteristics associated with international universities such as delivery of substandard education and recruiting students based on their economic background rather than educational achievements.
Heriot-Watt University will seek to differentiate itself from another international university by making sure that the university has standard university admission procedures, is stringent to international education standards, has the expected resources and capacities.
By doing this, Heriot-Watt University will simply be adopting the theme ‘changing education in order to change the world’ whereby it will serve as an example of a successful university that is success, quality and social responsibility oriented. As a result, Heriot-Watt University will set itself apart from another international university, thus acting as a hallmark of what international education is all about.
Profitability of Heriot-Watt University
Irrespective of whether a learning institution is profit-making or not, it necessitates that the institution be ‘self-dependent’ for sustainability purposes even when donors or partners decide to pull out. This is what makes a learning institution reliable to the community and be at the forefront of grasping the arising opportunities.
Currently, there is a need for quality education that is global-oriented, research-oriented and with proper quality measures. Therefore, Heriot-Watt campuses will be the strategic point where persons in need of quality and global-oriented education can turn to.
This will bring about more students and hence, Heriot-Watt universities will have to create more room (expand to other countries) for the students. If well managed, more students will culminate into a higher profit margin or sustainability that will allow Heriot-Watt University to expand in other countries and become self-dependent (Kurucz, 2006).
Heriot-Watt University has a wide base of students and setting campuses in the U.S., Nigeria and Malaysia will make sure that international students get to enroll in Heriot-Watt universities present in their countries.
This will provide a solid base through which Heriot-Watt University can market itself via student exchange programs as a brand and attract more students. With time, the university the epitome of quality education, research opportunities, developing global students and successful international campuses.
This will make Heriot-Watt University a leading international university. In addition, the university will eradicate the negative perception given to international universities hence increasing the acceptability of international universities in our societies (Education Services Australia, 2011).
Education Services Australia, 2011. Benefits of participation in international studies of student. Achievement [pdf] Web.
Foskett, N. and Foskett, R., 2006. Postgraduate study in the UK: the international student’s guide. London: SAGE.
Kurucz, P. J., 2006. How to teach international students a practical teaching guide for universities and colleges. Alberta: Success Orientations.
Wildavsky, B., 2010. The great brain race: how global universities are reshaping the world. New York. Princeton University Press.