Creating rounded, employable people through student mobility

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University and Chair of the UK Higher Education International Unit spoke to us exclusively about his hopes and strategies for Going Global 2014 in Miami. 

Professor Riordan’s primary motivation for attending this year's conference is to meet global higher education peers, together in one place:

"The opportunity to discuss issues face to face with people all gathered in the same place is very useful."

He reflected on one of Going Global 2014's key themes, innovation, which he understands to be a key benefit of investing in higher education for the economy and wider society:

"Creative hubs such as Cambridge’s cluster of high-tech companies have been very successful but on a national or international scale, you need to think it through. That's perhaps where social science and the humanities come in.  

"In China, for example, research intensive universities have set up very interesting innovation campuses. Universities that are less research intensive are often working closer to the market and that is something that can be developed in interesting ways."

Professor Riordan is speaking at a session on student mobility, called 'Outward mobility: student and institution perspectives':

“There is very good evidence to say that students achieve more in their degrees and get a higher grade point average and are more rounded people and more employable if they have had an international experience. 

“The international students we have at Cardiff are mobile, flexible and internationally aware and usually have ability in more than one language. We want our UK students to have at least some of those qualities as well.”

Professor Riordan was asked by the UK higher education minister, to take the lead in finding ways to increase the number of UK students travelling abroad for at least part of their higher education. The principle recommendation of the Riordan Review published in 2012 was the need for a UK–wide strategy.

Read our full interview with Professor Riordan, including his views on MOOCs, international higher education leadership and the importance of strategic planning – and implementation planning – for university internationalisation.

Professor Riordan’s interview is one of a series of interviews with Going Global 2014 speakers conducted for the British Council by Media FHE, providers of the HE intelligence service HEi-know.