Quality, home and away (1 of 2)

April 21, 2011

Times Higher Education was right to point out that the quality of UK higher education is fundamentally dependent on the quality of its staff ("Recruit more home staff to foreign hubs, report urges", 7 April). However, it is misleading to imply that international scholars are in some way inferior to "home" staff.

The recruitment of international academics to overseas campuses brings in excellent talent from around the world to contribute to the delivery of UK higher education. The issue is not the origin of staff nor the location in which they work, but rather their quality and the way in which they are integrated within the institutions in question.

The article draws direct attention to low numbers of "home" staff in overseas campuses. Unfortunately, some of this information is misleading. Just 4 per cent of the staff at the University of Nottingham's Ningbo campus in China are cited as being from the UK: in reality, a significant proportion of those appointed have come from academic/research jobs in the UK, whether they themselves are British citizens or not.

Like many other universities, Nottingham has a cosmopolitan mix of staff at all our campuses, and the international flavour they bring is part of the unique student experience we offer. It is, perhaps, no coincidence that the higher-ranked universities tend to have higher proportions of internationally appointed staff.

Christine Ennew, Pro vice-chancellor for internationalisation, University of Nottingham

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