Focus on the US – part of our Internationalisation Strategy
(5 June 2016)
Over the last few years, the Faculty has developed a strategic approach to activity in North America, managed through the Faculty’s North America Strategy Group. This is part of our overarching Internationalisation Strategy and aligns to the University’s wider activity in this area.
Recruiting North American students
A significant focus for Humanities has been on enhancing our student recruitment and marketing activities to help increase the numbers of US students on campus, at UG, PGT and PGR levels. We have developed new marketing materials, including a guide to The University of Manchester for students and information packs for guidance counsellors, as well as supporting Schools to enhance their conversion activities to meet the expectations of American students.
We currently have 129 US students across all our Schools, and have seen over a 22% increase in applications so far this cycle.
Fulbright and Marshall Scholars
At the start of this year, colleagues from across the Faculty joined others elsewhere within the University to host the annual Fulbright Forum. This brought together all 66 American Fulbright Scholars who are studying at UK institutions. While on campus, the group were treated to an engaging and hugely popular keynote lecture from our Professor of Public History, Michael Wood, as well as exploring the collections of the John Rylands Library, among other things.
Later this year, the Faculty will also welcome four of the five Marshall Scholars who are studying at the University. They are studying for postgraduate programmes within the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. The University funded one of our five Marshall Scholars, with the remaining four choosing to study with us via the Open Award Scheme, which gave them the opportunity to study in any UK HE institution, underlining our growing international reputation.
Supporting the NAFA Advisors Tour
Later in June the University will be hosting a day as part of the National Association of Fellowships Advisors (NAFA) tour, which brings together US university staff who assist students through the process of applying for grants, scholarships, and fellowships. The one-day event will include a lecture from Professor Angelia Wilson on the upcoming US federal election, and a tour of the campus during our Undergraduate Open Day.
Generation Study Abroad Initiative
The University has recently submitted an application to be an International Commitment Partner for the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad Initiative. The campaign, which aims to increase the number of US students undertaking study abroad, marks our commitment to increase the number of exchange or non-degree seeking US students at The University of Manchester.
Our activity also includes collaborations and partnerships with North American institutions and external partners. So far this academic year, we have focused on deepening our links with Indiana University (IU), which has been identified as a key North American collaborator for its close research and disciplinary synergies. Meetings have been held throughout 2015/16 with colleagues who represent the College of Arts and Sciences, which incorporates the Schools of Global and International Studies as well as Media. Manchester academics are already in conversation with colleagues from Linguistics, Political Science, Media, History and English about research projects, and representatives from the John Rylands Research Institute are building a collaborative venture with IU’s prestigious Lilly Library. A number of staff from Indiana University will be visiting Manchester in late May and June.
Exploring opportunities for Business Engagement in North America
A small delegation from Humanities (including the AAD for Internationalisation and International Projects Officer) and the Business Engagement Team recently travelled to the South by Southwest (SXSW) tradeshow and festival in Austin, Texas, in a visit led by Manchester’s Investment and Development Agency (MIDAS). This was a fact-finding visit to identify ways in which the University could maximise its presence at SXSW in the areas of creative, digital, arts, media and global development. A full audit of the contacts made and potential future opportunities for Business Engagement and outreach is currently underway.
Recent research collaborations with both academic and research institutes, in addition to those facilitated by the AAD for Internationalisation’s visit to Indiana University in March (see above) include: the School of Social Sciences research project looking into Monetary Policy, in collaboration with Williams College, Massachusetts; a research project on Sustainable Urban Transport in the School of Environment Education and Development, funded by the National Geographic Society in Washington; and a substantial grant from the US National Science Foundation, which has led to collaboration with the University of Alaska in the field of Social Anthropology.
Last month, the Vice-President and Dean of Humanities, Professor Keith Brown, visited New York City to host a number of events with our American alumni. Joining Keith on the visit were the Director of the Division of Development and Alumni Relations, Kate White, and members of her team.
During his trip, Keith met with four international philanthropic foundations to give an overview of the University and discuss the Faculty’s research, highlighting our strengths in global development, urban studies, humanitarianism and peacebuilding, and religions and theology, amongst others. He also hosted an alumni networking event for over 50 New York-based alumni, and gave a University and Faculty update at the North American Foundation for The University of Manchester (NAFUM) board meeting. NAFUM is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that receives over $1million a year in philanthropic donations from individuals and foundations for The University of Manchester.
Colleagues in the International Office, including the dedicated North American Officers working with Humanities, regularly host events and activities in North America to engage with prospective students, attend recruitment fairs and showcase the University. Recently they have met prospective students in the Carolinas, New York City, Texas and California. Later this year they will be travelling to, among others, Seattle, Minnesota, Denver, and Chicago.