The Route to Pro Vice-Chancellor International

16th July 2021
Elizabeth James
Partner & Head of Practice

The 13th of July saw the launch of our work with The IC Global Partnership on career routes and skillsets related to the internationalisation agenda in Higher Education.  Throughout the pandemic and post-Brexit, the topic of internationalisation in HE has become no less important and it is apparent that the subject occupies a critical position in most Institution’s agendas.

As such, we brought together The IC’s intricate knowledge of internationalisation and global engagement with our focus on senior leadership within the sector.  The report (which is available to download below) examines trends and demographics in the senior professional community, as well as different models used by Universities and the extent to which they enable leverage for the internationalisation agenda.  There is also consideration given to Government Strategy.

The IC and Berwick Partners hosted a panel of experts who reflected their thoughts on the report and offered their own insights as to how they view the topic of internationalisation in the current climate.


The panel comprised of;

  • Professor Brad MacKay, Senior Vice Principal & Vice Principal (International Strategy and External Relations) from the University of St. Andrews
  • Professor Simon Pollard, Pro-Vice-Chancellor International from Cranfield University
  • Rachel Sandison, Vice Principal, External Engagement from the University of Glasgow
  • Dr David Pilsbury, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International Development) from Coventry University
  • Sir David Bell KCB DL, Vice-Chancellor from the University of Sunderland
  • Saskia Loer Hansen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) from Aston University
  • Jamie Arrowsmith, Deputy Director from UUKi


As might well be expected, the discussion was lively and engaging.  The areas focused upon included;

  • the extent to which senior leaders in internationalisation were fixers, as opposed to strategists
  • the importance of balancing risk and opportunity
  • the need for senior sponsorship of the agenda (even when the post doesn’t sit at the top table)
  • the importance and sometimes difficulty of managing a significant team when there is significant international travel involved in the post
  • the chameleonic skillset required to be diplomat, host, counsellor and sage on all things international


These points are but a thumb-nail sketch of the areas covered and the number of questions posed to the panel were such that a number of follow-up interviews are proposed to be broadcast either by downloadable video or podcast.

Should you have any questions or are interested more generally in the topics covered please do not hesitate to contact:


Categories: Education