International student and staff recruitment boosted by University of Suffolk’s independence
- Credit: Gregg Brown
The University of Suffolk’s ability to recruit international students and staff has significantly improved since it gained independent status, its recruitment chief has said.
Christopher Garrett, the university’s international and EU recruitment manager, said the major milestone in the university’s short history has “completed eradicated that confusion” over degree validation.
The university was established as University Campus Suffolk in 2007 under a partnership between the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Essex. UEA and Essex sponsored its formation and validated qualifications until the university gained full independence in August 2016 and changed its name to the University of Suffolk.
Mr Garrett said: “To be honest, it makes us look like any other university. Students don’t question our name. I don’t have to explain how our degrees are validated by two universities. They just see as any other normal university. They didn’t understand why two other universities needed to accredit another university’s degrees. It’s just completed eradicated that confusion.
“It has opened up the doors to normality and we give them information about what makes us special: our location on the Ipswich waterfront, the facilities, our closeness to London, and the performance of our courses.”
“Independence has also allowed us to have a bit more of a voice internationally. We are now recognised on a lot of countries’ government higher education listings. It is a great opportunity to develop international links, and it isn’t just recruiting students, it’s about giving our students opportunities to travel abroad.”
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The university aims to enrol between 6,500 and 7,000 students by 2020, up from around 4,500 currently. Around 5% of students are based overseas, mainly from Romania, Bulgaria, and Czech Republic. Mr Garrett said: “Most of them are choosing computer science because they see a direct correlation with employment. In Ipswich, there are a lot of small and medium sized firms in the growing digitech industry.”
The university is now setting up study abroad programmes, such as in Indonesia and North America.
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Mr Garrett said: “We just had our first intake from Indonesia in the Business School. It is great for our students, gaining more of a global outlook and becoming more mobile for when they graduate.”