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EQI: Centre for Evaluation,Quality & Inspection
Image of WHEF Forum information, March 2024

Dr Anne Rowan presents research findings at the Westminster Higher Education Forum (WHEF) event ‘Next Steps for International Students’

EQI Post Doctoral Researcher, Dr Anne Rowan, recently presented her PhD findings at the Westminster Higher Education Forum (WHEF) at an event entitled ‘Next Steps for International Students’.

Anne presented key findings from her research which focused on supporting disabled international students in UK Higher Education, predominantly within areas such as disability disclosure, induction, disability needs assessment, and teaching and learning. The presentation also included findings from disability services staff and their understanding and experiences of working with this student group. The presentation prompted key questions and discussion regarding the processes and systems in place to support this student group in HEIs, and there was a clear recognition that departments and staff must adopt a joined-up approach when engaging with disabled international students. The findings highlighted that HEIs should consider and develop new methods in supporting disabled international students, holistically and structurally, leveraging inclusive learning and teaching to make positive change for this student group.

More broadly, the event had a number of key and influential speakers from the UK sectors, including representations from The British Council, UCAS and UKCISA, who stressed a clear message that international students are not a homogenous group, but bring a wide range of experiences, identities, and insights, noting that HEI must response to this with robust and tailored systems of support. With the number of international students attending UK universities dropping significantly, and recent research highlighting that this stagnation or decline in international student volumes would impact the whole sector (PWC, 2024), there is an ever-increasing need to ensure that the international experience is inclusive, equitable and meets the diverse and complex needs of this student group.