School of Education
  

Inspiring People

Juliet Thondhlana

Dr Juliet Thondhlana

Internationalisation of higher education

 

Juliet Thondhlana is an Associate Professor in Education and Migration and is a member of the Centre for International Education Research.

I encourage students to critically reflect on how the purpose of education and its role in sustainable development are shaped by contextual and historical factors resulting from the different opportunities and pressures faced by different nations.
 
 

How would you explain your research?

My research is broadly in the area of education and migration with a special focus on the internationalisation of higher education.

My empirical work and publications have focused on the interaction of higher education, migration and employability; refugee education; human trafficking and education for safe migration; migrant empowerment through education and the general intersection with language, gender, disability, entrepreneurship and faith. 

My research on the internationalisation of higher education in the UK and in Zimbabwe has had significant impact culminating in the development and adoption of a national policy framework for the internationalisation of higher education in Zimbabwe. 

What inspired you to pursue this area?

My lived experiences both as an international student and ‘highly skilled migrant’ to the UK has motivated me to investigate the dynamics of mobility. Insights from my personal journey enable me to understand the mechanisms that diverse migrants use to navigate the complex terrain of education, employability and integration in host nations and I seek ways in which they can be supported.

How does your research influence your teaching?

My research directly informs my teaching in terms of teaching and learning resources and curriculum. In my lectures and seminars, students have the opportunity to explore the transnational nature of education policymaking and engage with activist and academic debates about whose knowledge counts in national and international education policy conversations.

I encourage students to critically reflect on how the purpose of education and its role in sustainable development are shaped by contextual and historical factors resulting from the different opportunities and pressures faced by different nations.

What's been the greatest moment of your career so far?

Some of the greatest moments of my career have been leading the development of the national policy framework for the internationalisation of higher education in Zimbabwe, now being operationalised by Zimbabwean universities.

Being Lead Editor for a first of its kind handbook of the internationalization of higher education in the Global South (2021) and working with some of the renowned scholars in the field has also been a rewarding experience. 

In addition, my current four externally funded projects involving: research and impact work with refugees, survivors of human trafficking and internally displaced persons and doctoral training provide the opportunity to positively impact the lives of excluded and marginalized groups in society.

On the internally displaced persons I have had the opportunity to lead an international team of interdisciplinary experts, innovators and researchers including a mathematician, a team of engineers, educationists, public health education experts, a sociologist and NGO.

What's the biggest challenge in your field?

While it is too early to predict all the implications of Covid-19 for the internationalisation of higher education, the crisis has placed all international dimensions of higher education at the forefront, for example, international students, study abroad for credits, international partnerships and networks, international collaboration in research, collaborative online international learning, and internationalisation at home. The crisis demonstrates the risks and challenges related to internationalisation abroad, while also providing new direction and opportunities for internationalisation at home in research as well as teaching and learning.

What advice would you give to someone considering a degree or research in education?

International education is experienced both at home and abroad, therefore whether you are a home or international student approach the subject with an open mind both to learn about it and to experience it. See yourself as learning to become a global graduate and engage not only with the material but with the rich culture presented in our classes resulting from our diverse student population and the wealth of international knowledge that tutors bring. Be prepared to draw insights not only from the material but from your personal experiences and that of your tutors and classmates. 

School of Education

University of Nottingham
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