Transnational Education and Professional Recognition: Accreditation of Built Environment Courses from a UK Perspective

By Brian Robertson, Fiona Grant and Graeme Bowles.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Universities have a long and proud history of attracting students from beyond their national boundaries. In recent times they have become involved in Transnational education programmes. Transnational education is in-country delivery of higher education by foreign universities. It can be delivered in campuses owned by the foreign universities in the country or affiliated to the university, but is more commonly delivered in partnership with existing universities in the country, by distance learning, and by e-learning. In the UK this often involves delivering professionally orientated undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes using distance and distributed learning methods. These courses are in many cases subject to accreditation by professional institutions in the UK. The requirement for professional body accreditation imposes constraints on the internationalisation of course content due to a need to maintain approval by the UK accrediting bodies. At the same time relevant accrediting organisations, both professional bodies and government agencies, outside of the UK have articulated their wish to have control over the educational formation of professionals within their countries The paper will explore the issues associated with the tension between internationalisation of degree programmes and perceived national needs.

Keywords: Transnational Education, Internationalization of Content, Professional Recognition, Practitioner Formation, Distance and Distributed Learning

Global Studies Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.171-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.167MB).

Prof. Brian Robertson

Director for Transnational Education, School of the Built Environment, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Trained as an electrical power engineer Professor Robertson has worked in Zambia, in Bahrain and in the UK as a consulting engineer. Since 1992 he has worked as a lecturer at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh and was appointed professor in 2005. His general research interests are in disability access issues relating to the built environment. As Director for Transnational Education for the School of the Built Environment and Senior Admissions Tutor for the school Professor Robertson has an interest in international student issues and transnational education in particular.

Dr. Fiona Grant

Director of the Construction Management and Surveying Programme, School of the Built Environment, Heriot Watt University Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Dr. Grant is the Programme Director for the Construction Management and Surveying Programme in the School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University. This role covers the management and delivery of the undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in the subject areas of Construction Project Management, Quantity Surveying, Building Surveying and Facilities Management. The courses are offered for study by on campus full-time and part-time mode in the Edinburgh and Dubai campuses, through independent distant learning attracting students from around the work and by distributed learning through several Approved Learning Partners. The diversity of the mode of delivery of the courses offered by the programme make this an interesting and challenging role. Fiona is an active member of the RICS and has recently been elected to RICS international Governing Council.

Dr. Graeme Bowles

Deputy Director for Transnational Education, School of the Built Environment, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Dr. Bowles leads taught courses at postgraduate level and teaches a range of built environment subjects for on and off-campus students at graduate and postgraduate level. In his role as Deputy Director for Transnational Education he has experience of the delivery of courses to students internationally. He is research active in the areas of project briefing, whole life costing and procurement and has supervised a number of PhD students and published work in theses areas.

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