Growing international linkages is one of six strategic priorities in the Government’s Draft Tertiary Education Strategy released at Victoria University by Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Hon Steven Joyce.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says Victoria also has a well-established internationalisation strategy that is delivering learning, research, cultural, economic and social benefits to staff and students.
Recent highlights include the signing of agreements with a number of Pacific and Asian countries including China, Indonesia, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Thailand, and hosting regular diplomatic delegations.
“We are particularly proud of our relationships with ASEAN nations,” says Professor Walsh.
“The ASEAN region is critically important to New Zealand’s economic prosperity and growth and offers significant potential for collaboration and partnerships in the tertiary education field.”
One success story is Victoria’s relationship with Vietnam where the University has a campus based at the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City.
Through a joint programme, Vietnamese students complete English language support programmes while beginning study on Victoria’s Bachelor of Commerce degree. Students complete up to half their degree in Ho Chi Minh City, before transferring to Wellington to complete their qualification.
“We are the only New Zealand University with an offshore campus in Vietnam and we have worked hard over the past few years to expand and strengthen our relationships there,” says Professor Walsh.
Professor Rob Rabel, Victoria’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), who leads the University’s internationalisation strategy, is currently in Vietnam where he will sign a number of new agreements with the University of Economics’ International Business School, the Foreign Trade University and the Ho Chi Minh National Academy for Politics and Public Administration.
The latter agreement will offer opportunities for Victoria’s School of Government to train Vietnamese public servants.
Professor Rabel will also meet with new students entering the University’s joint programme in International Relations with the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.
In addition, discussions are underway between Victoria and Hanoi’s University of Science and Technology to finalise a joint programme in engineering.
Professor Rabel says Victoria’s relationship with Vietnam has been an excellent opportunity for the University to forge international linkages.
“As a result of positive, meaningful discussions and the willingness to think outside the box, hundreds of Vietnamese students have been able to take up the opportunity to complete their degree through New Zealand’s most research intensive university, as well as enjoying the superb student experience Victoria offers its students,” says Professor Rabel.
“We currently have more than 300 Vietnamese students studying at Victoria—our joint programme in Ho Chi Minh City has been a real flagship programme for us.”
Victoria’s strategic plan is also well aligned with other priorities in the Government’s Draft Tertiary Education Strategy, says Professor Walsh.
The University has a strong focus on research excellence and collaboration and is steadily improving outcomes for its Māori and Pasifika students.
“We are also committed to producing graduates who will drive business innovation in New Zealand both now, and in the future. An excellent example is our Bachelor of Engineering programme which intentionally focuses on modern forms of engineering and is producing highly sought after graduates who are contributing to this country’s top companies.”