What you’ll find at AIEC 2017

Here’s just a hint of what you can expect from this year’s program…

Stay tuned for more announcements by subscribing to our newsletter.

Uncovering unconscious biases and blind spots

We kick off Wednesday’s program with Dr Helen Turnbull, a world recognised thought leader in global inclusion and diversity.  

The quality of day to day decisions is impacted by our blind spots and unconscious biases. Well intentioned people make decisions every day that favour some individuals or groups more than others, and which can have adverse impacts on our diverse workforce and talent pipeline. Leaders can make flawed decisions while believing they are doing the right thing because their blind spots can prevent them from seeing crucial information.

As international educators, we like to believe diversity is embedded already in what we do, and that we are already inclusive and understanding of the students we recruit, teach, care for or employ, or the diversity of our own workforce.

Dr Turnbull will use live polling to gather real time data on inclusion, and will integrate results from her global research on unconscious bias and inclusion to show us the compelling and measurable reasons why working on our unconscious biases is a business imperative and critical to the bottom line.

Global dialogue: How is international education responding to the rise of nationalism around the world? 

Join international education leaders from around the world to discuss the challenges that have been posed by the recent rise of populist nationalist political movements. This interactive session will consider some of the key questions facing our sector. Has the changed political climate threatened internationalisation initiatives within institutions? How has it affected students and scholars in different countries? Are attitudes towards cultural diversity changing? How are international education organisations responding? 

Student wellbeing

The student experience stream is an important forum for AIEC delegates to learn and share information about the issues that confront students on our shores. Through these sessions we will explore how public, education and private sectors are working towards identifying and resolving the issues that international students face in the contexts of equity, mental health, LGBTQI and racism.

Here are some sessions that will address some issues encountered by international students in Australia.

On the straight and narrow? Embracing LGBTQI+ diversity in international education

From public floggings, to gay ‘concentration camps’, it seems LGBTQI+ rights have gone retrograde in many corners of the world. Is it any wonder that many international students perceive Australia as a relative safe haven to explore their identities and newfound freedoms?

Amid the challenges of life and study in a new country, however, dealing with one’s sexuality or gender identity can cause considerable anxiety and isolation. For Australian LGBTQI+ students undertaking learning abroad, it can be equally as daunting travelling to countries where hostility and persecution still runs deep.

Building on the momentum of last year’s first session at AIEC, this year’s conversation aims to deepen our understanding of the specific cross-cultural issues that globally mobile LGBTQI+ students must navigate.

Mental health issues in the international student community

In the first part of this café session, Dr Benjamin Veness will present an overview of population level and research data relating to mental health among Australian University students with a particular focus on international students. Examples of best practice partnership models to promote early intervention and support for international student mental health will also be presented.  

The rest of the session will be interactive, and participants will be encouraged to draw upon and share their own experiences in this area as well as the information presented. Participants will articulate strategies and approaches to ensure that the issue of mental health among international students in Australia receives appropriate attention and priority from stakeholders.

Let’s call it what it is: racism from the students’ perspective

What is the cost of racism and bigotry to the education sector? Do institutions offer a safe space to bridge ideological gaps and build compassion? Do ethnic and cultural identities impact educational and professional journeys? Where do young students look for support and leadership in the face of racial anxiety? How has the understanding of identity changed for these individuals over the years?

Led by Arfa Noor, a former international student, a panel of students from diverse backgrounds who have encountered prejudice in Australia will attempt to unpack the personal and economic cost of racism; and the anxiety our international students feel when confronted with bigotry. Participants will come away with a better understanding of Australian and international students view of politics, culture and ethnicity, to better inform and contribute to a positive and effective engagement strategy with their students.

Markets in focus: Indonesia, Bangladesh and ‘The Pacific’

Our popular ‘in focus’ series this year focuses on three key markets for Australia: Indonesia, Bangladesh and The Pacific.

These panel sessions are particularly valuable for people who work in admissions and recruitment, marketing and communications, transnational education and collaborations and partnerships. They offer an overview of the current landscape in those countries to help institutions inform their international education strategy.

Experts in these four markets will present latest development, trends and market insights and answer your questions. The speaker line-up includes education providers from all education sectors, representatives from government bodies (Austrade, DFAT or Department of Education) and representatives from the private sector.

When ecosystems collide – the next generation of graduate employment

Employment outcomes remain the most important return on investment for international students. This issue is central to decision making by their families and their host institutions.

Across all industries and societies, ecosystems are evolving, whether digital ecosystems, fintech ecosystems, media ecosystems, etc. It is collaboration between different ecosystems that ultimately fosters innovation and enterprise.

For the past year, Rob Lawrence has been exploring the evolution of ecosystems in multiple countries.  Many of these ecosystems are driving the primary economic agendas, with the resulting SMEs becoming the major recruiting grounds for graduates.

In this journey around the world, Rob will present how new and emerging ecosystems will change the fabric of international education.  He will include research with interviews with over 200 thought leaders, who are actively engaged in angel mentoring, seed funding, entrepreneurship and new media.

Building crisis preparedness

With international student numbers increasing year on year, the need for state and territory governments to work together to improve their emergency management preparedness is critical.

In this session, hear from Manager of Study Melbourne, Jane Favaloro, Executive Director of Trade and Investment Queensland, Rebecca Hall, New South Wales’ Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Director of International Trade Peter Mackey and Austrade’s Tracey Harris, who will discuss the value of an integrated approach for international education when responding to and managing incidents. 

You will learn how each of these states has worked to coordinate their own emergency management capabilities, communication protocols and implementation. Discussion topics will encompass prevention and mitigation of major external risks, preparedness for and responding to major emergencies and disruptive incidents, and their approach to guiding recovery arrangements.

Outbound learning mobility of Australian university students 2015-2016

The Australian Universities' International Directors' Forum (AUIDF) has been conducting a comprehensive benchmarking study of outbound mobility annually since 2007. Data have been used to influence institutional and government policy and practice, the most obvious outcome being an agreement to fund of short-term mobility under the New Colombo Plan (NCP). In this session, AUIDF and i-graduate present results from the 2016 and 2017 benchmarking exercises. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Stephen Connelly, GlobalEd Services, Sunny Yang, Monash University and Shevahn Telfser, CSU Global.

The results are important for practitioners and institutional and  government policy makers seeking to expand strategic engagement with overseas partners.

Is New Zealand punching above its weight?

Education New Zealand Regional Partnership Programme – How kiwis approach growth and diversity

The Education New Zealand (ENZ) Regional Partnership Programme (RPP) was developed in 2013 for the dual purposes of enhancing international education growth opportunities across New Zealand’s diverse regions, as well as reducing future reliance (and associated risks) on Auckland where currently 62% of students are enrolled.  Gregory Scott, from Education New Zealand will provide insights and practical ways to articulate, utilise and grow destinational value, as well as strategies for working collaboratively to share resources and enhance the regional student experience. 

Ensuring international students are welcome, safe and well in New Zealand 

New Zealand wants their international students to feel welcomed, valued and socially connected. To achieve this, internationals student need to feel reassured their diversity is celebrated. NZ government agencies have been working since 2016 on a new ‘International Student Wellbeing Strategy’ to coordinate government activity and drive positive outcomes for international students in NZ.  They have identified four priority areas to ensure that students have the best possible experience in New Zealand: economic wellbeing, education, health and safety, and inclusion. This presentation will explore the NZ Government's role in relation to international student wellbeing and the different contributions from a range of central and local government agencies. Delegates will hear about the rationale for the wellbeing strategy, and how NZ is integrating the student voice into policies and initiatives to strengthen our students’ wellbeing.

Sessions for VET

Championed by Janelle Chapman, Executive Director, TAFE Queensland, the VET program at AIEC will present two key sessions that address transnational education opportunities for international educators in VET:

An Australian VET institution offshore – Should you issue qualifications from Australia or another country?

Are you thinking about getting involved in delivery of VET training offshore? Do you want to understand the challenges and strategic and operational issues involved? Do you want to know the benefits and challenges of either issuing Australian qualifications vs. other country qualifications? Join Janelle Chapman, Executive Director, TAFE Queensland International for this 'fireside chat' with Denise O'Brien, CEO Australia Pacific Technical College and Linda Barbero, Managing Director, McLeod Training Organisation.

Realising our VET capability offshore - working smarter together

This session will outline how a consortia of public and private providers can collectively go offshore to develop business opportunities.  The case studies for the consortia will focus on opportunities they have developed in India, and will highlight how and why it was created and the benefits of the collaboration.

Sessions for schools

We are working with schools sector representatives to offer a dedicated stream of sessions relevant to the school sector. In addition the many of other cross-sectoral sessions planned, here are some of the presentations specifically addressing the schools sector’s needs:

Embracing diversity:  An Asia-at-home style of learning
Mark Laraghy, Livingstone Christian College; Amanda Roberts

The TALK and the WALK - what we SAY and what we DO about educating Global Citizens in schools
Mariana Lane, Independent Schools Queensland

Across Sectors, Across Governments - New Modes of Doing Business
Elizabeth Webber, Australian Government Schools International/NSW Department of Education

Beyond English language proficiency: International secondary school students’ diverse practices of belonging
Jillian Blackmore, Deakin University; Trang Hoang, University of Deakin; Caroline Mahoney, Deakin University

Sessions for newcomers

If you are new to international education, or new to the industry in Australia, or simply are up for a ‘refresher’ we have something just for you.

“International education 101: what you should know”  is perfect for those who have recently joined the sector in the last two years, international visitors who want to know more about the Australian landscape, or anyone with a bit more experience but wanting a bit of a ‘refresher’. Speakers will present valuable tools and resources to keep your knowledge current and help you decipher those crazy acronyms. If you want to learn about the origins and current status of the industry globally; the regulatory environment in Australia; the key ministers and peak bodies; and the challenges and opportunities for international education in Australia, then don’t miss this session on Wednesday morning!

Café sessions

Café sessions at AIEC usually follow the theory and structure behind the 'world café' method. They appear informal and simple at first glance, yet the structured discussions offer an effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogues.

The design of each café session at AIEC will vary depending on the needs and aims of the session, which might focus on the need to identify future research required on a particular subject or the opportunity to share best practices; and/or offering the opportunity to explore a topic in a small group providing a platform for a more nuanced and complex dialogue.

  • The Power of Student-Led Marketing: Using influencers and creating brand champions
  • Gender, parenthood and career choices: an international education perspective
  • Stop preaching to the converted:  Get off your ass and get some diversity!
  • On the straight and narrow? Embracing LGBTQI+ diversity in international education (see above)
  • Mental health issues in the international student community

Pre-conference workshops

These hands-on, practical workshops provide an opportunity to deep dive into specific topics and take away some practical tips that you can apply in your day-to-day work. Even if you're not attending the full conference, you can still register for a stand-alone workshop.

Half day workshops

A. Beyond the great firewall: social media in China
B. Risky business: mitigating risk in learning abroad
C. Cracking the code: ESOS National Code 2017
D. Trends from across the pond: what’s next for TNE in Australia?
E. Data demystified: unlock the value of data-driven decision-making
F. From ni hao to know-how: understanding Chinese language and culture
G. Global power shifts and the impact on pathways
H. Innovation in employability

Full day masterclass

Keeping up with demand for content that really engages millennials can be a challenge. Thanks to iPad technology – and user-friendly editing programs – we have the tools right at our fingertips. Delegates attending the masterclass The art of storytelling: producing online video like a pro will discover the tricks of the trade and learn how to master the art of producing compelling online video.

Workshops will be held on Tuesday 10 October at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart.

View full workshop program here.


Key dates

16 January - Call for proposals opens

1 March - Call for proposals closes

1 June - Registration opens

1 August - Early bird registration closes

10 October 2017 - Conference starts