Up close and personal with Raegan Hiles

Raegan Hiles leads Universities UK International (UUKi)’s outbound mobility programmes, overseeing the national strategies for Outward Student Mobility and transnational education (TNE) efforts. She heads up the HEGlobal programme, a joint initiative between the UUKi and the British Council to empower UK universities' TNE activity. HEGlobal involves representing UK higher education TNE on global platforms, delivery of a national project from 2015-16 exploring the scale and scope of the UK’s offshore higher education delivery, universities’ strategic priorities, and future TNE planning.

Her Outward Student Mobility responsibilities involve managing capacity-building work and advocacy to meet the target growth of doubling UK full-time undergraduate students’ participation in outward student mobility by 2020. This incorporates overseeing the development and publication of baseline data and co-chairing the Outward Mobility network. An undergraduate from the University of Warwick, Raegan has postgraduate qualifications from University College London and the University of York.

Education Intelligence interviewed Raegan to better understand TNE trends, her countries of interest and listening to the sound of parakeets at night.

What do you like best about your job and why?
I am privileged to meet and work with truly inspirational people. People who are working at universities and committed to making the world a better place. Whether this is done by expanding knowledge and learning from other countries through TNE, or initiating study abroad programmes and giving students a chance to learn about themselves and the world, I get to play a part in making those projects happen. Hopefully, I can contribute something towards the success of the people involved. Every day I get to talk to people overseas, shaping education policy or delivering courses, and everyone genuinely wants to improve society and make a difference. Not many people get to be an active part of that.

What is your current country of interest and why?
UK universities are involved in TNE in all but 15 countries worldwide, so that’s a very tricky question. There are lots of new opportunities in the Middle East and Africa, and we are working very closely with a few governments to open up the higher education landscape for UK universities which is exciting. Watch this space.

What is your greatest challenge?
At the moment, the biggest challenge is also my biggest work luxury and benefit – I work on two very different policy areas, which means there is always something new. I’m heading up UUKi’s work on both outward student mobility and transnational education. I’m sometimes torn between the need to quite literally be in two places at one time, and both are equal priorities. But the great thing about that is the opportunity to see internationalisation from two very different sides as a consequence: it makes my job incredibly interesting.

What keeps you up at night?
Workwise: I work with the most amazing team, and everyone is a star, brimming with ideas. Focusing that energy into concise delivery goals with the greatest impact sometimes means I’m inspired into the wee hours…

Non-work: the hundreds of wild parakeets that have set up home in the area of South London that I live in, who chatter until the same wee hours. Most of the time, it’s delightful; but every now and again, I do wish they’d be a little less sociable and have a rest!

What is your guilty pleasure?
Musicals. Pop me in front of a cast of actors singing, dancing, throw in some jazz hands and I’m merrily entertained for hours.


18/09/2017 - 08:27