Academic literacies research Academic literacies research

The role of recruitment agents in the internationalisation of higher education

Society for Research in Higher Education Scoping Project, 2013-15

Anna Robinson-Pant and Anna Magyar

This scoping study, funded by the Society for Research in Higher Education, set out to reconceptualise the role of agents within the HE internationalisation policy agenda by mapping the recruitment agency landscape and attempting to put student experience into the picture. Through a review of related literature, interviews with recruitment agents (in person and by Skype), university international office staff and observation of agent briefing programmes, the project offers insights for investigating the complex processes of mediation between recruitment agents, international students and UK universities. Through the process of the project, the researchers  began to identify and engage with institutions working in this area (including the British Council), to explore how the findings could  contribute to future policy on internationalisation. Outputs include:

SRHE Policy Briefing Paper (2015) Education agents or educational agents?  Bridging the gap between recruitment and education  by Anna Magyar and Anna Robinson-Pant

Internationalisation and Recruitment Agents: the missing link? (2015, University World News)

Contribution to the QAA’s revised Guidance for UK higher education providers, ‘International Students studying in the UK’ (2015).

Magyar, A. and A. Robinson-Pant (2018) The recruitment agent in internationalised higher education: commercial broker and cultural mediator, Journal of Studies in International Education

Language and academic study in a second language,

UEA Teaching Fellowship project, 2012-13:

Anna Magyar and Anna Robinson-Pant were awarded a Teaching Fellowship to investigate and generate better understanding amongst UEA staff about what the International English Language Test (IELTS) scores really mean, and to explore the implications of these findings for international students making the transition to academic study at Masters level.

This study explored comparatively, through interviews and some observation, the language experiences, strategies and difficulties of two distinct groups of international students at UEA: so-called ‘direct entry' students who arrive to study a Masters course, having already met the language requirements of the course they have applied to, and those who arrive in the UK in order to participate in a pre-sessional course at INTO which will bring them up to the required language level.. The methodology drew on the approach and findings of their previous Teaching Fellowship research project conducted with international students, which gave insights into the cultural and linguistic issues that they faced on entering a UEA doctoral programme.

The project involved workshops with staff directing Masters courses across UEA, to examine the implications of the research for current MA level provision and teaching, learning and assessment approaches.  The final workshop also brought together staff from INTO and from SSF Masters courses to develop recommendations for enhancing practice.

Addressing the needs of first year international research students and their supervisors: an academic literacies approach

University of East Anglia Teaching Fellowship 2009-10)

This action research project developed resource materials for newly arrived international research students at UEA (including a DVD made by international research students about  their experiences of supervision), as well as contributing to supervisors' understanding of the transitions that international students make in terms of academic reading and writing practices. This work built on previous Teaching Fellowship projects conducted by Nalini Boodhoo and Anna Robinson-Pant on ‘Improving the experiences of international research students' (2006) and Anna Magyar on ‘Understanding plagiarism across disciplines and cultures' (2007).

The theoretical implications of the project are explored in the following article:

Magyar, A. and A. Robinson-Pant (2011) Internationalising doctoral research: developing theoretical perspectives on practice, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp 663-677

Writing for publication programme

(BAICE/Compare-funded, from 2007 - present)

Anna Magyar, Anna Robinson-Pant, Nitya Rao and Theresa Lillis (Open University)  set up the research-based BAICE/Compare writing for publication programme in 2007 as a strategy to address the discursive and practical barriers faced by writers in the South. This programme of support for new writers to the journal Compare has continued to run on an annual basis and helped to ensure a greater diversity of articles submitted to the journal. Anna Magyar developed further the on-line version of the programme which is available to researchers based in the Global South. Please contact for details. Workshops have been held in Ethiopia (2014), India (2015), Philippines (2016), Nepal (2017) and Egypt (2017) – the latter hosted by UNESCO Chair partners, Kathmandu University and Ain Shams University.

You can read a detailed analysis of and reflections about the programme here:

Lillis, T., Magyar, A. and A. Robinson-Pant (2013) Mentoring writers towards international publication: a case study from one journal, in Pattern, I. & V. Matarese, Supporting research writing: roles and challenges in multilingual settings, Chandos

Lillis, T., Magyar, A. and A. Robinson-Pant (2010) An international journal's attempts to address inequalities in academic publishing: developing a writing for publication programme, Compare: a journal of comparative and  international education, Vol. 40/6, pp 781 - 800 

The following article explores the development of the journal Compare in relation to the changing relationship between the fields of comparative education and development studies:

Evans, K. and A. Robinson-Pant (2010) Compare: exploring a forty year journey through comparative education and international development, Compare: a journal of comparative and international education, Vol. 40/6, pp 693-710