Janet Ilieva is founder and director of Education Insight. She is a keen observer of the global student mobility flows and passionate about collaborative approaches in transnational education and its contribution to countries’ development agendas.
Janet started her career as a university lecturer in economics before joining the British Council in 2004, to lead the department’s work for higher education research and market intelligence. Janet joined the Higher Education Funding Council for England in May 2013 as head of the HEFCE Observatory. There, she published on international student demand for higher education in England with a strong focus on transnational education.
Janet is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of International Students (https://www.ojed.org/index.php/jis/about/editorialTeam); she advises on the Philippine – UK Transnational Education Programme run by the British Council and the Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines (https://www.britishcouncil.ph/tne) and a trustee at Richmond, The American International University in London (https://www.richmond.ac.uk/about-richmond/board-of-trustees/).
Winnie joined Education Insight as a Partner in April 2020. Her dedicated expertise in education, leadership
and management has helped shape contemporary tertiary education across continents, with a focus on the increasing role of Transnational Education (TNE).
Winnie is an appointed auditor of the Quality Assurance Council at the University Grants Committee in Hong Kong between 2014 and 2019. Her experience and knowledge of TNE has both broadened and deepened in the past two decades, a period of time when she held a number of pivotal senior executive positions, including Vice-President at the University of Southampton, UK; Deputy Vice-Chancellor at The University of Newcastle, Australia; Director of International Affairs at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Deputy Country Director at British Council, Nigeria; and Director of Education Services at British Council, Hong Kong.
Over the past decade, in her senior executive roles at universities in Australia and the UK, Winnie has addressed structural and systemic issues in realising institutions’ TNE aspirations, through the development of whole-of-institution approaches to operational frameworks. This has positioned TNE as an integral part of the University’s International Strategy, its overall strategic and business planning, and above all, its alignment with quality student learning and mobility, robust faculty engagement, credible research collaborations, equitable partnerships and sustainability.
At the British Council in Hong Kong, Winnie was enlisted to design and execute a flagship education services model for the future. This included delivering the British Prime Minister Initiative (PMI) and improving market share of UK education (including TNE). Winnie initiated and commissioned two bespoke commercial research studies on both the determinants of students’ choices in relation to TNE and the subsequent TNE market and partnership opportunities for the UK in Hong Kong. Capitalising on these innovative pieces, the UK higher education sector has since substantially increased its market share, and today enjoys pole position as a TNE partner in Hong Kong.
In partnership with National Universities Commission (NUC) in Nigeria, Winnie worked towards unlocking the potential of TNE in enabling equity and access (one of the four components of education for all, as set out in the Federal Ministry of Education’s Roadmap). In Abuja, 2009, the inaugural ‘Round-table on Cross-Border Higher Education’, co-hosted by NUC and the British Council, in partnership with the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), was held. The Round-table on TNE was one of the deliverables she worked towards and it paved the groundwork for subsequent TNE policy dialogues.
Winnie’s tenure at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University cast a new perspective on Hong Kong’s TNE operations in Mainland China, by examining a fundamental issue – that despite Universities in Hong Kong being major partners and providers of TNE in the region, there were limited studies and publications on approaches, governance, risks, ethics and compliance. By shifting intellectual focus onto uncovering and addressing the gaps left by limited research, Winnie championed a data-driven strategic approach towards TNE efforts. In the past seven years, in her senior executive roles at universities in Australia and the UK, Winnie has addressed structural and systemic issues in realising institutions’ TNE aspirations, through the development of whole-of-institution approaches to operational frameworks. This has positioned TNE as an integral part of the University’s International Strategy, its overall strategic and business planning, and above all, its alignment with quality student learning and mobility, robust faculty engagement, credible research collaborations, equitable partnerships and sustainability.
Rebecca Finlayson, Consultant Statistician
Rebecca Finlayson joined Educational Insight as a Consultant Statistician in 2019. She has a passion for ensuring the robust use of data to improve the experience of students and inform policies and strategies across the higher education sector.
Rebecca has more than ten years of analytical experience, including seven years as an Analyst at the Higher Education Funding Council for England and later the Office for Students. She has led a range of projects, drawing on a wide variety of administrative and survey-based data sources to provide insights across the student lifecycle. A number of these projects featured international students and diversity in the UK sector. She also has experience with many analytical techniques, including statistical modelling, data visualisation and presenting data meaningfully.