Meet the Committee
The European University Alliance brings together universities, colleges and other HE institutions across Europe that have a shared interest in international education.
The NEWLY ELECTED 2019 COMMITTEE is truly European and has worked for many years to facilitate and promote learning abroad through Erasmus+ mobility and study abroad, summer schools, work placements, TNE and collaborations as well as fostering initiatives for internationalisation of the curriculum. The committee is outlined below, with specific functions in italics:
Ivana Belenova, London South Bank University
Philippa Cahill, EM University of Strasbourg Business School
Caroline Davis, Radboud University
Anne Marie Gorisse, Université de Lille (President)
Michelle Hett, SRH University Heidelberg
Barbara Howell, Coventry University
Dr. Sofia Mason, Royal Holloway, University of London
Grace Sadiq, EUA, (Administrative Support Manager)
Caroline Skudder, Université Grenoble-Alpes
Dr. Suzanna Tomassi, Open University (Vice President)
Elissa Williams, Keele University
Chargée de Mission International Development
Université de Lille, France
Anne-Marie Gorisse was Head of International Relations and Senior Lecturer in English on a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for 27 years at a University Business School in Dunkerque. For the past year she has been Chargée de Mission International Relations for the Law and Political Science Faculty of the University of Lille.
After spending a year in Paris on exchange, as part of her French studies, she is a firm believer in the life-changing experience that studying abroad provides. Having sent other people’s children abroad for the 25 years of Erasmus, she is currently in the process of despatching three of her own sons to their foreign exchange destinations.
As Chargée de Mission, she has been very involved in several European projects, particularly Interreg and URBACT on topics such as Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Intercultural Communication. She coordinates faculty-led field trips, short courses and also runs short customised programmes for Japanese and American partners.
She strongly believes that none of this cooperation with partners would be possible without regular networking at the various international fairs and conferences (NAFSA, EAIE, etc) where these encounters are instrumental in the further internationalisation of our universities.
Before qualifying as a university lecturer, she began using her language skills, by working in the international division of an Australian commercial bank in the City, before doing a post–graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, having taken the decision to emigrate to France, where she worked as an interpreter for a Japanese multinational in Paris.
Associate Dean (International)
Barbara Howell’s portfolio career spans some 20 years in the Higher Education sector in both large and specialist HEIs. Barbara joined Coventry University in 2011 as Associate Dean (International) and during that time has held a dual role to include the Head of Department for Aviation, Aerospace, Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Formerly Barbara was a member of the Executive Team and Head of Faculty Communication Media at Ravensbourne.
Barbara is certified as IENG MBCS CITP, a Fellow of the HEA, has had a number of external examiner roles and has been a QAA Institutional Auditor/Reviewer for the last 10 years (to include overseas review).
Over the past 20 years Barbara has provided institutional representation on and engagement with Lifelong Learning Networks (The National Arts Learning Network, Creative Way Executive Board, South London Life Long Learning Group), HEA Subject Centres (Information & Computer Science, Art, Design and Media, Engineering) and professional bodies (BCS, IET, IMechE, Knowledge East, e-skills, Skillset).
Barbara has also worked with a significant number of key employers through membership of the Broadcast Advisory Boards (members include ITN, BBC, BSkyB, PACT, Channel 4, ITV, London Studios & O2) and the IT Management for Business Employer Forum (members include, IBM, Fujitsu & Ford).
Barbara has extensive experience of international and transnational education [TNE]. Within that context she has set up, coordinated and taken strategic oversight of a significant number of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Malaysia, South Africa, UAE, Oman, India, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Nepal, Mauritius, Tanzania and Hong Kong. Barbara has also identified markets and developed high quality partnerships with a number of key overseas institutions in China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Jordan, South Korea, Romania & Brussels for staff/student exchange, funding bids, live projects & joint curriculum development.
Lecturer and International Strategic Partnership Coordinator (Faculty of Arts)
Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Caroline has over 27 years' experience in international education as both a lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and as an International Partnership Coordinator.
She joined Radboud University in 1990 and lectures in the field of International Business Communication. She is also the academic study abroad adviser for International Business Communication, North American Studies and English Language and Culture programmes.
She passionately believes in the value of a study abroad experience and has combined teaching with creating expanding University networks and exchange opportunities for Radboud students across the globe. As a lecturer she is committed to creating an internationalised curriculum, developing student’s cultural competencies and ensuring that students gain the best possible outcomes from their study abroad ventures. Caroline sees the opportunity for students to study abroad as being vital in creating culturally astute, competent, globally aware graduates ready to work in a culturally diverse workplace and loves being part of the process that changes students’ lives.
Caroline is also a keen supporter of the Internationalisation at Home initiative and has worked with partner Universities to integrate this into the curriculum enabling students another avenue to secure an international experience.
Although Caroline has not lived in the UK for many years, she is particularly keen to see a continuing healthy exchange of incoming and outgoing students to and from the UK.
She is committed to Internationalisation at all levels and believes that collaboration and networking at international fairs and conferences and engaging with international networks, such as EUA, are vital to ensuring effective partner collaboration and securing institutional internationalisation goals.
Senior Academic Advisor, International Relations & English teacher at the adult continuing education department
Université Grenoble Alpes, France
Caroline Skudder always wanted to be a teacher from a very young age. After having studied linguistics at the University of Nottingham, she completed a master’s degree in Scottish studies specializing in the 18th century travel literature. She taught French in England then moved to France and started teaching English in companies for the chamber of commerce for 5 years. She then passed the national state competitive exam to become a permanent civil servant teacher and came first for the region. After having spent a year in the teacher training college, she was recruited by the university Stendhal in Grenoble (now merged as Université Grenoble Alpes) to work for the adult continuing education department as an English teacher and as Head of the English team. She was also the local secretary for Cambridge exams. She was then appointed Senior Academic Advisor at the international relations by the university president. She now still teaches English part-time to researchers, PhD students, university personnel or adults wishing to resume their studies and take the equivalent of the baccalaureate and works for the international office part-time.
Having worked in the international relations field of her university for the last 13 years, she has dealt with all the areas that the job requires from networking with partners, prospecting for new partners, welcoming delegations, welcoming incoming exchange students, selecting outgoing exchange students, giving out information sessions in lecture halls, drawing up double diplomas and agreements, studying course catalogues and looking for matching courses and advising students academically on what programmes and courses to take.
She has attended all the conferences of the EUA regularly and has always found them extremely interesting, practical and straight to the point. Alongside her duties at the international relations, she has been teaching English to adults for 25 years and was head of the English department for 7 years before being appointed at the international relations, so her experience in students' academic welfare and her teaching capacities have been put to use for her job at the international relations which required an academic staff.
Global Education Manager
Keele University, United Kingdom
Elissa has worked in International Education since 1990 starting her career with a 12 year stay in Africa. Setting up a Tourism and Hospitality programme for the government of Kenya was a sharp learning curve combining culture and wildlife with curriculum development and teacher training. Loathe to leave Africa, Elissa moved to Uganda to set up the first private travel and tourism college after the Civil War, followed by setting up the first degree programme in East Africa in Hospitality, Tourism and Catering. A short stay at Parnu Majandskool between posts in Kenya and Uganda involved curriculum development for a newly emerging Estonian tourism industry after the departure of the Soviet Union. Links with USAID led to the opportunity to work in Community Tourism Development throughout Uganda sponsored by the North Carolina Zoo (USA). Chimpanzees, gorillas, handcrafts and fascinating communities became part of UCOTA, a community tourism initiative still going strong today.
In 2001, Elissa decided to move to the UK to take on the role of International Tutor at the University of Chester. Combining development in international exchange and experiential learning opportunities for second-year students involved projects in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Costa Rica, Brazil and Disneyworld Florida! The placements changed lives and focused students on their future directions. Elissa is now the Global Education Manager at Keele University overseeing a strong and diverse exchange programme as well as setting out strategies for an international student experience. Diverse and exciting partnerships have been developed in Europe and Japan.
Elissa has also been involved with BUTEX as Vice- Chair, now Chair. One could say that international education has been a big part of Elissa's
life throughout her wide and varied career.
Senior Partnerships Manager
London South Bank University, United Kingdom
Ivana Belenova, originally from Slovakia, has worked in higher education in the UK since 2005, mainly in Student Recruitment and Marketing. She joined International Directorate at London South Bank University in 2016 and took on a role of an Institutional Erasmus Coordinator. A year later, she was offered a position of a Senior Partnerships Manager and in addition to Erasmus, she was given responsibility to look after transnational education arrangements London South Bank University has with European partners as well as developing new ones. This includes franchise, validation, articulation, study abroad and summer school arrangements.
Ivana has been a member of HEURO (UK Association for European Officers) since 2016 and she really appreciated the opportunity to meet other international educators, learn from them, as well as share knowledge and experiences. She is very passionate about the benefits of partnerships and understands the importance of networking. She would like to use her skills and experience to help to support the internationalisation of European HE, but at the same time, learn from others and expand the network of people she works with. She believes that together we could create a community of international educators that can help find solutions to challenges in international education.
SRH University Heidelberg Business School, Germany
Michelle Hett is the International Coordinator for the International Office at SRH University Heidelberg Business School, a role involving anything “International” that comes to the Business School. Michelle particularly enjoys new projects that bring partner universities together, broadening the international experience for the students and staff both at home and away. This has included the development of dual degree programmes, faculty led tours and more diverse activities.
Michelle was instrumental in establishing a business bachelor programme completely taught in English at the SRH and is now working to establish an MA taught in English.
Michelle, originally from Southampton, is widely travelled, both for work and pleasure, and is never happier than when getting onto a plane to visit another new culture. She started life in medical sciences in the UK, and has worked in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. She moved into education with her previous role as the European Manager for a school’s expedition company, taking teams of students to Africa and Asia as part of a developmental programme for 15 – 18 year old students.
Michelle’s passion for internationalization at all levels of life has brought her to SRH University Heidelberg, Germany to work, although she commutes from home to Dublin, Ireland at the weekends to be with her family.
Deputy Head of the International Relations Office
EM Strasbourg Business School, University of Strasbourg, France
Philippa began her career in international education in September 2012 at EM Strasbourg Business School, France, as Coordinator for International Mobility Programmes. Over the years she has been involved in a wide range of activities, including outgoing mobility advising, design and organisation of incoming short term programmes, event planning and also management of an international relations office.
In 2017 Philippa was appointed Deputy Head of the International Relations Office at EM Strasbourg. Having connected with many colleagues and peers over the years through international conferences and networking events, Philippa is delighted to see her role evolve and to have the opportunity to become more directly involved in some of the expert communities that help the field of international education to move forward.
A British national, Philippa obtained an undergraduate degree in Modern Languages (French and German) from Durham University in 2008. After graduation, she moved to Limoges, France where she worked as an English language instructor at the Université de Limoges whilst obtaining her Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication from the same university.
Philippa now lives in northern Alsace on the border with Germany and enjoys a border-hopping lifestyle that stimulates her passion for the
study of intercultural behaviour and international relations.
Philippa is delighted to have been appointed to serve on the EUA committee. She strongly believes in the goals behind the alliance, the value to be found in cooperation between institutions and believes particularly in the EUA’s work in supporting of professional development in the sector.
Dr. Sofia Mason
Academic Partnerships Officer
Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
Since she began working on international partnerships at Royal Holloway, in March 2018, Sofia has become increasingly convinced of the growing importance of international networks of like-minded professionals committed to enhancing student mobility experiences. Sofia brings enthusiasm, organisational skills and a keen sense of Pan-European collegiality and team work to the role.
Royal Holloway has 72 Erasmus+ agreements with European institutions and is committed to continuing to provide European exchange opportunities for outgoing and incoming students. She is pleased to be part of a network of experts in this field, particularly as we navigate new territory in relation to the European Union. Her academic background prepared her well for her role on the committee; she lived for a year in Spain as an undergraduate, before completing a PhD in the department of Spanish and Latin American studies at the University of Nottingham. Her previous two roles at Royal Holloway, working on an international research network based in Modern Languages, and supporting funding applications for international research projects, such as those funded by the EU, have afforded further insights into collaboration across international higher educations. Professionally, she is interested in sector responses to current political developments. Specifically, she hopes to deliver solutions that defend and expand education abroad as the need for inter-cultural understanding grows.
Dr. Suzanna Tomassi
Deputy Director (Partnerships)
The Open University
Dr Suzanna Tomassi is Deputy Director (Partnerships) at the Open University (OU) Validation Partnerships unit in the UK. The OU has pioneered distance education and is the biggest university in the UK with over 170.000 students, as well as one of the biggest transnational education (TNE) partnership providers.
Suzanna has been working within the HE sector for many years. Over this time she was promoted through a number of different jobs at four different universities. Her professional interests include alumni relations and everything related to TNE and internationalisation. Suzanna is particularly interested in the commercial side of TNE activities and as a result, she has spent 13 years in business development, working with international partners, setting up and successfully managing collaborative provision.
Like a lot of people in business, Suzanna gets immense enjoyment from hitting her targets. Sometimes those are work related, like having a paper accepted for a presentation at an international event, coming up with an idea for a new income stream or setting up an academic partnership from scratch in a new market. Other times these are personal targets, such as gaining an MBA and a PhD whilst working full–time and raising a family or planting 100+ baby plants in her back garden on a Saturday afternoon.
Suzanna is passionate about internationalization and widening access to higher education. As a student she had an opportunity to experience internationalisation and study abroad. This triggered her life-long passion about the HE sector.
Suzanna is a serious collector of academic degrees and she completed so far two Masters Degrees, an MBA programme in HE Management (Institute of Education, University College London) and a PhD in Economics. She has been frequently presenting on the subject of internationalisation and partnerships in the UK and abroad, while her chapter on academia-industry partnerships is due to be published in July 2019 in the Oxford University Handbook of HE. Suzanna had also served as an elected external member for 9 years on the board of a university Council.
Suzanna’s energy and obsession to get the job done are mixed with a lot of fun, especially when she is off duty playing with mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan, trekking through a Columbian jungle in search of the Lost City, climbing Machu Picchu, investigating lava on Etna, searching for quirky jewellery at flea markets or making pickles, jams and cider using produce grown in her back garden (albeit not all at the same time!).