University of the Arts London (UAL) 

UAL LogoWorking with International Students

UAL has an influential and busy international students’ section and Pareas Associates was, over the years, commissioned to carry out a number of projects for them.

We ran a study to explore how the pre-sessional English programme organised by UAL’s Language Centre impacted on the work of the university and the integration of international students into its programmes.

Another project was to manage the evaluation of the CD-ROM which UAL sent to its new international students together with the offer letter and other documentation. The CD-ROM provided a range of information and we used focus groups to assess its use and value for students. The findings informed a remake of the CD and contributed to a major university retention initiative as well as to UAL’s future marketing planning.

We also carried out methodological research. UAL wanted to run a ‘First Destination Study’ project with its international student graduates – a group with which it was traditionally difficult to keep track. Our focus was therefore to evaluate different methodologies to identify the best approach to track the graduates and enable UAL to carry out its project. We were also asked to undertake an international telephone survey among all UAL agents and the Education/International Directors in British Council offices around the world to establish a range of views on UAL’s enrolment, fees and curriculum offer. The findings were subsequently used by UAL to influence the policies and operation of its international development function.

Pareas Associates was also commissioned to carry out a survey of UAL’s ‘Semester Abroad’ students using a sample of past visiting students from the USA who had spent either 1 or 2 terms on one of UAL’s programmes during a specific academic year. The aim of the study was to identify the students’ experiences while on the programme, to re-establish contact with them to ascertain their future study plans and explore the use of an online survey as a way of carrying out this kind of research. The findings of the research were taken on board and channelled into the course review agenda.

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