Department of Education

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Elena Tsvetkova is a doctoral student in the Department of Education conducting research in the field of Higher Education. Elena is a recipient of the Hill Foundation Scholarship, and she works under the supervision of Professor Alis Oancea and Professor Simon Marginson.

Before joining the DPhil programme, she obtained a Specialist degree in Linguistics and Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages and Cultures (Hons) from Moscow State Linguistic University and an MA in Educational Leadership (Distinction) from the University of Manchester.

Currently, Elena’s research interests lie in the realm of educational policy and practice, in particular excellence initiatives and university rankings, academic work and teaching & learning in higher education.


Tsvetkova, E., & Lomer, S. (2019). Academic excellence as “competitiveness enhancement” in Russian higher education. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development.

Minto Felix is a doctoral student investigating research culture in Indian higher education and a recipient of the department’s Judge Scholarship. He is supervised by Professor Simon Marginson and Professor Alis Oancea.

Minto is a graduate of the department’s MSc Higher Education Course, where he graduated with Distinction. He is interested in the research impact and quality of Indian universities, and the contribution of locally and regionally led research to India’s economic and social development.

Outside of Oxford, Minto is a consultant with the Nous Group, providing strategy and public policy advice to UK higher education institutions and other sectors. He has worked across Australia and the UK in strategy and advisory roles in health and higher education, and writes frequently on these issues for mainstream media outlets in both these countries. Minto also holds a Masters in Health Administration and Bachelor of Psychological Sciences from Monash University, Australia where he was a recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s “Ancora Imparo” student leadership award and the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion.


Darta is a DPhil student pursuing research in the field of global higher education.

Darta has a diverse academic and professional background. She holds a 1st class BA(Hons) degree in Finance and Business and a MSc in Education (Leadership and Policy). She has strengthened her academic achievements through research assistantships as well as working in financial accounting. Her journey has developed a global perspective and instigated academic curiosity regarding university global engagement.

Darta is particularly interested in understanding global flows within higher education as well as addressing the gap in literature on what constitutes a global higher education institution. Darta’s research explores global universities as through the lenses of social space and social networks. Her approach will employ creative, grounded methods to understand the global imaginary.

Wanlin Cai is a DPhil student in higher education and a member of CGHE research group at the Department of Education.

Wanlin’s research interest lies in international higher education, higher education policies and economy, with a specific focus on World-Class Universities.

She is also a member of South China Global Talent Institute, Center for China and Globalisation, where she focuses on the research of talent policy and development in the Great Bay Area in China.

Prior to her beginning as a DPhil student, Wanlin read for the M.Sc in Higher Education at the University of Oxford and the M.Sc in Management and Enterprise Growth at the University of Glasgow.

McQueen is a Clarendon Scholar and is currently reading for a DPhil in Education at the University of Oxford. Her thesis focuses on the digital pedagogy responses of universities in East Asia to the COVID-19 outbreak. Her doctoral research is fully funded by the Clarendon and New College Scholarships.

McQueen is a member of the Centre for Global Higher Education. Her research interests include higher education, e-learning, and learning technologies. Her research interests are influenced by her experiences of working as an academic tutor at the University of Hong Kong and a researcher for Khan Academy and HarvardX (edX).

Prior to coming to Oxford, McQueen completed her master’s degree with a specialisation in media and learning technologies at Teachers College, Columbia University in the City of New York. She earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and international business at the University of Hong Kong with a full merit-based scholarship.

Antonin’s research is directed towards global regionalisms in higher education with a specific interest in transnational university alliances. He is currently investigating the pilot phases of the European Universities Initiative, as well as other regional higher education and research networks.

Antonin has just completed an MSc in Comparative and International Education at the department. Prior to joining Oxford, he coordinated international projects at the crossroads of education, culture and social action for various not-for-profit organizations based in France. He also obtained an MA in Film and Philosophy and a BA in Film Studies from King’s College London.



Since 1990, global science has expanded with exceptional dynamism and relations of power within it have shifted markedly.

Grass roots collaborative networks have become established as the main medium of development; Euro-American national science systems have become intensively networked as a global duopoly; and many middle-income countries have built their own national science systems. These include a group of countries that have followed a semi ‘stand-alone’ trajectory, establishing robust national systems based on government investment, national network building and selective international connections, without integrating tightly into the global duopoly. The stand-alone trajectory, which is nationally nuanced and does not comply with Euro-American patterns (and hence is not always understood in the literature on science) has been successfully pursued in all East Asian countries except Vietnam. China, which had almost no presence in global science forty years ago, is now number two science country, number one in areas of STEM physical sciences.

The seminar will investigate developments in China in funding, science paper output, the discipline balance, internationalisation strategy, and national and global networking, explaining how China has successfully combined global activity and local/national activity in positive sum fashion in a strongly nationally-nested science system. It will also discuss limits of the achievement, and note that while China-US relations have been instrumental in building science, a partial decoupling is in prospect.

About the speaker

Simon Marginson is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Oxford, Director of the ESRC/OFSRE Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), Editor-in-Chief of Higher Education, Professorial Associate of the Melbourne Centre for Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne, and Lead Researcher with Higher School of Economics in Moscow. CGHE is a research partnership of five UK and nine international universities with £9 million in funding for 16 projects on global, national and local aspects of higher education in 2015-2023.

Simon’s research is focused primarily on global and international higher education, higher education in East Asia, and higher education and social inequality. He is currently preparing an integrated theorisation of higher education. He Co-Chaired the UK Higher Education Commission Inquiry into Education Exports which reported in 2018. His most recent books are Changing Higher Education for a Changing World, edited with Claire Callender and William Locke (Bloomsbury, 2020) and High Participation Systems of Higher Education, edited with Brendan Cantwell and Anna Smolentseva (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Learn more about Simon here


This seminar will be of interest to: scholars and students of science, of China studies and of higher education and research; university professionals with responsibility for international relations and research; China and East Asia specialists.

In this webinar to launch the new book Changing Higher Education for a Changing World (Bloomsbury, 2020), with 17 chapters that draw on the outcomes of CGHE’s globally-focused research programmes, we discuss the book’s key themes and findings with its editors, CGHE’s Claire Callender, William Locke and Simon Marginson.

Changing Higher Education for a Changing World explores higher education in the major higher education regions including China, Europe, the UK and the USA. It sharply illuminates key issues of public and policy interest across the world. Do research universities make society more equal or more unequal? Are students graduating with too much debt? Who do we want to be attending universities? Will learning technologies will abolish the need for bricks-and-mortar higher education institutions? What can countries do to improve their scientific performance? How can comparative teaching assessment and research assessment become much more effective? These are among the issues explored in Changing Higher Education for a Changing World. Please join us to discuss this important new book.

Reviews for Changing Higher Education for a Changing World

“Breathtaking in its breadth – from public good in South African undergraduate education to the existential crisis in post-Brexit UK – this well-written volume presents the most recent scholarship emerging from the world’s leading centre for higher education research” – Glen Jones, Professor of Higher Education and Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada

“A vivid snapshot of higher education development in a world during the surge of populism and before the pandemic. It serves extremely well as a timely awakening. Its themes, contents and contributing authors from the research team reminds us of the pressing need for our concerted efforts in defending further integration on a global scale.” – Rui Yang, Professor and Associate Dean of Education, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

“A thoughtful, data-driven and extraordinarily useful analysis of key themes shaping the global higher education landscape.” – Philip G. Altbach, Founding Director, Centre for International Higher Education, Boston College, USA

For further information on Changing Higher Education for a Changing World and to order a copy, please visit Bloomsbury’s website here.

About the authors

Claire Callender is Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education, and leads CGHE’s social and economic impact of higher education research programme.

William Locke is Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne, International Co-Investigator for CGHE (having been its Deputy Director 2015-19) and Joint Editor of Policy Reviews in Higher Education. His research interests include the governance and management of HEIs; the changing academic profession; HE policy and policy-making.

Simon Marginson is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Oxford, Director of the ESRC/OFSRE Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), Joint Editor-in-Chief of Higher Education, and Lead Researcher with Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Simon’s research is focused primarily on global and international higher education, the contributions of higher education and higher education as a public and common good, and higher education and social inequality. At Oxford he leads the MSc (Education) subject on ‘Global higher education’. His recent books include Higher Education in Federal Countries, edited with Martin Carnoy, Isak Froumin and Oleg Leshukov (Sage, 2018) and High Participation Systems of Higher Education, edited with Brendan Cantwell and Anna Smolentseva (Oxford University Press, 2018).

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed immense challenges for higher education everywhere: providing for the health and safety of students and staff, developing online education and devising new mixed modes of delivery, maintaining research and sustaining institutional income amid enrolment fluctuations.

The pandemic has created special problems for higher education systems highly engaged in international relations, especially those financially and educationally dependent on high volume international student mobility. Australian higher education is well organised and flexible, with a capacity to scale up effectively and work around the world, but prior to the pandemic was very dependent on international student revenues.

In early 2020 Australian higher education was poised to overtake the UK as second country in the world after the United States as a provider of international education. In 2018 Australian institutions had enrolled 479,987 international students (30.7 per cent of all students), mostly from China, India, Nepal and Southeast Asia, with more a quarter of their total income from international student tuition fees. No less than 58.9 per cent of taught Masters students in 2018 were international. Among doctoral research students 36.8 per cent were from abroad. Then Covid-19 hit and incoming flights were stopped.

International student fees at profit-taking levels have underpinned the teaching of domestic students at scale, buildings and facilities and financed much research. The research performance of Australian universities has sustained their leap up the league tables. In the 2020 Shanghai Academic Ranking Australia had 23 universities in the world top 500, including seven in the top 100, led by Melbourne at 35: remarkable for a nation of 26 million people. The rankings of Australian universities sustain their reputation among international student families. Yet the achievement was always vulnerable: compared to most other research-intensive countries, science in Australian higher education has been less dependent on the public funding that is the normal mainstay of research infrastructure and more dependent on university managed commercial income.

The pandemic in Australia is less severe than in the United States and much of Europe but subject to continuing outbreaks, and the nation protects itself by restricting and regulating incoming traffic. There is no prospect of face to face international education returning to pre-Covid volumes this side of a vaccine. All Australian universities face exceptionally harsh income projections, which is forcing large scale restructuring and threatening industrial relations turmoil. The Australian government has sustained funding for domestic students, while requiring the universities to kick-start a new programme of six-month courses in vocational areas to soak up unemployment. It has been notably unsympathetic to requests for compensation for lost international student income, despite the fact that international students have been financing national public goods such as research. Media commentators tell the universities their business models are at fault. This might be the government view also.

Yet the business model followed by the universities was developed in government and fostered by visa policy and the promotion of education exports in Australian consulates across Asia. For thirty years successive Australian governments encouraged higher education institutions to build international education. For government the education export sector has been a fiscal windfall, allowing Treasury to drop public funding of universities well below the OECD country average as a proportion of GDP, while building national soft power in the Asia-Pacific region. All of this, including Australian relations in the region and especially with China (where geopolitical tensions are rising) is in the melting pot.

Resources are crucially important. Change is inevitable. How are Australian universities coping with their immense challenges? Will Australia restore its role in international education? Will Australia become more engaged in its region or less? What will be the future Australian model and mission in higher education?

In the CGHE webinar these issues will be explored by speakers from three leading Australian research universities, all notable for their level of engagement in international education.


About the speakers

Professor Margaret Gardner AC is President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University. She has previously held leadership positions at RMIT, the University of Queensland and Griffith University. Professor Gardner is the Interim Chair of the Group of Eight Universities and was Chair of Universities Australia from 2017-2019. She is a Director of Infrastructure Victoria, the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and a member of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

Professor Gardner’s previous roles include Chair of the Expert Panel of the Office of Learning and Teaching, Chair of Museum Victoria, Board member of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission and ANZAC Centenary Advisory Board.

Laurie Pearcey is Chief Executive Officer of UNSW Global Pty Ltd and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at UNSW Sydney. Laurie is responsible for international student recruitment, developing pathways education and advancing global business development. Prior to his appointment, Laurie was Executive Director International and led the development of UNSW’s China and India Strategies with several significant outcomes, including the establishment of the Torch Innovation Precinct. Laurie is a Board Member of the Australia India Institute, and a Member of the Group of Eight’s International Strategy Group, Chair of the Board of the Confucius Institute at UNSW and an Executive Committee Member of the Universities Alliance of the Silk Road.

Fazal Rizvi is an Emeritus Professor of Global Studies in Education at the University of Melbourne, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has written extensively on issues of identity and culture in transnational contexts, globalization and education policy and Australia-Asia relations. A collection of his essays is published in: Encountering Education in the Global: Selected Writings of Fazal Rizvi (Routledge 2014). His recent books include a co-authored volume, Class Choreographies: Elite Schools and Globalization (Palgrave 2018) and a co-edited volume, Transnational Perspectives on on Democracy, Citizenship, Human Rights and Peace Education (Bloomsbury 2019). Fazal is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences and a past Editor of the journal, Discourse: Studies in Cultural Politics of Education, and past President of the Australian Association of Research in Education.