Each member of the BUILA executive committee has a key liaison roles and or area of responsibility. The committee meets bi-monthly.
Bobby Mehta, Chair, Lead DfE,OfS, UUKi
Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement), University of Portsmouth
Bobby has worked in higher education since August 1999 when he began working in the Access and Admission Department at the University of Luton (now University of Bedfordshire). He moved to the International Office at Luton in December 2000 and remained there until August 2002 when he moved to Wales as an International Recruitment Officer at the University of Glamorgan, now the University of South Wales. In his time at the University of South Wales he has held a number of positions including: Deputy Head of International Recruitment, Head of International & Business Development in the Faculty of Business and Society, Acting Director of the International Office, Head of Student Recruitment and Head of Enquiries & Admissions and International & EU Recruitment. In April 2017, Bobby moved to the University of Portsmouth to take up the position of Director of UoP Global and in August 2021 Bobby was appointed to the post of Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) where he is responsible for: • Strategic Lead and Management of the International Office • International Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions • International Student Support • Student Mobility • International Business Development and Partnerships Bobby has worked with BUILA for over 15 years and he was originally elected to represent Wales on the BUILA Executive Committee in December 2009 and was elected as Chair in July 2019.
Catriona McCarthy, Vice Chair, N. Irish Liaison, Lead UKCISA
Director of Internationalisation, Ulster University
Catriona is Director of Internationalisation at Ulster University, where she has responsibility for providing professional leadership of the University’s internationalisation strategy, managing its delivery and related stakeholder engagement. This is a founding Director role and her newly created team has a varied remit that includes recruitment, partnerships, mobility and international student support. Catriona has extensive international experience and has worked in the sector since 2002. Having started her career at Heriot-Watt University, Catriona has also spent time at Aberdeen University as well as serving as Deputy Director, International at the University of Edinburgh where she was involved in the design and delivery of various strategic initiatives, including the establishment of overseas operations. Catriona has a detailed understanding of global education policy, trends and funding mechanisms. She also holds an MA Hons in History and Literature, as well as a professional qualifications in marketing and project management.
Andrew Bird, Vice Chair, Employability, Chair International Marketing RIG, British Council
Head of International Marketing & Student Recruitment, Bournemouth University
Andrew has worked in international marketing for over 20 years, 16 of those in the HE sector. Throughout his career he has been fortunate enough to be responsible for many aspects of internationalisation, including recruitment, admissions, partnership setup and delivery (taught and research), CPD/Exec Ed income generation and staff/student mobility (EU and non-EU). In addition, having worked at both modern and research intensive universities he has experience in understanding and supporting the diverse drivers for internationalisation depending upon the priorities and needs of each HEI. Andrew was elected onto the BUILA Executive in 2020.
Nancy Cooke, Lead British Council/Study UK
Associate Director of International Development, University of Salford
Nancy Cooke is Associate Director of International Development at the University of Salford with responsibility for international recruitment, partnerships and student mobility. Nancy has over 15 years’ experience in international education in , which includes student recruitment and partnerships, as well as teaching and student support. Her extensive international work has included setting up and supporting regional hubs in India, China and UAE, and previously in Nepal, Colombia and Kenya. Nancy has served as an elected member of the BUILA executive from 2016, leading on conferences and events and supporting regional interest groups, and more recently leading on our British Council/Study UK partnership to ensure members interests are in the forefront of the changes in higher education and supported in Government agencies and policy changes. In addition to BUILA, Nancy’s additional representative positions pois a previous Chair of British Universities Transnational Exchange Association (BUTEX), and a current Board member of Manchester India Partnership, supporting links between Greater Manchester and India, including bringing together education institutions and employers. Nancy is an advocate for supporting students throughout their student journey and her MBA thesis researched the international student decision making within liberal arts education.
Stuart Easter, Scottish Liaison
Head of International Partnerships and Student Recruitment, Edinburgh Napier University
Stuart is the Head of International Partnerships and Student Recruitment at Edinburgh Napier University, where he leads a team of over 30 staff in 5 countries with responsibility for both UK and international student recruitment and partnership development. Stuart has worked in higher education since 2008 and has gained experience living and working in China as well as spending time at 3 Scottish universities in various internationalisation, recruitment and partnership development functions. Stuart has previously served on Chevening scholarship reading committees as well as being a member of the Scottish Universities International Group committee and the Universities Scotland International Committee. Stuart was elected to the Executive in 2021 and leads on liaison with the wider Scottish sector for BUILA.
Louise McCarthy, Lead Home Office
Assistant Director (International Recruitment), University of Sheffield
Louise has worked in International Higher Education for over 20 years specialising predominantly in international recruitment at two Russell Group Universities, but her experience also includes working at a small and specialised institution covering the full internationalisation remit of recruitment, partnership development and Study Abroad. In her current role at The University of Sheffield, Louise manages a team of regional managers - including staff in China, Malaysia and India - who are responsible for meeting the University's targets for international and EU student recruitment. She also leads on the University's international scholarship portfolio, the management of a large network of recruitment agents and recruitment partnership development with overseas universities, sponsors and pathway providers.
Siobhan Robinson, Welsh Liaison, Conference Team
Head of International Recruitment , Cardiff University
Siobhan joined Cardiff University as Deputy Director of the International Office in 2013 before becoming Head of International Recruitment in 2017. Her career in HE began in managing a European funded project providing skills development and training to South Wales SME’s. In 2007 she joined the International Office at Cardiff Metropolitan University (then UWIC) as an International Officer covering South Asia and Africa, then as Senior International Officer before taking on the management of the international recruitment function as International Strategy and Marketing Manager. Siobhan was elected onto the Executive in November 2019 and leads on liaison with the wider Welsh sector for BUILA.
Head of UEA Global, UEA
Karen Blackney has 25 years of experience of international education with a career spanning three UK universities; Middlesex University, Brunel University and the University of East Anglia. She is currently Associate Director of UEA Global, responsible for student recruitment, study abroad and exchange programmes, short-stay in-bound programmes, and global partnership development. She manages a team of 40 staff based in the UK, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, North America and Nigeria. Karen set up one of the UK’s first summer schools, at Middlesex University, and led on the development of international foundation programmes, in the UK and Dubai. She previously acted as Chair of the Sub-Committee for India, part of the London University International Partnership (LUIP), a collaboration of London Universities and is currently an active member of the Aurora network, a recent collaboration of European universities and UEA’s University of Sanctuary. She is also the Professional Services Lead for UEA’s Ukraine Working Group and Co-lead for BUILA’s Employability Group (as a Co-opt to the Group). Karen holds an undergraduate degree in Theatre with English and a Masters in Human Resource Management from Middlesex University.
Ula Tang-Plowman, Chair of China RIG, Exec committee
Deputy Director, International , University of Nottingham
Being once an international student and the first university graduate in her family, Ula is a true advocate of the life change experience of UK Higher Education. As the deputy director of international student recruitment, Ula is responsible of the University of Nottingham’s international student recruitment, and partnerships development. Outside of the day job, Ula is the founder of the British Universities’ China Association and an executive member of BUILA, where she is Chair of the China Regional Interest Group and the liaison with UCAS and Ecctis, as well as advising on the website.
George Hunt, QAA Liaison, Home Office Liaison
Director of International Development, Teesside University
Committed to the view that internationalisation should be at the heart of the university experience, George and his team have led Teesside’s transformation into a leading global student destination, increasing international student numbers significantly over a 5 year period. A believer in the value of partnerships, George oversees relationships between the University and public, private, EdTech and government organisations all over the world and as a member of UniQuest’s Advisory Board, George has also been able to build upon his longstanding dedication to innovation in HE. George has worked in HE for over a decade, with previous roles at Newcastle University and the University of Sunderland. He has a passion for promoting the UK on the global stage and supporting the interests of HEIs within the sector and beyond. Based in the Tees Valley, he is proud to call the North-East home.
Brian Greenwood, Conference, RIGs
Deputy Head of International Student Recruitment, University of Bristol
I am the Deputy Head of the International Student Recruitment Team at the University of Bristol managing a team of school based staff, recruitment managers and overseas officers. I am also the market manager for South East and East Asia including managing Bristol’s office in Malaysia. I have worked in higher education for over 10 years with posts at, Reading, York St John, Edinburgh Napier and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in various roles supporting students, study abroad, admissions and recruitment. This has given me expertise in agent management, marketing, admissions, international student recruitment and events organisation. As part of my own undergraduate study I completed a study abroad programme in Saskatchewan, Canada and have been interested in international education ever since, graduating with an MA Management in International Higher Education in 2017.
Philippa Collins Robson, Executive Director, OfS, DfE, DIT, Home Office, BC, AGCAS, Employability Group, Conference
Philippa started off her career treading the boards as a dancer but after a quick brush with wildlife at the Nature Conservancy Council, and a brief spell making classic public information films at the Central Office of Information, she switched one type of performance for another; promoting education and training as Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning for the Central London Training and Enterprise Council & Focus London. As a freelance consultant she has continued to work with the key international promotion organisations in London on a number of high profile projects promoting key sectors and bringing major stakeholders together, including the London Universities International Partnership. As BUILA Project Manager, Philippa leads on lobbying, international promotion and partnership activities, and is the BUILA representative on the AGCAS Internationalisation Task Group.
Paulina Day, Head of Marketing and Communications
Paulina worked as Regional Manager of North American student recruitment and Summer Programmes before setting up a US focused digital marketing consultancy, Friesland Collective. In her role as Managing Director, Paulina consults universities on entry to market, UG and PG lead generation, staff training and development. As BUILA's Head of Marketing and Communications, Paulina leads on CRM Communications, Web Development, Brand Design, Live and Virtual Events, Member Engagement, External Stakeholder Engagement, Regional Strategic Marketing & Communications Groups, Annual Conference Planning, Study UK Digital Steering Group, and our International Marketing Regional Interest Group.
Lizzie Osborne, Membership and Training Lead
Lizzie has worked in the International Higher Education sector for almost a decade, the majority of which was spent covering recruitment in SE Asia for the University of Southampton. She also has experience of living overseas herself, having worked and studied in France, Spain and Portugal. Lizzie joined the BUILA team in March 2022.
Edward Chan, Projects and Events Lead
Jasmine Bual, Training, South East Asia RIG Chair
Regional Manager (South East Asia), Durham University
Jasmine has worked in higher education since she graduated, beginning her career at Northumbria University and then moving to Durham University in 2019. Whilst at Northumbria, Jasmine initially worked in UK recruitment before moving into International Recruitment. Jasmine has advised and supported students from all over the world. In her previous role she focused on North American recruitment and is now responsible for relationships in South East Asia. She also manages the International Officer and who has oversight of Europe and UK International, in addition to a Malaysia based consultant. Jasmine is currently a BUILA-co opt member where she supports the training programme and is Chair for the South East Asia Regional Interest Group. Jasmine has led on many collaborative recruitment projects within the sector and spoken at various conferences; including IACAC, CIS and UCAS Advisers.
Shonagh Maak, Lead Agent Quality Framework, Co-opt
International Recruitment Manager (South and South East Asia), University of Glasgow
Shonagh has worked with international students since 2008 in a variety of roles across Admissions. Student Services. Accommodation, International Recruitment and Partnerships. She is currently International Recruitment Manager (South and South East Asia) at the University of Glasgow where she leads a team of staff across Glasgow, India, Singapore and Indonesia to grow student enrolments and supports a diverse network of partners from the region. She also leads on the university’s overall agent engagement and management. Shonagh joined Glasgow in 2018 and previously worked at the University of Stirling and INTO Newcastle University. She is the Vice Chair of the Scottish Universities International Group (SUIG) and has recently joined the BUILA committee as Co-Opt Lead Agent Framework.
Ismat Abu Shihab, Chair Middle East RIG, Co-opt
Director of Regional Hub, Dubai, University of Bradford , University of Bradford
Ismat is an IT and Management professional with a strong background in education strategy and higher education performance, first joined University of Bradford in September 2005. In 2015, Ismat moved to become the Director of Regional Hub, Dubai leading strategic students’ recruitment from the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, South Asia and South East Asia regions and to support the university wider internationalisation strategy and to further develop the TNE provision in Dubai. Over the past three years, the number of international students joining the University of Bradford has tripled from his regions. With over 15 years of international experience in business and higher education, Ismat established international links with professional industries and education Ministries and the University of Bradford has now a close working relationship with a wide range of key stakeholders, sponsors and cultural offices in London, directly increasing the university profile as well as the number of joint international collaborations. Ismat is a contributor to educational journals and speaks at conferences on the subject of education in the Middle East and North Africa and leads on international initiatives including being the Chair of the Ministry of Manpower, Oman Consortium of 14 UK Universities.
Dalinda Perez, Chair South America RIG, Co-opt
Deputy Head, International Recruitment, Edinburgh University
Since 2000, Dalinda has worked in the national and international education arena driving initiatives within the field of international academic relations. Dalinda has a BA Communication Sciences and MA Scriptwriting from Universidad Intercontinental (Mexico)and an MLitt International Business from The University of St Andrews. She has worked at British Council Mexico, the Embassy of Australia in Mexico, UNAM and at the University of Edinburgh since 2012. She was education advisor for the Australia, New Zealand and Mexico Business Council, is member of LATNET for Universities UK, Chairs LARG within Scottish Universities International Group and Chairs BUILA’s Latin America RIG.
Ivar Moller, Co-Chair Europe RIG – Co-opt
Deputy Director Admissions (UK & Europe), University of St Andrews
Ivar is the Deputy Director of Admissions (UK and Europe) at the University of St Andrews having worked there for 13 years. Prior to this, Ivar worked at the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) in London followed by 3 years’ teaching English in Japan as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. Ivar graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2003 with an MA Honours Ancient History. In Ivar’s current role he provides expert strategic and tactical advice to the University’s most senior committees and officers in relation to student recruitment and admissions, liaising with academic and professional service staff at all levels of the University. In addition, Ivar works closely with both internal and external stakeholders to align all elements of the student journey, ensuring the applicant is at the heart of everything, while helping lead a team of professionals to deliver on a range of objectives and outcomes. Ivar has joined BUILA as a co-opted joint chair of the Europe RIG.
Roshan Walkerley, Co-Chair Europe RIG – Co-opt
Deputy Head of Student Recruitment (International), Cambridge University
Roshan leads the international recruitment team at the University of Cambridge, working to recruit to the university’s range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Prior to joining the Cambridge Admissions Office, Roshan worked at Cambridge Assessment International Education enhancing the recognition of their international qualifications. He has also worked in student recruitment at the University of East Anglia (UK) where he completed studies in Environmental Sciences including a period of study at Macquarie University, Australia. He has joined BUILA as a co-opted chair of the Europe RIG.
Aly Stewart, North America RIG Chair
International Recruitment Manager (North America, Middle East, and Africa), University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh University
Aly is the International Recruitment Manager for North America, Middle East and Africa at the University of Edinburgh. She has been in the field of international higher education for more than 10 years and has gained extensive experience across different regional markets and in leadership roles across the Scottish higher education sector. Aly earned her bachelor’s degree at San Diego State University in the United States and her MSc Degree at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. Throughout her career living and working across Scotland, Australia and the USA, her passion and expertise continues to centre around supporting students in achieving their international education goals and lobbying for enhanced support of international students coming to the UK.
Dee De Rocha, Training, Co-Opt
International Director, University of Cumbria, University of Cumbria
Dee is a Fellow (and Member) of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has extensive experience of international higher education marketing as well as Arts marketing, merchandising and some (music and performance) event organisation and promotion. Dee's first role in international higher education was at Sheffield Hallam University, where she worked for 6 years before moving to IDP to be the Country Director for the UK, effectively working as an agent to recruit UK, Irish and International Students to study in Australia. Dee has enjoyed a varied and interesting 25-year career, which has included almost 10 years working for two private pathway providers (Navitas and Oxford International) negotiating deals and setting up Embedded Pathway Colleges and has worked as an agent (twice) as well as a marketing researcher. She also spent a couple of years working with iGraduate setting up and launching the International Student Barometer and the ICEF Agent Barometer, and has been involved in consultancy projects for a range of different UK, Australian, Canadian, Malaysian and USA institutions. In her current role at the University of Cumbria, Dee has responsibility for 'all things International' including recruitment, partnerships and TNE.
Save the Date for BUILA 2023
BUILA's Annual Report 2021-22