A day in the life: Dean for internationalisation

Dr Anthony Manning has swapped his passport for a webcam, but is still crossing borders

How long have you been in your job?

I have been working in this role since 2015.

What is it about your job that gets you out of bed in the morning?

My job never ceases to motivate me as it continually presents diverse opportunities, relating to so many disciplines and aspects of higher education and research. My position involves working with home and international staff and students as well as collaborating with international universities and organisations. I’m continually thinking of new ways to connect students and staff, so that we can broaden opportunities for learning and research, whether that be in the UK or overseas.

What’s the first thing you do when you get into work?

My first thought is coffee. Currently ‘getting to work’ is a somewhat blended concept, just like the coffee beans. At the moment, getting to work can be as simple as opening the door of my spare bedroom, as well as getting to campus either in Canterbury or in Medway.

Who are the two or three people you talk to on a daily basis?

At the moment the people who I’m most closely in touch with are my two direct reports who are responsible for international programmes and lifelong learning. In addition to internationalisation, through my work in lifelong learning, I’m working very closely with a colleague, and his team, at FutureLearn to develop new short courses and micro-credentials. We are really looking forward to extending global and national access to Kent’s educational provision in this way.

I feel it helps that I’m not easily fazed by ambiguity

What’s the best thing about your job?

The channel it provides for new opportunities in academic collaboration and for access to higher education. This can be in the context of international opportunities for developing and exchanging student and staff knowledge and skills. It can also be by widening access to education through international programmes, apprenticeships and online learning.

And the worst?

There are so many ventures, projects and activities that have potential to enhance our academic activity, however, it is essential to prioritise so that we can deploy our resources as usefully and strategically as possible. Inevitably, this sometimes means saying no, but I’m confident when that is the case, there’s always good reason.

Your number one most vital prop/tool/piece of equipment?

At one point, I might have said that my most vital tool was my passport as it has given me access to colleagues, collaborators and students in more than 50 countries, all over the world. Now I would say it’s my webcam.

What is it about your personality that makes you suitable for the role?

At heart, I’m a very social individual and I really enjoy meeting and learning from students and colleagues across the different academic disciplines, from varied levels of study and different cultural backgrounds.

I think this has also given me some skills in diplomacy. I also feel it helps that I’m not easily fazed by ambiguity or deterred by the development of new systems or projects which require institutional adaptation. I get a real kick out of negotiating solutions and leading the development of new programmes and collaborative projects.

Which five words sum up your typical day?

Collaborative, inter-disciplinary, transnational, caffeine-fuelled, dynamic.


Dr Anthony Manning is dean for internationalisation at the University of Kent

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