08 Nov 2023

Pii-Tuulia Nikula, Vincenzo Raimo, Eddie West – Diving into the world of education agents



The use of agents by higher education institutions to support their international student recruitment efforts is a very accepted practice in some national and institutional contexts around the world, but it’s also considered quite controversial elsewhere. This debate has been ongoing for years, but what is currently at the heart of this discussion?

In this EAIE podcast episode, we talk to the three authors of a 2023 Routledge publication titled ‘Student Recruitment Agents in International Higher Education: A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective on Challenges and Best Practices': Pii-Tuulia Nikula, Vincenzo Raimo, and Eddie West. With these speakers, who all have extensive experience with and knowledge of the topic of education agents, host Laura Rumbley touches upon various aspects linked to this subject: how do we define the term 'education agents', and what exactly do they do? What can different perspectives and insights offer us in terms of understanding agents’ roles? What’s involved in getting off to a good start when working with agents? And what emerging trends and future directions for education agents and their stakeholders should we be on the lookout for?

EAIE members benefit from a 50% discount on the Routledge series on Internationalization in Higher Education. Visit My EAIE for the code.

About Pii-Tuulia Nikula

Dr Pii-Tuulia Nikula is an Associate Professor at Eastern Institute of Technology (Te Pūkenga) in New Zealand. Most of Pii-Tuulia’s research focuses on international student recruitment and sustainability questions within the international education sector. One of her areas of expertise is education agent management and governance. Pii-Tuulia’s agent research has been published in journals including Studies in Higher Education, Journal of Studies in International Education, and Higher Education Policy. She also has relevant industry experience: before her academic career, Pii-Tuulia worked as an agent and held management and leadership roles within education agencies. Pii-Tuulia is a co-founder of CANIE: Climate Action Network for International Educators.

About Vincenzo Raimo

Vincenzo (Enzo) Raimo is a former Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement at the University of Reading where he is now a Visiting Fellow. He is a global higher education specialist with expertise in transnational education and the use of agents in international student recruitment. He combines work as an international higher education consultant with research on international education related topics.

About Eddie West

Eddie West is Assistant Dean of International Strategy and Programs at San Diego State University (SDSU), where he provides leadership on international partnership development, collaborations, and transnational education programs, including SDSU in Georgia (Tbilisi). Previously, Eddie served as assistant dean of international programs at Berkeley Extension, the continuing education division of the University of California, Berkeley. Earlier, he led international initiatives at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and served as Senior International Officer at the Ohlone Community College District.

Additional Resources

For further insights into the topics touched on in this episode, the following resources may be of interest:

→ Student Recruitment Agents in International Higher Education: A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective on Challenges and Best Practices (Routledge, 2023)

→ Monitoring of Education Agents Engaged in International Student Recruitment: Perspectives from Agency Theory (ASIE)

→ International education agents: the good, the bad and the ugly

→ The perfect recipe for successful student recruitment

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