Heriot Watt University: Prioritizing on Offering Inclusive Global Education

By Fergus Guppy, Associate Professor - Sport & Exercise Science
Heriot Watt University: Prioritizing on Offering Inclusive Global Education
Fergus Guppy,Associate Professor - Sport & Exercise Science

Fergus Guppy

Associate Professor - Sport & Exercise Science

Higher education has gone through multiple paradigm shifts over the years with innovations happening in the space on a regular basis. Most of the changes that have happened to higher education in the last couple of decades have prioritized on improving student-centricity and making them more employable.

Dating back its origins to 1821, Heriot-Watt University is a pioneering educational institution that is committed to enhancing the quality of inclusive global education through various initiatives and approaches.

Heriot-Watt University was established as the School of Arts of Edinburgh and it was originally named after George Heriot, a 16th-century philanthropist who left funds for the establishment of a school in Edinburgh, and James Watt, the Scottish engineer and inventor.

The institution expanded its academic offerings over the years and, in 1966, it was granted university status. As a frontrunner of innovation in the higher education space, Heriot-Watt University expanded its horizons even more in 1998 as it opened its first international campus in Dubai and later in 2012, the university established its second international campus in Malaysia which further expanded its global presence and reach of Heriot-Watt University.

Redefining boundaries of modern-day education
Across its three campuses in the UK, Dubai, and Malaysia, Heriot-Watt University offers a plethora of undergraduate and postgraduate programs as well as varied options for PhD studies for students. The University has also created a diverse portfolio of online programs making it more accessible for students from across the globe.

Heriot-Watt University promotes an inclusive curriculum that values diversity and provides equal opportunities for all students. The institute ensures that the curriculum reflects global perspectives, cultures, and experiences, fostering an inclusive learning environment.
The university focuses on offering interdisciplinary courses that combine knowledge from various fields to address complex global problems. These courses bring together perspectives from multiple disciplines, such as science, engineering, social sciences, and humanities, to foster a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand. Courses are designed to deliver transformational solutions and often incorporate problem-based learning methodologies. Students are presented with real-world problems and challenges, and they work collaboratively to analyze, research, and propose innovative solutions.

The institute integrates practical experiences and fieldwork opportunities into its courses. This can include internships, industry placements, research projects, or community engagement activities. These experiences allow students to apply their learning in real-world settings, understand the complexities of global problems, and develop practical solutions. The institute encourages collaboration and networking opportunities within courses.

Group projects, teamwork, and discussions foster the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and experiences among students. This collaborative environment helps develop interpersonal skills, fosters innovation, and encourages the co-creation of transformative solutions. Students at the university also have the opportunity to participate in a myriad of workshops including academic skills workshops, career development workshops, industry-specific workshops, and research workshops.

Prioritizing Innovation & Research
As a true visionary in the higher education space, Heriot- Watt University has implemented various initiatives and practices to minimize its environmental impact and promote sustainable practices. One such initiative is the Net Zero Community Hub. This cyber-physical hub is a source of inspiration, information, invention, and advice.

It is a flexible space showcasing the institute’s research, innovation, and partnerships, with workshops and talks, exhibitions and demonstrations. This space has been designed to align with its renowned expertise in decarbonization and energy transition, and several other notable sustainability initiatives.

Heriot-Watt University has achieved notable milestones in research.
It has been recognized as a leader in key research areas, including engineering, energy, mathematics, and computer science. The university has made significant contributions to various fields through its research projects and collaborations. The institute also actively works toward widening access to higher education by engaging with underrepresented groups, including individuals from low-income backgrounds, ethnic minorities, and individuals with disabilities. It provides support programs and outreach activities to encourage these students to pursue higher education.

"Heriot-Watt University promotes an inclusive curriculum that values diversity and provides equal opportunities for all students"

Adding more about the scholarship opportunities offered by the institute for international students, Fergus Guppy, Associate Professor says, “We have a provision of 7.5m British Pounds to support scholarships and bursary payments to home/EU/overseas students. Also, our sports scholarships are designed to embed a high performance training environment into a sports scholar’s weekly schedule.

Our scholarships operate on a top-up basis, acting as a fully inclusive method to ensure that everyone can reach their full potential in their chosen sport while simultaneously reaching their full academic potential studying at Heriot-Watt University”.

The university regularly collaborates with educational institutions, governments, and organizations worldwide to share best practices, develop inclusive policies, and implement joint initiatives. These partnerships help foster global networks and promote the exchange of ideas and experiences related to inclusive education. The university has established strong partnerships with industry and business sectors, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange.

These partnerships have played a crucial role in shaping the university's academic programs, research initiatives, and the employability of its graduates. Evolving with the changing times, Heriot-Watt University, driven by its commitment to never compromise on the quality of its education, aspires to be a trailblazer in the international higher education market and nurture the next generation of passionate learners.
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