2013 Gilbert Medal - Jane Knight

Dr Jane Knight, a leading expert on internationalisation in higher education has been awarded the 2013 Gilbert Medal which recognises outstanding contribution to international higher education.

Dr Jane Knight, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has been awarded the 2013 Gilbert Medal for Internationalisation by Universitas 21 (U21). The medal is named in honour the late Professor Alan Gilbert, the founder of Universitas 21 who died in 2010, and upholds his work as a lifelong proponent of the benefits of internationalisation. It celebrates some of the core objectives of the U21 network, increasing understanding, trust and partnership between international universities.

One of the most commonly-used definitions of the internationalisation of higher education was devised and subsequently adapted by Dr Knight and Professor Hans de Wit. It has since become synonymous with integrating academic mobility, research collaboration, international development projects and curriculum advancements to achieve a worldwide acceptance of the importance of international collaboration in education. 

Speaking on receiving news of the award, Dr Knight commented: “This acknowledgement from Universitas 21 of my work on internationalization of higher education comes as an enormous surprise and with deep appreciation. I knew Professor Gilbert from my work in Australia and it is indeed an honour to receive this award in his name from Universitas 21”. 

Dr Knight’s research and professional interests focus on the international dimension of higher education at the institutional, system, national and international levels. Her work and residency in many countries of the world helps to bring a comparative, developmental and international policy perspective to her teaching and research. Furthermore, she is the author or editor of a great many publications on internationalisation concepts and strategies, quality assurance, institutional management, mobility, cross-border education, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and capacity building. In the last ten years she has taken a leadership role in working with international teams on regional studies on the internationalisation of higher education in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America for the OECD and the World Bank and was involved with a similar project in Africa.

Jane Usherwood, Secretary General of Universitas 21 summed up the thoughts of the Award Panel by saying “Dr Knight’s contribution to the academic study of the internationalisation of higher education has influenced many universities around the world in their own efforts in this area. Her focus on the international dimension of higher education on so many levels makes her a most worthy recipient of this year’s Gilbert Medal, as her influence is truly outstanding and global in reach.

The Gilbert Medal itself features the winning design from a competition among students at Lund University (the host of the first award ceremony) to create an eye-catching and intelligent design. The medal has been manufactured in the world-renowned Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, UK and has been described by the craftsmen who worked on it as “simply stunning”. 

The medal will be presented to Dr Knight at the end of February by Professor Stephen Toope, President of the University of British Columbia and host of this year’s U21 Annual Presidential Meeting.