U21:Connect - July 2014

02 July 2014
The latest news and items of interest to staff and students across the Universitas 21 network.

U21 news

Photography Competition

U21 has just launched its second U21 International Photography Competition.  The competition, which is open to anyone at a U21 university – staff, students or faculty – is looking to find a photo to represent the title "Working Worldwide" within the realm of academia.  First prize is US$400, paid in the local currency of the winner.

More information, including the competition’s ‘small print’, can be found via the link below.  To enter the competition, send your photo, along with a brief commentary, your name, university and email address, to the U21 Secretariat at u21@universitas21.com by Friday 31 October 2014.



Opportunity for community engagement collaboration

McGill University is looking for expressions of interest in working with them to offer community engagement events at the same time across U21 members’ campuses.  Every year, McGill runs a Community Engagement Day to bring together the university and greater Montreal communities, celebrating existing relationships and looking to build new ones.  The proposal is to look to hold a similar event on the same day across the network in 2016 – McGill traditionally organises their Community Engagement Day in the early (northern hemisphere) autumn – this year, for example, it is on Thursday 2 October 2014.  Further information about McGill’s Community Engagement Day is available via the link below.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of developing a global U21 community engagement day, please contact Veronica Amberg, Director of Social Equity and Diversity Education (veronica.amberg@mcgill.ca).



First Health Sciences Summer School

The inaugural U21 Health Sciences Summer School takes place this month at the University of Auckland, with the  “Substance Misuse Studies: A Harm Reduction Approach”. 

The HS Summer School will focus on the issue of substance misuse and its consequences from a public health perspective. A harm reduction philosophy will underpin the programme, a philosophy which accepts that many people are unable or unwilling to be abstinent, and puts in place interventions which reduce harm to the individual, the community and society.  The HS Summer School will take an inter-professional learning approach, with students learning in multi-professional teams. The programme will also include a focus on cultural issues of New Zealand Maori and Pacific peoples in the context of substance misuse and harm reduction interventions, and the need for a culturally competent health workforce.

A full report on the HS Summer School will be available later in the year.


New email addresses for the U21 Secretariat team

The U21 Secretariat team now has @universitas21.com email addresses.  All members of the Secretariat are using the new addresses, which take the format “first name” dot “surname” @universitas21.com. 

Jane Usherwood, Clare Noakes, Lavinia Winegar-Gott, Gemma Marakas, Sue Dengate and Tarlok Singh can all be contacted in this way.  Please update your email address books!



Educational Innovation

EI projects grants

The EI cluster has awarded two grants to roll out innovative practices in education to members.  The first is a collaborative project between the Universities of British Columbia, Auckland and Edinburgh, known as PeerWise.  It is an online repository of multiple-choice questions which are created, answered, rated and discussed by students.  Seventeen U21 members have joined PeerWise and collectively have created 654 submissions.  The new project will leverage connections resulting from this by creating an extension which will support student learning further across a wider range of subject areas. 

The second project is led by the University of Hong Kong and expands International Peer Review (IPR) which was developed by Dr Karen Gardner of UBC, a member of the Health Sciences Group and winner of one of the inaugural U21 Awards in 2012.  This project will look to expand the IPR into Schools of Education, with the longer term aim of rolling it out into a broader range of disciplines.   

Both of these projects build on existing activity and have the potential to impact on the ways students learn together.  More information will be available on the U21 website later in the year, as the projects progress.



EI Conference and workshops

Details about the forthcoming Educational Innovation Conference and associated workshops have now been published on the U21 website.  The Conference, which takes place from 23 to 24 October 2014 at UNSW Australia is on the theme of “Personalised Learning”, and includes keynote addresses by leaders of their field, among them Professor Simon Bates, University of British Columbia, on “Personalised Learning: Implications for curricula, staff and students”; Professor Simon Buckingham Shum, University of Technology, Sydney, on "The role of data and learning analytics in the personalisation of learning" and Professor Eric Grimson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Developing institutional capacity and implications for development of institutional infrastructure in personalisation of learning".  New this to year's conference will be a fourth keynote, offered by a panel of students, who will address questions around the personalisation of learning from a student perspective.  All the keynotes addresses will be live streamed.

The day before the conference, two workshops will be held, open to all attending the EI conference.  The first is entitled "Virtual Mobility and Shared Learning" and will be lead by Sue Rigby and Amy Woodgate of the University of Edinburgh and the second on "Rewarding Teaching Excellence" will be run by Graeme Aitken of the University of Auckland.

Each U21 member institution is invited to nominate up to three senior policy makers/strategists to attend the conference and full details can be found at www.universitas21.com/link/EIconference2014


EI Collaborations

The Educational Innovation (EI) Steering Group has agreed to pursue the creation of two collaborative sub-groups within the EI cluster – one made up of PVCs/DVCs Academic and a second comprised of Directors of Centres for Teaching and Learning.  These two groups would work closely together in the wider EI group, while still providing an opportunity to share best practice around their differing roles within our institutions.

Those interesting in joining the groups should contact Lavinia Winegar-Gott for more information.  (Lavinia.winegar-gott@universitas21.com).



Researcher Engagement

U21 3MT Competition

Following the highly successful inaugural U21 3MT competition last year, the 2014 competition has now been launched in a bid to find the best three minute thesis video from across the U21 network.  Each U21 university is invited to run an internal competition, challenging PhD students to summarise their thesis findings in a video lasting no more than three minutes, and the winners of each university competition will be put forward to the U21 network-wide final.

As in last year’s competition, there will be four prizes – a first prize of a travel bursary of US$2,500, with a second prize of US$500 and a ‘People’s Choice’ prize of US$300.  The judging panel will be

Associate Professor Caroline Daley, Dean of Graduate Studies, University of Auckland (and U21 DDoGS chair); Phil Baty, Editor-at-large, Times Higher Education; Dr Jani Brouwer, Director of Research and PhD Programs, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Dr Allan Goodman, CEO Institute of International Education (and 2012 Gilbert Medal Awardee) and Dr Patrick Chu, Chairman of 99Scholars (an academic event platform for research scholars) and UNSW alumnus. 

99Scholars will also be sponsoring an additional prize this year: they will work with the People’s Choice winner to create an animated video of their presentation which can be used to promote their work in an innovative way online and via social media.  99Scholars will also provide the other two winners with top tips for raising their online research profile.  

More details can be found at www.universitas21.com/link/3MT, or ask your graduate school for information about the local competition at your university.


ECR Workshop 2015 announced

We are pleased to open nominations and announce dates for the 2015 ECR workshop, hosted by University College Dublin.  Running from 4 to 6 March 2015, the theme for the workshop will be “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” and is open to researchers from all disciplines.

The key objective of this workshop is to increase the research capabilities of ECRs and enhance skills associated with career development in academia.  The workshop will also have a strong focus on networking and gaining an international perspective on the possible roles and career routes of researchers.  The Innovation Academy at UCD (www.innovators.ie) will host many of the workshop sessions.  The Innovation Academy specialises in shaping creative thought.  Together with colleagues of a variety of disciplines, participants will work in a unique creative studio setting to tackle real world problems, and be challenged to think in new ways.

It is expected that each institution will conduct an internal selection process to identify the most appropriate candidates for attendance.  Each university may nominate up to seven early career researchers: three guaranteed and four reserve nominees (who will be offered a place at a later date if spaces are available).  Please contact Gemma Marakas (gemma.marakas@universitas21.com) for information on who is running the selection process at your university.  The deadline for the Secretariat to receive nominations is 23 January 2015.



One-day ECR Workshop at UNNC

The University of Nottingham Ningbo China will be hosting a one-day interdisciplinary workshop, open to all academic staff and postgraduate students in the U21 network.  It will aim to attract participants from the Asia and Australia/New Zealand regions to establish closer relationships between U21 members in this part of the world and begin to articulate the challenges and opportunities of Higher Education for early career researchers and more experienced colleagues across the two regions.

It will take place on Saturday 1 November – more details and registration information to follow in the next edition of U21:Connect and online.



New RE Steering Group members

Two new members have been appointed to the Researcher Engagement Cluster’s Steering Group.  Professor Pat O’Shea from the University of Maryland and Professor Gavin Schaffer, Director of the Graduate School at the University of Birmingham both join, bringing new perspectives and experience and extends the breadth of the cluster’s Steering Group.




Student Experience

The northern hemisphere summer is traditionally the time when many of U21’s student activities take place, and this year is no exception.  In the next few months a number of events take place, giving students from across the network the opportunity to meet and work with peers from all corners of the world.

Some students have already begun their U21 experience, as the Social Entrepreneur Corps programme in Guatemala began in May, culminating on 18 July.  Students are currently arriving at UNSW Australia to begin the Summer School on “Shaping the Future City” (2-17 July) and will next week be gathering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University for the annual Undergraduate Research Conference, this year focusing on “Food Safety” from a variety of different disciplines’ perspectives (7-11 July).

Reports from all of these events will be featured in future publications and on the U21 website.




People & places

Birmingham and Nottingham making strides in Brazil

The universities of Nottingham and Birmingham have signed a pump-priming agreement to work with leading research institutions in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. The fund will support up to ten collaborative research projects over two rounds of funding.  The Rio de Janeiro State Funding Agency (FAPERJ) has committed £120,000 to the fund over the next two years, an amount which has been matched by combined funding from the Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham. It is FAPERJ’s first agreement with institutions in the UK. 

This comes as the University of Birmingham was awarded a THE Leadership and Management Award for its international strategy in Brazil.  The judges commented that “Birmingham’s entry demonstrated a really strategic approach to increasing its engagement with universities in Brazil. By recruiting champions from across the disciplines, it ensured that new research collaborations and exchanges of staff and students would grow across the university. The result has been an increase in student recruitment, joint research and publications”.




Arise, Sirs David

Nottingham and Birmingham featured in the news again recently, this time when Queen Elizabeth II announced her Birthday Honours list.  Two key members of the U21 network, Professor David Greenaway, Vice Chancellor of the University of Nottingham and Professor David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, and Chair of the U21 network, were both given knighthoods in recognition of their contribution to Higher Education in the UK. 

A number of other people connected to U21 universities were honoured this year, both in the UK and in Australia, where the awards of the Order of Australia were announced.



Two honorary degrees awarded to U21 Vice Chancellors

Professor Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi, was presented with a Doctorhonoris causafrom the University of Edinburgh in a ceremony yesterday (1 July).  The award is in recognition of contribution to higher education.

Meanwhile, Carleton University has conferred a Doctor of Science,honoris causa, on Professor Suzanne Fortier, McGill University Principal and Vice Chancellor, in recognition of her outstanding leadership in the Canadian scientific community while fostering research opportunities for future generations of scholars. 

We congratulate them both.