U21:Connect - September 2014

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

U21 news
Global Citizens project

Following the U21 Global Citizenship Workshop in Malaysia in March this year, the University of Glasgow is developing a Global Citizens project which will bring together international and home students, to work on a community project around citizenship and human rights. Student training will include participation in the U21 shared online course on Critical Thinking in Global Issues. The Global Citizens project aims to create similar conditions to a ‘study abroad’ opportunity, but in the home environment. Glasgow is currently developing a set of learning outcomes in order to benchmark the project against similar projects across the U21 network. The project currently has a small group of U21 partners who are interested in progressing this piece of work, but other interested U21 members are welcome to join, and should contact Glasgow’s U21 Coordinator, Sarah Ward, at Sarah.Ward@glasgow.ac.uk.
U21 Rankings presented in Australian lecture series

Professor Ross Williams, lead researcher of the U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems, presented his findings at a public lecture hosted by the University of Melbourne in August. The lecture, entitled Evaluating National Systems of Higher Education: Beyond Ranking of Research Intensive Universities looked at the relationships between input and output variables and the guidance they provide for policy makers, showing how the U21 Ranking addresses the need to look at national systems as a whole, rather than ranking individual universities against each other. The fourth U21 Ranking will be published in early May 2015.


U21 Future Cities collaboration – call for expressions of interest

Colleagues at the University of Glasgow are looking to see if others around the network are interested in setting up a U21 "Future Cities" group.

Maintaining everyday services in public safety, economic stability, energy security, environmental integrity, social mobility, transport efficiency, education, built environment and civic governance within cites requires an increasingly sophisticated set of tools if they are to remain attractive and competitive. The development of solutions to the problems created by these trends is most commonly referred to by the term Future Cities: where academics, governments and commercial businesses are helping to rethink the fundamental models of city management.

Acknowledging Future Cities as a global trend, the University of Glasgow proposes that a Future Cities theme within U21 would help provide an international focus for the research community, strengthen international research collaboration, establish a large-scale international research network complementary to the activities of multinational commercial companies active in this space, produce direct opportunities to strengthen curriculum and research, and facilitate student exchange, best practice and industrial placement. Due to breadth of the Future Cities agenda, it is proposed that the particular focus will be on the areas of population health and urban indicators.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the proposal or getting involved in this project should contact Michael Burns in the Research Strategy Office in Glasgow (Michael.Burns@glasgow.ac.uk)
Educational Innovation
From Learning Analytics to Learning Impact – seeking collaborators

The EI cluster is seeking help in identifying the most appropriate individuals at each of our members to contribute to a project on Learning Analytics. These are likely to be the key people who collect, analyse and act on data on student-focused matters such as retention and progression figures, student feedback on modules/programmes and any student engagement data.

Interest in learning analytics in higher education has been fuelled by the recognition – and early demonstration – that data recorded in learning management and other systems can be used to improve student retention and student learning. Nonetheless, the full realisation of this promise depends on new methods for extracting, presenting and utilising data to improve learning design and learning delivery, including ways that are adaptive to learner needs. The aim of this project is to establish a means of recognising and promoting successful efforts to translate clever analytics into better learning. Please send contact details to the EI cluster via Lavinia Winegar-Gott (lavinia.winegar-gott@universitas21.com).
U21 SOC update

There is still time to get involved in U21’s Critical Thinking Shared Online Course (SOC). The first iteration of the programme begins in November 2014. Final plans are in place, with sign-up to the U21 SOC closing on Monday 10 November. Students can also sign up after this date to be informed of any future iterations of the course in 2015.

The U21 Critical Thinking SOC is a version of a MOOC, developed by the University of Edinburgh, which is being tailored specifically for U21 undergraduate students. This closed course will allow students a unique opportunity to experience a MOOC-type learning experience and to communicate with fellow U21 students across the world.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the U21 SOC, on an institutional or individual level, should contact Lavinia Winegar-Gott (Lavinia.winegar-gott@universitas21.com) or visit www.universitas21.com/link/SOC
Latest FINE newsletter published

The Forum for International Networking in Education (FINE) has published its latest newsletter which is now available on the FINE pages of the U21 website. The Forum is a place for all doctoral students in education to meet (both virtually and face-to-face) to exchange ideas, share experiences and build collaborative partnerships. The group also has some new faces in its leadership team – Heather Hill from The Ohio State University and Frank Perrone from the University of Virginia. FINE is open to any education doctoral students at a U21 university and new members are welcome at any time.

EI Conference and workshops – hotel deadline!

The hotel booking deadline for the EI Conference and workshops is fast approaching! To secure the discounted conference rate, delegates need to book by Thursday 18 September. After that time, accommodation cannot be guaranteed and the rate will be higher.

Details about the forthcoming Educational Innovation Conference and associated workshops are available 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), Professor Simon Buckingham Shum (University of Technology, Sydney) and Eric Grimson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). New to this year's conference will be a fourth keynote, offered by a panel of students, who will address questions around the personalisation of learning from their perspective. All the keynote addresses will be streamed live online.

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 Dr Sue Rigby and Amy Woodgate of the University of Edinburgh and the second on Rewarding Teaching Excellence will be run by Professor 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
Researcher Engagement

U21 Graduate Intern appointed

The Researcher Engagement cluster has just appointed Catherine Sillitoe as its graduate intern, undertaking a 10-week project on researcher mobility around the U21 network. Catherine will be looking at the opportunities available to U21 doctoral students and what member institutions offer to (post)graduate students wishing to include some form of international experience in their studies. On completion of the project, a new web page will display all data collected and a detailed report will be disseminated to all U21 Graduate Schools and International Offices. New mechanisms will be put in place to monitor and share data and opportunities, which will lead to increased doctoral mobility throughout the network in years to come.

Catherine is studying at the University of Birmingham, and will be working closely with Dr Gemma Marakas in the U21 Secretariat during her internship. She is just starting the third year of her PhD within the Department of Modern Foreign Languages. Catherine has studied predominantly in the UK, but additionally spent extended periods of time studying in both Spain and Italy. She has been heavily involved with outreach activities as well as running a student language exchange programme and blog while studying. We are very excited to welcome such a pro-active individual to the network, and look forward to working with her in the coming months.
UNNC ECR Workshop – call to present

The University of Nottingham Ningbo China is hosting a one-day interdisciplinary workshop on the future of international higher education, open to all academic staff and postgraduate students in the U21 network. The workshop, taking place on Saturday 1 November 2014, will be of particular interest to early career academics and PhD students, but other more senior academics are welcome to attend too. This workshop will focus on three broad themes: interdisciplinary education; internationalisation; and the rise of virtual learning platforms. It will begin to articulate the challenges and opportunities of higher education for early career researchers and more experienced colleagues across the Asia / Australasia region and beyond.

The hosts have opened a call for U21 colleagues to present a 20 minute paper on one of the three themes. A proposed abstract on one side of A4 should be submitted by Monday 15 September to Alice Qian (Alice.Qian@nottingham.edu.cn). Delegates should also confirm their attendance with Alice Qian, providing their name, university, job role and email address.

The workshop’s keynote address will be given by Professor Rui Yang from the University of Hong Kong and additional speakers have been confirmed from U21 universities in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, PR China and Hong Kong.

Student Experience

U21 Social Entrepreneur Corps 2014

Students from around the network have just returned from the 2014 U21 Social Entrepreneur Corps project in Guatemala. Among the challenges the students faced was helping locals explore new activity and ideas to boost the success of MicroConsignment (MCM) campaigns, supporting local entrepreneurs to improve their work and with it their output. The team helped seven entrepreneurs in one village to earn a combined income of over US$300. In four weeks they helped serve a total of 143 product beneficiaries, creating a net economic impact of US$6,225. The team also helped to carry out a feasibility study of business opportunities for local women in two distinct rural communities, so that these women would be able to run a business to be able to generate income for their families, and, in another community, they created a video which aimed to instil optimism for a successful future in Guatemala in young people, celebrating Guatemalan Culture, and encouraging local youth to pursue local educational opportunities, rather than risking a dangerous and often illegal trip to the USA to look for a supposed brighter future.

A full report will follow on the U21 website in the coming weeks.

Undergraduate Student Internship project

Martin Bain, student intern for the Student Experience cluster based at the University of Glasgow, has made considerable progress with investigations across the network in preparation for the possible introduction of a U21 student internship programme. Martin has contacted most members and is compiling a document detailing internship opportunities and visa requirements currently in place across the network. He will write a report outlining the proposed network-wide internship programme which will be presented at the Managers’ Meeting in Melbourne in October. If you have information about internships offered at your university, please contact Martin at martin.bain@universitas21.com.

Student Leaders’ Network

The Student Leaders’ Network (SLN), which met for the first time in Lund at the start of 2014, has been moving forward with the agenda it set, working towards a second face-to-face meeting at the National University of Singapore in February 2015. Alongside establishing the group’s constitution, the SLN is working towards having representation from the student body in each U21 university and making some productive and meaningful connections between members.

Representatives of each U21 university’s Student Council, Student Union, Guild of Students or equivalent are very welcome to join the SLN and should contact Sue Dengate (sue.dengate@universitas21.com)

People & places

Nottingham’s VC completes another Life Cycle

Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, has completed another Life Cycle challenge, along with a team of fellow cyclists, raising money for children’s brain tumour research, to enable crucial advances to be made into understanding the cause, nature, treatment and outcomes of childhood brain tumours. He and the team cycled over 1,400 miles to all four ‘corners’ of the UK, raising well over £500,000 for the charity. Congratulations to all involved!

Birmingham’s Careers Network wins award for international student support

The University of Birmingham’s Careers Network and its team of International Student Ambassadors are proud to announce that they have won the National Union of Students and UKCISA Internationalisation Award for Best Careers Support for International Students 2014. This is the first year the award has been available and is tremendous recognition for all the innovative peer-to-peer work undertaken by the team. The bid focused on activities and events delivered, as well as the impact of the service on the confidence and skills development of Birmingham’s international students – many of them from U21 universities.