U21:Connect - October 2014

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

U21 news

Last chance to enter U21 photo competition

The U21 photo competition closes at the end of October, so there’s still time to enter! Open to staff, students and faculty at U21 universities, the competition is looking to find the image which is most effective in capturing the title “Working Worldwide” in an academic context. First prize is US$400 (payable in the winner’s local currency), with two runners up prizes of US$200.

More details can be found on the U21 website – www.universitas21.com/link/photocompetition

U21 shining in international league tables

In the past few months, two of the most well-regarded sets of university rankings have been published – the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the QS World University Ranking. Once again, U21 members have done well in both these respected rakings, with many increasing their position in both publications.

The QS rankings put the University of Edinburgh top of the U21 list, placed at 17th – the same top ranking as last year. McGill University also stayed at the same high ranking at 21st place, followed by the National University of Singapore at 22nd place, up two from last year. Another 12 members kept their places in the top 100, many significantly improving on last year's placing. Particularly notable climbers included Korea University (up 29 places), Tecnológico de Monterrey (up 26 places) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (up 19 places).

In the ARWU figures, seven U21 universities featured in the top 100, with a further 11 in the top 200. The University of British Columbia was the network's highest entrant at 37th place, closely followed by the universities of Maryland, Melbourne and Edinburgh at places 43, 44 and 45.

We await the publication of the THE World University Ranking in early October with interest.


World War 1 initiatives

As the remembrance of World War 1 continues, the University of Birmingham has announced a new initiative. Voices of War and Peace: the Great War and its Legacy is a new First World War Engagement Centre funded by the UK’s Arts & Humanities Research Council and in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund. A joint initiative across the UK’s Midlands, and further afield with partners including fellow U21 member the University of Glasgow, the centre will support a wide range of community engagement activities, connecting academic and public histories of the First World War as part of the commemoration of the War’s centenary which began this year.


Summer Opportunity at Edinburgh

The Scottish Universities’ International Summer School (SUISS), one of the UK’s oldest summer schools based at the University of Edinburgh, is happy to announce that they will offer a 15% discount off the regular course fee on their Text and Context: British and Irish Literature from 1900 to the Present, Creative Writing and Theatre and Performance modules for all students at a Universitas 21 member university.

These two-week courses on Modernism, Scottish and Contemporary Literature will run between 6 July and 15 August 2015 and are held at the University of Edinburgh, accompanied by a rich social and cultural programme.

For more information on the school and the application procedure, please visit http://www.summer-school.hss.ed.ac.uk/suiss/

Further U21 summer school opportunities will be available at www.universitas21.com/summerschools

Health Sciences Group meeting

The 14th U21 Health Sciences Group annual meeting was hosted by Fudan University at the end of September with 110 participants from 17 universities, including new HSG member, the University of Johannesburg. The two and a half days of the core meeting featured a key note speech from Dr Lincoln Chen, President of the China Medical Board and also included an afternoon of discipline group meetings and one afternoon of interdisciplinary workshops, looking at topics ranging from health education and health reform; e-Learning; humanities in the health sciences curriculum; use of simulation in teaching, and the development and delivery of MOOCs in health sciences.

The meeting was preceded by three workshops – a United National Millennium Development Goals (UNMDG) workshop, a Social Media workshop and the Health Sciences Doctoral Student Forum.

The next annual meeting will take place at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile from 21 to 25 September 2015 and reports of the meeting will be available on the HSG website shortly.


Melbourne to host U21 Managers

The U21 Managers will be meeting at the University of Melbourne later in the month, giving senior colleagues around the network the opportunity to meet and discuss matters of importance to the network, ultimately preparing for the 2015 Annual Presidential Meeting and AGM. This meeting will be addressing a number of key issues regarding the ambition, mission and structure of the network and should help consolidate the work started in Glasgow earlier in the year in moving the network onto the next stage of its development.


Educational Innovation

EI Conference on Personalised Learning

The Educational Innovation cluster conference takes place this month at UNSW Australia taking Personalised Learning as its theme. To date 45 participants from 18 U21 member universities have signed up to attend, promising to provide a range of experiences and opinions from across the world.

Immediately prior to the conference, two workshops are taking place, the first focusing on Virtual Mobility and Shared Learning Across U21 and the second looking at Recognising and Rewarding Teaching Excellence in U21 Universities.

The main conference begins on Thursday 23 October and, alongside the established academics, will feature a student-led panel, which will include video from students who participated in the U21 Summer School talking about what "personalised learning" means to them. The panel will be made up of two UNSW students and two students on exchange at UNSW from other U21 member institutions.

A report of the event will be available on the website and in a future edition of U21:Discover later in the year.


U21 SOC ready to launch in November

The U21 Shared Online Course (SOC) is ready to launch, as scheduled, at the start of November. U21 members have been sent details about the course and publicity material to help alert students to the opportunity to participate in this new venture, exclusively designed for U21 universities.

With the closing date for registration the 10 November, there is still time to sign up to participate in this course and interested parties should contact Lavinia Winegar-Gott in the U21 Secretariat (lavinia.winegar-gott@universitas21.com)

More information is available online at www.universitas21.com/link/SOC

Researcher Engagement

U21 3MT voting opens on 6 October

The 2014 U21 Three Minute Thesis competition is well underway, with member universities running their own competitions to find the student to represent their institution in the network-wide final. Alongside the panel of judges who will be naming the overall winner on 28 October, there is the opportunity for the general public to vote for their favourite video in the People’s Choice competition. Voting for this opens on 6 October 2014 and closes on 20 October, so there is plenty of time to view the videos and select a winner.

More details about the competition, as well as the link to the People’s Choice voting pages, can be found at www.universitas21.com/link/3mt

The future of international higher education – ECR workshp

Registration has now opened for the one-day interdisciplinary workshop on the future of international higher education, hosted by the University of Nottingham’s Ningbo Campus. The workshop is open to all academic staff and postgraduate students in the U21 network and takes place on Saturday 1 November 2014. It should be of particular interest to early career academics and PhD students, but other, more senior academics, are welcome to attend too.

The event has been organised with the aim of attracting as many participants as possible from the Asia, Australia and New Zealand – as well as those from elsewhere who have an interest in education in these two regions – so as to establish closer relationships between U21 members in this part of the world.

Many leading scholars expect the traditional education model to be disrupted in the near future, and this workshop will focus on three of the most widely discussed disruptive elements: interdisciplinary education, internationalisation and the rise of virtual learning platforms. This workshop will begin to articulate the challenges and opportunities of Higher Education for early career researchers and more experienced colleagues across the two regions. Speakers include leading academics from Hong Kong, SJTU, Melbourne, Queensland, Auckland and Singapore.

More information and the link to the registration page can be found at www.universitas21.com/link/ECR2014

Research Supervisor Support and Development Workshop

The U21 Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies group (DDoGS) is running a workshop designed specifically for individuals who have responsibility for supervisor training or who work in related fields. Hosted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University from 25 to 26 March 2015, workshop attendees should expect to share experience and practices from their home institution, discuss new research into supervision procedures, and consider how U21 might create and endorse guidelines and principles surrounding supervisor support and development.

Research supervision has been identified by graduate students as the single most influential factor on PhD satisfaction and has also been linked with completion time. The recognition of the importance of good supervisory practice is not in question, but a definition of what good practice is and the support mechanisms furnished by HEI’s are varied and often ambiguous.

The DDoGS group has been supporting a study into the identification and publication of best practices in U21 universities which was led by Dr Janet Carton of University College Dublin. Dr Carton undertook a series of visits in April 2014 to compile data for an initial report and it is this report which will form the basis of the workshop.

Registration will open in November and further information is available on the U21 website or from Dr Gemma Marakas in the U21 Secretariat (gemma.marakas@universtias21.com)



Student Engagement

2015 Undergraduate Research Conference announced

The dates for the 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference have just been announced. Hosted by the University of Auckland, next year’s URC will take place from 6 to 10 July and will take Peoples and Places as its theme. An invitation has been sent to all Student Mobility Officers around the network, and the application process will open in the coming months.

The theme was chosen for its wide-ranging opportunities to engage students from all disciplines. Peoples and places interact in a myriad of ways, on scales ranging from local to global, shaping both human experiences and the landscapes that surround us. Research topics encompassed by this theme can include those relating to climate change, migration, physical and cultural landscapes, identity, indigenous studies, social structures and many more. Beyond that, Peoples and Places lends itself to applications for policy and practice in a wide variety of fields including education, business, law, health, international development and planning. The research topic opportunities are as diverse as the world in which we live.

More details, including promotional material, is available on the U21 website: www.universitas21.com/link/URC2015

U21’s first internship completed

U21’s first student internship, undertaken by Martin Bain of the University of Glasgow, has just come to an end and has produced an important set of recommendations for U21. Martin has been working on a new U21 internship programme to give students across the network the opportunity to take internships that will have a positive impact on both their study and future job prospects. Martin’s report has been submitted for discussion at the U21 Managers’ Meeting and following this the programme will be developed further, with a view to launching in 2015.

Martin’s reflections on his work with U21 will be reported in the forthcoming edition of U21:Discover, due out in November.


2016 and beyond!

With the 2015 Summer School and URC venues confirmed (Glasgow and Auckland respectively), hosts for the 2016 events (and beyond) are now being sought. A number of universities have expressed an interest in hosting these flagship events for undergraduate students over the coming years and decisions on the venues will be made in the next month or so. Any universities still to express their interest in hosting a U21 undergraduate student event should contact Sue Dengate as soon as possible at sue.dengate@universitas21.com


People & Places

New U21 Officers at Lund and Korea

In the Secretariat we find that the U21 Managers who have some dedicated assistance with U21 matters are usually the ones which manage to engage most effectively with the staff, students and faculty at their own universities and therefore get the most of out being a member of the U21 network. This month sees two new U21 Officers taking up posts.

Ulrika Qvist Matheisen is the new U21 Officer for Lund University. She takes over from Anne Messeter, who has been an enthusiastic colleague over the past five years, working with us on, among other things, the 2012 AGM and first Student Summit. We thank Anne for all her hard work and look forward to continuing our relationship with Lund as Ulrika takes over the U21 role. Anne continues to work in Lund’s International Office.

On the other side of the world, we welcome back a familiar face to the network. D’Arcy Drachenberg returns to his role as Communications & Protocol Manager at Korea University after a four-year break, and with it takes on the U21 Officer remit for KU. Again, our thanks to Walter Foreman, who has been fulfilling the role for the past few years.

Details of all U21 contacts at our member universities can be found on the individual member profiles on our website – www.universitas21.com/member


Goodbye to Auckland U21 Manager

We also say goodbye to David  Baker who has been U21 Manager for the University of Auckland since 2010.  David is leaving the university and Professor Jenny Dixon, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Strategic Engagement) will take over the U21 Manager role.  We thank David for his commitment to U21 over the past four years.


UQ embracing New Colombo Plan with new links to Delhi

The University of Queensland has been welcoming international students since 1952 as part of the Colombo Plan and UNESCO schemes. Now, with the New Colombo Plan in operation, UQ is extending its connections to Asia and with it collaboration with fellow U21 member, the University of Delhi, entering into a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a short-term mobility partnership to support Indian Government’s Connect to India Programme and the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan. The MOU was announced during a student mobility workshop inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Australia and the Indian Minister for Human Resource Development.