U21:Connect - May 2015

01 May 2015
The latest news and items of interest to staff and students across the Universitas 21 network.

U21 news

UC Chile to host 2015 Presidential Meetings

As this bulletin arrives in your inbox, delegates from around the network are travelling to Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile for the 2015 U21 Annual Presidential Meeting and Symposium. Three days of meetings and discussions are scheduled, giving Presidents and U21 Managers the opportunity to plan for coming year, learn more about our new Executive Director’s vision for the network, share ideas and discuss current international HE topics. A particular focus for this year will be on building and maintaining sustainable relations with universities in South America, the topic of this year’s Presidential Symposium.

Alongside the meetings, we will be awarding the 2015 Gilbert Medal to Professor Celso Lafer and also the two 2015 U21 Awards for Internationalisation to Professor Stephen Hillier and Dr Rob Forage, recognising the outstanding work of all three recipients in Higher Education, both within and beyond the U21 network.


U21 Ranking of International Higher Education Systems announced 21 May

The 2015 U21 Ranking of International Higher Education Systems, now in its fourth year of publication, will be announced on Thursday 21 May at 00:01 BST. The ranking meets a longstanding desire to shift discussion from the ranking of the world’s best universities, to the standing of the whole higher education system in each country, and has been developed as a benchmark for governments, education institutions and individuals. The Malaysian government has recently incorporated the U21 Ranking into its Ministry of Education planning inputs (http://ow.ly/M9UUc).

Go to www.universitas21.com/link/rankings for more information.
Educational Innovation


U21 SOC (Shared Online Course)

The second iteration of the U21 SOC, Critical Thinking in Global Challenges ran during April. Enrolments were considerably higher than in the first iteration, with 1,455 students from 17 member institutions registered. 28% successfully completed the course, more than double the completion rate for the first offering. A number of institutions offered recognition for completion of the course through a Supplemental Diploma. A third iteration is planned and dates will be circulated soon. We are grateful to the University of Edinburgh for their generous support in providing both the course and the technical support to student participants.


U21 Teaching Indicators Project

A working group, representing seven U21 institutions, met in London for a two-day workshop on 20 and 21 April. They advanced the work started at last year’s Educational Innovation Conference which seeks to understand the extent to which U21 universities value, reward and recognise excellence in teaching at our research-intensive institutions. The research is headed by Dr Graeme Aitken at the University of Auckland and a paper is being finalised with results and recommendations based on the findings.


U21 International Peer Review Project

The IPR project capitalises on the 2012 U21 Award-winning work undertaken by members of the U21 Health Sciences Group. It is a collaborative, cross-institutional project targeting enhancement of students’ international experiences and global citizenship through online engagement. Following a two-day workshop in Hong Kong in December 2014, the project team leaders met in Chicago on 16 April to provide updates on two projects within the IPR.

The first project is entitled The Ideal School and is a collaboration between the Universities of Lund, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Auckland and Dublin. Each faculty member assigns a task to a student group which results in creating “the ideal school” on a website. The faculty student groups peer review each other’s ideal schools resulting in a report on the impact of the international perspective on professional identity and development.
The second is about lesson planning for novice teachers, giving those studying a BEd programme the opportunity to exchange ideas – at this first stage between students at UNSW Australia and the University of Hong Kong.

A second workshop is planned for December 2015 at the University of Hong Kong.


Researcher Engagement

U21 3MT 2015

The U21 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is set to run again in October. Across the network, PhD students are taking part in the local 3MT heats, hoping to impress judging panels with a concise presentation of their thesis research and building skills associated to communication of research to a non-specialist audience. The winner of each local competition will go forward to the network-wide U21 competition.

Dates have been finalised for the U21 3MT virtual final and International People’s Choice competition, which any individual across the globe can vote in:

  • 9 October 2015: Video submission deadline
  • 12 October 2015: Videos online and open the People’s Choice Vote
  • 26 October 2014: People’s Choice Closes
  • 3 November 2015: Winners announced

For updates please check the U21 website at www.universitas21.com/link/3MT, or direct queries to Gemma Marakas (gemma.marakas@universitas21.com)

Host announced for 2016 U21 ECR workshop

The University of Edinburgh will be hosting the next U21 Early Career Researcher (ECR)Workshop on a theme surrounding Big Data at the heart of 21st Century Research, which will take place early in 2016 (dates to be confirmed). Leading the event planning will be Vice Principal Professor Andrew Morris who heads Edinburgh’s new Usher Institute, dedicated to the application of Big Data/Data Analytics to health and population research challenges. Over the coming months we will be developing the programme and will announce further details via this bulletin and our website.

Every U21 member can nominate up to seven researchers (within eight years of gaining their doctorate) to attend the event – this process will open later in 2015, administered through the U21 Secretariat. Keep an eye on the website for more details as they are announced.



Student Experience


Global Ingenuity Challenge results

The results of the inaugural U21 Global Ingenuity Challenge will be announced on 5 May. Students from Universitas 21 institutions have been undertaking a global challenge which aims to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems: how do we move people around in cities? Teams based in seven different countries used the University of Nottingham’s online creative problem solving tool, Ingenuity Online, to break down the problem and develop innovative and scalable solutions and have submitted a three-minute video outlining their solutions to a judging panel. The winners will be announced online.


Global Internship Conference

U21 will be leading a session at the Global Internship Conference taking place in Dublin from 9 to 12 June this year. Eluned Jones and Susan Welland (University of Birmingham), Martin Bain (U21 student intern from the University of Glasgow), and Sue Dengate (U21 Student Experience Manager), will present on The Trials and Tribulations of setting up a Global Internship Programme. If any colleagues are attending this conference, please alert them to this opportunity. http://globalinternshipconference.org/

Student Mobility Network Meeting

The 2015 Student Mobility Network meeting takes place on 21 and 22 May, hosted this year by the University of Connecticut. All U21 members are welcome to send representatives to discuss the meeting’s theme Quality standards in student mobility: raising the bar on best practice as well as more general issues concerning U21’s student mobility offerings.

The registration deadline is 1 May and more information can be found at www.universitas21.com/link/SMN2015

People and Places


Farewell to U21 Managers’ Group Chair

At the U21 Managers’ Meeting in Chile we will be saying farewell to Ian Marshman, who has been chairing the Managers’ Group since 2008. Ian has been U21 Manager for the University of Melbourne since the earliest days of the network and over the past years has carefully steered the Managers’ Group through a number of strategic developments. He will be missed by his colleagues from around the world, a number of whom will be in Chile to wish him well in person. Ian will be retiring from the University of Melbourne, where he is currently Senior Vice Principal, so we thank him for his dedication and hard work over the years and wish him a very happy and relaxing retirement.

Goodbye to U21 RE Cluster Manager

This month we also say goodbye to Dr Gemma Marakas, who has been managing the U21 Researcher Engagement Cluster since it was formed in 2011, when the cluster structure was put in place. Gemma has created a strong and vibrant cluster, which continues to gather momentum with activities such as the ECR workshops, 3MT competition, Researcher Collaboration Group and Research Integrity Group, all of which she developed and oversaw. Gemma is going on to become Community Engagement Manager (Postgraduate) at the University of Warwick and we wish her every success in her future career.