U21 Award Winners 2018

07 December 2017
U21 Awards Winners 2018: Dr Jane Wellens (University of Nottingham) and Dr Chongsheng Peng (SJTU Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

We are pleased to announce the latest winners of our prestigious U21 Awards as Dr Jane Wellens of the University of Nottingham and Dr Chongsheng Peng of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, two exceptional colleagues who have made significant contributions to U21.

The U21 Awards were created in 2012 to recognise the innovative work being delivered at Universitas 21 member universities towards the internationalisation of higher education. This is the seventh year that the awards have been given, and our winners this year truly reflect the global values that U21 represents and have been recognised for their invaluable contribution to the network. 

Professor Bairbre Redmond, Professor of Universitas 21, congratulated the winners, “The U21 Awards were designed to recognise and celebrate the work of individuals in the network who have made a significant contribution to cross-network internationalisation in higher education. Our 2018 winners exemplify such contributions. The work of Dr Jane Wellens (University of Nottingham) as part of the Deans and Directors of Graduate Schools group (DDoGs) represents a sustained contribution in the field of international doctoral education, including a successful proposal to the Newton-Picarte Institutional Skills Call, part of which allowed the University of Nottingham to host a group of colleagues of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. 

Not only have over 60,000 students from around the world successfully participated in Dr Chongsheng Peng’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on “Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese Culture”, but this engaging online course also became an initial part of the U21 Summer School 2016 at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, thus allowing U21 students to experience a blended learning experience in this important topic. My warmest congratulations to these two most worthy winners of the U21 Awards.” 

Dr Jane Wellens is the University of Nottingham representative within the U21 Group of Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies. She has offered a sustained contribution since 2013 through active participation in the Group of Deans and Directors of Graduate Schools of U21, exploring areas of mutual strength and establishing collaborative activities in particular related to doctoral education. This resulted in the submission of a successful proposal to the Newton-Picarte Institutional Skills Call. Furthermore, Jane has been involved in implementing a doctoral education policy at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, which was a precedent for other Chilean universities whose directors of doctoral education attended a national workshop - the first ever held in Chile on research supervision supporting and recognising doctoral supervision. This policy has been identified as the single most influential factor on PhD satisfaction and has also been linked with time to completion. The U21 Award honours Jane’s work in sharing best practice in ‘excellent’ doctoral supervision and the development of doctoral training and research supervision in the local context of Chile. 

Dr Wellens said, “I was totally surprised by the news that I had been nominated by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile for this award.  It has been a privilege to collaborate with them and other Universities in Chile on the Newton-Picarte project and as well as to work with colleagues from Nottingham and the broader U21 DDoGS group who share a commitment and passion for enhancing international doctoral education.  We have explored similarities and common challenges in doctoral research and found many span international as well as discipline boundaries. As a result, our institutions are working to implement solutions and mechanisms which will enhance global research through facilitating long term collaborations involving both doctoral researchers and their supervisors.” 

Dr Chongsheng Peng’s innovative Massive Open Online Course; “Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese Culture” attracted more than 60,000 domestic and international learners including undergraduate students from over 130 countries. The summer school based on this topic attracted over 300 international students from over 24 universities to the SJTU campus, combining study through experiential learning and hands-on practices. He initially explored hybrid learning which combined a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) with offline flipped classroom and application in practice for U21 students in 2016, continuing the programme in 2017. All students involved valued the new learning style and were satisfied with the contemporary approach. The innovative delivery and professionalism shown by Dr Peng makes it clear to see how his contribution to the U21 network is of outstanding significance and quality, meriting the U21 Award. 

Dr Peng said, "It is my great honour and pleasure to receive this Award. It has been my passion to introduce traditional Chinese medicine to the world, and the online offering of the course has opened the largest possible access to interested audiences. I am especially grateful to U21 for allowing us to work out this pilot online/offline hybrid programme for the flagship summer school, which has now been developed into a standard practice for the course. I am deeply impressed by the students' participation online and their engagement during the summer school. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my entire team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University for their great efforts and to my 65,000+ students over the world for their enthusiasm and participation in TCM learning."