June news headlines

06 June 2012
Welcome to the June ebulletin with the latest news and items of interest to staff and students across the Universitas 21 network.

U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems launched

The U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems was launched on 11 May amid a flurry of media interest about how different countries around the world measured up to each other. The ranking, complied by Professor Ross Williams and his team at the University of Melbourne, looks at the most recent data from 48 countries and territories across 20 different measures, grouping them under four headings: resources, output, connectivity and environment. The results, which ranked the national HE systems of the United States, Sweden, Canada, Finland and Denmark as the top five, have already been of interest to governmental and other bodies around the world and have prompted some interesting and informative debate in higher education circles. One such commentary came from the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (http://www.obhe.ac.uk/newsletters/borderless_report_may_2012/u21_ranking_national_higher_education_systems_2012)

The full ranking, the report and the data sets can all be downloaded from the U21 website – http://www.universitas21.com/link/u21rankings

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile welcomed to the network

We are very pleased to announce that the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) has joined us, bringing the membership of the network to 24 and extending its global reach yet further with engagement from South America. PUC was officially welcomed into U21 at the 2012 Annual Presidential Meeting in May, which Dr Ignacio Sánchez, Rector of the university, attended. With 124 years of excellence in teaching, PUC is among the 250 best universities in the world and placed second at a regional level according to the QS ranking; it receives the highest number of university applicants among Chilean universities and as such has extremely high academic standards.

Dr Hugh Brady, newly-appointed Chair of the U21 network and President of University College Dublin, greeted the admittance of PUC with enthusiasm, noting “We have been looking for some time to find a South American member who would complement the existing profile and standing of what is now widely considered to be a strong and innovative global network. PUC is a very good fit and opens up a new geographical region to the network, enhancing the opportunities for international collaboration and development across our activity.”

We very much look forward to working with our new Chilean colleagues.


Dr Hugh Brady appointed new Chair of the network

Dr Hugh Brady of University College Dublin has been appointed the new Chair of the U21 network, taking over from Professor Glyn Davis of Melbourne, who served two years at the helm. Dr Brady takes over chairmanship of U21 at an exciting time in the network’s life, as work on developing our revised strategy continues and we build on the strength and successes of the last few years.

Working alongside Dr Brady on U21 matters will be Professor Bairbre Redmond, known to many around the network through her involvement with U21’s Teaching & Learning Network and who has recently been appointed to take on the U21 Manager role for UCD, following Dr Erik Lithander’s departure last month.

New Educational Innovation lead

The U21 Educational Innovation cluster of activity, which includes the Teaching & Learning Network, has a new academic lead in Professor Pip Pattison of the University of Melbourne. Professor Saul Tendler of Nottingham had led the cluster since the restructuring of U21 activity, but is now stepping down from the role. We thank him for his enthusiasm and inspiration and look forward to working with Professor Pattison in the coming years.

The U21 website will soon show our restructured activity, with the Researcher Engagement cluster (led by Professor Mary Bownes, Edinburgh) and Student Experience cluster (led by Andrew Everett, Queensland) alongside Educational Innovation.

ECR Workshop 2012 registration open

Following the success of the first two Early Career Researcher Workshops, registration is now open for the third ECR Workshop. The theme is Merging Theory into Practice: Ecological Urban Design and will run from 5 to 6 December 2012, hosted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The workshop’s main aim is to encourage international networking and possible future collaboration, but it will also provide skills sessions to tackle career developmental topics and will have a more project-based approach than the previous workshops.

Each U21 university can nominate up to five early career researchers: two guaranteed nominees and three reserve nominees. More information can be found on the U21, including details on how to register for the event. www.universitas21.com/link/ECR2012

Health Sciences meeting & video competition

Registration for the U21 Health Sciences annual meeting, taking place in Auckland from 3 to 7 September 2012, has opened. The meeting’s theme is The University and the Health Care System and will focus on three sub-themes: Leadership in health care, the role of the university; Relating research to clinical activity; and Clinical academic workforce. A preliminary agenda, along with the registration form, can be found at http://u21health.mty.itesm.mx/auckland-2012

Due to popular demand, the Health Sciences group’s video competition deadline has been extended to 15 June 2012. More details can be found at www.universitas21.com/link/MDGvideocompetition

Research Universities in their Regions Workshop

Around 50 delegates attended the U21 Lifelong Learning workshop at University of Glasgow on 14 and 15 May. The workshop’s theme, Lifelong learning driving universities’ ambitions? Dare we? Can we? Let’s! was in keeping with recent discussion around the need for universities to recognise their contribution and responsibility to the regions in which they are located. A full and varied programme saw presentations from experts from seven U21 universities and led to the identification of many opportunities for cross-disciplinary activity, getting involved in big, real life discussions, attracting strategically important target groups, delivering research-informed teaching and helping communities to innovate and become entrepreneurial. A full report will appear in the next U21 newsletter and online via www.universitas21.com/link/RUR in the coming weeks.

Coinciding with the workshop was the publication of a new book entitled Global Perspectives on Higher Education and Lifelong Learners. Of particular interest to those who attended the workshop and others in this area, it ties in well with the workshop theme, particularly the chapter written by Professor Mike Osborne of Glasgow who led the U21 workshop. http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780203122495/

Call for Energy experts to contribute to Graduate Research Conference

The next Graduate Research Conference (GRC) will be hosted by University College Dublin in July 2013, taking Energy as its theme. Colleagues at UCD are preparing the academic content of the conference and would like to be able to draw on experts from across the network to help deliver a diverse and inter-disciplinary event.

Anyone with a research interest in any area relating to energy who might be interested in contributing a presentation or workshop at the GRC next year should contact Dr Gemma Marakas (g.marakas@bham.ac.uk) in the U21 Secretariat by the end of June 2012 to register an interest.

Global Research Ethics and Integrity Module (GREIM)

In 2009, a collaboration between nine U21 members saw the launch of GREIM, the Global Research Ethics and Integrity Module. The module is currently available to all members of the original collaboration (Birmingham, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Lund, Nottingham, Queensland, Virginia, New South Wales and Melbourne). It allows graduate researchers to work through a series of case studies reflecting a range of cultural, disciplinary and methodological perspectives germane to ethics research debates around the world. The course provides space for personal and shared critical reflection, interaction with expert advisors, facilitated discussion and face-to-face workshops.

Anyone interested in using the module should contact Dr Gemma Marakas (g.marakas@bham.ac.uk) in the U21 Secretariat or log on to www.universitas21.com/link/GREIM

Digital Humanities conference registration open

Registration for the 2012 U21 Digital Humanities conference is now open. This year’s conference, hosted by Lund University, takes Interfaces - Digital studies of culture and cultural studies of the digital as its title. Provisional session titles include Digital heritage and digital preservation and Teaching and learning - the digital classroom. Early Career Researchers and graduate students will be welcome to attend, as well as established academics and practitioners in this area. The call for papers has passed, although late entries may be considered if sent directly to Maja Petersson (Maja.Petersson@mrs.lu.se).

Further details can be found online at www.universitas21.com/link/DigitalHumanities

Birmingham U21 Manager steps down

We say goodbye this month to Dr Edward Harcourt, Director of International Relations and U21 Manager at the University of Birmingham. Edward has been U21 Manager for three years and has also been closely involved with the International Directors’ group. Professor Michael Sheppard, who shares the U21 Manager role at Birmingham, will continue in this position. We wish Edward all the best for the future and thank him for his contributions to the network.

Are you going to EAIE 2012?

University College Dublin is a partner institution for the EAIE 2012 conference this September. Colleagues at UCD would like to make the most of this opportunity and will be hosting a short afternoon meeting on Monday 10 September for U21 Student Mobility Officers, followed by an informal dinner for all visitors from U21 institutions. A lunchtime meeting of the U21 International Directors on Wednesday 12 September is also being discussed. Anyone from a U21 university who will be attending the EAIE Conference in Dublin and would like to meet with colleagues from around the network at this event should contact Eve Brosseau at UCD (eve.brosseau@ucd.ie).

UBC buildings judged “greenest” in the world

Helping to maintain the network’s “green” credentials, two new buildings located on the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus have earned notice as some of the greenest campus buildings in the world. The Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research and the neighbouring Arts and Sciences Building have both been awarded five Green Globes, a Canadian measure determining a site’s sensitivity to environmental issues. Issued by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the Green Globes examine a building’s sustainability with respect to a number of factors, including emissions, resource use, energy use, water and others. The buildings are the first campus buildings in the world to earn five Green Globes and are also the first paired buildings in any field to garner the prestigious distinction. http://designbuildsource.ca/2012/05/ubc-buildings-earn-green-distinction/

Have any of your campus buildings won “green” awards? We’d be interested to hear about them!

McGill Provost & Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies reappointed

Professor Martin Kreiswirth has been reappointed as Associate Provost (Graduate Education) and Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at McGill until 31 May 2015. Professor Kreiswirth has been involved with U21 activity for a number of years and will be well-known to many around the network. We congratulate him on his reappointment and are delighted that he will remain involved in network activity through the Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies group.

Any more news?

The next edition of The Newsletter will be published in July. If you have any articles, photos, reports or items of interest to the wider U21 network, we would be pleased to receive contributions by Wednesday 11 July. Please send items to Clare Noakes (c.e.noakes@bham.ac.uk).