December news headlines

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

New Academic Lead for Student Experience Cluster


Professor Frank Coton has recently joined the U21 Student Experience team as Chair of the Steering Group.  He is Professor of Low Speed Aerodynamics and has been Vice-Principal for Learning and Teaching at the University of Glasgow since 2009.


Professor Coton is also a member of the U21 Educational Innovation Steering Group, so brings extensive expertise to the Student Experience cluster.  His appointment will enable further academic input into the proposed initiatives for the cluster and will also increase cross-cluster collaboration, enabling both clusters to work closely together on joint initiatives.



U21 Health Sciences Group flying the U21 flag

Two members of the U21 Health Science Group’s UN Millennium Development Goal (UNMDG) Steering Committee presented their work at the 3rd European Congress of Physiotherapy Education held in Vienna on 8 and 9 November. Grahame Pope from the University of Nottingham spoke onThe use of UNMDG case studies to promote interprofessional learning and raise global health awareness in pre-registration students, while Gillian Webb from the University of Melbourne presented aboutAn interprofessional and international initiative on the role of health sciences faculties in achieving United Nations Millennium Development Goals.  Both presentations highlighted U21 activity around the UNMDG and the Health Sciences Group’s related initiatives.



Lund offers summer housing  grants to U21 faculty


In honour of its former University Director and U21 Manager, Marianne Granfelt, Lund University has announced a Summer Housing Grant for U21 members.   The grant covers rent for university housing in Lund for a period of up to four weeks between 15 June and  15 August 2013.  Two grants are available and will be awarded to staff members or PhD students from U21 members.  Applicants should already have a contact at Lund.


Applications should be made by email to Anne Messeter ( and should include a letter of invitation  from Lund University  confirming the purpose of the work to be done while in Lund, as well as a personal letter stating what kind of housing is required.


The deadline for applications is 31 January 2013 and successful applicants will be notified by 28 February 2013.



Amsterdam shines in latest International Student Barometer survey


The University of Amsterdam has been judged the best Dutch university by international students. Eighty per cent of international students would recommend the university, an increase of 10% compared to 2011.  These are the findings of the International Student Barometer (ISB), an independent survey in which international students were asked about their experiences at foreign universities. The satisfaction levels of international students at Amsterdam has also increased over the past year: 86% are satisfied or very satisfied. Last year the figure was 81%.


U21 has also done some benchmarking based on the ISB surveys and over the coming months details about some best practice workshops will be released, giving U21 members the chance to learn from their colleagues who are deemed, by international students, to be providing the best support.   Keep an eye on the website for further information!



Nottingham wins Times Higher Education award for sustainable development


Congratulations to the University of Nottingham which won the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2012 last week.


Judges praised the university for its sector-leading approach to environmental practice, and for embedding sustainability in everything it does – from the way new buildings are constructed to the way energy is generated and used on campus.


We shall certainly be featuring Nottingham’s sustainability credentials in a future edition ofThe Newsletter!



McGill University wins 2012 CAGS/ETS Award


Further congratulations are due to McGill University.  The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) and Educational Testing Service (ETS) annually give the CAGS/ETS Award for Excellence and Innovation in recognition of outstanding administrative or programmatic contributions to enhancing the graduate student experience and outcomes of graduate education.  This year they have awarded it to McGill for its SKILLSETS programme.  Judges cited the programme for its flexibility, relevance, creative use of resources as well as it broad popularity with the McGill population. 


McGill is a key player in the U21 DDoGS group and we look forward to hearing more about this work in the future.



Aung San Sui Kyi accepts honorary degree from Hong Kong


Many U21 members have awarded honorary degrees to important and inspirational figures over the years.  The latest in this hall of fame is Aung San Sui Kyi, to whom the University of Hong Kong has awarded this honour.  At the ceremony, she was also appointed Honorary Professor in the HKU Faculty of Social Sciences as well as the first Honorary Advisor of the HKU Service100 global service-learning programme.


U21 member graduates in high demand worldwide


In a recent ranking published in the New York Times, thousands of recruiters, chosen from the top companies in 20 countries, were asked to rank universities based on the employability of their graduates.  U21 members did very well, with half our members appearing in the top 150, led by Fudan (28), McGill (29) and Singapore (36).


Birmingham showcasing U21 experiences


The University of Birmingham has recently filmed some of its returning undergraduates after their U21 summer school experiences, to showcase the events and give people a flavour of what goes on. 


•             China:

•             South Korea:

•             Mexico:

•             Japan:



If you have a similar ways of promoting U21 opportunities around your own university, we’d be pleased to feature them in a forthcoming ebulletin!



UNSW celebrating 60 years of the Colombo Plan


The University of New South Wales (UNSW) was the first to welcome scholarship students from countries in the South-Asian region to study as part of the Colombo Plan in Australia. Sixty years on, UNSW recently hosted a reunion for students of the Colombo plan to celebrate 60 years of welcoming international students to the university.

To find out more, visit


We would be interested in hearing about other long-running international study programmes, showing that U21 is simply building on a strong foundation of global collaboration.



Wishing all our friends and colleagues a peaceful Christmas!


With just over two weeks left until Christmas, the members of U21 Secretariat would like to take this opportunity to wish all our friends and colleagues around the network a happy Christmas and peaceful and successful 2013.  2012, our 15th anniversary year, has been a very productive one – here’s to a similarly fruitful one in 2013.