U21 Publishes Annual Impact Report: McMaster’s Involvement and U21 News
On February 1, Universitas 21 published its annual impact report. However, the 2023 report looks different from its immediate predecessors as the U21 network was able to resume face-to-face events for the first time in four years.
In this article:
- McMaster in the U21
- U21 Educational Innovation Symposium at McMaster University (+ other events)
- Provost Susan Tighe and Vice-Provost Bonny Ibhawoh’s senior leadership appointments
- ACFAM and the U21 Awards
- U21 Mid-Career Researcher Programme
McMaster in the U21 and the 2023 Educational Innovation Symposium
Through several in-person events and symposia, members of the U21 were able to address challenges facing international Higher Education beyond COVID-19. Throughout 2023, U21 members gathered across the globe to brainstorm and discuss the climate-nature crisis, various global inequities, rising political tensions, cost-of-living pressures, and rapidly advancing digital technologies—both its benefits and its threats.
Similarly, the U21 offers opportunities for students to be involved with the network. In the coming months, McMaster will have 30 students participating in the U21 Sustainable Micro Internships.
The U21 network consists of 29 higher education institutions in 19 countries.
As its only Canadian member, McMaster University plays a key role among the North American U21 member institutions. From June 28 to 30, 2023, McMaster hosted the U21 Educational Innovation Symposium, during which 70+ international U21 delegates from 20 institutions gathered at McMaster’s campus to discuss the rise of technology and its impact on higher education.
The symposium’s focus was Scoping the Future in Higher Education: Transition or Transformation? and explored challenges and changes to teaching and learning in the wake of COVID-19. Over three days, delegates gathered to discuss methods of teaching and learning in a world gone virtual. While members were able to explore the challenges associated with limiting face-to-face connection, they also acknowledged the benefits and seemingly infinite possibilities that technology in education has to offer. The central question, transition or transformation?, encouraged delegates to consider the choice that they face in virtual and hybrid learning: viewing technology as forcing a pedagogical pivot—a transition—or embracing it as a tool that can enhance methods of teaching and learning and increase accessibility—a transformation. Professor Yuseke Morita (Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University) noted that discussing these opportunities and issues with other academics will help promote Digital Transformation at his home institution. Similarly, Anneleen Cosemans (Co-Manage of the Educational Policy Unit, KU Leuven) remarked that sharing these perspectives at McMaster will help enable educators to pave the way for the future of teaching and learning.
While technology and virtual learning present educators with a unique opportunity to apply new, creative pedagogical methods, it is also important to consider the potential consequences.
The necessity of human connection was a primary concern for educators over the three-day symposium. While virtual learning may offer more efficiency and creativity in the dissemination of knowledge, it hasn’t advanced to the point of replacing the in-person experience of higher education. Until it has, events like the Educational Innovation Symposium are necessary to enable academics to freely discuss this new transformational pedagogy.
Read more on the Educational Innovation Symposium at McMaster Global.
View a graphic summary of the Educational Innovation Symposium here.
Other in-person events include the AGM and Presidential Symposium at the University of Queensland, the Researcher Engagement Meeting at the University of Zurich, and the Senior Leaders Meeting at the National University of Singapore, where McMaster Vice-Provost Bonny Ibhawoh was appointed to the role of Deputy Chair of Senior Leaders.
In addition to U21-specific events, several senior leaders participated in conferences held by organizations outside of the U21, such as the European Association for International Education (EAIE) and the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), U21’s only network-to-network partnership. Delegates at ARUA included McMaster’s Dr. Bonny Ibhawoh, Vice-Provost (International Affairs). Dr. Ibhawoh will also be attending the U21 Annual Network Meeting & Presidential Symposium, taking place at the University of Hong Kong in April 2024.
In May, McMaster University will be hosting the U21 COO Network Conference. McMaster is welcoming U21 delegates in high-level administrative and management positions for a two-day conference on its main campus.
Provost Susan Tighe and Vice-Provost Bonny Ibhawoh’s Senior Leadership Appointments
Dr. Ibhawoh’s involvement with the U21 was central to McMaster’s international strategy in 2023 and will continue into 2024. In January, Vice-Provost Ibhawoh was named to the U21 Advisory Committee on the African Research Universities Alliance. U21 Provost Jenny Dixon noted, “Bonny’s expertise in human rights and African history, along with his understanding of African and global development issues, is highly valuable for us as we develop a new form of partnership and engage with another network.”
On the national front, Provost Susan Tighe has been elected chair of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities Academic Affairs Committee, which also collaborates on issues and methods in research and higher education.
The Office of International Affairs offers its congratulations to Provost Tighe and Vice-Provost Ibhawoh and looks forward to their key involvement with both the U15 and the U21 in the coming years. Read more on Dr. Tighe and Dr. Ibhawoh’s appointments here.
ACFAM and the U21 Awards
Every year, the U21 Awards rewards and celebrates the internationalization achievements of its member institutions. This year, U21 honoured the African Caribbean Faculty Association of McMaster (ACFAM) for their exceptional work on advancing equity in teaching and learning, developing a greater diversity of voices in global Higher Education, and expanding university partnerships and networks related to the African and Caribbean Diaspora. U21 notes ACFAM’s remarkable work in the creation of McMaster’s Black Student Success Centre in 2021 as deserving of celebration.
The Office of International Affairs offers its congratulations to ACFAM along with the other U21 Awards recipients: Dr. Miriam Moeller (University of Queensland), Juan Ramón Lara Mora (Tecnólogico de Monterrey), and John Zimba (University of Glasgow). Read more about ACFAM’s U21 Award here.
U21 Mid-Career Researcher Programme
The Mid-Career Researcher (MCR) Programme is a micro-credential that convenes MCRs from universities in the U21 network. Throughout the program, MCRs can share knowledge and ideas about effectively adapting to a creative and collaborative research culture through asynchronous content and high-touch synchronous sessions.
There were six participants from McMaster nominated by their respective Faculties:
- Abel Chikanda, Associate Professor, School of Earth Environment and Society, Faculty of Science
- Tara La Rose, Chair, McMaster Research Ethics Board, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences
- Gita Ljubicic, Professor, School of Earth Environment and Society, Faculty of Science
- Nick Bock, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior, Faculty of Science
- Celia Rothenberg, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences
- Renae Watchman, Associate Professor, Indigenous Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences
Read more on the U21 MCR programme on McMaster Global.
Written and posted by Sarah Slasor, Office of International Affairs.Faculty, MacGlobal, Newsletter, Partnership