July news headines

05 July 2011
News, events and items of interest for colleagues around the Universitas 21 network.

4th U21 Learning Environments Design Forum

The University of Birmingham will host the fifth U21 Learning Environment Design Forum from 19 to 23 September 2011.  The five-day intensive event is being convened by the U21 collaborative group on Learning Environments and builds on the success of the most recent design forum which was hosted by University College Dublin.

The Design Forum is intended to engage participants in discussion and design activity aimed at creating new generation learning environments in higher education.  An important aspect of the forum is its aim to promote inter-disciplinary approaches to the design and development of improved learning environments and, to this end, the event encourages the involvement of those with a professional role in this field – including property and estates leaders, audio-visual and information technology staff, educational and curriculum designers, professional/faculty developers and academics.

The 2011 Design Forum will focus on the challenge of creating more effective on-campus learning environments within the context of building refurbishment and the issues relating to the design of effective learning environments within buildings built 100, 50 and 12 years ago which can provide an equality of experience for the students across those buildings.

Expressions of interest should be emailed to: Toni Kelly, Head of Learning Space Development, University of Birmingham, a.kelly@bham.ac.uk (+44 (0)121 414 3667

Further information can be found on the events page!


Summer School and URC taking place this month

The U21 Summer School and Undergraduate Research Conference both begin next week, between them giving almost 200 undergraduate students the opportunity to engage and interact with other like-minded students from across the U21 network.  The Summer School, this year hosted by University College Dublin in Ireland is exploring the topic of Conflict Resolution, looking at this theme from a variety of angles and through a range of media.  The URC, hosted by Fudan University in China, has taken ‘Share Your Inspiration’ as its theme and is inviting undergraduate researchers to do just that through presentations and poster sessions.  Full reports from both these events will appear on the U21 website and in the October edition of the U21 newsletter.


UBC Food Security study wins major investment

Food Security is a theme which U21 has been focussing on in recent years, so we are pleased to learn that the University of British Columbia has won a major investment to look at this topic in the Andean regions of Peru. 

A $3.4 million investment from Canadian development agencies will help fund a 42-month initiative that will work with smallholder farmers and indigenous people in two regions of the Peruvian Andes known for their biodiversity and active farmers’ associations. The aim is to increase food security by improving sustainable, organic agriculture, focusing on staple crops such as potatoes and small Andean tuber crops. 

A full press release and further information can be found at www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2011/06/20/ubc-peruvian-research-gains-3-4m-to-improve-food-security/

U21 all of a Twitter

Universitas 21 now has two presences on the social networking site Twitter.  The U21 Secretariat can be followed at @u21news while the U21 Health Sciences group has its own account at @u21health.  We’ll be “tweeting” the latest news and events, so if you’re a twitterer be sure to follow us!


UBC offers post doctoral position in Human Security

Human Security is another key theme for U21 and the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia invites applications from outstanding researchers to hold a Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF) at the Institute, beginning as early as 1 September 2011.  The Institute regards human security as a multi-dimensional objective with the overall goal of protecting individuals. It is interested in scholars working on all aspects of human security, particularly those whose work fits within the Institute’s three broad themes of Social Justice, Sustainability and Security. Applications are invited from promising scholars with doctorates in either the social or natural sciences and especially encourage applications from scholars in developing countries.

Further information can be found on the news pages.

Honorary University of Edinburgh degrees awarded to John Casteen and Melvyn Cornish

The University of Edinburgh has bestowed honorary degrees on two leading figures fromUniversitas 21’s recent past.  Professor John Casteen, former President of the University of Virginia and chair of the U21 network from 2007 to 2010, and Mr Melvyn Cornish, former Secretary of the University of Edinburgh and U21 Manager for the university from 2002 until his retirement in 2010 both received degreehonoris causalast week.  In both laureations their work withUniversitas 21was mentioned and we would like to add our congratulations to them both on receiving these degrees.


Student Mobility Network raising profile

Colleagues from new U21 member the University of Amsterdam are busy raising the profile of the U21 Student Mobility Network with two presentations to international audiences at the NAFSA and EAIE conferences.

On 1 June Mr Guido de Wilde organised a session at the 2011 NAFSA Conference in Vancouver, called "Beyond Facebook: Online International Student Communities", together with two colleagues from outside the network. He writes, “International educators hoped that Facebook would revolutionise the field, and found that this was only the beginning. We tried to provide cutting-edge models of using social networking and how online international student networks can provide student support, enhance cultural integration, and connect a campus to the newly evolving virtual international student communities. We founded our own Facebook group "Beyond Facebook: NAFSA Social Media Forum" to offer a platform for further discussion and to offer people the option of downloading a copy of the presentation. If you are interested, you are more than welcome to join our group and participate. In the coming weeks I will try to approach some of my colleagues within the U21 network involved in social media, to investigate the current effects of using social media and hopefully learn from shared experiences.”

Mr de Wilde will also be joining colleagues from the University of Melbourne and two other universities at the EAIE Conference to give a presentation entitled “Plan for the best and prepare for the worst: incoming student mobility and safety issues”.  This interactive session will define three important aspects to student safety in student mobility from the host university’s perspective: liability including privacy aspects; safety protocol concerning international students; and communication to students, their home universities and third parties. The aim is to provide essential information and tools to help participants outline and implement relevant policies at their home universities, focussing on universities from three different continents (Europe, North America and Australia) with a large international student population. Giving three different perspectives will ensure cross-cultural differences to be taken into consideration, as well as the differing legal ramifications in different countries. This subject of the session greatly touches upon the topics discussed during the U21 Coordinators Meeting, and we would like to invite our colleagues from the U21 network to come to this session and participate in this widely debated and very current topic.

Please contact Guido de Wilde for further information about either of these events at G.C.Q.deWilde@uva.nl


New FINE newsletter online

The latest Forum for International Networking in Education (FINE) newsletter is now online!  Go to the Collaborations pages and click on FINE.