Tag Archives: diversity

News from the Association of Commonwealth Universities

Included below:

  • Internationalisation and the challenges and opportunities for international offices going forward.
  • Policy brief featuring recommendations for governments and universities to take swift action to ensure no one is left behind in the shift online.
  • Funding – gender initiative grants and fellowship funding.
  • Librarians – virtual conference.
  • Sustainable Urbanisation Programme news.

Almost six months into the global pandemic, the impacts upon universities have been – and continue to be – profound.

In response, universities – and the individuals and offices within them – have shown incredible resilience in adapting and innovating to advance their teaching and learning, research, and service missions. Those particularly responsible for internationalisation within their institutions are no exception.

The ACU recently convened a group of internationalisation leaders from six member universities to reflect upon the challenges and opportunities for international offices going forward.

These leaders shared experiences of the ways in which their work had changed significantly. The need for more virtual internationalisation opportunities in the wake of limited mobility activities (a traditional mainstay of universities’ internationalisation efforts) is one key example.

Collectively, they agreed that internationalisation remains a core priority for their respective universities. Indeed, this period has highlighted the critical importance of, for instance, cross-cultural learning and transnational research collaboration. The ACU will be taking these discussions forward through its member Champions.

My own work with the ACU so far this year has shown me the value of the symbiotic relationship between international university networks and individual universities.

Networks, for their part, connect, convene, innovate, and advocate to create the right opportunities for their members for the times we are in. This, in turn, allows universities to focus upon what they do best – directly engaging their students, researchers, and communities.

I invite you to review this issue of Synthesis – and the ACU’s latest activities – to see how such a synergy is playing out in real time. With its online events, Networks and Communities, programming, and UN engagement, the ACU has built an international structure of opportunities. Members can then select those that advance their particular priorities.

While calls for transparency and effectiveness predate, of course, the pandemic, they have become louder during recent months. Judicious engagement in international networks by universities can help all achieve their goals. I look forward to future opportunities to work with the ACU to help convene and support universities as they navigate this new landscape in higher education.

Kind regards, Professor Ian Rowlands,
School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability,
University of Waterloo, Canada

A snapshot of digital engagement in Commonwealth universities 

The results of the ACU’s recent digital engagement survey highlight a stubborn digital divide and its impact on higher education. Our new policy brief features recommendations for governments and universities to take swift action to ensure no one is left behind in the shift online.

ACU Gender Grants 2020 – applications now open!

10 ACU Gender Grants, up to a maximum value of GBP 1,000 each, are now available to staff at ACU member universities who are working to promote gender equity and equality in their institutions. The deadline for applications is 20 September 2020, 11.59 pm (BST).

ACU Fellowships – coming soon

Applications will open this month for ACU Fellowships, aimed at academic and professional staff of ACU member universities in any country to promote the exchange of knowledge, skills, and ideas. These virtual fellowships will support collaboration at a distance and enable the creation of valuable new partnerships, as part of the ACU Digital Now strategy.

From zero to hero: Rising to the challenge in a time of crisis

The ACU is partnering with the University of Johannesburg’s Library for their virtual conference ‘From zero to hero: Rising to the challenge in a time of crisis’, on 14-15 September 2020.This conference will focus on the changing roles of librarians in the transforming landscape of information science in a time of global disruption.

Commonwealth Sustainable Urbanisation Programme

‘The Commonwealth Sustainable Urbanisation Programme was a great learning experience where I understood multiple stakeholders’ perspectives on a range of issues surrounding urban development. Such initiatives can push for more innovation and collaboration, which is significant in addressing any crisis.’ – Rohit Pradeep Lahoti, 2019 Commonwealth Scholar

This programme of online events on the important issue of sustainable urbanisation was curated by the ACU and our partners.

For all information go to the ACU home page.

Ka kite anō au i a kōrua Karen Mather, People and Culture

Te Waka Pākākano – new name for Office of the AVC Māori, Pacific & Equity

We are pleased to announce the name of the Māori, Pacific and Equity portfolio, led by Dr Darryn Russell.  Formerly known as the Office of the AVC Māori it now includes a focus on Māori, peoples of the Pacific and equity, diversity and inclusiveness.

The new names for the unit, and for the AVC position are:

Te Waka Pākākano | Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori, Pacific and Equity

Te Amokapua Pākākano | Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori, Pacific and Equity

The narrative of the names is important.  Te Waka Pākākano is a seed carrying vessel; this reference is taken from a Ngāi Tahu ngeri, a chant for launching a waka or canoe, Terea te Waka, that tells of the voyage of the waka Uruao from its ancestral homelands to Te Waipounamu.  It refers to the dispersal of peoples through the Pacific, and by extension to all those who have come to make their home here in Te Waipounamu.

It also references the whakataukī: “E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruia mai i Rangi-ātea”; I will never disappear, a seed dispersed from Rangi-ātea, which honours the diverse origins of the members of the UC community, and our resilience to thrive.

The title for the role of AVC Māori, Pacific and Equity, Te Amokapua Pākākano, is based on the name of the unit.  At UC the term ‘amokapua’ is given to those leaders with the title Assistant Vice-Chancellor.