I am pretty confident that the most frequently “deleted unread” all-staff emails at the moment are those titled “Well-being”. For the past two years, across all sectors, including higher education, these messages have proliferated like the coronavirus itself. Advice includes reminders to eat broccoli, to exercise regularly and to listen to birdsong. The latest epistle I received delivered the shattering news that “not being physically active can increase our risk of developing heart or circulatory diseases and diabetes”.
Leadership and strategy
Research often lacks full transparency and reproducibility, and poor research practices are increasingly picked up by the public, which is undermining trust in academia. Open research is research conducted with full transparency, in its design, methods and communication of outputs. Research practices that are “open” improve research quality and integrity, reuse by others and value for money. They increase public trust in research and protect against fraud.
Many early career researchers hear mentoring spoken of in hushed, reverential tones. It is, they’re told, something that changes people’s lives (professionally, at least).
Unfortunately, in many cases, it’s never something they experience firsthand.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve all heard about the unique challenges of joining a new organisation during a global pandemic. For me, joining Leeds Trinity University as vice-chancellor in November 2020, I was faced with establishing my own leadership style at a time when staff and students were working remotely, a number of our traditional touchpoints had disappeared and the goalposts seemed to be changing by the day. Here are five of the key lessons I learnt, in the hope that other university colleagues can take something from my experiences.
New analysis of the economic impact of international students in the UK showed that the net impact of just one cohort of international students, 2018-19, was worth nearly £26 billion to the UK economy. This was up 19 per cent since similar analysis was last conducted, in relation to the 2015-16 cohort.
Globalisation and technological developments are changing the private and working lives of students and educators. It is now essential to be able to use technology to collaborate in culturally diverse international teams. Collaborative designs such as online co-teaching or peer learning can support this development. But how can we foster virtual collaboration within and across higher education institutions?
It’s not enough to simply find four walls, put up a shiny new university sign and expect international students to find their way to your pop-up learning centre or campus abroad. Investments of time, capital and, most importantly, care and consideration must be made at each step along the way to develop a successful overseas campus.
It’s annual accounts season at universities. Up and down the land, a handful of university colleagues will have been straining their eyes on spreadsheets and bringing together the narrative that tells a story of how their university has performed over the past year.
We are all navigating the post-pandemic higher education landscape as novices, figuring out what new skills are needed. For researchers, this centres around how to successfully engage with a world emerging from Covid-19 and develop their research capabilities. So how might institutions create an environment where skills development can be based on authentic reflections, conversations and practice?