Category: Higher education

Lessons from Katrina: conducting ‘learning as usual’ in unusual times

“Instead of succumbing to panic and fear, let us instead ask how we can continue to help each other in this time of need”

“Amid the global pandemic of COVID-19, I am reminded of my time in New Orleans in 2005 experiencing Hurricane Katrina,” writes Isaac Garcia-Sitton, director of International Education & English Language Institute (YUELI) at York University’s School of Continuing Studies in Toronto.

At the time, I was a young diplomat, working in the Panamanian Consulate, thrust into one of the most formative personal and professional experiences I had ever faced.

I led efforts in coordination with the US State Department, FEMA, State Police, and Red Cross for search, rescue and relocation of dozens of Panamanians families affected. It is difficult to overstate the toll that the months-long shut-down and city evacuations took on the displaced and unhoused people who lived through Katrina. However, what came out of that severe strife was an unshakable belief in the resilience of communities – their ability to stay connected, and their relentless commitment to helping one another.

Today, New Orleans has been rebuilt, its residents have reestablished their lives, and most traces of the wreckage and debris have now disappeared, leaving behind memories of courage, strength and unity.

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Standing #ApartTogether in times of crisis

“Keeping our communities safe, and focused on moving forward with hope and creativity, is our path through and out of our collective current reality”

It is vitally important to refocus on the importance of community and leadership, writes Tina Bax, Founder of CultureWorks in Canada.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer has tweeted her hope that we might stand #ApartTogether in this.  There’s arguably never been a more important time to be together.  To expand the concept of community that we continually build in our classrooms, to the rest of the world.

In the spirit of humility and service then, here are three communities to consider when we’re trying to take such great care in the coming weeks and months, not just of ourselves but of our world.

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Universities Launching Pathways Themselves, Part 3

“Too often, we see communication that’s unidirectional from institution to agency”

Part 3 of our 4 part series on pathway programs. For part 1, please click here

In addition to Larry and Rick, who authored blogs #1 and #2, there is another co-author on this blog: Vanessa Andrade is director, International Partnership & Program Development and Deputy Senior International Officer at California State University, Northridge.

In our previous blogs, we noted that if you are thinking about a pathway partner, it is likely you are seeking outside help to overcome internal resource constraints.

Our contention throughout this series has been that much of the value that third-party pathway providers offer can be developed in-house, using a coordinated approach we call the Coordinated International Student Success Infrastructure (CiSSi) model.

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To print, or not to print: that is the question

“Although digital seems to offer several benefits… print media has a very important role in customer behaviour”

Over the past few years, the digital age has had a major impact on how business is done. Many companies in our industry have shifted focus to email marketing, blogging, video and social media marketing to raise brand awareness, increase website traffic and boost sales.

The one medium that is largely overlooked is print media. As CEO of multiple companies embracing the digital age, why do I still believe that print provides incredible marketing opportunities and still has a place today within our education industry?

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Learning from the US: new ways to evaluate & record skills and competencies

“Seeing online education as a ‘cheaper’ way to deliver higher education has long been debunked in the US”

 

Finding new ways to teach and accredit soft skills has never been more important, writes director and co-founder of UK Education Guide, Pat Moores. In this blog, she explores some of the lessons that educators can learn by observing the practices being adopted stateside.

At a recent presentation at the British Council’s International Education Conference, I was interested to note that none of the attendees at my session had ever heard of Western Governors University (WGU) or Competency-Based Education (CBE).

No big deal, of course, there are well over 5,000 US colleges, so not having heard of one is hardly a crime, but why does WGU matter and why does CBE matter too?

It is estimated 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet and 65% of children starting school will one day hold jobs that do not exist now. It is widely anticipated that many existing jobs will be replaced by robots/AI.

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Three takeaways from the Third International Strategy of Impact Conference

“With today’s mounting pressures on research funding… research practitioners in HE, government, and NGOs face a mounting challenge”

Research has a long tail. The vaccine for Polio — the devastating viral epidemic linked to thousands of cases of paralysation and death in the first half of the 20th century — was launched in 1955.

The impact is still being felt today (and forevermore): according to the World Health Organisation, more than 18 million people walk today who would have been paralysed without the vaccine. Yet, the initial exploratory research project that looked at the poliovirus started and finished decades ago.

It’s precisely this recognition of the long-tail effects of research that is driving an emerging conversation around the assessment of research activity both in the UK and globally.

With today’s mounting pressures on research funding, especially following the global credit crunch, research practitioners in higher education, government, and NGOs face a mounting challenge: how can they continue to expand the borders of intellectual discovery, while investing in research activities that lead to impact and achieve the desired mission?

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Professional academic development at higher education in Mauritius

“The modern Gen Z student is critically insightful about what they expect from higher education study”

What exactly is meant by academic development? Perhaps you know it as ‘educational development’ or ‘teacher development’ in higher education? In a sentence, it is professional development that supports the improvement of quality in tertiary education; by enhancing all dimensions of learning, teaching, assessment and scholarship in higher education.

In Britain, Australasia and parts of Europe and Asia this falls under academic staff professional development; or instructional development in Canada, or faculty development in the USA. Such programmes and activities have been a feature of more mature tertiary education systems for more than 40 years.

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Modernising versus Globalising Education

“Interaction with the broader world including foreign economies, people, information, and major global challenges is becoming more inevitable”

A common discussion taking place in many modernising countries is how to adapt education systems so that they are more responsive to the rapidly changing economic realities of the future.

A key component in updating the status quo is how educational institutions support students conceptually in adapting to a rapidly globalising world. As a product of the liberal arts tradition in the United States, I have often thought about the potential impact of widespread, multi-perspective learning for all students, but also have reflected on the current gaps that cause systems to fall short of this.

What do I mean by multi-perspective learning? One that reflects the breadth and diversity of the world students live in. Regardless of job or industry, interaction with the broader world including foreign economies, people, information, and major global challenges is becoming more inevitable.

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A bright future for pathway providers

“As many British universities struggle with finances, pathways offer a potential solution”

Study Group was officially accepted onto the Office for Students (OfS) register of Higher Education Providers late last year after meeting requirements for course quality, academic standards, student support and student protection.

This means that, for the first time in the UK, international students studying on a pathway programme have all the same Tier 4 visa rights as international students at UK universities. These rights include new provisions for working and visa extension options, as well as various new privileges for Pre-Masters students.

While Study Group has become the first pathway provider to receive OfS recognition, we expect others to follow close behind. The move signals greater recognition of the valuable services that pathway providers offer and the potential for increased collaboration between universities and these programmes in the future.

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What value do school rankings provide international families?

“Even some highly ranked schools are now questioning whether the benefits of appearing in rankings outweigh the negatives”

As anyone who works in international student and pupil recruitment knows, rankings are revered by many families who believe that they alone provide the ultimate ‘judge’ of whether a school is desirable or not. 

However, should this perception be challenged more than it is?

Major rankings are devised predominantly from public exam results and, of course, high grades are important. However, these grades are often achieved due to the highly selective admissions policies of many highly ranked schools.

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