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Sandra Booth, Director of Policy and External Relations for the Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD), reviews a week of higher education news in which concerns emerged over universities’ financial stability due to Covid-19 and the impact of the crisis on students.
A growing number of higher education conferences and events are being postponed or moved online in response to the Coronavirus restrictions.
Amid predictions that higher education will be changed forever by the current pandemic, Professor James Miller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian University, suggests the innovative ways the sector is responding to the crisis will make it even more valued in the future.
The current crisis has underlined the critical role played by the UK’s experts and researchers and the institutions supporting them, as well as the need for collaboration between them, says Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business.
As a growing number of universities move teaching and assessment online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Derby is holding a virtual conference which aims to support staff in making the transition.
The University of Leicester has announced plans to open a campus in China in September that will offer dual degrees for UK and Chinese students.
The Chinese Ministry of Education has given its approval for the ‘Leicester International Institute, Dalian University of Technology’ to be established on the Panjin campus of Dalian University of Technology. Students will study for dual degrees in Maths, Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering from University of Leicester and Dalian University of Technology.
Dalian University of Technology is ranked among the ‘Ivy League’ of Chinese universities, being included in both of the Chinese government’s prestigious ‘211’ and ‘985’ rankings of elite institutions.
The joint institute will provide students with the scholarship and skills to equip them for lifetime careers as leaders in industry and academia.
‘Leicester International Institute, Dalian University of Technology’ will be housed in a brand new campus with state-of-the-art labs and facilities.
Chinese students will have the opportunity to take part of their degree in Leicester, and UK students in Leicester will be able to spend a year or more of their degree in China.
Recruitment is underway for a September 2017 launch, and as the number of students builds over the next few years, over 10 per cent of Leicester’s undergraduates will be educated in Dalian.
The new campus is part of the international ambition of Leicester’s President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle. He said: “Leicester and Dalian have chosen to work together because of our shared global standing, and our belief in research and learning excellence. As world-class research-intensive universities we will build collaborative research groups that will underpin exciting new discoveries.
“Our students will have an opportunity to gain dual degrees from two leading universities. Leicester is committed to international excellence and making an impact on the global stage. We aim to ensure that our students – wherever they are – benefit from a truly internationalised approach to their learning.”
Welcoming the new alliance, President Guo from Dalian University of Technology, said: “This initiative will succeed because we will only recruit the very brightest students. We chose to work with Leicester because of their research reputation – our partnership will be strong because it is based on powerful research collaboration.”
Pro-Vice-Chancellor International, Professor Sarah Dixon, said: “We are at the vanguard of institutions looking for collaboration beyond Europe which will be key to our future success. We no longer think of a Leicester education necessarily being taught in the UK. Our brand is strong overseas and we expect to extend our footprint further in the coming years. In addition, we want more and more of our UK students to become more internationalised by spending at least part of their education overseas.”
For Head of College Professor Paul Monks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science and Engineering, the new campus represents a major investment in STEM subjects empowering future generations with a technological education: “What we have on offer are robust programmes with a top-notch Chinese university. For UK students, there is a real incentive to get an international education in one of the fastest growing economies in the world. China is a white-cauldron of science and innovation and DUT is right at the forefront of that.”
For Ian Jarvis, the International Director in the College, this partnership with China is a culmination of many years of collaborative working with highly ranked universities in China: “This institutional relationship with DUT builds on the research relationships forged by our academics. This multi-million pound investment is a great example of building on existing excellence.”
Professor Boyle visited Dalian to formally launch the partnership, which received extensive press coverage in China.
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