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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.
The University of Leicester’s is preparing to open its first international Institute in China this month (September).
The Institute, which will offer duel degree in STEM subjects, is the result of a partnership between Leicester and leading Chinese University - Dalian University of Technology.
The Chinese Ministry of Education announced approval in March 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 degrees, in Chemistry and Engineering - from both institutions.
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.
Chinese students at the Institute will be able to take part of their degree in Leicester, while UK students in Leicester will have the chance to spend a year or more of their course in China. Leicester aims for at least on in ten of its undergraduates to be taught in China by 2020.
The first cohort of students will start being taught at the Institute following opening ceremonies attended by Leicester University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle alongside academic and civic leaders.
Professor Boyle, said: “Our purpose is to advance the exchange of culture, science, engineering and technology between China and the United Kingdom, promoting the development of education in both countries and facilitating academic collaboration between Dalian University of Technology and the University of Leicester.
“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. We have much to learn from each other."
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 at the University of Leicester, Professor Sarah Dixon, said: “The University of Leicester has just been ranked in the top 200 universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2018, and within that ranking we are a top 100 university in terms of international outlook. The opening of the Dalian Leicester Institute marks a major step forward in our internationalisation strategy that seeks to expand the horizons of our staff and students.”
Director of the Institute, Professor Eric Hope from the University of Leicester, said: “Our partnership will also make a valuable contribution to the internationalisation of higher education in China and support China’s aim to develop a globally-competitive workforce."
For Head of College Professor Paul Monks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science and Engineering at the University of Leicester, 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.”
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