Watch the plenary from Day 2: Innovation districts: city panacea or urban myth?

Day 2, 23rd May 2017

Session resources

View videos, podcasts, powerpoint slides and more from each session via the session pages.

Pictures

Why not look through photographs from the conference via our Going Global Flickr page.

Key highlights

  • A report on the findings of research commissioned by the British Council and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) warned of “terminology chaos” in transnational education and proposed a common TNE Classification framework plus data collection guidelines.
  • Unique research by the British Council was released looking at how young Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon feel about the educational opportunities open to them.
  • Higher education leaders spoke of harrowing experiences arising out of the increasing use of social media by students to mobilise campaigns leading to tensions and even violence.
  • The challenges faced by higher education and internationalisation in a “post-truth” age were explored.
  • Speakers and delegates debated the position and role of universities in the development of sustainable and smart cities.
  • The University of Birmingham UK announced it will open a campus in Dubai, becoming the first global top 100 and Russell Group university to establish a campus in this rapidly developing international hub.

Key points arising from sessions:

Is internationalisation dead in a “post-truth” age?

Liz McMillen, editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, introduced a session exploring the position and role of an outward-looking, globally connected higher education sector in a “post-truth” age where public opinion is beginning to question internationalisation and globalisation. 

Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, UK, said it was vital for higher education to focus on building greater trust. Research in the UK had shown that members of the general public were as likely to believe someone like themselves as anyone from academia. 

Professor Beer said universities needed to think more creatively about what they could do in their local communities that could be life-enhancing. “Continuing education is not just for the middle classes, but for people whose lives need to be changed. That means listening a bit more to them,” she said. 

Delegates were asked to suggest a single word that they felt summarised the main opportunity for higher education to become more connected to local communities. The words most chose were inclusion, technology, equity and listen. 

Professor Ka-Ho Mok, Vice-President and Lam Man Tsan Chair Professor of Comparative Policy, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, said it was important for universities not just to encourage more students to be globally mobile, but to create an environment where students are better prepared to live and work in a more complex, cross cultural and diverse world. 

Professor John Hudzik, Michigan State University, USA, said that with so much focus in recent years on the financial value and costs of higher education, there was a need for the sector to remind itself and the public of its core values of access, equity, knowledge for its own sake, and problem solving. 

Professor Hudzik argued that universities were too reluctant to examine and communicate to the public the outcomes of internalisation, such as what impact it has on the lives of students and to what extent it leads to problems being solved at home. Institutions were nervous about the possible results and uncertain about how to measure them, he suggested. 

More info and resources from session: Is internationalisation dead in a “post-truth” age?

Creative hubs: igniting innovation in cities

Professor Andy Pratt, Professor of Cultural Economy, Director of the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries, City University of London, said a creative hub is not a template, adding: “One of the things that causes confusion but is also a strength of hubs is that they are diverse.”

The governance of creative hubs and the way decisions are made about their priorities is really important, said Professor Pratt. The challenges they face are not only to do with dealing with multidisciplinary activities, but also with the boundaries of for profit/not for profit and formal/informal. 

Walter Zampieri, Head of Unit – Culture and Creativity at the European Commission, outlined the work of the European Creative Hubs Network project, which aims to reinforce networks of creative hubs at EU level, strengthen transnational and cross-sectoral cooperation within the creative and cultural sectors via digital means, and enhance exchanges of exchanges and best practice between EU creative hubs and cultural and creative sectors.

Nguyễn Phương Hòa, Deputy Head IDC, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vietnam, said that since the concept of creative hubs was introduced in Vietnam ten years ago by the British Council the country has come to see them as a resource that can create jobs. “It’s a new driver for us in policy,” she said. 

Nguyễn Phương Hòa said that in Vietnam the approach to creative hubs was “a bottom up process led by hub owners” and it was “encouraging to see they do not see each other as competition but as mutual supporters”. 

A poll of delegates in Creative hubs: igniting innovation in cities found most felt that governments see the major benefits of hubs as being economic and driving innovation. Asked whether creative hubs were replacing universities as places of innovation and learning, nearly 59% said no, but almost 38% said yes, to some extent. 

More info and resources from session: Creative hubs: igniting innovation in cities

Future Scoping for HE leadership

In the session Future Scoping for HE leadership the Chair, Alison Johns, Chief Executive, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, UK, invited delegates to consider what would be the big burning questions being asked about HE in 15-20 years time; what would have disappeared from HE by that time; and what new developments would have appeared. Answers included whether the e-university would become dominant; would technology continue to support education or overtake it; how would accelerating growth be managed; would the traditional degree still be relevant; would conventional libraries disappear; and how pervasive would virtual education become?

Professor Dr Ashraf Hatem, Secretary General, Supreme Court of State Universities, Egypt, outlined the framework for development of HE in his country and its implications for leadership. HE leaders in Egypt are also leaders in the community, “that is why capacity building is very important for the government” he said.

Dr Abdul Mannan, Chairman, University Grants Commission, Bangladesh, gave an overview of the development of higher education in his country, where tertiary level enrolment has risen from 1.16 million in 2008 to 3.2 million last year. Finding good people to lead the sector was the key challenge, he said. 

Professor Richard B. Davies, Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University, UK, described the “ambitious journey” his institution has taken over the past 14 years, leading to the creation of a new €600 million campus. One of the lesson on the journey has been that “leadership is about continuity and change”, he said. “Trying to change everything is almost pointless. You have to grow from the strengths that you have.” 

More info and resources from session: Future Scoping for HE leadership

TNE: A Classification Framework and Data Guidelines

Dr Dorothea Rüland, Secretary General, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany, stressed that Transnational Education was not the passing trend that some may have assumed it was a few years back. She said it was now “a strong pillar of internationalisation”. However, there is a need to properly define what TNE is, and to collect useful data about programmes. The British Council and DAAD have been working together for the last three years to establish a “TNE Classification Framework and Data Collection Guidelines”. 

Professor Jane Knight of the University of Toronto and John McNamara of McNamara Economic Research presented their work on classifying TNE. Professor Knight said that 47-52% of all international students registered for a UK programme are doing so through TNE, compared to 30% in Australia, 15% in France and 12% in Germany. In Mauritius that figure is 45%, while in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong it is around 15-20%. 

John McNamara said that countries tend to fall into one of three camps when collecting TNE data: Countries such as Australia, Malaysia and Botswana collected it as part of their general HE data collection system; Some – such as the UK, Dubai, Hong Kong and Vietnam – had their own independent system, while others such as Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey would have an early stage system. Some – such as Mexico – have no system as yet. 

More info and resources from session: TNE: A Classification Framework and Data Guidelines

Sustainable Cities: The Development Challenge

In the Opening plenary of the conference, Aromar Revi talked about the establishment of “Sustainable Development Goals” in 2015, as countries pledged to tackle issues such as poverty, gender inequality and hunger. In the session Sustainable Cities: The Development Challenge, panellists spoke of their experiences in working toward these goals in different global environments. Both agreed that delivering on these sustainable development challenges was not just a global issue, but a local one.

The Centre for International Development and Training at the University of Wolverhampton had previously been focused on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, but switched to the Sustainable Development Goals two years go. Its head – Professor Philip Dearden – said that delegates needed to think about these goals “glocally” – taking these ideas, sharing them with each other, working together and applying them locally. He stressed the need for data collection, including the use of open data to allow citizens to participate. 

Professor Tade Akin Aina is the executive director of the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) in Kenya. PASGR co-convened the first Kenya National Forum on Harnessing the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development back in 2015. It also helped to build “data communities” which would help collect, analyse and share data that could help institutions work toward Sustainable Development Goals. 

Professor Aina said that barriers between “town and gown” are breaking down in Africa, and that PASGR was working with an increasing number of African universities who were developing programmes of research into public policy, and changing themselves into “outliers and thought leaders” 

 

Professor Aina spoke about the importance of the “Five Ps” in transformation: People, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. He pointed to the importance of observing politics in infrastructure, particularly in the case of projects which may focus on aesthetics and functionality, while lacking in inclusivity. He stressed the importance of institutions which did not just focus on building through “grades”, but also on their environment and relationship with the community. 

More info and resources from session: Sustainable Cities: The Development Challenge

Smart Cities: Engaging Creativity and Youth

Professor Jagan Shah, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, India, acknowledged that there was some debate about what a “smart city” actually is. Is it an idea “created by tech companies, holding a lot of cities to ransom”? Professor Shah disagrees. He sees them as “new kinds of formations between universities, local governments and innovators which allow innovation to grow and be nurtured”. He said that youth participation is essential to this, as these “triple-helix” partnerships require their creativity to deliver solutions to problems. 

Sharon Bamford, Vice-President, Sannam S4, UK, said she was intrigued by the development of smart cities in India when she was chief executive of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise. However, when she first investigated the cities as they were, she admitted to feeling initially disappointed. Sharon said she first expected havens of “tech and lights”, but realised that the realities of these cities made that unlikely. In fact, she argued, what she came to realise was that smart cities are not so much “tech-driven”, but cities that are designed “to provide dignity and a sustainable and healthy living environment for its citizens” 

Dr Ewan Simpson, Dean of Business and Co-Director of the Kazakh-British Competitiveness Centre at the Kazakh British Technical University, Kazakhstan,  stressed that the smart city is not just about technology, but also about creating a city which “works well”. He explains that the philosophy of the Kazakh British Technical University was to encourage young people to think differently and creatively, and that this led to strong employment beyond graduation For Dr Simpson, the development of smart cities comes down to people, and feeding young people into the ecosystem that can deliver change. However, this is a generational change, and takes decades to turn into a reality. 

More info and resources from session: Smart Cities: Engaging Creativity and Youth

Megacities: education in 21st century urbanism

The world has seen cities grow in size and autonomy from only three megacities (roughly defined as cities with populations of 10 million people or more) in 1976, to more than thirty in 2016, and predicted to rise to 41 by 2030. 

More info and resources from session: Megacities: education in 21st century urbanism

Safe spaces: the university culture wars

Social media and the conflict of ideas is producing a generation of students far removed from many of their lecturers and the people who run universities and the gap is leading to tensions and even violence, a session on safe spaces and the university culture wars was told by vice-chancellors from Pakistan and Bangladesh.   Some delegates thought there needed to be more controls on sites such as Facebook and others thought that universities themselves could bring in controls over how students used social media on campus.  Students were seeing themselves more as consumers and making demands that were easier to organise due to social media, suggested others.

Dr Muhammad Ali, Vice-Chancellor of Government College University in Faisalabad, Pakistan, spoke movingly about how his nation had been forced to define its narrative in the face of terrorism and extremism. He highlighted that educated youth had been indoctrinated into terrorism in Pakistan, and in light of this he said that academic responsibility has become different. He said: “We have to be very careful in providing direction but at this point it’s not possible to control social media, but we should provide direction to social media use in a positive direction.” 

 

Professor Saiful Islam, vice-chancellor of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, said as a specialist in electrical and electronic engineering he was very familiar with the latest information and computer technology and used it himself.  However, he felt that students at his university – who he said were the best students for engineering due to the selective nature of entry – were using social media to whip up violent mass protests. “When the classes go on they are very serious and suddenly something crops up and they go for violence,” he said.

More info and resources from session: Safe spaces: the university culture wars

Student choices: the city factor

Universities in popular tourist cities or global financial centres find it easier to recruit students  - or so it is often thought.  But not according to research by Study Portals, the on-line international course comparison site, which found no correlation between the popularity of cities and student choice.  Dr Thijs van Vugt, the director of its analytics and consulting team, said he had also found hardly any correlation between the economic influence of a city and its attractiveness to potential students. 

Students from India are more likely to be influenced by the city where a university is based than students from China who are more status driven and focused on rankings, according to Lyndell Jacka, Head of Research for IDP Education, Australia.  A survey of students already on courses abroad found that 23 per cent of those who came to the UK had no preference as to location.

Analysing the latest figures for searches on Hotcourses – which has 32 million annual visits – Aaron Porter said the US continues to be the top searched country but went down from 28% in 2015 to 24.5% in 2016 and 20.8% in the first four months of this year. The UK has held its share this year at 18% and Canada was the big surprise – rising from 5.5% in 2016 to 8.3%, he added.

More info and resources from session: Student choices: the city factor

Innovation districts: city panacea or urban myth?

Urban innovation districts are emerging in cities across the world centred around leading-edge universities with many of them helping to regenerate areas impoverished by the disappearance of traditional industries.  But how do you secure a sustainable future for local people and businesses and avoid negative impacts, such as the driving up of house prices? asked  Kat Hanna, the research manager of the Centre for London, UK 

Professor Edward Byrne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of King’s College, London, said it was about cities as ecosystems, about a range of clever cities. “There are many different sorts of successful precincts. They are all about drawing in clever, talented people from a range of fields.  The more you can draw in, the more successful your precinct. They all have a very close relationship to local geography, and that may vary and they always have one or more significant university at their heart.  It’s not that the university is everything, it is just an essential ingredient. You put all the things in the pot and then you stir it and then you have a wonderful precinct,” he said. 

Roberta Malee Bassett, senior education specialist at the World Bank, said the experience of low income countries was dramatically different to that of nations such as the US, UK and Australia.  “Innovation in many low-income World Bank countries is a concept so far removed from the day-to-day life or from the experience of policy makers that when discussing innovation it has to be relevant and as close to the grass roots as possible. How do you make innovation relevant to the average person who is just trying to make ends meet?” 

Australia is thinking carefully about the city/university relationship and in particular the tension between bringing universities back into cities from outside, often the traditional “Gumtree” universities built on lush bushland campuses outside cities, said Professor Caroline McMillen, the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle, Australia.  Newcastle is a former industrial city making the transition to a people, magnet based city, she explained, sticky for talent, trying to hold its talent.  “And that is a challenge because down the road is the behemoth of Sydney with its bright lights and service industry where everything is possible,” she said. 

More info and resources from session: Innovation districts: city panacea or urban myth?

Key points from research launched/debated today:

NEW TNE CLASSIFICATION FRAMEWORK PROPOSED TO END “CHAOS AND CONFUSION”

  • The huge expansion of transnational education (TNE) has created many fresh opportunities but has brought with it a “terminology chaos” that is creating  “mass confusion and misunderstanding”, research commissioned by the British Council and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has concluded (from Transnational Education: A classification framework and data collection guidelines for international programme and provider mobility, launched and debated in the session TNE: A classification framework and data guidelines).
  • report on the findings proposes a common TNE Classification framework plus data collection guidelines that were drawn up with DAAD and with input from nearly 100 senior policy makers, institutions and organisations from 30 countries. 
  • The framework introduces a new term – international programme and provider mobility (IPPM) – to better describe the provision of educational programmes between countries as opposed to the more traditional movement of individual “international” students.
  • Lack of clarity about the terminology used makes it hard to classify the different forms that IPPM can take and is hampering the collection of reliable data by which to judge the scale, quality and impact of the different forms it can take, the report says. Over 40 different terms are being used to describe international programme and provider mobility.
  • Despite the importance of TNE for large sending countries such as the UK and Australia, there tends to be far fewer national policies for TNE that there are for international student mobility.  A review of 26 countries found 89 per cent had strong policies of student mobility but only 66 per cent of the same countries had strong TNE international programme and provider mobility.
  • There is a significant lack of reliable information regarding the nature and extent of TNE provision in terms of enrolments and the characteristics of IPPM modes.  Comparisons of TNE provision, data, policies and research within and across countries are challenging and often inconclusive because of this inconsistent use of terms. 
  • When gathering data from institutions care must be taken to balance the amount and complexity of the data requested with the capacity and ability of the institutions to provide it.  The report proposes  “core” data questions: TNE programme title, field of education, level of programme, country and institution awarding the qualification, and total number of students enrolled in the programmes.
  • A key principle of the guidelines is that data collection agencies in each country will decide what data to collect and how to customise it for local context.

RESEARCH FINDINGS WILL HELP INFORM OPPORTUNITIES FOR REFUGEES

  • Unique research by the British Council into how young Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon feel about the educational opportunities open to them will help inform scholarship and other programmes designed to help them, the conference was told in the session Syrian HE experiences in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey
  • The research was carried out for the British Council and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees  (UNHCR) by Dr Kathleen Fincham, a senior lecturer at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, who carried out in depth interviews with 178 young people of a mean age of 22.  Almost all the Syrian youth felt that the higher education programmes open to them in the three countries were adequate, but that they had difficulty accessing them without financial support. Even if they secured a scholarship it was sometimes only for a year or a few semesters, they said. 
  • The refugees felt that the scholarships that were available to them were too limited in terms of subjects and not available for high-demand disciplines. They could only be used at certain universities which meant long commuting distances, exposing them sometimes to security risks. They felt they were not given adequate guidance in terms of what scholarships were available or sufficient instruction on how to apply, especially in their own language, said Dr Fincham. 
  • Dr Carsten Walbiner, programme director of HOPES, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Germany said that past research into refugees had talked to the providers of education.  “Having a study concentrating exclusively on the students is very, very helpful and very, very rare because it helps us to adjust our activities - and the study confirms a lot of our experience, but it is based on a scholarly approach which is what we need in negotiations with donars,” he said.  

Key quotes from Day 2 sessions:

“We need to make sure in a post-truth world that universities are seen as part of the solution rather than part of the problem.” - Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor University of Liverpool, UK. (Is internationalisation dead in a “post-truth” age?)

“I do not like the term “post truth” as if it is true. We just have a more conflicted environment for thinking about what is truth today.” - Professor John Hudzik, Michigan State University, USA. (Is internationalisation dead in a “post-truth” age?)

“We as educators living in our bubble need to understand that perhaps the bubble is creating more inequality which is driving the differences that we are experiencing.” - Dr Nico Jooste, Senior Director of International Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa. (Is internationalisation dead in a “post-truth” age?)

“We need to link global to local in such a way that the benefits go both ways”. - Dr Nico Jooste, Senior Director of International Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa. (Is internationalisation dead in a “post-truth” age?)

“I do not think universities are prepared to put enough money into internationalisation. They see it as generating funds rather than spending funds.” - Nico Jooste, Senior Director of International Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa. (Is internationalisation dead in a “post-truth” age?)

“To be a successful creative hub you need to have a focus and you need to have an integrity about that focus … sometimes you need to exclude people and prioritise.”  - Professor Andy Pratt, Professor of Cultural Economy, Director of the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries, City University of London  (Creative hubs: igniting innovation in cities)

“Creative hubs … are places where people can do things together that can be a small step towards overcoming fragmentation.” - Walter Zampieri, Head of Unit – Culture and Creativity at the European Commission (Creative hubs: igniting innovation in cities)

“I do think universities have a big role to play in developing creative hubs, because students now do need ways of getting experience and building that knowledge base. Maybe hubs are one of the places that can help our students and also help our academics to connect to communities.” - Professor Rachel Cooper OBE, Professor, Lancaster University, UK (Creative hubs: igniting innovation in cities)

“You have got to build up teams to do things … My advice is got out and find people better than yourself.” - Professor Richard B. Davies, Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University, UK (Future Scoping for HE leadership)

“You have to have a dream – we sometimes call it strategy. I always say the dream is for the weekend: delivering starts on Monday.” - Professor Richard B. Davies, Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University, UK (Future Scoping for HE leadership)

“We really are looking at mass confusion on the terms to describe academic mobility. They are used interchangeably throughout policy, programme, and literature. And often with very flexible interpretations.” Professor Jane Knight, Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto, Canada (TNE: A Classification Framework and Data Guidelines)

“These Sustainable Development Goals cannot be delivered without businesses. They’re not owned by governments. They’re driven by businesses. And universities are crucial” - Professor Philip Dearden, Head of Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT), University of Wolverhampton, UK (Sustainable Cities: The Development Challenge)

“A colleague of mine used to say that Higher Education reform was like moving a graveyard. It’s a dirty and messy job and those beneath you will not help you at all” - Professor Tade Akin Aina, Executive Director, Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR), Kenya (Sustainable Cities: The Development Challenge)

“We need to scale up the connections of African universities if we are to ensure that no one is left behind” - Professor Tade Akin Aina, Executive Director, Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR), Kenya (Sustainable Cities: The Development Challenge)

“For those like myself and my panellists who do support the idea of smart cities, what we find in cities around the world are new kinds of formations between unis, local governments and innovators which allow innovation to grow and be nurtured.” - Professor Jagan Shah, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, India (Smart Cities: Engaging Creativity and Youth)

“The reality is the solution is not tech-driven. It’s tech-enabled, to provide dignity and a sustainable and healthy living environment for its citizens.” - Sharon Bamford, Vice-President, Sannam S4, UK (Smart Cities: Engaging Creativity and Youth)

““There’s something very futuristic about the expression megacities but the phenomenon is already with us.” Professor Nigel Carrington, Vice Chancellor of the University of the Arts London (Megacities: education in 21st century urbanism)

“We cause problems for universities in other cities. In terms of our balanced national development we need to be so careful in our megacities to try to join up what we do with our colleagues in the rest of the country.” - Professor Nigel Carrington, Vice Chancellor of the University of the Arts London (Megacities: education in 21st century urbanism)

“We live in different realities – an online one and a physical or offline one.  We speak different languages, there are different codes involved and it can be disorientating. The trolls will be watching you and are always ready to pounce, and have no willingness to hear the other side. There is very little open discussion in the Socratic sense of the word, with participants searching for answers with a middle ground.” - Wim de Villiers, Vice-Chancellor, Stellenbosch University, South Africa (Safe spaces: the university culture wars)

“I agree that there should be freedom of speech, but how much and who are we giving it to, and are they showing respect for each other? It is a dangerous situation for the administrators of universities. I am not against social media but how do I protect myself?”. - Professor Saiful Islam, vice-chancellor of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Safe spaces: the university culture wars)

“We can develop some mechanism to control the social media but at this point I think it is not possible. The only thing we can do is provide direction on the use of the social media and to train our faculty to be sensitised about the use of social media so they can educate our students about it and help to bring about more tolerance.   And we can use social media ourselves to have a counter narrative to these people who are trying to exploit religious extremism on social media. “ - Dr Muhammad Ali, vice-chancellor, Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan. (Safe spaces: the university culture wars)

“Students choose universities for a host of different reasons and it’s a question of segmentation, getting the right message in front of the right groups of students. Some students will be purely driven by academics or ranking or by employability or by accommodation or location or the amenities.  Of course, it is not any single one of these factors but it is important to get the lead message out.” - Aaron Porter, Director of Insights, Hotcourses, UK. (Student choices: the city factor)