Session highlights

Companies have sustainability on their agenda. Students realise they have to expand beyond their core subject.” Professor Amelia Hadfield, Dean International, University of Surrey, UK 

  • Speakers from four member universities of the University Global Partnership Network (UGPN) explored how their institutions responded to the Covid 19 pandemic. The message from Professor Jennifer Martin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Wollongong in Australia was one of being prepared. The university was well placed to respond in the early days of the pandemic, thanks to prior flood and bush fire emergency response plans and its experience of dealing with the worst bush fires on record which at one point impacted a number of regional campuses.
  • During the pandemic, universities have cemented their role as “anchor institutions”. San Paulo University, in Brazil, worked with the local state to train health care providers, and develop and distribute low cost masks, face shields and ventilators. At the same time, six professors from the university were helping the government crisis centre with its Covid response.  Professor Valmor Tricoli, Provost for International Cooperation at the university, described the approach as one of solidarity where the university is “making the difference, at least in the state of San Paulo”.  

Session summary

This panel is moderated by Professor Amelia Hadfield at the University of Surrey and features speakers from each of the four members of the University Global Partnership Network ( the University of Wollongong - Australia, the University of São Paulo – Brazil, North Carolina State University - USA and the University of Surrey - UK.

Under the overarching theme of university resilience, each speaker tackles a defined theme, as below:

1. Wollongong: Exchanging 'pandemic best practice' in dealing with staff challenges 

  • This looks at UGPN’s sharing of responses to personnel issues, including self-isolating vs. isolation; material vs. institutional support; quality of HR support; overhauling 'staff comms'; living off and on campus; quarantine, testing and travel; transition into online teaching, and the work/life balance

2. São Paulo: Local support, regional relevance and global impact

  • The initial response of most universities – and most countries – was to look after their own students and staff. By May 2020 however, it was clear that universities – connected as they are to their local and regional communities – needed to balance inward-facing sustenance with outward-facing support. Insights of the partners is explored.

3. North Carolina State: Embedding a 'pedagogy of care'

  • Shifting to online teaching is radically different depending on the discipline. This relates to how UGPN partners bolstered academic continuity to sustain the learning environment while embedding a 'pedagogy of care' in supporting the well-being requirements of students 

4. Surrey: Building citizenship skills in an era of Covid-19 

  • In autumn 2020, while a majority of universities attempted to revert to a range of hybrid provision at Covid-19 compliant campuses, two key areas remained of interest to students: the ability to undertake work experience and the opportunity to expand their expertise on a range of global themes via Surrey’s Global Graduate Awards.  We assess the use of these awards across the UGPN family.

Together, the UGPN panel explores the impacts – positive and negative – that the pandemic has had on network agendas, shares how UGPN members responded together, and considers the lessons learned for policy makers and practitioners of international education. Questions from the audience will be taken after the first two presentations, followed by the remaining two presentations and the session will conclude with further audience questions and a moderated discussion. 


  • Chair: Prof. Amelia Hadfield, Dean International, University of Surrey, United KingdomDavid Dixo
  • David Dixon, Director of Global Partnerships, Office of Global Engagement, North Carolina State University, United States
  • Prof. Angela Druckman, Director of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey, United Kingdom
  • Prof. Jennifer Martin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation),University of Wollongong, Australia
  • Prof. Valmor Tricoli, Provost for International Cooperation, University of Sao Paolo (USP), Brazil