[Issue 91] Media Monitoring: Extract of Press News on Higher Education in Africa

  1. Times Higher Education

Pandemic silver lining: a catalyst for collaboration (Global)
It’s not all doom and gloom. While we must acknowledge the personal and professional challenges most of us have faced because of the pandemic, the academic community has highlighted some real positives. Some academics say Covid-19 has been a much-needed catalyst for change in higher education, and now’s the time to take stock of what we have learned and decide how we’re going to use this new information to make lasting, impactful change moving forward. For me, it’s the increased collaboration that has really made an impact. From conversations I’ve had with a wide range of colleagues at universities across the UK, working in partnership with other stakeholders in the learning design, development, and delivery process has been eye-opening and, in some cases, transformational organizationally. As a former students’ union president, I’ve always been an advocate of student partnership in the entire education system. Academic staff working collaboratively with students has brought about open and honest feedback, a mantra of continuous improvement, and transparency with students. It was this, in my opinion, that enabled faculty to say, “we made it through emergency online teaching, and it was a success”. Adopting a collaborative approach goes beyond academic practice. It’s about fundamentally understanding the pain points for students, developing deeper collective empathy, and providing the right level of support at the right time. I’ve heard more stories in the last 15 months of academics asking their students how they are doing beyond their studies than I have before. We’ve all become far more aware of our own welfare, and this is permeating our pedagogy. This is one thing I hope we hold onto and grow moving forward. At Talis, we’ve noticed the impact of increased collaboration between academics and students within our community of Talis Elevate users. Dr Helen Nichols from the University of Lincoln says: “The pandemic changed the tone of the way we engage with students and levelled the playing field. Using digital platforms can ‘de-ritualise’ a number of traditional processes in learning and contribute to the development of reciprocal communities of practice in new ways. “We’ve seen increases in engagement in learning activities from students who would be reluctant to contribute under face-to-face circumstances. For these students, digital learning tools have enabled them to find their voice through chat and whiteboard functions, which has supported the building of their confidence. “My lectures have become much more interactive as students feel they can ask questions and engage in discussions in a more fluid way in online spaces. This says a lot about the collaborative nature of the direction of flow for higher education because students have been embedded in every step of the process, from teaching and assessment design to engaging in continuous discussion and feedback to help us understand what best practice looks like. “It’s important to note, however, that digital learning tools should be seen as an enhancement, not a replacement, of face-to-face delivery.
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2. University World News

Walking the talk of diversity, equity and inclusion in HE (Global)
Where are we when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) for all individuals? What can institutions of higher education – and their leaders – do on a daily basis to make a lasting difference? The DE&I movement is here to stay and is a crucial part of social dimensions aimed at combating systemic racism and is a standard in the business world. If you’re a business leader and have not seen the acronym DE&I or heard the words ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ or ‘diversity and inclusion’, you may want to getncaught up before major legal problems surface and-or major clients terminate their contracts with you. As a university, your DE&I efforts should be much more systemic than generic tickbox training and quotas. Many organisations, including public and private companies, non-profits and educational institutions, ‘talk the talk’ of DE&I through their mission and vision statements, organisational edicts, newsletters and other media communications. But are they aware of how to truly implement the values of DE&I in an organisation from a systemic perspective? One way of finding out is through examining how the organisation 1) seeks diversity of people, perceptions, experiences and thoughts; 2) treats every individual equitably, including when it comes to compensation, access to information, opportunity to learn and job advancement; and 3) provides an inclusive culture in which all individuals feel confident in having their ideas heard before decisions are made. Typically, the ways used to diversify organisations include quotas or increases in the number of individuals from traditionally under-represented groups in hiring and-or management. Those groups include under-represented minorities (URMs), such as African Americans, Latinx, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. Also included are those representing other cultures (for instance, Asian cultures), women, those with disabilities and those from the LGBTQ+ community. Through the creation of diversity and inclusion officers, organisations can create the appearance of diversity in the quota game. One multi-billion dollar corporation created a chief diversity officer position on a salary of just over US$200,000 but with an annual budget of only US$100,000. Filling the position with a minority allowed the organisation to show higher diversity at the executive level, but an annual budget of US$100,000 is a joke. It places an individual in a role with very limited ability to make an impact. Could that be the intention? Box ticked! And what about leveraging diversity of experience and thought? How are they honoured in the workplace?
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