Newsletter Group Updates
A meeting of IARU alumni directors was convened in May 2021 to share how they and their teams have adapted to the new way of working and the impact it has had on overall engagement with alumni.
The network discussed the creative ways in which online engagement has helped to broaden the reach of alumni activities around the world.
In their September 2021 meeting, the Alumni Associations Network explored plans for the next 12 months regarding in-person versus virtual gatherings, with most institutions planning to deliver events in a hybrid mode.
During the course of 2021, the Cybersecurity Forum met in a series of virtual meetings to discuss cybersecurity challenges during the pandemic and exchange experiences on other selected topics, such as zero trust and multi factor authentication.
The Forum's future plans include focussing on areas such as intelligence sharing, KPIs and risk tolerance frameworks, and policy development. They also hope to launch a more technical stream designed for Computer Emergency Response Teams to share experience and best practice.
The central topics for the Gender Group in 2021 have included how to address the effects of COVID on women's research productivity, how to develop gender equity plans (with reference to the Horizon Europe funding platform requirements), Gender Group administration and future planning.
Later in the year, the Group met to debate sexual harassment, intersectionality, LGBTQ+ issues and gender equality in a post-COVID world. They hope to meet in person in Copenhagen in 2022.
The Global Transformation group successfully held a IARU roundtable at the international conference "Asia and Africa in Transition" at the University of Copenhagen, 28-30 June 2021. The discussion on 'Strengthening Institutional Capacities for Trans-Continental Collaborations with African or Asian Research and Education Hubs' covered key points such as innovative formats for collaboration and advice for universities engaged in trans-continental collaborations.
In 2023, the group hopes to restart its Borderland Field Research Course in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which has been impacted by the travel restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
HR Consultation Group
The National University of Singapore hosted the first meeting of the HR Consultation group in 2021, where the group considered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the HR response. In the summer, promotion and tenure of academic staff was discussed at a meeting convened by the University of Copenhagen.
2021 was a year of dramatic change for IARU libraries. COVID-19 necessitated a shift to digital services together with the development of improved ways of sharing information to support online education and research.
IARU libraries also created a guide to the services available from all members’ libraries to help scholars and students when universities could only offer limited physical access to campuses during the COVID-19 response.
After discussion about the need to make the journey to libraries and their collections more transparent and valuable for in-person and virtual visitors from other IARU institutions, a ‘IARU Libraries Passport’ has been developed and is currently being reviewed, with the hope that it will launch soon.
Individual IARU libraries have undertaken a wide range of activities that implement the UNSDG. An article, ‘Sustainable Development Goals: Insights from Research Libraries’ by Roxanne Missingham (ANU), was published in the International Journal of Librarianship, contextualising and reporting on initiatives that support the framework.
The Lifelong Learning Working Group met virtually in 2021, sharing best teaching continuity practices to cope with COVID-19 challenges. All institutions successfully switched to online delivery of continuous education classes, and with time, most instructors were able to teach using virtual conferencing platforms. Micro-credentials were discussed at the group’s April meeting, with ANU, ETH Zurich and NUS sharing how their institutions structured micro-credentials for their courses.
The inaugural meeting of the Real Estate Working Group went ahead on 17 June 2021, as well as a workshop in collaboration with the Sustainable Campus Initiative on ‘The Future of Work’. Discussions focussed on introductions to the group and setting terms of reference for meetings, as well as objectives for the period.
The workstreams that have been identified for 2020-23 are:
1) Future Learning environment: best practice/design guidelines
2) Space Use and Efficiency: benchmarks/space norms
3) Resource Planning: developing a resource toolkit.
The steering group has continued to meet virtually on a monthly basis and collaborations continue to develop in this context.
In addition to a new joint project with the Real Estate Group, three key projects have continued and progressed, namely the Scope 3 Carbon Emissions project, the biodiversity knowledge sharing project and the Global University Climate Programme.
- 'The Future of Work', a new joint project between the IARU SCI and Real Estate Groups was initiated in 2021. It explores the context of university real estate sustainability in the Covid and Post-Covid context.
- Feedback and outcomes from the Global University Climate Forum will be shared at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the SCI.
- The Biodiversity Knowledge sharing project completed their report which has been published on the IARU website
- Scope 3 emissions are the emissions that an institution is indirectly responsible for, up and down its value chain (eg from suppliers, customers and consumers). The aim of the Scope 3 emissions project is to collaborate on potential solutions and best practice tools and methodologies for some of the biggest common challenges when it comes to Scope 3 emissions in universities.