16 Feb 2021

2021 EAIE Community Summit: The impact imperative



What motivates us to show up each day and do the hard work of internationalising higher education? For many, the answer is the impact our work has on individual lives and society at large. Questions of impact, how we measure it, and how we articulate the value of internationalisation will take centre stage as the EAIE Community Summit reconvenes on 18–19 March. EAIE members can register for the event free of charge.

What is the expected role and purpose of international offices as the concept of mobility is redefined? How do we anticipate these and other developments in our strategic planning and translate them to actionable goals? These questions and more will be unpacked at the 2021 EAIE Community Summit: The impact imperative.

The Community Summit is back with a highly interactive line-up of sessions focusing on approaches to creating impact in our daily work in the internationalisation of higher education. Coming together in the midst of what for many of us is a year upended by the pandemic, we will take a moment to re-evaluate and reflect on ways to create impact in an education landscape that seems to be constantly in flux. This two-day virtual community gathering offers an opportunity to discuss a range of approaches to impactful practice in our field, while also reminding ourselves why we persevere to promote internationalisation in such difficult times.

To tackle these issues, the Summit will connect members of our community to get inspired, share ideas and learn from one another. Over two days and four insightful sessions, you will have the opportunity to interact directly in small groups with other members in the community. There will also be some time to catch up with fellow participants during various interactive coffee breaks and an end-of-day networking session.

Day 1: International offices and partnerships

Day 1 of the Summit will kick off with an opening address by Hamish Coates, Professor and Director of the Institute of Education at Tsinghua University, China. He will provide his perspective on meeting the demands of the ‘impact imperative’, through a consideration of several major trends affecting global higher education with direct implications for our work. Next, we’ll focus on the evolution and future of the international office. From preparing for ‘augmented’ mobility, to playing key roles in the digital delivery of programmes and services, as well as Internationalisation at Home initiatives, the international offices of the future will be expected to deliver new kinds of results. Tayyeb Shah and Yulia Grinkevich will share insights and examples of how international offices may need to think differently about both their daily operations and their longer-term strategies.

The afternoon session on Day 1 will move the conversation in the direction of partnerships and collaboration in the new reality in which we find ourselves. Can we maintain the same close relationships we relied on pre-COVID and still expect the same positive results? Citing specific examples of both purposeful partnership maintenance and forward planning, Sara Lopez and Anna-Maria Salmi will touch on several key dimensions of this complex yet exciting moment for international higher education partnerships.

Day 2: Student experience and strategic planning

On Day 2 attention is turned to the new online student experience. Some key questions here include: What have we learned about engaging students effectively this past year, particularly when it comes to cultivating the soft skills, intercultural sensibilities and personal development that are often identified as key goals of impactful international education experiences? How can we build on this new knowledge? Eva Haug and Mirjam Hauck will discuss specific examples of how technology-mediated experiences – whether in the virtual classroom or in online social spheres – can have a meaningful impact on student learning and development.

Finally, the afternoon session will focus on planning for the future. Institutional strategies will need to adapt in order to anticipate and work through these shifts and fluctuations in the sector. How can our institutions zero in on their most relevant aspirations, develop their systems for achieving those goals, and generate the impact they desire? This session will showcase concrete perspectives offered by Anna Grönlund and Phil Baty on how we can act on the urgent need to get from here to there.

Zooming out and zooming in

An exciting aspect of the Community Summit is the opportunity it presents to consider the topics at hand from both wide-angle and very personal perspectives. Each session will feature a group plenary, followed by a very small discussion group format, where participants will be able to see each other and speak directly to one another. Additionally, every participant will be able to post information and ideas on an online bulletin board and spend time perusing the submissions to gain insights from across the spectrum of individuals and institutions in attendance.

After the success of 2020's inaugural Community Summit, this year's edition will once again offer a much-needed moment to connect and contemplate the big issues facing international higher education. 

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