February 2016

This month sees us take stock on the last quarter activity as we presented our quarterly update to various fora and formal committees within the university. We are still of course brimming with pride about featuring in the prestigious Times Higher Education top 200 list of the most international universities in the world – a highlight of the last quarter for sure!

Whilst the production of our quarterly reports are timely reminders of what we have achieved, it is also important to not lose sight of what being a Global BU is really all about – to ensure as many of our students as possible get the kind of life-changing opportunity that is available through our Global Horizons Fund. It was great to hear from two students directly who have benefited from this Fund at the Global BUzz China event – find out more later in this update.


Global Talent Programme

First and hot off the press – February saw us launch our Global Talent Programme (GTP) pilot – a Higher Education Academy (HEA) backed programme aimed at helping students demonstrate to employers that they have the skills needed to work in a truly global way.  The GTP does this by developing a range of Global Talent attributes that will be key to the global workplace of the future, such as creativity and resourcefulness, situational and contextual intelligence, digital identity and engagement, global citizenship and global leadership.  I took the opportunity to kickstart the Programme, which is now available on Storify here.  Our launch was followed by another two Programme sessions delivered as part of two exciting global events on campus – #GlobalBUzzChina and One World Day. The Programme will run until the end of April with a series of themed seminars that will give students the opportunity to engage with local business leaders such as Hays – authors of the Global Skills Index – and local entrepreneurs running successful businesses here in Bournemouth, that have a global client base.  The latter stages of the GTP will give students the opportunity to apply what they have learned by way of a practical global challenge and informal assessment to help underline the value of their participation. To date, nearly 200 students have been engaged in the Programme with an average attendance of 60 students per session.

This Programme could not be more appropriately timed, as new reports such as The Future of Jobs point to the urgency to ‘reskill and upskill’ today’s students to prepare them for the Fourth Revolution, and the People First report that highlights the importance of empowering people to ‘evolve, adapt, and drive change’. The youth of today will be those that create stronger ties and relationships across the world, forging new partnerships and collaborations, ultimately leading to united progress. More and more publications are picking up on this, such as the Talent Trends Report, which identifies attracting and retaining global talent and enhancing workforce productivity and performance as the key concerns of the future.


Hubs of Practice

I’ve mentioned our new Hubs of Practice before so just a teaser in this month’s update….I’m pleased to say that we have concluded an internal competition to find two more hubs of practice and there will be lots of activity on this in the coming months. I look forward to telling you more in due course. For now, suffice to say these new hubs are a key vehicle for taking our vision of Fusion to a global audience. Importantly, they will also provide another invaluable opportunity for our students to build channels and networks between different cultures. Only recently has the UK’s HE International Unit published research which found that students with international experience had higher employment rates and salaries ‘compared to their non-mobile peers’. The US’s Institute of International Education also released a study with similar results, concluding employment opportunities doubled with those who had studied abroad.

This is also set against a huge increase on the importance of global solutions and international collaborations that we see emphasised by most governments. One of the key take-home messages from the recent World Economic Forum in Davos was that ‘the challenges today demand that business, civil society, and government leaders come together in an unprecedented way’ (CEO, Mercy Corps).


Global BUzz China

This month saw our third Global BUzz event – Global BUzz China – taking place.  More than 120 staff and students attended all or part of the event across the day as guest speakers, staff and students talked about their particular engagements with China and celebrated the arrival of Chinese New Year in style.  Our keynote speaker for the event was Professor Yi-Ke Guo, Professor of Computing Science and Director of the Data Science Institute at Imperial College London, who provided an overview of the work that they are doing with China around big data and innovation for the betterment of the world.  Other guests included representatives from the China-British Business Council and Dr John Knowles, Chairman of Dorset-based company ASM who have major operations in China.

I am delighted that we were also able to showcase a sample of the excellent work that BU colleagues who have been or are currently involved in across China, so my thanks to Professor Michael Silk, Professor Hongnian Yu and Professor Jian Jun Zhang for sharing their experiences with us.  Also there to share their experiences were BA Events Management students Hannah Hassard and Ruth Harley, both of whom had visited China with the Global Horizons Fund as part of their studies.  Hannah and Ruth gave a great insight into how their experience had benefited them and enhanced their employability.


Global BUzz Café

The beginning of the month saw the Vice-Chancellor and myself host our second Global BUzz Café Forum in the Global Hub on Talbot Campus.  These sessions are an opportunity for staff to drop by and discuss any matters relating to BU’s global engagement activity or to share their work with others.  Staff from across faculties and professional services joined us as we discussed the role of global engagement leads, BU’s new Global Talent Programme, staff and student mobility, BU’s inclusion in the THE top 200 most international universities rakings and the upcoming Global Festival of Learning.  It was a great opportunity to discuss ideas and get the views of our committed staff members who are helping to deliver our shared vision for a Global BU.  Our third and final café event of the year is in June. See you then!


Global BU Walks

The Vice-Chancellor and I were up on the Lansdowne Campus this month to meet with Jill Davey from the Faculty of Health and Social Science to find out about the range of international work that she has been engaged with.  Jill was awarded the Vice-Chancellors Global BU award before Christmas for her committed and creative approach to supporting BU’s international agenda over a number of years and we got to hear about some of the excellent work that she has been instrumental in developing during that time.


Calling all Students

In other news, last week PM Cameron announced that the In/Out Referendum will be held on June 23rd 2016. I encourage all eligible students to register themselves to vote, as the outcome will mark a key turning point for the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. Unquestionably, the Brexit debate will be central to the news for the coming months, with its impact on Higher Education being no exception.


Looking ahead

It feels like quite a while since I have got on a plane – but that is about to change (i.e. get back to normal) from next month and I’m looking forward to a busy and productive few months!

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