HBKU and WISE host roundtable on ‘Innovation in Higher Education’

November 5, 2013 6:43 am

Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), in partnership with the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), organized a roundtable for university presidents from around the world to discuss emerging trends in higher education and identify innovative approaches to address long-standing challenges. The roundtable was chaired by His Excellency, Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Ph.D., President of HBKU and Chairman of WISE.

The roundtable, which was held on October 28th at the HBKU Student Center, hosted 20 presidents, whose participation correlated with their visit to Qatar to attend the WISE Summit beginning on October 29th.

The institutions taking part in the roundtable represented a truly global view and included Qatar University, the American University of Beirut, American University of Cairo, Mundiapolis University, Nazarbayev University, American University of the Emirates, University of Salford, University of Helsinki, Universidad del Rosario, Jordan Applied Science, Yamanashi Gakuin University, Mason Korea, Georgetown University, Columbia University, IE University, Australian National University, FengChia University, Wheelock College, Tsinghua University, and Universidad Católica del Uruguay.

The discussion addressed the broad topic of innovation in higher education. The dialogue began by exploring the role of research universities in fostering innovation in changing contexts for higher education. Further discussions focused on how to develop partnerships and sustainable networks. The final topic addressed outcomes from higher education and methods for demonstrating impact and success.

“This extraordinarily diverse group of university presidents quickly engaged with each other to willingly share insights on new ideas and best practices from their universities. What emerged was a very rich exchange that benefitted all participants. HBKU was able to share its version of developing partnerships and their importance in developing new graduate programmes for Qatar,” said Dr. Prior commenting on the event.

The presidents discussed the role of research universities in exploring problems that are relevant to their surrounding countries and communities, as well as having more universal impact. President Bing-Jean Lee of FengChia University in Taiwan commented, “If higher education research doesn’t connect with industry or society, not only will support erode, the impact of research will also be minimal. Our challenge is to produce solutions to problems and highly capable graduates who can successfully contribute to economic and societal development.”

The 20 visiting presidents, along with HBKU academic staff, confirmed the importance and value of carefully chosen partnerships. It was agreed that successful partnerships are founded on mutually agreed objectives, shared benefits, and relationships built on trust. As Provost and Interim President Matthew Zingraff of Mason Korea, one of the founding institutions of South Korea’s Songdo Global University, commented, “Successful partnerships are based on a shared understanding of what each party wants out of it and what each is willing to invest in it.”