Boosting student mobility through delegation visits – University of Copenhagen

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08 January 2017

Boosting student mobility through delegation visits

In December, a University of Copenhagen delegation visited Super Partner University of Sydney. The purpose was to increase the annual number of student exchanges and to discuss curriculum and educational portfolio. The visit led to a number of results. We managed to resolve some “nuts and bolts” and the discussions will eventually result in a jointly committed action plan.

The delegation represented the University of Copenhagen broadly with academic and professional staff from five faculties. Since 2013, we have visited select partner universities where there have been potential to further boost student exchanges. Previously, we have visited partners in Berlin, Boston, Vancouver, Toronto and now Sydney. From each visit, we always bring back new insights, and we have managed to increase our number of exchange students by more than 50% with these partners.

Travelling for impact
What strikes me about conducting outbound visits is that not only do we learn a lot from the international partners while resolving pending issues, we also get to know ourselves a lot better.

During the informal conversations in between meetings, flights and dinners, I find that the joint understanding of the value of “study abroad” increases tremendously. My point is that the mere act of travelling – as a group – is an interesting facilitator for closer internal collaboration as we listen to each other’s different narratives covering various aspects of the same organisation. My New Year’s resolution is to bring some of that informal learning back to everyday dealings in the office and to be a little more aware of how to facilitate more innovative approaches to creating internal collaboration across structures and disciplines.

Rector Hemmingsen’s footprint
As we are leaving 2016 and looking towards 2017, University of Copenhagen Rector Ralf Hemmingsen will finish his term. During his 12 year at the helm, a campus plan has gathered the four campuses. New research facilities have been established. Institutions such as the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University and the University of Pharmaceutical Sciences have been successfully merged with the university.

One in four researchers is international, while 6,000 students have an international background. The university has also launched several programmes aimed at strengthening the quality of education, such as the study environment and feedback initiatives as well as the introduction of a minimum number of teaching hours.

New Rector appointed by the Board
The new Rector, who will be inaugurated on 1 March, is the current Provost at the Danish Technical University, Henrik C. Wegener. Henrik Wegener holds a PhD in microbiology from the Danish Royal Veterinary and Agriculture University. He is an internationally recognised researcher within food safety, antibiotic resistance and bacterial zoonoses, i.e. bacteria transferred from animals to humans. Following the announcement in November 2016, Henrik Wegener said: "The University of Copenhagen is the most important university in Denmark. The University must continue to address society's need for new knowledge and talented graduates. Quality of education and basic research at the highest international level should therefore still be top of the agenda.”

Looking ahead into 2017
Henrik Wegener’s first international visit in his new role as Rector at the University of Copenhagen is to Australia in late March, where he will attend the President’s Meeting in the International Alliance of Research Universities and visit the University of Sydney. Later in the year, we aim at facilitating another delegation visit to Singapore to boost student mobility. These visits are sure to bring back new ideas as well as strengthening our internal collaboration across the university even further.

We look forward to connecting with you again in 2017 either at site visits or at the international conferences.