On May 2nd 2017, when spring finally came to Tampere and the sun shined warmly over the campus, the Erasmus+ LEAD workshop on Academic Leadership on EU-China Cooperation took place at University of Tampere successfully. The event is one of the series of events under the Erasmus+ Project: Governance and Academic Leadership of Chinese and European Universities in the Context of Innovation and Internationalization (LEAD). The LEAD project (http://lead-project.org ) aims to provide unique training, workshops and role-model learning opportunities for university management teams, and an exchange platform between European and Chinese partners. The project also aims to facilitate and speed up the internationalization processes of HEIs, especially in the area of university governance and academic leadership.
Altogether 65 participants attended the event ranging from 22 different higher education institutions, from both Europe and China, covering Project partner institutions and UTA partner institutions such as Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA), Peking University, Tongji University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, National Academy of Education Administration, etc.
Speeches at the Workshop were insightful and discussion afterwards intensive. All these addressed the key issues concerning university academic leadership development in both China and Europe, including how university can engage in regional development, how can university structural transformation, such as Tampere Three Project, strengthen the university social engagement, and how academic leadership isperceived and developed in Europe and China. The role of universities in regional development was emphasized in the lively discussion, and meanwhile it was acknowledged that regional advantages should also be understood and utilized by universities for their own development.
Both differences and similarities were found in understanding and developing academic leaderships in Europe and China. However, one common understanding shared by stakeholders from both sides is that academic leadership should not be a heroic notion in any case, but rather, like a roundtable in Europe or a high-speed train in China: a type of shared efforts by all sectors and actors in the organization towards the same goal.
Furthermore, the importance of sustainable development of academic leadership in higher education cooperation between Europe and China was emphasized. In order to meet this goal, it is essential to develop a shared principle of quality assurance of higher education between China and Europe, which is indeed a crucial issue to consider.
- The event was a significant step forward in higher education cooperation between Europe and China. Participating in the event as well as other LEAD project events is a process of mutual trust building process between Europe and China, which is so crucial, as well as probably the most beneficial, for the sustainable development of higher education cooperation between both sides! Ms. Kris Dejonckheere, the secretary general of UNICA remarked.
Text by: Gaoming Zheng
Photos by: Jonne Renvall