On 15 October 2019, another edition of QS in conversation concluded successfully in Kaunas, Lithuania. The inaugural Summit which focused on how institutions can leap onto the global stage and play an active role in the global higher education community witnessed 150 delegates from such countries as the US, UK, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Lithuania, Turkey and many more.
The Summit kicked off with official welcome addresses by Prof. Juozas Augutis, Rector at Vytautas Magnus University, Dr. Ineta Dabašinskienė, Vice Rector for International Relations at Vytautas Magnus University, Prof. Yerlan Sydykov, Rector at L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University, and Mrs. Zoya Zaitseva, Regional Director, Central Europe & Central Asia at QS Quacquarelli Symonds. An exciting keynote speech on humanistic values and new forms of studies was delivered by Professor Cathia Jenainati, Dean of Arts and Sciences at The Lebanese-American University.
The following days witnessed presentations on diverse topics, including another keynote presentation by Prof. Clement Fortin, Dean of Faculty and Postdoctoral Affairs, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, and the launch of the QS EECA University Rankings 2019 by Mr. Leigh Kamolins, Head of Evaluation at QS Quacquarelli Symonds.
Some of the discussion highlights from the event include:
- Emerging Europe and Central Asia are developing very dynamically in terms of Higher Education. Going from just a couple dozens of universities from the region in the QS rankings back in 2004 to a stand-alone ranking of 350 best institutions in the region is a clear sign local education becomes more visible and competitive on the international arena.
- Quality education and research are essential to university’s success. Therefore, to achieve international recognition, a university should aspire to become a leading educational and research center. It should serve as a selling point for international students and faculty recruitment, joint research collaborations, to increase academic and employer reputation as well as elevating the university brand.
- International league tables, research output and impact databases or such metrics as online presence among others can serve as very insightful strategic tools. However, they should never become the main goal and indicators of success but should rather be taken with a pinch of salt.
- To develop entrepreneurial competencies among students, VMU’s “EQ-THINKING” Model can be used as a reference point by other universities. The Model consists of three steps namely “Experience”, “Create” and “Initiate”, which is supported by two ecosystems: “Smart Practice” and “Multicultural field”. The Model is implemented in several projects and activities on national and international levels, but mainly in “Entrepreneurship Academy” – an experience-based program with an innovative curriculum structure.
- To carry out creative practices as the site of inventive and unexpected research that blurs boundaries of academic and other forms of knowledge production, The Swamp School was created as a pilot for innovative practice driven research model that establishes a new learning environment aimed at developing pedagogical practices and alter our habits of thought.
- To make your university known, think not about what you want to promote but what your target audience will be interested in and why should a journalist publish a story on it.
- Know your strengths and educate your stakeholders - tell the world about your successes!
Lithuanian-Kazakh Rectors’ Council took place after the conference, strengthening the practical outcomes of the event.
We would like to once again thank our hosts, Eurasian National University and Vytautas Magnus University, and all the participants for joining. Look forward to welcoming you at our upcoming events –at QS-APPLE on 26-28 November in Fukuoka, Japan, ReImagine Education on the 8-10 December in London, UK, or somewhere else around the world.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, we’ll be happy to hear from you!