Dr Jane Wellens wins Universitas 21 award

December 6th, 2017

The Universitas 21 (U21) Award winners 2018 have been announced as the University of Nottingham’s Dr Jane Wellens and Dr Chongsheng Peng of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The U21 Awards were created in 2012 to recognise the innovative work being delivered at Universitas 21 member universities towards the internationalisation of higher education.

Announcing the award winners, U21 described Dr Jane Wellens and Dr Chongsheng Peng as “exceptional members who have made significant contributions to Universitas 21.”

Dr Wellens is the University of Nottingham representative within the U21 Group of Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies. She has offered a sustained contribution since 2013 through active participation in the Group of Deans and Directors of Graduate Schools of U21, exploring areas of mutual strength and establishing collaborative activities in particular related to doctoral education. This resulted in the submission of a successful proposal to the Newton-Picarte Institutional Skills Call.

Furthermore, she has been involved in implementing a doctoral education policy at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, which was a precedent for other Chilean universities whose directors of doctoral education attended a national workshop – the first ever held in Chile on research supervision supporting and recognising doctoral supervision. This policy has been identified as the single most influential factor on PhD satisfaction and has also been linked with time to completion.

The U21 Award honours her work in sharing best practice in ‘excellent’ doctoral supervision and the development of doctoral training and research supervision in the local context of Chile.

Dr Wellens said, “I was totally surprised by the news that I had been nominated by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile for this award.  It has been a privilege to collaborate with them and other Universities in Chile on the Newton-Picarte project and as well as to work with colleagues from Nottingham and the broader U21 DDoGS group who share a commitment and passion for enhancing international doctoral education.  We have explored similarities and common challenges in doctoral research and found many span international as well as discipline boundaries. As a result, our institutions are working to implement solutions and mechanisms which will enhance global research through facilitating long term collaborations involving both doctoral researchers and their supervisors.”

Professor Bairbre Redmond, Professor of Universitas 21, said:

“The U21 Awards were designed to recognise and celebrate the work of individuals in the network who have made a significant contribution to cross-network internationalisation in higher education. Our 2018 winners exemplify such contributions.

“The work of Dr Jane Wellens (University of Nottingham) as part of the Deans and Directors of Graduate Schools group (DDoGs) represents a sustained contribution in the field of international doctoral education, including a successful proposal to the Newton-Picarte Institutional Skills Call, part of which allowed the University of Nottingham to host a group of colleagues of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

“Not only have 60,000 students from around the world successfully participated in Dr Chongsheng Peng’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese Culture’, but this engaging online course also became an initial part of the U21 Summer School 2016 at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, thus allowing U21 students to experience a blended learning experience in this important topic.

“My warmest congratulations to these two most worthy winners of the U21 Awards.”


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