The 2020 U21 Awards have been won by remarkable leaders; Dr Diana Farmer from the University of California, Davis and Lydie Faure-Kilgannon from The University of Auckland.
The U21 Awards recognise individual or team efforts in a U21 university, particularly the development of innovative or extraordinary projects within international Higher Education. The Awards celebrate the work of individuals who demonstrate a true global vision in higher education, who have furthered effective international opportunities for students and staff and improved collaboration within the university and with external partners.
Dr Diana Farmer, has had an impressive career in medicine working to correct the inequities that exists globally in access to and decision making about surgical treatment, particularly for children. She has created unique opportunities for surgical students to study and collaborate abroad, and has designed new programmes for students and colleagues that address the global nature of health challenges.
Dr Farmer has also advocated vigorously for those who cannot speak for themselves by raising awareness about and working to correct the inequities that exists globally in access to and decision making about surgical treatment, particularly for children.
Joanna Regulska, Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor of Global Affairs at UC Davis said, “As collaborating across disciplines and borders becomes increasingly more important, Dr Farmer’s pioneering leadership both at UC Davis and around the world has certainly been instrumental in advancing the internationalization of higher education. She has created countless opportunities for students and mentees and has advocated vigorously to ease inequities in access to quality care. At home and abroad, her commitment, advocacy, and innovation are nothing short of inspiring.”
Lydie Faure-Kilgannon leads the 360 International Team at The University of Auckland. Its work has seen an increase in Māori undergraduate students participating in learning abroad from 3.5% of students in 2015 to 7.2% in 2018. Lydie, a former international student herself, has collaborated with senior Maori leadership on campus and with student and community representation to develop and implement a strategy for increased Māori student participation in learning abroad.
Lydie said that learning abroad had been identified as a high impact academic practice; participation in learning abroad is strongly correlated with academic success, completion and future employability:
“Given the potential to improve outcomes for our students it is important that Maori students have equitable access to learning abroad opportunities,” she said. “Currently, 8.7% of students at the University of Auckland are Maori, so our goal is to reach parity in learning abroad participation rates.
“The University prioritises our commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and we have established key metrics for assessing Maori student and staff representation and success on campus. We also take internationalisation seriously and have a target that one in four graduating students will have had a learning abroad experience during their bachelor degree studies.
Professor Bairbre Redmond, Provost of Universitas 21, congratulated the 2019 winners: "The U21 Awards are designed to celebrate outstanding achievement and results in international higher education research, teaching and student support. The winners of this year's U21 Award are two remarkable women whose work has made a truly global impact on the lives of many people. From the University of California, Davis, Dr Diana Farmer's research and practice in paediatric/-fetal surgery and her work in mentoring and training the next generation of medical specialists, particularly women, makes her a real role model in the area of global collaboration and advocacy. Similarly the ’360 Team’ at The University of Auckland, led by Lydie Faure-Kilgannon, has contributed to global learning by significantly increasing Māori student participation in learning abroad. Their important work demonstrates a successful model that could apply to other U21 members seeking to grow participation from under-represented student groups in learning abroad. Congratulations to both worthy winners and we look forward to meeting them at our AGM at the University of Zurich next May."