Despite the challenges that we have all faced this year, it has been inspirational to be able to able to celebrate the ingenuity and resourcefulness of all of our U21 colleagues. A judging panel, comprised of the U21 Provost and representatives from U21 universities without an individual in the competition, reviewed all the shortlisted applications.
U21 is delighted at the strength of response to its Champions in the time of COVID-19 call, and the judging panel were very impressed by the range and scope of the nominations received. The ingenuity and resourcefulness shown by all of the U21 Champions has been impressive, and it is a great pleasure to announce that the overall winner is Andrea Strachan from University of Queensland. Andrea was chosen for her tireless work in UQ’s sustained COVID-19 crisis response, coordinating all communications and support for impacted students. This included establishing a Student Contact Centre overnight, supporting both domestic and international students and responding to over 25,000 student queries between January and March 2020. You can read her full nomination below.
Andrea commented, “I am honoured to be recognised as the U21 overall COVID Champion. I am sincerely grateful for the recognition from Universitas 21, not least because I recognise that so many of our colleagues across our institutions have worked tirelessly in the delivery of our mission and in support of others during this time. My own recognition would not have been possible without the people across our organisation who shared in the efforts to make our learning, research, living and working environment a little better wherever we could.
Across the U21 network, our work is far from over as we steer and navigate through the continuing challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brings. U21 promotes five key benefits of internationalisation and there is no better time to recognise how the sharing of experiences and knowledge presents us the opportunity to benefit our organisations as we move through our recovery and determine what our institutions and HE looks like in a post-pandemic way. We all have a responsibility to engage in the discussions locally, nationally and internationally that will help us shape the place of HE in the future.”
Thank you to all of the members who took the time to submit their nominations, and congratulations to all of those who were nominated. Your actions have made a significant difference to your own universities and the network during these challenging times.