World Summit Series at Western University

Western hosts World Summit Series

Navaneeth Mohan

Western University is known as a campus of many firsts. That includes bringing the first World Summit Series to Canada. Running from June 4th to June 6th, this year's edition tackled questions about the future of higher education such as:

  • How we can overcome barriers to mobility and create clearer pathways for students to the world of educational opportunities that exist beyond their national borders.

  • How we can integrate more technology, including artificial intelligence in higher education? How do we leverage technology to improve teaching and learning.

  • What is the role of universities in achieving access and building inclusive societies in an era of post-colonial and post-conflict reconciliation, migration, and social change?

With two whole days of panel discussions, talks, and networking events, the summit offers a platform for an eclectic mix of thought leaders to debate on the future of higher education.

"What I want my students to walk away with is not new bits of knowledge but, new ways of applying their knowledge and seeing that they can contribute to the world," said Dr. Sarah McLean, faculty at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

To be a host for the editors of Times Higher Education, the global authority on university excellence, while simultaneously hosting the World's Challenge Challenge, shows the impact of Western University on the global scene of higher education.

'We have seen significant growth in the number of international students, international faculties, and international research collaborations' said Jennie Massey, associate vice-president of Student Experience at Western University. Dr. Massey chaired a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities for universities as they collaborate on the world stage.

'One of the challenges we are facing is how do we increase the number of students enrolling in global learning programs," said Dr. Massey.

While the summit focuses on challenges of the futures, it also discusses different ways of teaching in higher education.

"[one] of the things that stuck out to me was on how we can begin classes with a problem," recounts Dr. McLean of David McKay's opening keynote of the day. Dr.McLean is an award winning teacher and her classes are known for being collaborative and interactive.

The second day was wrapped up with two break-out sessions chaired by Andrew Hrymak, Provost and vice-president (academic) and John Doerksen, Vice-provost of academic programs.

The topics of discussion revolved around incorporation of technology, the disruptive effects of artificial intelligence, and the skills needed to succeed as a student.

The final day will wrap up with a series of talks and panel discussions on what roles society and university play in making higher education more inclusive. The talks include an interactive workshop on leadership, a panel discussion on civic duties in education, and a final closing remark by Amit Chakma.

Last year's edition of World Summit Series was held at University of Glasgow.