UEA has been successful in its application to the British Council’s Education Partnership Initiative, a competitive funding scheme aimed at supporting multi-lateral higher education links. The project will support the creation of a new international educational hub. The proposed LIT Educational Hub has three main pillars: Language, Interculturality, and Technology. It aims to enhance the student experience, advance the internationalization of higher education, and strengthen digital education. These aims will be realised in relation to teaching/learning, research, and leadership.
In addition to UEA, the LIT Educational Hub involves five overseas universities: East China Normal University, Southwest University, and Tianjin Normal University in China; the University of Languages and International Studies, part of Vietnam National University; and Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa in Indonesia. UEA already has a memorandum of understanding with East China Normal University and Vietnam National University, and the plan is to consolidate existing links with these two universities. In the other three cases, the aim is to develop UEA’s partnership with these institutions. The project will run for five years (2021-2026), thus allowing enough time for these links to be established and/or sedimented.
At UEA, the project is led by Dr Vander Viana, Associate Professor in Education with expertise in Applied Linguistics. In addition to the project coordination, he oversees the Language pillar of the Hub. The other two pillars are led by Dr Tinghe Jin (Lecturer with expertise in Interculturality) and Dr Harry T Dyer (Lecturer with expertise in Educational Technology), and the Hub counts with the participation of several colleagues across the university.
Dr Viana said, “We were extremely happy to have been successful in our joint funding application to the British Council. This is an exciting project, especially in the current circumstances when we’re having to reconsider what internationalization means in a post-Brexit scenario and in a future post-pandemic world. The LIT Educational Hub will allow us to further our relationships with key universities in Asia in the next five years.”
The LIT Educational Hub is supported by UEA’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Internationalization, Prof Frances Bowen. Prof Bowen said, “This is an excellent opportunity for UEA to work with its overseas partners on the important issues of language, interculturality and technology. Sharing knowledge and academic strengths with our international community is at the core of UEA’s strategy. We are excited to see the achievements of this initiative in due course.”