Rector Arif Satria in International Dialog with Kasetsart University, Joint Lecture Series with Monash University and University Network Webinar with Australian National University and Tokyo NODAI

IPB University’s Rector, Prof Dr Arif Satria presented the “Challenges of Higher Education in Facing COVID-19” at the International Dialog which was held virtually by Kasetsart University, Thailand, on June 1st, 2020. In this opportunity, Prof Arif relayed key messages based on the lessons learnt by IPB University in facing the COVID-19 pandemic. This event was attended by over 130 registered participants from partner universities in Asia and Europe. For this International Dialog, Prof Arif was specifically requested to present about the importance of higher education leadership in facing COVID-19. He explained that speed is necessary in making decisions towards the implications of COVID-19 on education. Be it the implication on the learning system, including students who have a variety of access and lecturers who have various adaptations towards online lecturing, or the implications on research and innovation. He further explained that the COVID-19 pandemic also impacts the social economic conditions of the students’ parent so that a special incentive is needed for those impacted. The increase of speed in lecturers’ adaption to the online system is also necessary, therefore capacity building is needed to create interesting online lectures. Along with that, quick steps are also a must in preparing infrastructure appropriate to the health protocols. Prof Arif emphasized that the strategy to overcome COVID-19 must be based on accurate problem mapping and consider a long-term strategy. In the short-term, IPB University has created a COVID-19 Crisis Center as the emergency pre-qualifications. IPB University has five phases of actions, the Awareness Building and Collective Alertness Phase (February 29 – March 11), the Anticipation and Problem Screening Phase (March 11 – now), the Problem Handling and Control Phase (March 17 – now), the Solution Development Phase (March 22 – now), and Recovery Phase (According to condition). Prof Arif explained that there are several important lessons that were learnt during the handling of the COVID-19. First, the importance of digital infrastructure/IT which covers the recent digital technological aspect and online learning platform. Second, supporting a positive mindset in the daily lives of the academic civitas is important and a change in attitude and mindset are needed in heading towards the new normal. Third, awareness in risk management to face the crisis. Fourth, maintaining international relations which covers the aspect of international mobility and implementation of higher education partnerships. Next, a new direction of education which covers skill enhancement to learn independently and strengthening the social assets in the higher education institution. Last, the importance of a new direction in research agenda and community service. These lessons can hereinafter be used by Higher Education Institutions to design a plan of campus reopening post COVID-19. According to Prof Arif, data and facts must be utilized, including the bio-risk consideration as a guideline in its implementation.

Aside of pandemic derived challenges, IPB University is keeping its commitment in implementing government regulations on Independent Campus and Learning. One of the forms of implementation comes in the form of a chance given to students to participate in lectures which are held as a collaboration between the different universities.  An important step that IPB University has taken is holding a Joint Lecture Series in partnership with Monash University, Australia, officiated on Wednesday (1/7). This is the first event where collaborative lectures are held with materials provided from two universities in different countries in a continuous manner within a period of time. Nadiem Makarim, MBA, Indonesia’s Minister of Education and Culture, conveyed that it is an honor for him to be allowed to officially open the collaboration between IPB University and Monash University. He explained that the collaboration is a role model for other higher education institutions. Prof Margaret Gardner, AC - President and Vice Chancellor, Monash University, Australia, expressed her delight in being part of the Joint Lecture Series as it paves the way for a better partnership with Indonesia. In her discussion, she explains Monash University’s history, starting from its establishment in 1958 as the largest university in Australia and how it currently has over 100 partnerships with universities around the world. She added that Monash University continues to participate in online-based collaborations such as online classes, virtual meetings, and online platforms. IPB University and Monash University are two high quality institutions, both founders of the Australian Indonesia Centre with the aim of keeping connected and sharing knowledge even with the limitations of COVID-19.  The purpose of the Joint Lecture Series itself is to share and promote a focused mindset on issues which covers technology, inclusion, supply chain, and the environment. Lectures can be attended by students from both countries, not limited to just IPB and Monash University, but all students in both countries. In the long term, the success of the Joint Lecture Series can be used as an example for credit earning process recognized by both institutions. Lectures are held every Thursday at 13.30 – 15.30 in July. Lectures will be given by both lecturers of IPB University and Monash University. For students participating in the lectures, certificates will be provided which can be used for the Accompanying Letter of the Diploma which completes the parameter of the students’ competency. This event is supported by the Faculty of Economics and Management of IPB University with intensive communication with the Australia Indonesia Centre to start the Joint Lecture Series which in the future, may develop into Future Practices as mentioned by IPB University’s Rector, Prof Dr Arif Satria. Prof Arif expressed his gratitude for this collaboration. He explains that currently, we’re in times which can be described with VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity). The key in facing the current times is by understanding, and to understand we need to be aware of information and knowledge to be able to predict what will happen. COVID-19 is also a source of uncertainty, and we’re pressured to quickly understand what and why of occurring events. Collaboration is a valuable aspect which is no less important. For with collaboration, uncertainty can transform to certainty, as long as all components are involved. The Joint Lecture Series will involve multiple forms of partnerships in the field of research and education to present new innovations which will contribute to both the nations’ development and advancement.

Still in the discussion of international webinars, in the middle of the pandemic, international relations especially in the field of higher education must go on to face the era of globalization. This encourages IPB University’s Directorate of International Program to support those partnerships by inviting three renowned speakers from three universities to speak in the Webinar which was held on July 9th, 2020. This University Networks Webinar themed on “Maintaining International Bonding: Learning from Partner Universities”. Those three speakers come from IPB University, Tokyo University of Agriculture, and the Australian National University. In his opening speech, the Rector of IPB University, Prof Dr Arif Satria conveyed that in this program, experience sharing can be done in relation to how higher education faces the COVID-19 pandemic. He hopes to strengthen collaborations with international partners, even if it’s done virtually. Even in a virtual meeting, many things can be done, and it will make the efforts of strengthening collaborations easier and more efficient. In the meantime, IPB University’s Vice Rector of Partnership and Information System, Prof Dr Dodik Ridho Nurrochmat, relayed the effect of international regulations on global agreements where people are now demanded to internationalize from their own homes. He expressed his opinion that the current challenged being faces is how our needs to be part of an excellent international network and having real international experiences can still be done even from home. On the other hand, Prof Matthew P Downs, Senior Advisor for International Relations, Kasetsart University, Thailand, conveyed that there are two things which can be done in the continuation of partnership development in the new normal condition. Those two things are student and lecturer exchange, and co-creation and collaboration. Prof Hatanaka Katsumori from Tokyo University of Agriculture discussed about collaborative international research projects between Indonesia and Japan. In his notes, Prof Hatanaka relayed that smart fishery can contribute to the increase of production, sharing of information, control of the environment, and business management. He added that database is a known important aspect in sharing intellectual property, regulation guidance, and the realization of SDGs. While Prof Sally Wheeler, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Australian National University, conveyed in her presentation that there are available scholarship programs for Indonesian institutions, including Future Research Talents (FRT) Awards that provide 12 week-long funded research mobility for top-selected Indonesian students and lecturers from total 30 higher education institutions. Dale Druhan continued Prof Sally’s explanation by explaining that they saw the importance of building collaborations in research. She mentioned that they have a strong bond with IPB University, and that they chose IPB University because of the university’s renowned reputation in science and agriculture. From this, a channel is formed in the practice of research collaboration networking. Overall, IPB University wishes to keep on strengthening linkage and discussions together with our respectable partners on a broad array of topics amidst the current pandemic.

Published Date : 24-Jul-2020

Resource Person : Prof Dr Arif Satria

Keyword : IPB University