The University of the South Pacific (USP) has been ranked 11th against some of the top Universities of the world in the area of Crisis Management by the World Universities with Real Impact (WURI) 2021 global ranking.
The University’s world standing was officially cited in a virtual conference by Professor Emeritus of Seoul National University and Founding Director of the WURI ranking, Moon, Hwy- Chang early this morning.
WURI is the latest University ranking system established in 2020. The WURI ranking system was developed by the Organising Committee of the Second Conference of the Hanseatic League of Universities.
WURI was created to evaluate the innovative programmes of universities and to measure the performance of universities in creating real value to society and providing opportunities for the future in the following areas:
1. Industrial applications rather than the traditional ways of counting research papers and lecture-type teaching.
2. Value-creating startups and entrepreneurship as opposed to the common practice of measuring the number of jobs filled.
3. Social responsibility, ethics, and integrity compared to those that only consider the knowledge and skills required for material success.
4. Student mobility and openness for exchange and collaboration between schools and across national borders, which are more encompassing than an independent yet closed system.
5. Crisis management of dealing with external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and technological breakthroughs (e.g. artificial intelligence) to thrive rather than just to survive.
The University of the South Pacific entered in the category of “Crisis Management” and provided the details of how it has responded to COVID-19 in 2020. Its submission, titled Continuity of Education amidst COVID-19 Pandemic was submitted in December 2020.
WURI assessed USP on how it dealt with external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and technological breakthroughs (e.g. artificial intelligence) “to thrive rather than just to survive”.
USP’s Acting Vice-Chancellor and President, Dr Giulio Masasso Tu’ikolongahau Pāunga said USP was extremely pleased and proud to be included amongst the best Universities in the world in ensuring the continuity of learning and teaching in the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“This worldwide recognition is a great and timely gift, received during one of the most challenging periods in the University’s history. This is not just the University’s achievement but a proud moment for the entire region,” he said.
“I acknowledge the hard work of all staff, both academic and support, who rose to the occasion, successfully responding to the challenges and ensuring that the University performed as well as other bigger and well-resourced universities around the world.”
“I acknowledge the students for their ability to easily adapt to a new learning modality in a very constrained environment. Students and their parents and sponsors, should be proud that their University has been recognised worldwide as one the best universities in learning and teaching.”
Dr Paunga thanked the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Jito Vanualailai and his team for effectively developing the successful submission to WURI.
Professor Vanualailai attributes USP’s success to its time-tested experience in offering courses in blended mode for over 30 years, which has also seen the development and advancement of crucial support sections such as the Information Technology Services and the Centre of Flexible Learning.
“This experience became really vital during the pandemic, allowing USP to expedite the conversion of courses from face-to-face to online mode for remote teaching, while maintaining the required academic standard,” he said.
Professor Vanualailai added that going forward, as long as the world continues to be enveloped by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University will use its newly acquired experience in responding effectively to COVID 19 to continue to offer its high-quality academic programmes online and ensure the continuity and reach of education to all students in all its member countries.
“Lessons learnt from this experience will be used to further enhance the quality of the delivery of the programmes and student learning experience.”
The Hanseatic League of Universities (HLU) is a university alliance named after the Hanseatic League, that existed from the 12th century through the 17th century as a confederation of approximately 190 cities in Europe to protect its citizens’ safety in life and freedom in the economy.
The HLU was initiated by the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, in the Netherlands in April 2018 as a University alliance with a spirit to revive noble objectives of openness and cooperation amongst approximately 190 city-states of the original Hanseatic League. HLU is open to all universities, colleges, schools and any institutions of higher education that seek innovation in research and education.
You can learn more about WURI here https://www.wuri.world/