NUAS Turku Conference – Day II November 28

Tuesday 28 Nov


Conference registration opens

Place: Publicum, Lobby, University of Turku, Assistentinkatu 7

11-12.15              Seminar Lunch
Place: UNICA Macchiavelli, Educarium, Assistentinkatu 5

11.45-12.30       Poster session
Place: Publicum, Lobby, Assistentinkatu 7

12.30-13.50        Opening Session in Publicum

Welcome by Rector Jukka Kola, University of Turku
Opening words by the NUAS WG Leaders Irinja Paakkanen, University of Turku and Ína Dögg Eyþórsdóttir, University of Iceland

Key note on trends in internationalisation of higher education related to responsible internationalisation
by Chris Lyons, Head of External Engagement at UK ENIC and Ecctis Ltd


13.50-14.15       Short break

14.15-15.30       Conference Panel: Strategic and Responsible recruitment

International student recruitment in higher education institutions is a multidimensional activity involving and engaging several actors not only within the universities but also from various stakeholder groups. Cooperation is carried out extensively e.g. with educational agents or other service providers, and local and national authorities to both reach the desired target groups of prospective students and to ensure their entry to the country. Furthermore, the activities of HEIs’ international student recruitment and its operational environment in general, are heavily influenced by governmental decision-making on a national level, as well as global phenomena, including geopolitics. 

The purpose of this panel is to shed light on the ways in which Nordic universities seek to implement strategic and responsible student recruitment amidst these ever-changing circumstances and in smooth cooperation with actors outside the HEIs. The speakers will present and discuss examples on concrete practices in the field of international student recruitment and the topics will include e.g. immigration policies, agent cooperation and measures regarding tuition fees and scholarships.  The panel discussion will allow us to learn about the current activities and topical matters in the field of international student recruitment in different Nordic countries and provides a platform for mutual learning and exchange of best practices. 

15.30-16 Coffee break (Publicum Lobby)

        Poster exhibition available

16-17.15              Parallel sessions

A. How to manage massive amounts of degree applications from abroad in a sustainable and responsible way? A Nordic perspective

The number of applications in international admissions are rising and this presents a challenge to Nordic universities in developing their admissions systems to better tackle the changing situation. The pressure is highest from countries where there are problems with obtaining student residence permits on time and it is therefore uncertain if the selected students will be able to arrive on time and start their studies. Some of the questions that arise are: Should we aim at reducing the number of applications? If yes, how should this be done: by introducing tuition fees / making the current fees higher, using separate application fees, or quotas for applications from certain countries, or some other ways?! There is also the question on when the authenticity of the application documents should be checked – already at application stage or only from the already selected students? What are the pros and cons with this? When the application numbers rise unexpectedly this may cause delays in the process and complicate other matters such as applying for residence permit, housing etc. There is also the question of work distribution between the Admissions Office and the Academic Evaluation in Faculties, the aim being that only the best applications would enter the academic evaluation. What would be the tools in the preselection and is this feasible at all? Then there is the bigger picture of sustainability and responsibility: how, why and for whom are we educating international students in Nordic countries?!

In this session you will hear some case examples from the Nordic Countries.

B. Session on students and researchers from Ukraine and other risky areas: how to process with missing documents, cooperation with immigration office / city authorities

This session will include several aspects of the complex challenges concerning refugees with higher education from Ukraine and other countries in similar situations. It will be divided into four main parts:

  • Brain drain from Ukraine: UN report states that 47% of Ukraine’s refugees have a university degree. Where do they go, and what becomes of them? Will they return when the war is over? Do we see the same sort of brain drain from other third world countries?
  • How do we process applications from students and academics who are refugees or victims of war? Documents may be missing or lost, or impossible to verify. How do we ensure that students and academics are who they say they are and have the credentials they say they have? How do we process documents in a fair manner, giving people in very difficult situations the opportunity to move forward in life, while at the same time making sure that we do not fall victim to corruption and people trying to take advantage of the situation.

            We will present some examples, best practices and which red flags to look for.

  • Societal collaboration: The situation for Ukrainian students and academics as well as for people from other third world countries is complex and many-faceted, and while it is up to the Higher Education institutions to evaluate applications and documents, it is often necessary to cooperate with other bodies such as immigration authorities, municipalities and police. We will look at how this cooperation is carried out across the Nordic countries, and provide examples from different perspectives.
  • Information about Students at Risk and how this works in the Nordic countries.

C. Ethics in Talent Retention

In Denmark the political focus is very much on how to make sure the international students who study a full degree in Denmark will stay when they graduate. What is needed to make sure they are interested in staying and which jobs are they looking for? In Finland the new government is aiming to tighten the immigration laws and there is an uncertainness how much this will affect Talent Boost activities – the talent retention of both students and scholars. How about in other Nordic Countries? How can we interlink the existing or hidden job opportunities when the students and doctoral researchers graduate and hope to find work or a scholar’s term is ending and they wish to stay?

D. Approaches to digital credential verification: challenges, solutions, and developments

This session will approach digital credential verification from two perspectives: from the point of view of a credential evaluator working at a university, for whom the different digital verification sources are an invaluable tool and a new kind of challenge at the same time, and from a wider strategy and policy perspective in terms of developing and promoting digital credentials and digital verification.

For the credential evaluator’s perspective, this session will explore what challenges in credential evaluation can be solved with digital verification and how it can benefit the evaluation process resulting in greater efficiency and increased trust. However, there are new challenges that come with the increasingly digital credential landscape, such as the wide variety of different digital solutions adopted around the world and new question on the trustworthiness of the verification tools, that require new skills from the evaluator. This session will highlight strategies and resources that the evaluator can use when evaluating and using the different digital verification sources.

For the strategy and policy perspective, this session will discuss what kinds of approaches to digital credentials and digital verification have been and are being implemented on different national and international levels.

The audience is welcome to share own experiences, solutions, and best practices regarding digital verification and digital credentials.

19.00- Joint seminar dinner
Place: Scandic Julia Å-Sali, Eerikinkatu  4, Turku

Please join us for Nordic Noir – conference dinner in good company in the new Å-Sali, built into the ruins of a medieval church.

Welcome words by Vice Rector Piia Björn, University of Turku

A glass of sparkling wine is served by the city of Turku to welcome our NUAS colleagues to the banks of Aura river even in the darkness of late November.