LEAD Academic Network Symposium on Digital Academic Leadership Took Place in Guiling, July 2023

LEAD Academic Network Symposium on Digital Academic Leadership Successfully Held at Guangxi Normal University to Explore the Future of Higher Education in the Digital Era


LEAD Academic Network Digital Academic Leadership Forum was successfully held on July 22, 2023 at the History Hall of Guangxi Normal University, Wangcheng Campus. This significant academic event attracted more than 50 scholars and guests from international organizations, domestic and international universities and institutions to discuss the future development and leadership of higher education in the digital era. The forum contained 10 keynote speeches and 2 roundtable discussions, which received wide attention from the participants.


At the opening ceremony, Prof. dr. Xianxian LI, Vice President of Guangxi Normal University (GXNU), warmly addressed the participants, introducing the basic situation of GXNU and its goals and priorities in education digitization. At the same time, he also introduced in detail the main discussion topics of the conference, which kicked off the forum.


Prof. dr. Chang ZHU, Director of LEAD Academic Network and Director of EU-China Higher Education Research Center at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, introduced to the participants the background of the establishment of LEAD Academic Network and its achievements, and elaborated on the four discussion themes of this Symposium on Digital Academic Leadership: Digital Academic Leadership: The Future of Education, Transformation of Digital Academic Leadership, Digital Academic Leadership: Challenges and Competence Transformation of Teachers, and EU-China Cooperation in Digital Academic Leadership. These themes encompassed cutting-edge trends and challenges in the field of digital academia, and triggered participants to think deeply about the future of digital education.


Mr. Robert Parua, Education Program Officer at UNESCO Regional Office in Beijing, delivered a keynote speech on the future of digital academic leadership, providing insights into the global report, Reimagining Our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education, which was released by UNESCO in 2021. He called on the participants to utilize the results of the report and to work together in a synergistic manner. In addition, Mr. Robert Parua reviewed other important reports published by UNESCO on education and emphasized the central role of education in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His presentation stimulated further reflection and discussion on digital academic leadership among the participants.


The forum also invited experts and scholars from different universities to give keynote speeches and share the latest research results in their respective fields. Prof. dr. Lei YUAN from the Department of Education of Guangxi Normal University introduced the current situation and trend of education digitization in China, emphasizing the important impacts of artificial intelligence, the blurring of the boundaries between online and offline teaching, and the creation of digital content for the masses on current digital education. Prof. dr. Baocun LIU from the Institute of International and Comparative Education, Beijing Normal University shared a study on the construction of a digital literacy framework for Chinese college teachers in an international comparative perspective, detailing the current situation and development trend of Chinese teachers' digital literacy. Prof. dr. Liusheng LIU, Deputy Director of the Department of Education, Yunnan Normal University, introduced the current situation and progress of academic leadership research in universities at home and abroad, focusing on the management system perspective in academic leadership. Associate Prof. dr. Yan WANG, Deputy Director of Development Planning Department of Tongji University, introduced the changes and responses of academic leadership in the digital era, emphasizing the profound impact of digitalization on disciplines, the way universities are organized, the way teachers teach and the way students learn. Prof. dr. Zuwang CHU, Member of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee of China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) and Professor of Education Research Institute, shared a study on the current status of digital competence of teachers in Chinese universities and introduced the research results of digital competence in different dimensions. Prof. dr. Rui HU, Deputy Director of Human Resources Department, School of Public Administration, Huazhong Agricultural University (HUAC), delivered a keynote speech on digitally-enabled higher education evaluation, discussing in depth the real needs, benefits, as well as dilemmas and breakthrough paths faced by digital evaluation in higher education. Associate Prof. dr. Zheng CHEN, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation and Exchange Division of the National Academy of Educational Administration, introduced the enhancement of German teachers' competence in the era of digitization and shared the policies and practices of Germany in digital education. Associate Prof. dr. Xin XING from the Faculty of Educational Sciences of Yan'an University analyzed the results of the study on the study experience of leaders of central and western colleges and universities in Germany from the perspective of the Triple Helix Theory and suggested that LEAD Academic Network should play an active role in this regard. Prof. dr. Jin YAN, Executive Director of the Center for European Studies/Centre for China-EU Humanistic Exchange, Renmin University of China, shared the establishment, connotation, institutionalization and challenges of China-EU people-to-people exchange mechanism in the post-COVID era.


The LEAD Academic Network Symposium on Digital Academic Leadership also held a roundtable discussion on "Synergies: You and LEAD Academic Network", which was moderated by Dr. Wenji FAN from the Department of Education of Guangxi Normal University. Participants put forward their views and expectations on the role of LEAD Academic Network in facilitating EU-China cooperation and exchanging international visions. They called for the LEAD Academic Network to promote more people-to-people exchanges with European universities, strengthen exchanges and cooperation among students, organize joint activities, enhance scientific research and project cooperation, and expand the audience of LEAD Academic Network to make the cooperation more influential. Dr. Gaoming ZHENG, Assistant Professor of Tongji University, summarized the roundtable discussion and further explained the significance and role of LEAD Academic Network in light of today's keynote speech.


At the end of the meeting, Prof. dr. Beibei YE, Vice Director of Education of Guangxi Normal University, made a summary speech on the LEAD Academic Network Symposium on Digital Academic Leadership. She emphasized the fruitful results of the symposium and expressed her sincere thanks and blessings to the participants.


The success of LEAD Academic Network Symposium on Digital Academic Leadership has provided a valuable experience exchange platform for the development of higher education in the field of digitalization, and has also built an important bridge to strengthen the exchange and cooperation between China and Europe in higher education. Participants expressed that they would continue to deepen the exchange and cooperation and jointly promote the innovation and development of higher education in the digital era.