Bath Spa University is part of a global community. Our staff share their recent experiences of visiting partner universities in Kurdistan and India, as well as welcoming international visitors to Bath Spa.
In 2019, Bath Spa University was awarded an Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility Grant of over €215,000 from the British Council for mobilities to take place between Bath Spa and universities in India, Kurdistan, and Ethiopia to support collaborative opportunities, knowledge exchange and sharing of best practices.
Bath Spa University hosted a visiting group of staff from American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) in early 2020 but then our plans were obviously massively disrupted by the pandemic. As travel restrictions eased in late 2021, we resumed our plans and between April and June 2022, we were able to support 32 mobilities between Bath, Kurdistan, and India.
(The conflict in Ethiopia meant that unfortunately no mobilities at all were able to take place between Bath and Addis Ababa University.)
The Bath Spa European Projects Team sent 21 academic and professional services staff from Bath Spa for a week-long visits to Adamas University, India, and to AUIS, drawn from Chancelry, Careers, Go Global, External Affairs, the School of Education, the School of Art, Film, and Media, and the School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities.
Professor Ian Gadd, Head of Development for European Projects, led the team co-ordinating these mobilities:
“International partnerships are more important than ever for Bath Spa University, and these grants have provided us with the opportunity to consolidate and strengthen our relationships with Adamas University and AUIS, and further collaborations in teaching and research are already being planned. We were sorry not to be able to build on our existing relationship with Addis Ababa University as we’d hoped but we are planning to host a visiting delegation from Addis in the coming year. I also want to thank my colleagues in the European Projects team, Rachael McDonald and Adele Keane, for all their hard work in co-ordinating these mobilities.”
Adamas University in Kolkata was founded in 2014 and was the second private university to be established in West Bengal. Its goal is to impart socially relevant education and create new knowledge through research and innovation for the benefit of industry and society; it currently has 8 academic schools, several of which map closely onto Bath Spa’s own programmes.
In the words of Swagata Ghosh, Technical Operations Manager (Publishing and Science), who visited Adamas: “Adamus has some similarities to BSU: it is young, nimble and…has faculty who are professional and very passionate about teaching and learning.”
Jessica Biddle, International Projects Manager, also visited:
"This was my first time travelling to India and the staff at Adamas were wonderful hosts. I not only learned about our partner university and the Indian higher education system, but also, through our conversations, I learned so much about my own colleagues and Bath Spa University itself that I had never known previously. I ended the trip with a renewed sense of pride to work at our university and with many exciting ideas for the future."
Suman Ghosh, Subject Leader for Film and Television, added:
"The visit to Adamas was a refreshing experience. It is a young university which values growth and development, and is keen to collaborate with BSU in order to enrich the student and staff experience. Possible areas of collaboration include student and staff mobility, shared initiatives on curriculum development, and funded collaborative projects, both pedagogic and research-based. They are clearly ambitious, and a key takeaway from this visit has been a greater spirit of mutual confidence which will be vital to future planning and working in partnership."
Founded in 2007, AUIS is a not-for-profit institution dedicated to providing a comprehensive liberal arts education for the benefit of Kurdistan, Iraq and the wider region. Designed to develop strength in critical thinking, the ability to communicate well, a strong work ethic, good citizenship and personal integrity, it currently has 1,600 students. Areas of mutual interest included heritage and environmental studies, humanities, education, and university management.
Dr Anne Parfitt, Research Fellow in the School of Education, described her visit to AUIS as “a very powerful introduction to a post-conflict country that has a great deal to offer in terms of sharing knowledge and links with our city/area of UK”.
Visiting Bath Spa
Bath Spa University hosted 11 Adamas academic and professional services staff and 1 AUIS professional services staff member for two weeks in May and June. They visited Newton Park, Locksbrook, Sion Hill, Palace Yard Mews, and Corsham Court; they also met with dozens of colleagues from across the university, including the Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor. The Adamas delegation presented the Vice Chancellor with a plaque marking the several years of collaboration between the two universities.
Sovan Basu, Director of Human Resources at Adamas, described their visit:
"I experienced an exemplary work environment, while I keenly observed their behaviour at work & simultaneously exchanged meaningful dialogues with the colleagues across the level. What I found most remarkable is the Culture of BSU that propagates high level of commitment by each one of them, inclusive approach, a spontaneous disciplined environment, high respect for each other while respecting each other’s time & opinion, instantaneous appreciation, caring attitude, cheerful faces & enormous dedication towards [the students] which holistically translate the reason for their existence as a respected educational organisation in the United Kingdom.”
Honorary Degree for Adamas Chancellor
Bath Spa University was delighted to award an honorary degree to the Chancellor of Adamas University, Professor Samit Ray, as part of its graduation ceremonies in July, in recognition of his contribution to education in India.
Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.
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