“By learning we teach, and by teaching we learn. And those who dare to teach must never cease to learn.” Teaching has long been considered a noble profession, that requires a rather special skill set of being able to essentially transform knowledge. But merely acquiring new information that is processed to easily fit into preset boxes of knowledge, is no longer conducive. With the advancement of academic levels and progression of practical applications, it is becoming increasingly difficult to organically sustain growth and development in education, without transforming the entire landscape of education today. And themed on “Transforming Higher Education for the Future” to address just that, the International Association of Universities (IAU) held their International Conference 2019, hosted by the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) from the 13th – 15th of November 2019 in Puebla, Mexico.
The event brought together over 250 leaders, experts, and representatives of established academic institutions from all around the world, showcasing multiple plenary sessions discussing significant issues and developments on the transformation of higher education. Dr. Carmen Z. Lamagna, the Vice Chancellor of AIUB and an IAU Board member, chaired 2 vital sessions at the conference, titled, ‘Transformations in Teaching & Learning’ and ‘Aiming Higher in a Transforming World’. A research paper by Dr. Lamagna, Dr. Charles C. Villanueva, the Vice President for Academics and Dean for the Faculty of Business Administration, along with Ms. Farheen Hassan, the Undergraduate Program Director for the Faculty of Business Administration, Dr. Khaled Amin, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marketing for the Faculty of Business Administration, was submitted to the conference was also selected as a poster presentation on ‘Digitization in HEIs for Enhancing Learners’ Interpersonal Skills’. The presentation was delivered by Ms. Shama Islam, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marketing for the Faculty of Business Administration and the Special Assistant for the Office of the Vice Chancellor & Student Affairs, as one of the co-authors for the paper and poster.
Higher education today co-exists with an extremely complex environment that is multicultural and technologically advanced, focusing on in-depth learning, progression, self-regulation, 21st century skills, social emotional competencies, and so much more. It is of the essence that HEIs expand their horizons to accommodate lifelong learning of life skills like critical thinking, creative thinking, collaborating, information literacy, technology literacy, flexibility, and innovative initiatives. And the conference highlighted the pathway to not only make such changes but sustaining them in the long run.