Dr Wendy James, Professor Tim McKenry, Dr Yang, Professor Kevin Ashford-Rowe, Dr Tang, Professor Anne Cummins, Dr Anne Falkenstein, Dr Matthew Sweeney, Dr Gareth Wearne, Dr Elise Yule and Dr Monica Wong.
In September eight ACU staff participated in the ACU Study Tour to Taiwan. This was the third study tour organised by the Learning and Teaching Centre (LTC) and the purpose was to enable academics to familiarise themselves with the higher education sector in Asia. The study tour was sponsored and led by Professor Anne Cummins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching) and directed by Professor Kevin Ashford-Rowe, Director LTC. A team of teaching-focused academics from each Faculty included: Professor Tim McKenry (FEA), Associate Professor Wendy James (FLB), Dr Monica Wong (FEA), Dr Matthew Sweeney (FHS), Dr Elise Yule (FHS), and Dr Gareth Wearne (FTP).
The aim of the study tour was to enhance knowledge, understanding and experience in the areas of teaching innovation and technology leadership in learning and teaching. It is anticipated that further opportunities for partnership may arise as a result of the university visits.
The delegation visited three universities: Providence Catholic University, Fu Jen Catholic University, and Tzu Chi Buddhist University. ACU has prior partnerships with two of these universities—Providence and Fu Jen—and the study tour provided a welcome opportunity to reconnect with international colleagues. Strong connections were forged at each of these universities on the basis of common aims and challenges as faith-based tertiary educators, and discussions quickly turned to possibilities for future collaborations within Allied Health, Education, Theology, Business and Exercise Science programs.
The first university visited was Providence University at the harbour city of Taichung. A warm greeting was followed by a discussion of common aims and a tour of the university campus during which the delegation had a chance to meet and talk with current students of the university.
The second visit was to Fu Jen University in Taipei City, where the delegation was once again treated to a tour of the university campus before a meeting in which they discussed, among other things, their shared identity as tertiary educators within the Catholic tradition.
The delegation then travelled to Hualien City where they visited Tzu Chi University. Tzu Chi started as a medical college, founded on the philosophy of humanistic Buddhism, to improve the healthcare and education of the region. The delegation saw the work of the broader university community in the “Silent Mentor Training Program” whereby the community members bequeath their bodies to the university for surgery simulation for the betterment of future generations. In addition to the university’s academic programs other subjects catered for the development of the whole person, with cultural classes in Chinese calligraphy, tea ceremonies, and flower arranging.
The delegation also managed to fit in sight-seeing in the spectacular Taroko Gorge and the National Palace Museum, and to experience the unique Taiwanese culture of floating “sky lanterns” at Pingxi.
The study tour also provided a rare opportunity for colleagues from different faculties and campuses to come together and reflect on their common vision in the context of ACU (and the relative merits of online information repositories).