To make Thematic Networks stronger, the AUN Secretariat bridges the gap between the 17 AUN Thematic Networks

By Buranond Kijwatanachai, Programme Officer
7 December 2020

On November 19, for the first time, the ASEAN University Network Secretariat brought together its Thematic Networks to bridge the previous divide between them. The meeting introduced the networks to each other and shared good practices on remaining productive amidst the pandemic. The networks have already begun looking at each other for avenues of collaboration and learning.

The meeting began with an introductory session where network representatives briefly described their networks by outlining their mission and their scope of activities. It was then followed by a secondary session on the good practices in remaining productive during the pandemic. Of note, AUN-ACTS shared their thoughts on the effectiveness and drawbacks virtual student mobility programs, AUN-HPN shared their key lessons from their development of the Healthy University Rating Scale, AUN-HRE shared important reflections on transitioning to a new medium (including greater accessibility and cost reduction at the cost of human interaction), and AUN-QA shared their principles in developing a scheme for virtual quality assurance that retains the essence of traditional assessments.

That was followed by a third session where networks who have had success with engaging with external funding agencies shared how their colleagues can reach the same level of success. This included AUN-DDPnet who stressed finding a partner early and sharing a common vision, AUN-BE who is currently working with the Norwegian government and the University of Agder to offer a graduate program, AUN-HRE who stresses the importance of transparency and accountability, AUN-AEC who has been working closely with the industrial sector, and AUN/SEED-Net who stresses using internal assets to bridge to new partnerships. AUN-QA also contributed with their own model of self-financing through a sustainable model of network growth and expansion.