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VSNU Pleads for More Investment in HE as EU Students Flock to Netherlands

by Wittenborg News -

VSNU Pleads for More Investment in HE as EU Students Flock to Netherlands

https://www.wittenborg.eu/vsnu-pleads-more-investment-he-eu-students-flock-netherlands.htm

VSNU Pleads for More Investment in HE as EU Students Flock to Netherlands

Netherlands Sees Strong Growth in Number of International Students in 2020 Despite COVID-19

The Netherlands has seen more than a 10%  growth in the number of international students despite COVID-19 disrupting education around the world. This is according to preliminary numbers compiled by the Association for Dutch Universities (VSNU). It is largely due to an increase in students from the EEA (all EU students, plus Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland).

In total, the number of students who signed up for bachelor's and master's programmes at Dutch universities this year was 328,000 - an increase of 8% - which includes both Dutch and international students.

The VSNU says the rise in student numbers stems in part from the 15% increase in the number of first-year students who are no longer able to take a gap year because of coronavirus. In addition, there has been a 10% increase in the number of college students signing up for a pre-master’s university course.

The number of EEA students streaming into the Netherlands increased by between 10 – 12% compared to last year, while there was a drop in the number of students from outside the EU. "It is great that international students continue wanting to study in the Netherlands despite the corona crisis. In 2019, the Central Bureau of Statistics found that international students are still a benefit to the Netherlands even after graduating," the VSNU statement reads.

Chair of the VSNU Pieter Duisenberg said the past 20 years the number of students has doubled. "In the year 2000, there were still around 165,000 students. Now it has doubled to around 328,000. Thanks to the coronavirus there has been an even quicker increase. The growth puts pressure on universities and their workers. We, therefore, plead for a structural investment in research-based education.

"During the corona period, universities are doing their best to continue offering high-quality education. International talent recognises this quality and the appeal of the Netherlands as an open-knowledge society with strong links to the rest of Europe and the world."

WUP 4/12/2020
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

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Netherlands may Benefit from Decline in German Students to UK

by Wittenborg News -

Netherlands 2nd Most Popular Study Destination for Germans

Netherlands may Benefit from Decline in German Students to UKThe Netherlands is the most popular study destination for German students after Austria, according to new numbers released by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies. The study looks, among other things, at where Germany sources its international students from, but also at where German students go when they study abroad.

Currently, German-speaking Austria is the country of choice for German students (25%), followed by the Netherlands (16%), the UK (11%) and Switzerland (10%). It is expected that due to Brexit the number of outbound German students to the UK will decline - possibly benefitting other countries, including the Netherlands.

At the same time, while the numbers of German students in Switzerland and the Netherlands decreased slightly between 2014 – 2017  (–2% in each case), for the UK (+ 3%) and especially Austria (+ 7%) there was an increase over the same period.

What programmes do Germans choose when they do study abroad? In the Netherlands, as in such countries as Australia, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, the most popular programmes are economics, business administration and law - as opposed to eastern European countries like Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic where health and social affairs studies are popular. This is possibly due to the admissions restrictions for medical courses which exist in Germany.

In 2019, over 94,000 international students were enrolled in a Dutch university. About 64,138 international students were doing bachelor’s degrees and 30,098 were undertaking master’s degrees, according to Nuffic. Germany is the biggest source country of international students for the Netherlands.

Source: PIE News

WUP 2/12/2020
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

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New Students from 10 Different Countries

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg CEO Encourages New Students in Welcoming Note

Wittenborg CEO Encourages New Students in Welcoming Note

After an intense week of Introduction Week activities, new students from 10 different countries are starting their classes at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences. The university held an online meet-and-greet session at the end of last week to engage with other students and members of staff. The session was also joined by Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng, who spoke a few words of encouragement.  
 
Excitement about  starting their studies abounded during the session. The new students are from Cameroon, Nigeria, China, Vietnam, Iran, India, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Liberia and Morocco. About half of the new students will start their study journey from abroad due to limitations caused by COVID-19, while the rest will follow the current hybrid teaching policy at Wittenborg.  
 
Provisional numbers from the Association of Dutch Universities (VSNU) have shown that this academic year has seen an increase of about 10%  in international students studying in the Netherlands despite COVID-19. There has been a slight drop in students from outside the EU, though this is not reflected at Wittenborg.

Last week, students joined in a full programme of Introduction Week activities, which covered all aspects of their forthcoming academic journeys at Wittenborg – from doing academic papers, research, and ICT to online studies.

In her welcoming note, Feng encouraged students to make full use of their studies at Wittenborg to network as far and wide as possible, and also to be active in community service when they are in the Netherlands like volunteering. "Be nice. Being nice will get you places."

The new student intake comprises bachelor's and master's degree students. About 10% of new students will study at Wittenborg's Amsterdam location.

WUP DD/MM/2020
by James Wittenborg
© Wittenborg University Press

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Female Confidence Often in Short Supply, Says Wittenborg CEO

by Wittenborg News -

 

Female Confidence Often in Short Supply, Says Wittenborg CEO

https://www.wittenborg.eu/female-confidence-often-short-supply-says-wittenborg-ceo.htm
 
Female Confidence Often in Short Supply, Says Wittenborg CEO

Wittenborg Seeks to Boost Women in Tech with MBA Fee Reduction

Women who underestimate their achievements and often score themselves lower than what they actually deserve was one of the topics raised by Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng in a recent interview with Dutch regional newspaper De Stentor. The article was part of a series of how Dutch companies are faring in terms of female representivity at the top in light of a quota for women considered by the Dutch government.  

"A woman functioning as an 8 will often score herself a 6. Men on the other hand, do the opposite. As director it is good to have these sort of insights," Feng said. To make its own contribution to bringing more women in fields where they are a scarcity, Wittenborg intends on giving a fee reduction of €5,000 for girls wishing to follow its MBA in Data Analytics. Technology is still one of the industries that sorely lacks females.

So how is Wittenborg doing in terms of gender equality? Of its three directors, two are female – Feng and Wittenborg's Director of Corporate Governance, Karen Penninga. Peter Birdsall is the President and Chair of the Executive Board. Directly under them is a management team consisting of 6 women and 6 men. The Academic Advisory Panel is also gender balanced with 5 men and 5 women.

Of the 245 people who worked at Wittenborg in 2019, 41% are female and 59% are male. "This is mainly due to the fact that at the top of some academic disciplines there are more men than women. And obviously we want the best lecturers."  

"I often talk to our female employees who are struggling to combine their family and a career. I want to make them see that they should be proud of themselves, that there is a lot they can achieve and that they should use their talent."

Wittenborg's student body in 2019 was balanced at 57% male and 43% female and WUAS is currently busy defining and strengthening its diversity policy in order to guarantee inclusivity at the organisation. 

Wittenborg-Seeks-to-Boost-Women-in-Tech-with-MBA-Fee-Reduction

WUP 28/11/2020
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

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"This was my Lifeline to Family and Friends as an International Student in the Netherlands"

by Wittenborg News -

"This was my Lifeline to Family and Friends as an International Student in the Netherlands"

https://www.wittenborg.eu/was-my-lifeline-family-and-friends-international-student-netherlands.htm

How a Little Green Book Helped Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng when She First Arrived in the Netherlands

Maggie FengWhat is your most prized possession? For Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng, it is a small, green address book that is already more than 30 years old,  given to her as a child in Beijing. She explained the value of the book in a recent column published in the corporate relations magazine of Achmea, the largest insurance company in the Netherlands with an annual turnover of €23 billion.

For Feng, the book represents a lifeline to China, family and friends, at a time when she needed it the most, as a newcomer to the Netherlands with all the strange awkwardness that implies – a feeling many international students will recognise.

"I got the book from my father when I was about 12 years old. It is full of telephone numbers, addresses and even pager numbers of family and friends, because that was still what one used back then. The little book was my safe haven when I had just started as an exchange student in Deventer. You have to understand – I did not know anyone, could not speak the language and found myself in a country which was entirely different from my own.

"The book was my gateway to keeping in touch with the people back home, although making a call those days cost 5 guilders per minute and a letter took 15 days to arrive. I got the book in 1988 from my father. There are more than 200 names in it and almost all the pages are filled with different colour pen strokes, handwriting and some of the names have been Tippexed out. Yes, not everyone had the honour of being in my book!

"Meanwhile, some of the numbers and addresses are no longer correct. These days I mainly keep in touch via WeChat – the Chinese version of Facebook and WhatsApp. It is quick and free. Still, I will never get rid of the book. It symbolises connection - not via digital, invisible means - but something that you can actually hold and feel."

WUP 26/11/2020
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

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Master's Students Learn about Options in doing Sustainable Business

by Wittenborg News -

Master's Students Learn about Options in doing Sustainable Business

https://www.wittenborg.eu/masters-students-learn-about-options-doing-sustainable-business.htm

Visit to Fair Trade Centre an "Eye-Opener" for International Business Students

Visit to Fair Trade Centre an "Eye-Opener" for International Business Students

Master's students of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences recently got more acquainted with the concept of fair trade - which has been around since the 1950s - during a visit to the Fair Plaza in Culemborg, near Utrecht. The visit was part of a Project Week assignment which focused on sustainability. Using fair trade enterprises as a case study, the group explored the challenges and opportunities for more sustainable business and trading models.

Wittenborg lecturer, Dr Natalia Leal, who led the group of Master of Business Management students, says: "My goal was to increase students' awareness about the range of options regarding sustainable businesses, in particular fair trade ones. Fair Plaza is, as far as I'm aware, still the largest fair trade wholesale centre in the world -  hosting multiple fair trade importers under one roof."

Visit to Fair Trade Centre an "Eye-Opener" for International Business Students

Rwandese student, Remy Rukundo, said he was pleasantly surprised to find some top-quality coffee from her neighbouring country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the product range. "Afterwards, I did a lot of research myself about the subject, how some countries can improve their fair trade practices."

Asian student, Le Phan, said the awareness about fair trade and fair trade products sourced locally is quite low in her own country, Vietnam. "In my opinion, this stems from the fact that the Vietnamese economy is more focused on industry and the service sector in most major cities. Therefore, this course and especially this company visit, opened my eyes about the value of handmade and agricultural products from around the world."

Her perspective was shared by fellow Vietnamese student, Hong Ngoc Bui. "In Vietnam, the notion of fair trade is not really widespread and I have not had many opportunities to learn about it in my country. So, for me, this trip was a very interesting experience.

Visit to Fair Trade Centre an "Eye-Opener" for International Business Students

"Fair Plaza is like a supermarket where brands and companies that manufacture and sell fair trade products together display their wares to customers who come to buy in bulk. Customers come from many countries - especially Germany – to select and import these products. The products here are produced and imported from many countries around the world, from Asia to Africa, and Europe. Since they are handmade, each product has its own signature from the country in which it was made. Examples include candles from Thailand, decorative statues from Taiwan, ancient scarves from Nepal, and flower vases from Vietnam."

Jospehine Ali Dauda, from Nigeria, said: "This experience was very enlightening, seeing different companies, as well as different people from different regions, impacting, bringing awareness, and enriching the lives of people in their home countries, and creating products suitable for the European market."

WUP 23/11/2020
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press


Research on Supplemental Education Programmes in Amsterdam Zuidoost

by Wittenborg News -

Research on Supplemental Education Programmes in Amsterdam Zuidoost

https://www.wittenborg.eu/research-supplemental-education-programmes-amsterdam-zuidoost.htm

Research on Supplemental Education Programmes

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has been commissioned by the city of Amsterdam's Department of Youth and Welfare to conduct research and write a report on the effectiveness of supplemental education programmes in Amsterdam Zuidoost. The report will focus on one organisation in particular, Buurt Talent Ontwikkeling (BTO - Neighborhood Talent Development) a social enterprise that offers homework support to students whose parents lack the financial resources or skills. BTO has grown from 30 students to more than 300 students in less than 10 years. They currently have more than seven locations and are considering expansion. The organisation was founded by sisters Lydia and Mierelle Seerdorf, social entrepreneurs who are familiar with the neighborhood and ready to face the challenges surrounding education in a resource poor-environment.

Research on Supplemental Education Programmes in Amsterdam Zuidoost

High Number of Students with VMBO and HAVO Advice

The research will be led by Senior Lecturers Amy Abdou, Dr Dadi Chen and Andreas Ooijer. Abdou and Chen will write the report, while Ooijer will help conduct interviews with the key stakeholders.

The main aims of the learning support given by BTO are to improve the children's school results and contribute towards their general development. They conduct lessons every day of the week for school children between the ages of 6 and 13 years. They also offer language, sewing and computer lessons for the parents and organise special meetings for parents to share information regarding the education system as well as their children's progress in the learning process.

The objective of the research is to measure the impact of Buurt Talent Ontwikkeling (BTO) on the students’ final study advice as they exit primary school.  The final study advice determines which track of secondary school students will follow. In recent years, two schools, Onze Wereld and As-Soeffa, serviced by BTO, saw a higher number of students exiting with VMBO and HAVO advice and a significant reduction in Practical and Special Education.

If the BTO programme is innovative and effective, it would be helpful from a policy perspective to understand why it works, what is innovative about its approach and how it can be implemented on a wider scale in the Netherlands. Abdou commented that the city of Amsterdam recognises the importance of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as an essential growth strategy in job creation and poverty alleviation.

Comparative Analysis

Wittenborg will evaluate BTO’s results, their innovative approach of involving parents in the process and the sustainability of their business model. While the commissioner of this research has asked for a study of BTO, Wittenborg researchers felt that a preliminary interview with a comparable organisation would help give a broader context on the challenges and opportunities. Researchers spoke with city managers who are familiar with these types of neighborhood initiatives and the challenges social entrepreneurs face. This led to an interview with the founders of The Sky’s the Limit, a similar educational enterprise in Amsterdam Zuidoost. The preliminary interviews with stakeholders helped shape the research design and the selection of a theoretical model.

Data collection will be conducted in three phases, with phase 1 looking at present literature on after-school programmes, phase 2 involving quantitative data collection on schools' exit streams and phase 3 involving qualitative data collection with stakeholders in the organisation. For quantitative and qualitative data collection, questionnaires will be administered to current and graduate students from BTO as well as their parents, while one-to-one interviews will be conducted with students, programme makers, city managers, and other stakeholders.

Involvement of Students

What is interesting about this research is that students from the Wittenborg Amsterdam campus will be involved in the research design, literature review, interview process and data analysis. Because of the diversity of our student body, the researchers can offer the interviewees the following language options: Dutch, English, French, Spanish, Papiamento, Yoruba, Twi & Arabic. This is highly appreciated among the population of parents that is comprised of many first-generation migrants.

Involving students in any research has always been Wittenborg's philosophy as it not only helps to accentuate students' learning, but it also enhances their research skills and knowledge about businesses and community. More importantly, it gets students to apply their knowledge learned at Wittenborg in real-world applications. As Abdou commented, "In this project, Wittenborg lecturers and students are given the opportunity to work with the city of Amsterdam to examine the effectiveness of social enterprises to address social inequality. It allows us to apply theoretical frameworks to understand how a social enterprise can help address educational parity."

WUP 21/11/2020
by Hanna Abdelwahab and Amy Abdou
© Wittenborg University Press

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Taking your Dutch to the Next Level - in a Week

by Wittenborg News -

Taking your Dutch to the Next Level - in a Week

https://www.wittenborg.eu/taking-your-dutch-next-level-week.htm

Taking your Dutch to the Next Level - in a Week

Wittenborg's Intensive Dutch Courses Remain Popular with International Students and Staff

Learning to speak any new language is not easy and Dutch is no exception. The good news is that you can make considerable leaps and bounds in learning if you submerge yourself totally in a language – even for a week. Which is what Peter Saes, Dutch language teacher at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, has been doing with the Dutch Intensive Courses he offers 4 times a year. Each course spans a week – from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saes joined Wittenborg 4 years ago where he teaches regular language classes to both undergraduates and master's students as required. In addition, he also teaches the Dutch Intensive Beginner and Intermediate courses, which were developed by him and focus on participants' speaking abilities. "The more you submerge yourself in a language, the easier it gets, which is why I think focusing on it for a week is so effective," Saes says.

Taking your Dutch to the Next Level - in a Week

The course remains popular with international students and staff, and the last one in October was well-attended. The next beginner course will be in Week 4 of 2021 and the intermediate course in Week 7.

Aside from teaching at Wittenborg, Saes also runs a language school in Apeldoorn, the Apeldoorns Taalcentrum. He is an accomplished linguist with a master's degree in English and General Linguistics. He also speaks German, French, Russian and Limburgian – Limburg is a Dutch province in the south where Saes was born and which boasts its own language, in the same way as Friesland, another Dutch province in the north. Since his wife is Russian, he is now learning Russian as well.

Despite popular belief, Dutch is no more difficult than any other language, Saes says. "It all depends on how much time you are willing to invest. When I was a child in Limburg, we were always watching German TV-channels as there were not a lot of options in Dutch. Which is how I learned a lot of German."

He also advised internationals to learn as much Dutch as possible if they plan to stay in the Netherlands. "Although the Netherlands is a pretty international country, people appreciate it if you speak Dutch – even when it's just a little bit. It shows you have an interest in their language, in their country. It is also important, I think, in terms of employability."

WUP 19/11/2020
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

Wittenborg Students Address 'Sustainability through Innovation of Circular Business Ideas' in Project Week

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Students Address 'Sustainability through Innovation of Circular Business Ideas' in Project Week

https://www.wittenborg.eu/wittenborg-students-address-sustainability-through-innovation-circular-business-ideas-project-week
Wittenborg Students Address 'Sustainability through Innovation of Circular Business Ideas' in Project Week

A Real-Life Project

During the recent Project Week assignment, bachelor's students at Wittenborg were engaged in activities that require them to address the issue of 'Sustainability through Innovation of Circular Business Ideas'. The main aim of this real-life project is to encourage our students to be aware of environmental issues that are plaguing the world today.

Increasing Awareness

In the past hundred years, industrialisation, urbanisation and modernisation have catalysed and accentuated the 'make-use-dispose' business culture all over the world. This rapidly increasing culture has excessively deteriorated the earth's environment and depleted the planet's limited resources. As part of its efforts to increase student and staff awareness of environmental issues, Wittenborg has infused into its curriculum projects revolving around sustainability and the circular economy. The idea is to make students more aware of ongoing social, business and environmental issues and to educate them on what they can do to help the situation.   

During the recent Project Week assignment, bachelor's students were tasked to develop innovative business ideas that look beyond the current predominant 'take-make-waste' industry linear models. The students played the role of founders of new startup circular companies and were to come up with entrepreneurial ideas that focus on home-based recycling, or industry-based (such as tourism and hospitality) initiatives. After that, the students were to write a mini business plan that proposes how their clean-tech businesses will develop economically while eliminating waste and re-using resources continually.

Wittenborg Students Address 'Sustainability through Innovation of Circular Business Ideas' in Project Week

'Elevator Pitch' to present ideas

Inspiring ideas on how to increase sharing, refurbishment, re-use, recycling, or manufacturing that creates a closed-loop system, while at the same time reducing the use of resource inputs and carbon emissions and pollutions, were received. The students also had a chance to peer review each other's ideas, an exercise they said was a useful learning experience. The Project Week Representatives also got an opportunity to visit Second Tech, a circular enterprise with expertise in electrical processes, and environmental technologies, industrial automation, business automation, and sales.

The different teams were also required to record an 'elevator pitch', which will be evaluated by external partners. The winners of the elevator pitch will be announced at a later date and prizes will be awarded to the winning team/s. For those who are unfamiliar with 'elevator pitch', it is actually a brief, pre-prepared, persuasive speech that explains what your organisation does, or what your idea is, in a clear and succinct manner. The reason why it is called 'elevator pitch' is because it should be short enough (but full of information) to present to your person of interest (CEO or potential business partner/client) during an elevator ride. It is used as a way to share your expertise, credentials, ideas or opinions, quickly and effectively with people you don't know but have an interest in.

Wittenborg Students Address 'Sustainability through Innovation of Circular Business Ideas' in Project Week

Circular Economy Model for Sustainability

During the kick-off session, Wittenborg's CEO, Maggie Feng, expounded on how companies implement a circular economy model to facilitate sustainability. She explained how circular companies such as Clean Tech Regio are working together with entrepreneurs, educational institutions, and research agencies on energy neutral sustainable economy. They also work with the community in the municipalities of Apeldoorn, Bruman, Deventer, Epe, Heerde, Lochem, Voorst, and Zutphen. Maggie said that Wittenborg is working together with Clean-Tech Regio towards the achievement of a circular economy. She stated that "…. the role of Wittenborg is participating in Clean Tech Regio Tables Strategic Board Stendendriehoek. This is a kind of a task force, in which we are participating in profiling and promotion as well as in human capital, and together we are trying to make this region the most circular region in Europe to support Clean Tech Regio as leaders of change…"

Other partner companies

Other circular companies included in the discussion during the Project Week were:

  • Join The Pipe, who are championing reusable water bottles to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced.
  • Too Good To Go, a circular company that has developed an App that allows users to order surplus food from the local store.
  •  Plastic Whale, a circular company aiming at plastic-free waters by collecting plastic wastes from water bodies and creating products from the waste, conducting education programmes on how to have plastic-free water bodies.  

Experts in circular economy interviewed to assist the students in this "real-life" project week included Arko van Brakel, the director of CleanTech Region, and Manfred Kugel, co-founder of SecondTech.nl.

WUP 17/11/2020
by Hanna Abdelwahab and Emmah Muchoki
©Wittenborg University Press

Wittenborg Senior Lecturer Spoke at 'INCREDIBLE' Conference

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Senior Lecturer Spoke at 'INCREDIBLE' Conference

https://www.wittenborg.eu/wittenborg-senior-lecturer-spoke-incredible-conference.htm
Wittenborg Senior Lecturer Spoke at 'INCREDIBLE' Conference

'INCREDIBLE' Conference

Lessons Learned at Austrian SMEs during the Pandemic” was the title of the speech delivered by Wittenborg Senior Lecturer Dr Alexander Bauer at the first ‘INCREDIBLE’ Conference held on 26-27 October, 2020.

The acronym 'INCREDIBLE' means International Congress on Regional Economic Development, Information Technology and Sustainable Business. The virtual conference was organised by the Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Sebelas Maret in collaboration with the Central Java Province of the Regional Development Planning Agency (BAPPEDA). The theme of the conference was “The Pandemic, Business Impact, and Economic Recovery”. Bauer was one of the Plenary Session Speakers as well as the Pre-Conference Workshop Speaker.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic impact on almost all sectors of business, with widespread restriction policies resulting in mass unemployment, financial problems and bankruptcies. As physical scientific meetings are cancelled worldwide, researchers have resorted to virtual networking as a replacement. The 'INCREDIBLE' conference is one such conference which seeks to provide a venue for scholars, leading academicians and professionals to effectively respond to the global crisis caused by the pandemic.

Wittenborg Senior Lecturer Spoke at 'INCREDIBLE' Conference

Pre-conference workshop on public speaking

In the 3-hour Pre-Conference Workshop, which carries the theme of “Effective Presentation and Network Development in an International Conference”, Bauer spoke about information and knowledge in mastering presentation skills for international conferences. Bauer, a public speaking expert, pointed out the importance of mastering presentation and networking skills for academicians, as lack of such skills results in poor delivery of research findings, limits information sharing and leads to unproductive discussions during conferences.

Wittenborg Senior Lecturer Spoke at 'INCREDIBLE' Conference

Plenary session on effects of pandemic on businesses

During the plenary session, Bauer spoke about the findings of a research done on Austrian companies by him and 24 other experts from various fields. He shared information on how the pandemic has affected jobs in the Austrian tourism industry, with Austria labelled as a ‘very high risk’ area for tourism in the EU. With 71% of Austria’s GDP generated by the service sector and 10% generated by the tourism industry, the country is reeling towards economic meltdown.

The research involved each expert conducting at least 10 interviews with various managers at Austrian companies. Among the findings communicated to the conference audience were that companies did not understand their markets and their market dynamics, and they lack the ability to change their business models to cope with the changing business environment due to the pandemic and lockdown. Employees also lack skills in IT, soft skills, flexibility and independence to change their working styles or working from home. Despite subsidies by the Austrian State, about 68% of the companies will continue to face uncertainties and 24% are in danger of bankruptcy.

With so many uncertain consequences for society and politics, the research team gave a recommendation to the Austrian State to invest heavily in many companies. The research will also be included as a chapter in a book (with Bauer as the co-author) to be published by the Austrian Ministry of Economics.

As COVID-19 ushers in the future of teaching and learning, and with this new paradigm shift of conferencing and networking, online conferences such as 'INCREDIBLE' will soon be the new norm to continue the transfer and sharing of knowledge. Such conferences will definitely help to keep communications virtually open for the sharing of research findings, such as the one carried out by Bauer, to the learning community around the world in the hope for the betterment of humankind.

WUP 15/11/2020
by Hanna Abdelwahab
©Wittenborg University Press


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