During September 6–8, leadership from eight Vietnamese universities participated in the Policy and Leadership Seminar III on Leading University Policy Realization as part of the BUILD-IT Alliance. Led by Professor Marcus Ingle of Portland State University in collaboration with faculty from the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Training Center in Vietnam and implementing partner Arizona State University, the seminar was the third in the series and gave participants an opportunity to build on the work of the previous events.
Focused on leadership roles and skills needed to lead policy realization, participants highly appreciated learning the seven traits of change-preparedness, various non-monetary motivators, distinctions between policy implementation and realization, communicating a policy, mobilizing implementation, policy feedback and adaptation and policy sustainability.
The many innovation areas of BUILD-IT - including applied curriculum and project-based learning, quality assurance and international accreditation goals, industry engagement and entrepreneurship opportunities, development of opportunities for women in STEM fields - all intersect in the world of policy. In fact, to realize institutional as well as country wide goals in any of these areas, institutions must be prepared with current and relevant university policy and related procedures to encourage and advance innovation and change. The series on Leading Policy Innovation has given participants practical concepts and tools to help identify, formulate and realize innovative university policies that are of high value to their institutions and will help them to realize their short and long term STEM-related educational goals. Strong participant enthusiasm, engagement and knowledge transfer between university teams included frequent sharing and questioning of one another’s policy issues, advocacy strategies and completed exercises.
Seminar participants were also joined by representatives from USAID and the Ministry of Education and Training. Le My Phong, head of the Division of Higher and Professional Secondary Accreditation, MOET General Department of Education Testing and Accreditation, Dang Van Huan and Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, senior officials at MOET Higher Education Department, shared updates regarding the resolution on training human resources to meet requirements of Vietnam’s planned Education 4.0 objectives supported by a recent MOET decree on university autonomy. Industry representatives from Microsoft and Fablab Saigon shared their insights on challenges and opportunities when working in partnership with higher education institutions; their investments and plans for their workers to have proper skills and expertise to succeed; and important factors for success in collaborating with higher education institutions. Notably, Seminar III participants benefited throughout the sessions by the presence of Phil Keisling, director of the Center of Public Service at Portland State University. Keisling is a specialist in "policy realization" having served as Oregon's elected Secretary of State for eight years. Keisling shared practical suggestions on policy implementation and compliance with the participants.
A highlight of the seminar was the sustained, high-level of engagement of the university participants in the learning process. They arrived well-prepared and participated actively in all of the applied learning sessions. The seminar ended with an action plan for each participant to implement the policy tailored to STEM improvement requirements of their own institutions.
BY MARCUS INGLE & PHUONG NGUYEN