For a thousand years, the role of the university has been to connect. The notion of connection is embedded in the word “university”, from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium - "single community of teachers and learners".
And for a thousand years the idea of university has continued to reinvent itself around this idea of connection, responding to new discoveries, cultures, contexts, societal shifts and technologies to find new ways to connect teachers with learners; arts with sciences; theory with practice.
This Lecture draws on perspectives ranging from astronomy, music, education, biology, and motorcycle maintenance, and argues that today, in a post-pandemic, “post-truth”, digitally mediated world,
the mission of universities to only connect” is more important than ever.
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Professor Jonathan Powles joined the University of the West of Scotland in August 2020 and is Vice-Principal of Learning, Teaching & Students. An Australian, Jonathan has had an academic career in both Australia and the UK with a focus on academic innovation, learning and teaching. He joined UWS from the University of New England in Australia where he had held the post of Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic Innovation since 2017.
In that role Jonathan had responsibility for strategic programmes for academic innovation, transformation and student success. He led several institution-wide programmes and services in a wide range of teaching, student and technology-centred areas, including revising the portfolio of programmes across UNE; curriculum design and innovation; academic development; learner analytics; learning technology refreshment; online and face-to-face mentoring and personal tutoring for students; and the provision of relevant and up-to-date services and support for students including academic skills, registry, careers, counselling, library services and student orientation.
Prior to his Pro Vice-Chancellor role, Jonathan fulfilled a number of senior roles related to learning and teaching, as Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of Canberra (2013-2017); Director of Education within the School of Music at the Australian National University; Director of Educational Development within the College of Law at ANU; Associate Director (academic) within the Office of the Vice-Chancellor at ANU; and Head of the Department of Musicology in the School of Music at ANU.
Jonathan worked in the UK between 1993 and 2000 as a lecturer in Music at Liverpool Hope University. As a musician, he is a composer, conductor and lecturer in music history and theory. He conducted the Liverpool Hope orchestra from 1993-1999 and the ANU choral society from 2002-2012.
Alongside his professional and academic track record, Jonathan is a keen amateur astronomer - and his work in spectroscopy and variable star photometry has seen him making contributions to pro-am observing campaigns and research. He is also an author on several published and submitted papers in astronomy and astrophysics.
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We look forward to you virtually joining us on Tuesday 27 April at 9.30am for this Inaugural Lecture by Prof. Powles.