Other News | August 2020

Reimagine Education invites submissions from innovative educators, Maastricht monitors COVID-19’s impact on food security, Warwick and Darden provide more flexibility for incoming students, and William & Mary connects minority alumni.

QS Quacquarelli Symonds, creator of the QS World University Rankings, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have put out a call for applications to their 2020 Reimagine Education Awards. The annual awards make US$50,000 in funding available to educators who have designed innovative approaches to teaching and learning that enhance student learning outcomes and career preparation. Winners will be selected in three overall categories: global education, global employability, and global edtech. In addition, winners will be announced in 14 specific categories, ranging from virtual reality to best educational app to hybrid learning.

There is no limit to the number of applications that a single individual or institution can submit, and the application process is free. The call for applications will close on September 13. Finalists will showcase their innovations at the virtual Reimagine Education Conference to be held December 9 to 11. Winners will be announced on December 11 during a live online awards ceremony.



Through an ongoing food security initiative, Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands is monitoring how COVID-19 is impacting food securities in countries where it has partners in agriculture-focused development projects. These projects are underway in 25 countries, including 12 in Africa and several in Asia and Latin America.

The goal of the initiative is to monitor the pandemic’s effects on small-scale and commercial farmers, traders, processors, input suppliers, and financial institutions. The school hopes to track changes in food flows in regions around the world and support decision making on how to counterbalance negative impacts of COVID-19 measures. The school identified two major challenges: ensuring that food chains remain open and people can afford food; and ensuring that crop production continues to take place to avoid shortages next year.

In a June posting on its website, the school made four recommendations. First, governments should rethink policies that favor export crops, because this means farmers might not grow the crops that feed domestic populations. Second, countries should invest in storage infrastructure to prevent food waste. Third, governments should streamline nontariff barriers to cut costs and create smooth trade relations. Finally, the media should do a better job of refuting rumors and informing people about risks.


This fall, Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts, will deliver its undergraduate program for all Simmons students fully online. In partnership with the online education platform 2U, Simmons has redesigned hundreds of its classes to incorporate a blend of synchronous and asynchronous coursework. As part of the partnership, 2U will provide technological support and services, tools to ensure data security, and faculty training on use of the platform and best practices for online teaching. The online undergraduate program will join several online graduate degrees that Simmons offers over 2U’s platform, including master’s programs in social work, nursing, and public health.

The College of Business Administration at Texas A&M University–Kingsville has received permission from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to give a STEM designation to students in the information systems program. According to the school’s dean, Natalya Delcoure, the designation will provide a skill set that will boost the economic growth of the region and the country. The designation takes effect immediately.

The Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, has launched the Mason Alumni of Color Network to facilitate connection and engagement among alumni from underrepresented populations. The network organizers plan to host a speaker series, create a book club group, and offer members mentorship opportunities.


The Clinton Foundation, based in New York City, recently announced the recipients of grants from its Clinton Global Initiative University COVID-19 Student Action Fund. The fund provided grants of up to US$5,000 each to student-designed projects focused on fighting the pandemic. This year the fund selected 38 social impact projects that focus on challenges such as infection disease monitoring and response systems, awareness and prevention campaigns, and support for healthcare providers and essential workers. Recipients include Jonathan Dhanapala, an engineering student from the University of Waterloo in Canada who has committed to designing an electronic medical record system to support medical professionals providing healthcare in refugee camps; and Vikrant Garg, a medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has committed to assist the COVID Rapid Response Team Chicago, an organization that provides services to Chicago's marginalized communities. The initiative also has launched a COVID-19 Student Crowdfunding Challenge to support additional student-led projects. These crowdfunding campaigns will be live from August 10 to 28.