On November 23rd and 24th, the seventh edition of the international conference “Leaders of University Management – LUMEN 2021” took place online. Over the course of two days, the event featured several high-quality panel discussions and presentations that were live-streamed to over 1,200 people through a dedicated online platform. The conference was organized by PCG Academia, the Foundation of Polish Rectors, and Times Higher Education.
The ceremonial inauguration of the conference was performed by Prof. Łukasz Sułkowski, the CEO of PCG Polska, responsible for overseeing the activities of PCG Academia and LIBRUS on behalf of their owner, the American advisory and technology company Public Consulting Group from Boston. Second, on behalf of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (KRASP), Prof. Arkadiusz Mężyk, the Chairman of KRASP, made a statement. The inaugural part of the LUMEN conference was concluded by Prof. Jerzy Woźnicki, the President of the Foundation of Polish Rectors and the Institute of Knowledge Society.
The welcoming keynote speech was delivered by Phil Baty, the Chief Knowledge Officer at Times Higher Education (THE), a British institution responsible for publishing two of the most recognizable international university rankings: THE World University Rankings and THE Impact Rankings. His speech focused on the future role of universities in the post-pandemic era.
The first panel, which garnered significant interest due to the current economic situation in the country, was dedicated to the financial perspective for universities. The panel was led by Prof. Jerzy Woźnicki, a long-time President and co-founder of the Foundation of Polish Rectors, and it included Mr. Wojciech Murdzek, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education and Science, Mr. Sebastian Skuza, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Finance, Prof. Zbigniew Marciniak, Chairman of the Main Council for Science and Higher Education, and Prof. Stanisław Mazur, representing KRASP. The panel discussed specific funding instruments for higher education developed within the framework of the upcoming financial perspective from the European Union and the National Recovery Plan.
The second panel, moderated by Prof. Łukasz Sułkowski, focused on the upcoming evaluation of scientific activity at Polish universities. The panel included representatives from two of the highest-rated Polish research universities: Prof. Piotr Kuśtrowski, Vice-Rector of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and Prof. Zbigniew Lalak, Vice-Rector of the University of Warsaw, as well as Prof. Aleksandra Cisłak-Wójcik, representing the SWPS University, the first private university in Poland to obtain university status. Panel participants discussed the behind-the-scenes preparations for the scientific parametrization process, highlighted specific organizational and financial challenges they face, and presented suggestions for improving the evaluation of scientific activity in the upcoming assessment period.
Staying on the topic of scientific evaluation, a 15-minute presentation was given by Mr. Marek Michajłowicz, Deputy Director of the Information Processing Center, responsible for handling the transfer of scientific data from universities to the ministerial SEDN system.
The third panel focused on internationalization of the scientific and educational activities of universities. Prof. Marek Kwiek from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, who specializes in internationalization of higher education, moderated the discussion. Panel guests included university rectors known for their commitment to internationalization: Prof. Jarosław Bosy from the University of Environmental and Life Sciences in Wrocław, Prof. Marta Kosior-Kazberuk from Bialystok University of Technology, and Prof. Jerzy Lis from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. The discussion covered organizational, legal, financial, and even locational factors that determine the success of Polish universities on the international stage.
The final panel of the first day of the conference focused on the theme of sustainable university development in the context of the current economic and climate crisis. The panel discussion was led by Prof. Piotr Wachowiak, the Rector of the Warsaw School of Economics, and included Ms. Maria Andrzejewska, Director-General of UNEP/GRID, Prof. Aleksandra Przegalińska, Vice-Rector of the Leon Koźmiński University responsible for the university’s sustainable development strategy, and Duncan Ross, Chief Data Officer at Times Higher Education, the organization that is the world’s only provider of university rankings based on sustainable development goals – THE Impact Rankings.
The second day of the conference began with a panel discussion on the vision of the university of the future from the perspective of modern information technology. Tomasz Buczak, Chief Technology Officer at PCG Academia, along with representatives from companies providing IT solutions to universities – Barbara Michalska from Microsoft Poland, Tomasz Stojko from SENETIC, and Dr. Krzysztof Wojewodzic from ESCOLA SA, discussed the standardization of IT systems, the need to migrate to the cloud, and associated challenges. The panel also addressed the increasing popularity of software licensing as a service, known as Software as a Service (SaaS), among universities.
During the next panel, the flow of data from university systems for recording and analyzing scientific achievements (Sciencecloud) to systems enabling their dissemination and international scientific benchmarking (Scopus, SciVal), and finally to the Times Higher Education database was explored. Panel participants, including Piotr Masalski from PCG Academia, Bartłomiej Więckowski from Elsevier, and Michael Lubacz from Times Higher Education, discussed the types of analysis possible at each stage of the data journey between different systems and the actions they take, both collectively and individually, to ensure that the utilized data is consistent, verified, and reliable.
The vision of a paperless university was discussed from three different perspectives during a panel. The panel featured Ewa Wiśniewska, Vice President of the Forum of Deans and Head of the College of Law at Leon Koźmiński University, Elżbieta Włodarczyk, Director of the electronic signature business line at the National Clearing House, and Łukasz Wróbel, Chief Business Development Officer at WEBCON, a leading provider of process automation systems for universities. The panel, moderated by Jakub Brończyk from PCG Academia, focused on the legal, technical, and organizational conditions necessary for the full electronic circulation of documents within universities – from document creation and gathering necessary signatures to accessibility and archiving.
Representatives from three distinguished higher education institutions with diverse profiles and characteristics participated in a panel discussion on remote student education using e-learning platforms. Dr. Katarzyna Szczepańska-Woszczyna, Vice-Rector of the WSB Academy in Dąbrowa Górnicza, represented the Academy WSB, while academic teachers Dr. Agata Cebera and Jakub Firlus from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and Charles Knight, Deputy Dean of Salford Business School in the UK, represented their respective institutions. Magda Sochacka from PCG Academia moderated the panel, aiming to identify what sets these three universities apart in terms of distance learning organization, while also maintaining a high level of student and teacher engagement and satisfaction.
The conference concluded with an international discussion panel involving global providers of e-learning solutions for universities, all of whom use Amazon Web Services as their cloud infrastructure. The panel, moderated by the Director of AWS responsible for the public sector in Central and Eastern Europe, Tomasz Olejnik, featured representatives from companies such as Blackboard – Juan Ramon Alegret, Open LMS – Peter Hirst, and Intelliboard – Tonya Riney, who shared their experiences from the highly intensive pandemic period. Trends and key developments in the e-learning solutions market were discussed, with references to leading universities in highly developed educational markets in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Prof. Łukasz Sułkowski concluded and summarized the entire LUMEN 2021 conference, announcing the upcoming eighth edition of the event to be held next year.
LUMEN 2021 would not have been possible without the financial and intellectual contributions from the event’s partners, including companies such as Blackboard, Inspera, Intelliboard, Open LMS, Elsevier, Microsoft, AWS, Google Cloud, Logitech, Wolters Kluwer, WEBCON, Senetic, and KIR. Special thanks for supporting the conference go to the Ministry of Education and Science, the Chairman of KRASP, PKA, RGNiSW, OPI, and IRSW.
Video recordings of individual presentations from the VII LUMEN 2021 Conference Online can be found at https://pcgacademia.pl/blog/.
Agenda – November 23-24, 2021
President of the Management Board of PCG Polska
Vice-Rector of the WSB University in Dąbrowa Górnicza
Head of the Department of Management of Higher Education Institutions at the Jagiellonian University
Chief Knowledge Officer, Times Higher Education
Rector, AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków
Business Line Director, PCG Academia
Vice President, WEBCON
Specialist in the field of international marketing and intercultural communication
European Association of Communication Professionals in Higher Education-EUPRIO
Deputy Director for Software Development, Information Processing Center – National Research Institute
Project Manager of the POL-on System
The LUMEN 2021 conference took place on