Nexus + 21: a binding together for resilience

NEXUS: mid 17th century: from Latin, ‘a binding together’, from nex- ‘bound’, from the verb nectere

Nexus +, the UWTSD’s annual teaching and learning conference is a favourite of mine. I always have a lot of fun with my co-presenters and fellow educator attendees; completing the sessions nourished with new ideas and new contacts. This July, the conference organisers continued to encourage a breadth of topics and viewpoints, so well-timed after what is typically an exhausting albeit rewarding close to another academic year. This year’s conference theme was apt.

Beyond Covid – Building Resilient Communities’ offered the opportunity to look ahead with optimism, share learning and innovations, and connect and collaborate, as we transition from ‘survive to thrive’ mode. A mix of ignite keynote sessions, exchange of best practice and case studies, open discussions purposed to connect people, and support content focused on self-care for staff, was of key importance given resilience is cultivating a host of strategies that use our bodies and our minds. ‘Resilience is not just the product of being physically well-fuelled but also feeding the way you think’ (Philosophy at Work, 2021).

It will be no surprise to readers that many colleagues including myself pounced on the opportunity to share our contributions to the resilience agenda.

Strengthening the educator and graduate pipeline

As example, an ‘Exchange Session’ entitled ‘Entrepreneurial Resilience’ delivered by myself and Dr Nisa Omar (IUMW) and supported by Associate Professor Kathryn Penaluna (IICED) shared detail of the EntreCompeEdu online CPD project, which has helped strengthen the resilience and adaptability of our local Dafen Primary School. Dr Nisa shared the multi-discipline faculty learner journeys from UWTSD’s partner International University of Malaya-Wales (IUMW). Strengthening both the educator and graduate pipeline, with a healthy feedforward and exchange between what’s happening on the ground in the wider context of education, and new research and practice with the universities and project stakeholders, the CPD has proven to take entrepreneurship vision and learner competence development to new heights.

To thrive in a post-covid world where technology is increasingly pervasive and societal problems are fast-changing and wide-raging, individuals and collective entities need to develop new competences that secure their adaptability and resilience (McCallum et al., 2020). Cognitive and behavioural entrepreneurial traits can foster the ability to adjust to new circumstances and to contribute to long-term sustainability through innovation (Briggs et al., 2010). Psychological resilience developed from strengthening entrepreneurial skills, attitudes and, behaviours foster organizational resilience, entrepreneurial firms, and individuals, as well as enhancing regional economic or community resilience (Korber & McNaughton. 2017). 

Harmonious Entrepreneurship for resilient communities

Professor David A. Kirby (Advisor, IICED), Paul Ranson (BLC) and I also contributed to the ‘Connect and Exchange’ stream with our Harmonious Entrepreneurship Society (HES) endeavour to develop resilient communities by creating new ventures that address economic, environmental, humane, and social issues and are in harmony with local and global ecosystems. Paul Ranson completed our session with a toe-tapping and eye-catching session with the ‘SHape of Resilience’, with ‘contributions’ from Professor Brian Cox, Will Smith, and Ed Sheeran to explain the pivot to EntroComp (a portmanteau of competence and entropy).

The energetic conversations that surrounded both these sessions was very rewarding and illuminated for us, a key ingredient for resilience – surrounding oneself with empathetic and optimistic, flexible thinkers. A good team will carry you far!

Thank you to Nisa, Kathryn, David, and Paul, for being so focused and so much fun.

Thank you also to the Nexus + organising team, a special shout out to Victoria Watkins, Sara Mills & Dr Mirjam Plantinga. So much time and effort goes in to the planning and execution of these events!

“For the mind adapts and converts everything that impedes its activities into something that advances its purpose, and a hindrance to its action becomes an aid, and an obstacle on its path helps it on its way.” -Marcus Aurelius

Previous Nexus posts

Nexus 2020

Nexus 2019

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