Global university leaders convene at McMaster to tackle key higher education challenges 

14 people standing outdoors smiling for a photo

Delegates from global universities were joined by McMaster leadership, including hosts Saher Fazilat, Vice-President (Operations and Finance) and Matheus Grasseli, Deputy Provost. (Photo by Georgia Kirkos/McMaster University)

Administrative leaders from universities around the world gathered at McMaster last month to explore building more sustainable campuses, harnessing artificial intelligence, enhancing international student recruitment, and addressing several other key priorities.  

On May 21 and 22, representatives from the Universitas 21 (U21) Chief Operating Officers/Registrars network visited McMaster to discuss common challenges and learn more about McMaster’s student services, operations and plans for the future.  

U21 is a unique global network that brings together world-leading and research-intensive universities, all committed to the value of collaboration and internationalization.  

“Hosting the U21 COO network at McMaster has been an enriching experience for all involved,” said Saher Fazilat, McMaster’s Vice-President of Operations. “Through these global partnerships, we can share insights, learn from each other, and collectively advance the standards of university operations.” 

Representatives attended from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Lund University in Sweden, the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, UNSW Sydney in Australia, the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the University of Birmingham in the U.K.   

“The opportunity to share in McMaster’s sustainability and innovation aspirations reminded me why working in this sector is so fulfilling,” said Libby Stratford, Chief Financial Officer at UNSW Sydney.   

“Meeting my colleagues from across the globe and understanding that our shared landscapes make the opportunity to continue our conversation with U21 so valuable.” 

A highlight of the visit was a tour of McMaster Innovation Park (MIP) to gain a firsthand look at how McMaster is fostering industry-academic partnerships and creating innovative companies. Delegates then toured the new 10 Bay residence with representatives from the School of Graduate Studies and Housing and Conference Services.  

Knowledge Sharing and Networking 

The visit was designed to facilitate a deep understanding of the diverse operations challenges and solutions implemented across universities worldwide. Attendees engaged in comprehensive discussions and presentations that highlighted innovative approaches to university management, sustainability initiatives and student services. 

“This marked a significant milestone in fostering collaboration between McMaster University and universities globally,” said Matheus Grasseli, McMaster’s Deputy Provost. “The event underscored the value of international cooperation in addressing shared challenges.” 

As universities continue to navigate an ever-changing global landscape, such collaborations are essential in fostering growth, sharing knowledge, and building a more sustainable and inclusive future for higher education worldwide. 

Related Stories