Asst. Prof. Dr. Thakerng Wongsirichot, PSU Vice President for International Affairs, discussing the continuity of the cooperation with international partners during the pandemic situation of COVID-19, said that, before the pandemic PSU’s international affairs team used to visit our partners in their own countries. However, when the outbreak occurred, we continued to build the relationship with those institutions by using the digital technology to communicate and create activities, including the use of a program to analyze the suitability and prioritize the cooperation with new institutions and various networks.
In general, PSU focuses on teaching, research, academic services and preserving the local arts and culture. In order to lead the university to excellence and to be known internationally, its international affairs must move forward using the digital technology in all missions, as for example in establishing relationships with academic institutions abroad, especially for research and innovation cooperation. PSU uses “SciVal”, a platform designed primarily for research management. It is a system that measures and monitors the research performance of an organization by using published research data and citations from research articles published in the Scopus database, to analyze the suitability of new partners to collaborate with, such as the outstanding areas and researchers of an institution, in order to find the possible connecting points in the future.
In addition, PSU has also developed the quality of its students and staff towards internationalization with the PSU Open Mobility project, which aims to develop its personnel via online courses offered through international MOOC systems, as well as to link university’s courses with those offered by partner institutions abroad, which recently reached more than 20 courses.
Vice President Thakerng said that internationalization was generally viewed as traveling and leaving the country, but with many restrictions during the pandemic, most people at PSU could not travel to have international experience. This problem can be replaced by bringing the internationalization into PSU or Internationalization at Home (IAH), as for example by inviting experts from abroad to teach at university in an online format. Therefore, there are online seminars for students coordinated by invited foreign professors and researchers. In 2021, more than 100 foreign professors joined this project. After these seminars finish, the academic relationship will continue by creating activities such as joint research, or activities related to the internationalization, such as those aimed at the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, like for example preserving the marine and coastal environment.
“In the future, the digital technology and international affairs must go hand in hand. Future courses will require more online learning. People's behavior will change due to reduced social activities. But, we can't be alone. It is important to connect with academic partners and the international communication is becoming more digital. There must be more support for digital communication. The advantage is that we can organize activities more often because there is no travel constraint,”
said Vice President Thakerng.