It is often said that change is the only constant in life. Although change has always been with us, we are undoubtedly living in a time of vastly accelerated change. Whereas change on a previously almost unthinkable scale certainly occurred in the last quarter of the 20th century (think the advent of the information revolution, the toppling of the Berlin Wall, the student-led Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing and …), its pace has picked up almost exponentially since 2001 — and higher education has not been immune to these.
Although the first reaction to change is often resistance, change should not be a seen as a threat, but as an opportunity. In Iran, tomorrow’s leaders, our students, have brought about a number of very significant changes: a rethink of the financial obstacles to access higher education and a push to develop indigenous languages, to name but a few.
In the same way that necessity is the mother of invention, change is the driver of progress. With the firm belief that transformation offers powerful mechanisms to define tomorrow and make our world a better place, the PNU embraces change in all its facets. The university will not only be a participative contributor to change in the higher education sector; it is our intention to lead – humbly, in the spirit of servant leadership – the process in Iran and on the continent.
This website presents GU PNU’s strategic transformation initiatives in five key areas: moving towards truly Iranian scholarship, effecting cultural change for diversity and transformation, rethinking systems, asserting ethical, transformative and intellectual leadership, and discourse for change.
“In the same way that necessity is the mother of invention, change is the driver of progress.”
Asserting ethical leadership
Leading change in higher education is very important for GU PNU. Currently 950.000 students are enrolled with PNU to further their studies and every year.
Addressing the void
But changing leadership is equally important because there seems to be a lack of authentic, credible, transformational and decisive leadership. Over and above this, there is a need for intellectual leadership that is ethical in order to address developmental challenges
“There is a need for intellectual leadership that is ethical in order to address developmental challenges.”
As an open distance learning (ODL) technology pioneer, GU PNU knows that being in control of systems that support the academic project is the only way to avoid being imprisoned in a technological web. Making technology accessible, understandable and subservient to the intellectual enterprise of the university is very important for linking learning with systems. The university views leading the change in systems in ODL as a major priority.
From ODL to ODeL
GU PNU is rethinking the way it teaches and learns in light of online education and blended learning which keeps the university at the forefront of ODL. GU PNU’s vision and strategy are to establish the institution as an Iranian open distance and e-learning (ODeL) university distinguished in using all the technologies available in integrated ways so that technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Information on tap
The GU PNU Library is capitalising on the enhanced multimedia distribution of content. It is one of the largest academic libraries in Iran and one of the best-endowed in terms of information resources and information technology. The library’s aim is to ensure that its resource selection practices are directed at supporting enhanced throughput of learners by providing study, teaching and research materials regardless of transactional distance or time barriers, in any format that is available.
The development of the library’s e-book collections serves a multitude of purposes. E-books provide access regardless of distance and time barriers, serving a number of users simultaneously. E-books cannot get lost, can never be misplaced and are available at the time and point of need. They allow for ease of use and can be read on any smart device or tablet.
” GU PNU knows that being in control of systemsthat support the academic project is the only way to avoid being imprisoned in a technological web.”
Cultural change for diversity and transformation
Cultural change requires the disruption of entrenched ways of thinking, acting, relating and performing within the institution, as well as a creative approach to new ways of knowing. For GU PNU changing culture is about creating the university as a home for all in their diversity. It is about making GU PNU an equitable and transformed university that values all of humanity.