Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) hosted the second international teaching week Global Faculty Week 2021 organised by the International Relations Department (IRD), where over 60 lecturers from 25 countries gave lectures to hundreds of students in all the faculties and different study programmes. KTU lecturers gladly agreed to integrate the lectures of foreign professors into the modules they teach.
Compared to the first Global Faculty Week in 2019, this year’s virtual format allowed the organisers to attract more participants. Neither the time difference nor the unstable internet connection prevented Asian, European and Latin American teachers from taking part in the event and delivering professionally prepared, interesting lectures on a wide range of topics.
New Connections for the Future Projects
This event aimed to enrich the content of study programmes with an international component and to allow teachers to meet colleagues they already know, as well as to establish new contacts for future science and study projects.
“The geography of participants who virtually came to the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Design (MIDF) this year is quite wide: from Estonia to Brazil. This is a great opportunity for teachers to engage in international mobility. All guests actively took part in meetings, seminars and lectures, and they look forward to the future event. We also hope that the lectures of foreign teachers will motivate our students to try exchange studies in other higher education institutions”, said Regita Bendikienė, Associate Professor of KTU MIDF, who hopes that this IRD event will become a great tradition of the University.
The participants of the event state that the International Teaching Week is beneficial for both teachers and students.
“This event gives students the opportunity to see and hear other teachers, a different approach to the same problems, as well as to find the answers to the questions of interest. I was very impressed by the students’ activity in asking questions and was pleasantly surprised by their curiosity and understanding. This event allowed us to strengthen the existing international relations”, said Vaidotas Marozas, the Head of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at KTU, adding that even in a virtual event it is possible to make new acquaintances.
According to Marozas, it is important to support and nurture the newborn international connections, which is especially important in the world of science because different experiences and ideas create new things. Such connections can later produce significant results as joint publications, books, new projects and friends from different educational institutions. This year professor Marozas received guests from Spain and the United Kingdom.
From History to the Lithuanian Archaic Polyphonic Chants
Throughout the week, the participants could not only read their lectures but also take part in an informative cultural programme, introducing various activities of the University, Lithuanian history and cultural traditions. Also, KTU lecturers and students could make a comparison between the study organisation and the presentation of relevant science and technology problems at KTU and those at foreign universities.
“The lecturing methods used by foreign lecturers are like those we use at KTU, so case analysis or problem-based analysis is already commonplace. It is important for the students that the modules deal with the relevant areas and problems, and similar questions are equally important abroad. Teachers have made new acquaintances, therefore in the future further cooperation in both fields of study and science is possible with the opportunity to visit a foreign institution or complete an internship, ”said Associate Professor Virginijus Baranauskas from KTU Faculty of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEF) who handled the visits of seven colleagues.
The foreign guests enjoyed an interesting program of the Global Faculty Week 2021, actively took part in informative lectures and discussions, and even tried to virtually to sing Lithuanian folk songs together.
“At the event, we received a set of useful insights and perspectives. It was interesting to learn about the ECIU project and how the university handles the patenting process and deals with licensing issues. In the same way, students and teachers shared their experiences and ideas for improvement. We also got acquainted with Lithuanian culture, together we even tried to sing. Lithuanians are enthusiastic about their culture and work, and thus undoubtedly contribute to the success of KTU. I learned many interesting things I would like to see applied in my country as well”, said the teacher from Brazil Joao Gilberto Mendes Dos Reis, who is looking forward to returning to Lithuania and visiting the places that fascinated him during the first event.
The International Teaching Week not only adds to the visibility of KTU on the international stage but also helps to establish and strengthen cooperation between universities as well as promotes the name of the country.
“I think such a great event should be organized by all universities. It is extremely important to students how teachers from different countries view the same issue. I am glad to have the opportunity to strengthen our relations with KTU colleagues, with whom we started our cooperation during the first event, ”said Lazar Kovačević, a lecturer from Serbia.
Virtual lectures in English were attended by first and second-year master’s, doctoral and bachelor’s students. The organizers hope that the next event will not be constrained by quarantine conditions and will be held on campus.