In the beginning of March Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) hosted the Steering Committee for Innovation in Teaching and Learning of European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) for the first time.
“No institution or research centre can have all the necessary knowledge. Therefore, participation in various international networks strengthens any university. Our task and duty is to help our governments to understand how important is their support for these networks”, said Mark Brown, Chairman at the ECIU Steering Committee for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.
During the meetings at KTU, our University’s and ECIU representatives discussed various aspects and challenges in study process. KTU Vice-Rector for studies Kristina Ukvalbergienė introduced study organisation and management processes, study programmes improvement plans, the functions of study programmes’ directors and study committees. ECIU representative in Brussels Olga Wessels was talking about the innovations in higher education initiated by European Commission.
Studies Quality Assurance and Development Director Jurgita Vizgirdaitė introduced 3+2 study model currently being implemented at KTU, which is common for European education system, but innovative for Lithuania.
“The new study model is aiming to train the competences in a chosen area of studies together with general skills. All the graduates will be technology-savvy, will have high literacy in mathematics and academic writing, will speak several languages, will be able to learn independently and will understand the importance of sustainability, philosophy and ethics”, said Dr Vizgirdaitė.
While renewing study curriculum, carrying out the study process reorganisation and implementing the 3+2 study model KTU is collaborating with experts from Aalborg University (Denmark). KTU is learning from good practice: from University of Twente (Netherlands), which has recently implemented Twente educational model based on project activities and from Monterrey Technological University (Mexico), which has implemented challenge solving based study model Tec21.
According to Martin Velasquez, Director of Academic Affairs at Monterrey Technological University, cooperation and communication skills, information literacy, creativity, citizenship and problem solving are necessary in the 21st Century’s education.
“Our Tec21 study model is based on solving real challenges while working in teams. It is different from usual studies, but the students like the model as they can see how they will implement the knowledge obtained at the university in real life”, said Dr Velasquez.
Sharing experience while aiming for the best results is the invaluable advantage of participating in ECIU network. By working together, the ECIU members can influence processes and changes not only in their own institutions, but also initiate discussions on funding programmes and other issues on European level. ECIU network enables the researchers from member universities to participate in common projects, to take part in internships and other study and research activities in partner institutions.
In the framework of ECIU network KTU already has two twin study programmes: Mechanical Engineering bachelor’s is being implemented together with universities of Aveiro (Portugal), Linkoping (Sweden), Stavanger (Norway), Monterrey Technological and Twente. Communications and Information Technologies Management studies are being implemented together with University of Twente.
ECIU member since 2016, KTU is the only Lithuanian university belonging to the global network of innovative universities.