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European Universities on national radio 4

Berlin, 7 July 2020. The fourth edition of the mini series „European Universities“ has been aired in the educational radio magazine “Campus & Karriere” of Germany’s national radio channel Deutschlandradio.

Episode 4:
UUU editor Tino Brömme speaks with Daniela Trani in Maastricht, director of the European University Alliance YUFE, and Dominic Orr, Kiron Open Education, about a virtual campus and student-centred education.

 

UUU wants to thanks all alliance members and all you beautiful people of being so frank and patient and available to explain, especially in these stressful times of restrictions, home office and online work. Thanks to you it was possible to make this radio programme and to develop an interesting format that mirrors and accompanies the alliances‘ genisis.

The producers of the programme – who are part of the creative process just like all the interview partners – are, apart of the author Tino Brömme, sound and editing genius Andreas Hagelüken in Freiburg who normally makes sophisticated radio plays and sound installations (randfunk). Also aboard are the two German voices Marco Höhmann, an actor, commedian and project manager, as well as the brilliant Matia Sprenger who just finished her high school diploma with honors.

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News Podcast

European Universities on national radio 3

Berlin, 22 June 2020. The proposal to condense some of the interviews conducted with university staff, students, administrators and experts about the EU-funded European Universities Initiative — and about modern university development in general — resonated well in the educational radio magazine “Campus & Karriere” of Germany’s national radio channel Deutschlandradio.

Episode 3:
The university alliance CHARM-EU presents itself. Our reporter speaks with Katalin Németh, internationalisation officer of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and Gilles Subra, researcher and coordinator at the University of Montpellier. Both universities are members of the CHARM EU Alliance. The alliance’s structural feature of inter-university work packages and task forces is being explained.

 

UUU wants to thanks all alliance members and all you beautiful people of being so frank and patient and available to explain, especially in these stressful times of restrictions, home office and online work. Thanks to you it was possible to make this radio programme and to develop an interesting format that mirrors and accompanies the alliances‘ genisis.

The producers of the programme – who are part of the creative process just like all the interview partners – are, apart of the author Tino Brömme, sound and editing genius Andreas Hagelüken in Freiburg who normally produces sophisticated radio plays and sound installations (randfunk). Also aboard are the two German voices Marco Höhmann, an actor, commedian and project manager, as well as the brilliant Matia Sprenger who just finished her high school diploma with honors.

The upcoming episode of the radio series will feature Daniela Trani from the alliance YUFE, and Dominic Orr from YUFE associate partner KIRON Open Higher Education.

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag Photos for social media can be downloaded here: Ep. 1 Forlino | Ep. 2 Maria & Genís | Ep. 3 Gilles and Katalin | Podcast studio with author Tino Brömme

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News Podcast

European Universities on national radio 2

UUU has launched a radio programme on German national radio – Deutschlandradio – presenting and discussing European Universities. The second of four episodes has now been aired.

Berlin, 17 June 2020. June has been a good month for the United Universities of Europe project (UUU). The proposal to condense some of the interviews conducted with university staff, students, administrators and experts about the EU-funded European Universities Initiative – and about modern university development in general – resonated well in the educational radio magazine “Campus & Karriere” of Germany’s national radio channel Deutschlandradio.

Episode 2: A conversation with two students, Maria Michailova, Russian exchange student at the University of Tampere, Finland, a member of the alliance ECIU, and with Genís Vives, student representative at the University of Barcelona, a partner of CHARM-EU. The students show how drastically different was (and is) the emergency situation under Corona restrictions in different countries.

 

The producers of the programme – who are part of the creative process just like all the interview partners – are, apart of the author Tino Brömme, sound and editing genius Andreas Hagelüken in Freiburg who normally produces sophisticated radio plays and sound installations (randfunk). Also aboard are the two German voices Marco Höhmann, an actor, commedian and project manager, as well as the brilliant Matia Sprenger who just finished her high school diploma with honors.

The upcoming episodes of the radio series will feature Katalin Németh, internationalisation officer of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (CHARM-EU), and Gilles Subra, researcher and coordinator at the University of Montpellier (UNA EUROPA); Daniela Trani from the alliance YUFE, and Dominic Orr from YUFE associate partner KIRON Open Higher Education.

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag Photos for social media can be downloaded here: Ep. 1 Forlino | Ep. 2 Maria & Genís | Ep. 3 Gilles and Katalin | Podcast studio with author Tino Brömme

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Podcast Project News

European Universities on national radio

UUU has launched a radio programme on German national radio, Deutschlandradio presenting and discussing European Universities. The first of four episodes has just been aired.

Berlin, 15 June 2020. June has been a good month for the United Universities of Europe project (UUU). The proposal to condense some of the interviews conducted with university staff, students, administrators and experts about the EU-funded European Universities Initiative – and about modern university development in general – resonated well in the educational radio magazine “Campus & Karriere” of Germany’s national radio channel Deutschlandradio.

Episode 1: An interview with Antonella Forlino, prorector for internationalisation at the University of Pavia, member of the university alliance EC2U. Prof. Forlino gives an account of her difficulties to switch to online teaching and the university’s response to the Corona pandemic.

 

UUU wants to thanks all alliance members and all you beautiful people of being so frank and patient and available to explain, especially in these stressful times of restrictions, home office and online work. Thanks to you it was possible to make this radio programme and to develop an interesting format that mirrors and accompanies the alliances‘ genisis.

The producers of the programme – who are part of the creative process just like all the interview partners – are, apart of the author Tino Brömme, sound and editing genius Andreas Hagelüken in Freiburg who normally produces sophisticated radio plays and sound installations (randfunk). Also aboard are the two German voices Marco Höhmann, an actor, commedian and project manager, as well as the brilliant Matia Sprenger who just finished her high school diploma with honors.

The upcoming episodes of the radio series will feature Maria Michailova, Russian exchange student at the University of Tampere, Finland (ECIU), Genís Vives, student representative at the University of Barcelona, Katalin Németh, internationalisation officer of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and Gilles Subra, researcher and coordinator at the University of Montpellier (all three from the alliance CHARM-EU); Daniela Trani from the alliance YUFE, and Dominic Orr from YUFE associate partner KIRON Open Higher Education.

 

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag Photos for social media can be downloaded here: Ep. 1 Forlino | Ep. 2 Maria & Genís | Ep. 3 Gilles and Katalin | Podcast studio with author Tino Brömme

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Podcast

Reinventing the University – François Taddei


Today we have François Taddei, in Paris, on the line. Monsieur Taddei is an educator, a teacher, he has co-founded a research and learning centre in Paris called CRI, which holds an UNESCO chair for ‘learning science’. He was also a counselor for one of the new European university networks funded by the European Commission.

Monsieur Taddei, what are these networks or alliances about?

Universities are being challenged who used to have a sort of a monopoly on places of both construction of knowledge and sharing of knowledge. But today there are many other places where you can do either of these two things.

So the specificity of what a university is and what it should be, is challenged. And I think the European Universities Initiative is one that is inviting universities to rethink their mission, what role they can play for society, what added value they can offer to their students and to the researchers and to the society in general.

Is this initiative a continuation of the Bologna Process? Another push for more academic mobility?

It’s certainly part of it. But, you know, the same package includes also more money for Erasmus which is definitely to increase mobility. I think, this would not be enough, there could have been other ways of doing it.

These European Universities Initiative, is it more than a ‘universities based in Europe’ initiative? Is it just trying to get a few more ranks into the Shanghai Ranking or any other international ranking? Or is there something more substantial? There has been quite a lot of debate.

But I think that, what it could be, is the will to include other dimensions that are not typical of universities.

What makes this different from other EU higher education funding policies?

The discussion we are having is: Should we focus on the universities of the future or on the future of the university? Is it universities trying to think themselves (in) their own future, or should they prepare their students and the citizens for the future? – Which is somewhat different a perspective.

Those questions are very open and I like the fact that we are invited to open those questions. What I do know is that the applicants, even those who didn’t get the money, say that they were so pleased that there was such a call. The interesting part is that they are willing to experiment with different models. And that’s the most promising, because in a fast changing world if you don’t evolve you will be obsolete before you know it.

I understand, however, the EU call is all about buzz words like ‘internationalisation’ and ‘innovation’ – how can that ever lead to pedagogic experimentation or student participation?

There are gonna be 7 rounds for this call, and the first round was organised rather quickly as attempt to see what will come back. They were pleased to see that many universities were interested in going for this. Of course universities, by default, would like to be better funded and by default would be happy to be higher in the Shanghai ranking.

But the real question is, what universities are for? There is very little incentive to discuss these issues. The Shanghai ranking is very uni-model view of the world. It’s like when you take every human and rank them according to their ability to run a hundred meters, but not the thousand other dimensions of human life.

So of course by default some people say, ok, let’s do what the Americans are doing. We want to compete with the Americans, we want to compete with Singapur – But does Europe want to look like America or Asia – or does it want to invent its own model? And I think there is ever more people who are willing to engage in that conversation, certainly the students.

Was this the idea at the Sorbonne in 2017, when the French president Emanuel Macron first proposed to build university networks?

I don’t have first-hand information. The only thing I know is that he is someone who deeply believes in Europe. And who believes deeply in education. He didn’t have a very precise agenda, He is willing to prepare Europe for the future, and he believes that universities are the place where discussions can be happening.

Clearly Erasmus is one of the big successes of Europe. But how do you go beyond that academic tourism? And I think that he was clever enough to to over-prescribe, feeling that there was an interesting potential there. If he had over-prescribed it, he would have forbidden many possible dimensions of evolution. Whereas by inviting – and I think that’s what the European Commission is trying to do – by inviting universities to look for their own path, the conversation became much more interesting.

One of the dimensions I remember discussing with the Commission was, you know, more and more people are dissatisfied with Europe and dissatisfied with elites. And when Europe is investing in universities in an elitistic perspective, you are going to dissatisfy many people.

So the only way that there can be a gobal benefit is if those experiments are well documented, put in an open source mode, and where other universities and the rest of society are invited to take advantage in these experimentations. So, the EU Commission money is not so much, but if it is combined with the national level, then we can hope that there is an impact that is a systemic impact.

The first 17 university networks have been chosen in July 2019, the second call will be published in October. Are there new developments? What is the kind of project that has the chance to be successful in the future?

I didn’t have time to go to their last meeting. But one of my colleagues went there. He was very pleased abot the discussion that was happening there. What was discussed then – rather than ask the people to do the impossible, make sure that you become good in 100 dimensions at once – was to say, pick one or two dimensions where you really think that your consortia can make a difference, and can make real experiments, and can prototype something that could be truely useful. Then make sure that, whatever your prototype is available to everyone else by documenting it and making it in a sort of open-source way.

This way there might be a hundred different ways of approaching the question, but all of them would be available. And rather than enforcing one model only, we would offer tens of experiments to universities that would be willing to take the challenge because it’s closer to their specificities and local environment.

So, let’s see the new ideas that university networks will come up with in the next years. Thank you, Monsieur Taddei, for talking with us today.

Tino Brömme spoke with François Taddei via Skype on August 28, 2019 © ESNA 2019

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Podcast

European Universities Unite – Olga Wessels

Olga Wessels

Just as the European Commission had announced the results of the ‘European Universities Initiative’ in June 2019, we talked with Olga Wessels, who is a delegate of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities, or ECIU, in Brussels. The ECIU is one of the largest university alliances awarded funding via the initiative.

 

Mrs Wessels, what is ECIU?

The ECIU already exists for over 20 years, we started in 1997. It’s an alliance of fourteen universities today. They are all universities with strong links to their region, and that’s really in their DNA, innovation is in their DNA, and I think that’s what makes the ECIU a very special consortium of young and entrepreneurial universities.

What are the core aims of the ECIU alliance?

Back in 1997, it was not very done, to say that you work together as a university with businesses and industry. Back then, they were really pioneering entrepreneurship. Students can work on real life challenges and share best practices but also failures, so they can learn from each other. You ask industry, or the government, or societal organisations for a real life challenge, and then they ask students in a group to work on this real life challenge, to come up with a solution based on the knowledge that they achieved during their studies. We really believe that the future of universities is challenge-based universities, it’s strong European collaboration.

Moving on now to talk about the European Universities Initiative, what made Macron come up with this idea and why did the EU and the EC decide to get on board with Macron’s idea?

It was the famous Sorbonne speech by Macron where we first learned about the European University concept and, in this speech, he gave his vision for Europe. And what you see, if you look at today’s universities in Europe, especially after Brexit when the UK is leaving the EU, if you look at the rankings, there are not many highly ranked European universities in these rankings. So we need to build competitiveness of the universities, and how to do this, well, why not make them work together so they can learn and build their expertise?

So I believe that initiated the idea of Macron, and then a few months later, there was the Gothenburg summit with all the heads of government and, there, the heads of government agreed that the idea of a European University, the idea of Macron was a very good idea, and they asked the European Commission to implement this, and in the following months, the Commission was in touch with Member States and with stakeholders to make this abstract idea of European Universities a real call under the Erasmus+ programme.

The ECIU alliance was one of those chosen to receive a share of the €85 million funding. Being the largest university alliance involved in the initiative, how much money will be available to your network?

It is €5 million and it doesn’t matter if you are an alliance of 6 universities or an alliance of 14. For us it will be spread out quite thinly, but for us, to apply with a smaller alliance and exclude some of our members that have been with us for 20 years now just would not make sense. The downside, indeed, is that we have to put more of our own funds in, to make this a reality. So all universities need to co-fund. We also ask the national ministries to have some co-funding available.

What are the ECIU’s plans now that you know you have been awarded funding?

We have three years to set up a European University. The first important milestone for us is November, because then we will launch our ECIU University, and then the next year we will accept the very first challenges from society, which our very first students can work on. We will start with very small micro-challenges, and we will slowly build this in the coming years to hopefully in the future have whole study degrees and semester where students can work on really big challenges.

Finally, how can universities and, in particular, students benefit from a European University?

That is a very important question. I truly believe that international experience is very good for students. They learn entrepreneurship, creativity, self-confidence from studying abroad, learning about different cultures, and meeting new people from different nationalities.

Moreover, I think that our universities can learn a lot from each other. For example, the University of Twente has very strong study programmes but it can be that they are missing one type of expertise that Barcelona offers. So why not work closely together and join education in a big platform where students can pick and choose the courses that they really want to do. So, what we offer is more flexibility, more freedom to choose whatever they student wants, and big challenges they can work on.

George Oliver spoke with Olga Wessels via Skype on June 28, 2019 © ESNA