The Arqus Academy Week: a step forward for the Arqus community and beyond

Arqus

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10/May/2021

During the first week of May, the Arqus Academy Week, organized by Vilnius University (VU), took place. The event attracted some five hundred members of the Arqus Alliance university community, who had the opportunity to learn more about Arqus activities, participate in interesting seminars, workshops and discussions. The week ended with an exclusive discussion with representatives of ministries from the seven countries of the Arqus Alliance universities, where the development of joint interdisciplinary study programmes and other collaborative actions was discussed.

“The Arqus Academy Week not only brought together representatives of the 7 Arqus universities, but also European and global institutions and governmental organizations to discuss the most relevant topics in European higher education, and to share knowledge and insights on the future of studies and research. Participants took advantage of learning more about the Alliance and its mobility, multicultural cooperation and many other opportunities for university communities”, Artūras Vasiliauskas, Pro-Rector for partnerships at Vilnius University says.

Throughout the week, the main achievements of Arqus and the importance of the activities for the cooperating universities, stakeholders and the public were presented. During various discussions and seminars, 846 participants from 99 institutions from different parts of the world attended the events. Most participants were administrative staff (42%), researchers and lecturers (32%) and a large proportion of students (21.5%) also participated actively.

The events have covered key issues, such as the importance of academic freedom, multilingualism and multiculturalism, and the virtual mobility tools that are so prevalent today and will no doubt have an impact in the future. The events also focused on the methods of cooperation used in preparing and encouraging Arqus students to pursue their education and careers in a globalized world, the impact of education in solving fundamental societal problems, and the role of women in science.

The highlight of the last day and of the whole Arqus Academy Week was a special discussion with representatives of ministries from the seven countries of the Arqus Alliance universities, moderated by Prof Dorothy Kelly, Coordinator of the Arqus Alliance and Vice-rector for Internationalization at the University of Granada. Emphasizing the Alliance’s desire to promote student-centred, research-based learning through joint and flexible curricula, panellists discussed the development of joint interdisciplinary study programmes that open up the possibility of a common perspective for programme design and evaluation.
“We all know that the universities of the future must be shaped today, and that is precisely what we have been discussing the past few days and working on for already nineteen months, laying the foundations, despite the complicated circumstances provoked by the pandemic, which has of course impacted the way we work, but has also taught us a lot, and certainly has not prevented us from moving forward in our overall objectives”, adds Prof Kelly.

Besides the Opening event, the seminar “The professional profile of the Research Managers and Administrators: state of the art and future perspectives” received special attention, focusing on the resources, in terms of human capital, that are involved in delivering high-level research support at European Universities. More than 150 participants attended the “Co-Creating Citizen Science” workshop, which focused on values of citizen science, cooperation, openness and participation.

The Arqus Academy Week 2021 aimed to engage the communities of the seven universities – faculty, administrative staff from all levels and students across the Arqus Alliance – in discussing a renewed vision for higher education; to exchange thoughts and ideas on the various activities of the Arqus Alliance; to present achievements of each university and to discover the areas of interest in cooperating within the Alliance.

More info on the Arqus Academy Week webpage.

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