Aurora representatives met in Amsterdam to discuss perspectives on collaboration

At the close of 2022, members of the European university alliance Aurora, of which Palacký University is a member, discussed further possibilities and prospects for cooperation in higher education. The two-day meeting was hosted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Palacký University was represented at the meeting by Rector Martin Procházka and Selma Porobić, Aurora’s institutional coordinator for UP.

The agenda of the meeting in the Netherlands included several meetings and discussions of representatives of the individual universities and alliance organs. Among other things, the General Council of Rectors discussed the possibilities of further funding of the Alliance and agreed on a proposal to be sent to the European Commission in January as part of the European Universities Call. If accepted, it should ensure the active participation of Palacký University and its partners in the ambitious European university alliances project in the years to come. “I believe that the European Commission will approve the submitted proposal, and thus we will be able to continue the existing cooperation as well as further develop these relationships so that our schools, and especially our students, can benefit from them,” said UP Rector Procházka.

UP Rector added that the active role of Palacký University, which joined Aurora in 2020, was acknowledged and resulted in success in the past year. At the spring meeting of universities in Innsbruck, Palacký University transformed its existing associate membership into full-fledged status and became a member of the global university consortium Aurora Network. This gives UP the opportunity to participate in decision-making and closer collaboration within this university network. The Aurora Network focuses on fulfilling Aurora’s global mission, which extends beyond the borders of Europe and the initiatives of European universities. It is primarily concerned with international aid and cooperation with non-European partners, especially in education and research. (You can find more details about this here.)

The possibilities of connecting the Aurora Network with the EU-funded Aurora Alliance and its application were then discussed separately by the Board of Rectors, Aurora’s top decision-making body, which consists of four selected rectors, including UP’s. “We have agreed that the Aurora Network has great added value as a platform for further cooperation between our universities in research and its evaluation, as well as for global outreach beyond the EU,” added Procházka.    

Text: Ivana Pustějovská

Looking back at the European Universities Forum

On the 1st and 2nd of December, Palacký University Olomouc organised the European Universities Forum. This high-level event, organised in the light of the Czech EU presidency, provided its participants an opportunity to discuss and assess the role of European Universities Initiative pilot phase in the Czech higher education context and within the European aims of building the Higher Education Area.

This forum was opened by the Czech Deputy-Minister for Education Radka Wildova, who stressed the importance of European Universities, which is a priority for the ministry, and praised the Aurora Alliance for its excellent implementation of the initiative’s lofty ambitions.

Following the Deputy-Minister, Rector Martin Prochazka’s opening speech pointed in the direction of expressing the importance of European university Alliances in the national higher-education framework as well as overall progress of Aurora Alliance inseparable from institutional contributions of each dedicated member of the Aurora team working together. He noted the excellent feedback received from the Commission for Aurora results so far, who described Aurora as an Alliance that “has made remarkable progress and can serve as a model of what is possible to achieve as an alliance.”

We welcome you to take a look at the aftermovie of the event. Below you can find a detailed report of the various panels and workshops.

Day 1 – High-level Panels

Panel 1: State of Multilateral Collaboration and Support to European University Initiative

This opening panel was moderated by Michal Malacka, Vice-Rector for Strategy and Regional Affairs at Palacký University Olomouc and featured contributions from Ioana Dewandeler, Higher Education Policy Officer at the European Commission; Emmanuelle Gardan, Director of the Coimbra Group of Universities; Tilmann Märk, Rector of the University of Innsbruck; Thomas Estermann, Director of the European Universities Association; and Thomas Baumgartner, Aurora Institutional Coordinator at the University of Innsbruck.

The panel focused on the significance of the European University Initiative as a flagship program of European Higher Education with synergies concerning the European Research and Innovation Area, and its overall contribution to the European Strategy for Universities. It brought to the fore importance of a supportive multilateral environment for European University Alliances and their long-term sustainability. European Commission representative, Ioana Dewandeler shared a long-term vision and policy support for the European University Alliances stemming from EU Council’s conclusions in May 2021, stressing both finical support until 2030 but also how being part of Alliances contributes to strong and diverse universities which are crucial to the growth of higher education institutions in Europe aligned with European University Strategy and discussed priority areas such as inclusion, student-centered approach, international cooperation, future proof skills and green and digital transition. Rector Märk, representing both Aurora Alliance and his institution reminded us of institutional integration of the alliance results as a way forward to achieving a real transformative impact across our universities. Making alliance European level results strategically embedded within our universities as a way forward towards achieving the aimed goals of institutional relevance. Thomas Estermann pointed out right governance models – aligning institutional governance with overarching Alliance one and mainlining enthusiastic group of people running the programme brining n board more and more academic staff as crucial to continuity needed to achieve real change (bottom-up matching the top down). Other panelists discussed EUN Alliances being role models for the entire sector, inspiring institutions who are not part of the initiative to promote the necessary changes in society.

Panel 2:  Ambitions, Challenges & Best Practices of Pioneering European University Alliances

In this second high-level panel, moderated by Roman Klepetko and Lenka Procházková of the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research, Michal Malacka, Pavel Doleček, Břetislav Dančák, Zbyněk Škvor, and Snježana Prijić-Samaržija discussed the key elements for the implementation of the joint vision, mission and strategies of the European University Alliances by zooming in on the transformative leadership, co-engagement and governance models in a transnational European context, and with a reference to regional geopolitical challenges, including the war in Ukraine.

The panel was preceded by an opening speech by Tetyana Kaganovska, Rector of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University reminding us how political context can force institutional challenges that need situational ad hoc solutions and how the strength of Alliances already working in the region such as Aurora with Capacity building programme proved to be crucial in urgent responses needed to adapt to new working circumstances.

Rector Snježana Prijić-Samaržija from Rijeka University pointed out how a project-based approach vs an institutional-based approach (from vertical to horizontal) is important and introduced functional integration in the context of decentralised universities as relevant to the success of EUN goals. YUFE Alliance aims for alliance of faculties as well and in that way supports the institutionalisation of the EUN goals. The representatives from CVUT, Masaryk University and Charles University focused on the Czech national context and collaboration across Alliances to create real momentum for change in Czech legislation towards facilitating more institutional internationalisation in education.

The panel concluded how strategic alignment, policy and funding and scaling up programme managerial teams and bilateral institutional partnerships as well as sending off the right signal to active stakeholders in EUN initiative at national and European level is of crucial importance for the overarching ambition of the programme.

Day 2 – Workshops

European University Alliances  – Research and Innovation

This workshop brought together representatives from all Czech alliances focusing on the most tangible results of the Science with and for Society(Horizon2020) project on the institutional level. They discussed the challenges and best practices of aligning our research resources so far across the Alliances members, and how to move ahead beyond the pilot phase. Some conclusions of the workshop are that there are notable key differences and similarities; and that we are all tackling similar challenges: Engagement of researchers, Lack of funding, Cultural differences, and different structures: some universities have centralised bureaus for research support and infrastructures, others are decentralized, managed by individual faculties or other bodies, and National context, co-funding as well as Fragmentation of projects, described by Pavel Senderak as a “project jungle”. However, the joint   discussion of values and objectives showcased a lot of similarities in terms of priority areas such as Sustainability, climate, environment, Health and Wellbeing, Digitalisation, Democracy and citizen engagement, Equality and Inclusion and more as well as common objectives of promoting Open Science, Sharing Infrastructure, increasing Research support collaboration, and aiming towards the HR transformation across the institutions.

European University Alliances and Governance Models –Deepened Collaboration

In this workshop we had project managers from all Czech and guest Alliances engaging together in sharing the transnational cooperation models so far i.e., governance prototypes established, and how do they contribute to the implementation of the common vision, strategy, and activities of the EUN Alliances.

The focus was also on student and staff participation and inter-university campuses after the pilot phase, focusing on improvements in the next phase. Aurora, YUFE, EDUC, EUROTEQ all presented their own innovative and new, systemic, cooperation models with new ideas in moving forward. The discussion has been most fruitful and revealed how project management and governance have been overlapping greatly from the beginning of all alliance programs.

After the pilot phase, most alliances required detailed fleshing out of roles and responsibilities for key positions such as programme directors, institutional coordinators, governing board, and central offices, further defining the mandates and workflows. Daniela Trani, programme director of YUFE presented a governance model which recognised the growth of the project portfolio and with that revision of the governance too. Alma Ágústsdóttir, Aurora Student Council President reminded us of the active role of students in the governance model of Aurora which is also given more prominence in the next phase with the entire task team dedicated to this. Dr Selma Porobic, workshop moderator and Aurora Alliance UP Coordinator concluded the workshop by underlining how governance with decision-making process is a continuous effort with further elaboration needed in all Alliances and how this is in line with the very objectives of creating trans-institutional organisation that EUNs aspire to be.

European University Alliances, Challenged-based Approach and Stakeholder Engagement

The third workshop featured a high-level round table discussion. Led Otakar Fojt, research attaché at the British Embassy and chair of the Palacky University Board of Trustees, the discussion brought together various local and international stakeholders to talk about how European Universities can better collaborate with external stakeholders. 

During the discussion, the group identified the three main levels of stakeholder cooperation: the global; the European; and the regional level. Moreover, the distinction between governmental and private stakeholders was highlighted. 

The global level poses many complications for European Universities, having to strike a balance between institutional preferences and geopolitical developments and tensions.

On the European level, the discussion focused on the need for effective lobbying and engagement of various European stakeholders. It was concluded that in order to effectively reach the various European stakeholders, it is important to provide a unified message, using the appropriate channels, such as the ForEU-platform and established university networks. More can be done to connect European Universities to European-level industrial and business umbrella organisations. 

In order to facilitate cooperation on the regional level, the importance of careful matchmaking between the most compatible regions. To facilitate this, clear regional profiles should be made, featuring among other aspects the region’s strategic plans and particular regional strengths. The sharing of such information would allow for the targeted development of cooperation between the various concerned regions, allowing them to bundle forces where relevant. 

The overall conclusion was that European Universities can play an important role in connecting diverse stakeholders, by uniting and connecting various fragmented efforts. To achieve this, a clear and unified message is paramount. 

For more on the European Universities forum, place take a look a the short interviews and statements below:  

Interview – Radka Wildová: https://youtu.be/cJLMPlF80Bg

Interview – Martin Procházka: https://youtu.be/pIKRn4bq1b0

Interview – Anne-May Jansen: https://youtu.be/wJiJm51rRh4

Interview – Thomas Estermann: https://youtu.be/F0hvOE0oqeM

Interview – Pavel Doleček: https://youtu.be/aqHyF2Rs2UE

Olomouc hosted international forum: a meeting of universities’ representatives

Seventy representatives of universities from EU countries met in Olomouc at the beginning of December. Palacký University hosted a two-day forum on the future of higher education. The aim of the meeting, which was held under the European Universities Initiative, was to exchange the experience of partner schools and discuss how to improve the quality of the participating universities in order to compete internationally.

A stimulating programme of lectures and discussions in the UP Faculty of Law auditorium was launched with opening words by the Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Radka Wildová, and the UP Rector, Martin Procházka. “I would like to thank Palacký University for its role as the organiser of this meeting under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the aim to strengthen the role of Czech universities within the Aurora European Universities Alliance. The forum has become an opportunity to discuss and share practical knowledge, to network and seek synergies for future cooperation. Contemporary Europe faces many challenges, from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to climate change. This conference is further evidence that European countries need to work closely together and build a shared European higher education. In this joint venture across Europe, our universities must play a central role in addressing those challenges by bringing up the next generation of scientists and equipping them with the tools to tackle all societal challenges at the national, European, as well as global level,” said Deputy Minister Wildová.

Director of the Brussels-based Association of European Universities Thomas Estermann, University of Innsbruck Rector Tilmann Märk, and University of Rijeka Rector Snježana Prijić-Samaržija spoke about the importance and support of the European University Initiative, about activities related to the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the ambitions and challenges of pioneering European university alliances. Many others, including University of Kharkiv Rector Tetyana Kaganovska, participated in the forum via an online platform. The Czech Republic was represented at the two-day forum by leading representatives of Palacký University Olomouc as well as by representatives of Charles University in Prague, Masaryk University in Brno, and Czech Technical University in Prague, institutions that are also part of the prestigious international Aurora Alliance.

The participants enthusiastically participated in workshops that formed the main part of the second day’s programme. One of the themes discussed in the interactive museum Fort Science was the current connection of students and academics with entrepreneurs. The University of Iceland, headed by moderator Halldór Jónsson, played an active role at the workshops. During the two days, the foreign guests had the opportunity to experience not only the lecture halls but the whole university town of Olomouc, thanks to a guided city tour and a visit to the Archbishop’s Palace.

“We have met the high demands for the organisation of the European University Forum, and our work on the preparation and execution of the meeting was appreciated by all the participants. I’m very pleased that we have stood up to this challenge, as evidenced by the positive feedback from the representatives of partner universities in the Aurora Alliance, Coimbra Group Universities, and the management of the European University Association. It has also been essential to establish cooperation and exchange of information with other Czech universities involved in other international alliances and to interconnect them with the activities of the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research,” emphasised Michal Malacka, UP Vice-Rector for Strategy and Regional Affairs.

The international forum has been in its way a preparation for the prestigious meeting of European universities, which will be hosted by Palacký University Olomouc under the auspices of the Aurora Alliance in autumn 2023. “The collaboration of universities across Europe and other partners from non-European countries is crucial for the development of our activities aiming for higher internationalisation. I am delighted that Palacký University has managed to strongly support the activities of the European University Association and the joint action of universities associated in university alliances. Our students, scientists, and academics can greatly benefit from this cooperation, bringing new opportunities for their professional growth,” concluded Rector Procházka.

Text: David Kresta | Photo: Petr Palarčík

European Universities Forum at Palacký University Olomouc

On the 1st and 2nd of December, Palacký University Olomouc will organize the European Universities Forum. This high-level event, organized in the light of the Czech EU presidency, will provide an opportunity to discuss and assess the role of European Universities Initiative pilot phase in the Czech higher education context and within the European aims of building the Higher Education Area.

This event will be an incubator for new ideas on the mobilisation of universities, in the broadest sense, to promote shared European values and a strengthened identity, and also to improve the quality, attractiveness and international competitiveness of Europe’s higher education establishments.

This forum will be opened by the Czech Deputy-Minister for Education, and brings together the participating universities from various Member States, the European Commission and of course all of the relevant stakeholders, in particular the alliances of European universities.

The two-day programme features:

  •       Two high-level panel sessions addressing the priorities of the European Universities’ ambitions
  •       Three “Alliance workshops” intended as spaces for exchanging best practices between Czech alliances and their top management focusing on research and education developments, offering initial feedback on their pilot phase in order to contribute to developing the next steps
  •       A closing session, reporting on the panels and thematic sessions to contribute to Czech national and European level on the future of European universities in Higher Education.

For more information on the event, take a look at euf.upol.cz.  

BEVI Training Workshops: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced

The Beliefs, Events, and Values Inventory (BEVI) is an accessible, adaptable, and powerful analytic tool that can be used to measure the impact of teaching, learning and training activities on the mindsets of students and staff.

When:     

  • Basic Training: 25th November 2022, 17.30 – 19.30, CET.
  • Intermediate Training: 1st & 2nd December 2022, 12.30-14.00 & 17.30-19-00 CET.
  • Advanced Training: 2023 (Dates TBD)

Where:

Basic BEVI Training: Virtual via Zoom; Intermediate and Advanced: In Person and Virtual

Target group:

This workshop is open to all Aurora academic and non-academic staff and doctoral students.

What are the requirements for Admission and Enrollment?

To do the intermediate or advanced level, you need to have done the previous stages. Although, this time, you can do the intermediate either after following a basic course last year or the year before, OR by reviewing the BASIC course videos before the 25th of November session and participating in that session.

Coordinators:

  • Hajime Nishitani (BEVI & Soka University)
  • Craig Shealy (IBAVI & WWU)
  • John Style (Aurora & URV)

These workshops are FREE.

For further information, please write to John Style (john.style@urv.cat)  if you are participating as part of the Aurora Network and Craig Shealy (craigshealy@gmail.com) if you are participating as part of IBAVI Global.

Register here!

More information can be found here

Mentorship programme for PhDs and early stage researchers at Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Kosice

On behalf of the AURORA alliance, we are pleased to invite you to the Capacity Development Support (CDS) Training event organised by Pavol Jozef Šafárik University (Kosice, Slovakia), in collaboration with the Aurora CDS Task Team at Palacky University (UP) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

The two-day training event with a focus on  Mentorship programme for PhDs and early stage researchers will take place in hybrid format on 26-27 October 2022.

The event is open to academic staff of the Aurora Associate partners and the universities in the CDS Network involved in mentoring and supervision of PhD students and young researchers as well as staff involved in the development of a mentorship programme at their own university.

In case of interest, please register to the event via this online form https://forms.gle/FDs1zZHgdBpF9xMj8. Registration is open for both in-person and online attendance.

More information about the trainers and the programme can be found here.

Presentation: Dr. M. C. Reig Current research in Anthropology

We would like to invite you to an online meeting with our colleague dr. Mireia Campanera Reig from the Department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Social Work University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain, which will take place on Tuesday, September 13, 2022 from 1 p.m.

Dr. Mireia Campanera Reig came to the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Palacký University in Olomouc as part of a joint international project “Active aging – a healthy lifestyle”, which is part of the AURORA project, guaranteed by the Palacký University in Olomouc. The main researcher of the project is the Department of Preclinical Subjects at the Faculty of Health Sciences in Olomouc. Dr. Mireia Campanera Reig will have an online presentation on the topic: Current research in Anthropology and Social Work at University Rovira i Virgili. Strengthening collaboration with Palacký University. The goal of this lecture is to present the pedagogical and scientific focus of her department (Department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Social Work) as well as of the University Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain.   She will present the possibility of establishing further cooperation with other departments at Palacký University in Olomouc. The lecture will last about 15 – 20 minutes, followed by a discussion.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://cesnet.zoom.us/j/98748431834?pwd=cHd3SG9yVXBUM1BVV1ZZQ1hnalZkdz09

Meeting ID: 987 4843 1834
Passcode: 144487

Open Aurora Courses at the Universität Innsbruck.

Open-Aurora-Courses_WiSe22_23_Universitat-Innsbruck_

 

On the Universität Innsbruck Aurora Homepage the students can find all necessary information about the application process and the registration link. Below you will find a list of courses for WiSe 2022 / 2023. In particular, we would like highlight the first course listed, as it is part of the Joint Programme: Understanding Europe.

 

This course is the first part of the Joint Programme: Understanding Europe, formed by the Pilot Domain 3.4.4 – Cultures: Diversity & Identity.  

Videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAK_2d7-VuE

This course introduces students into studying the visions and challenges of Europe and European integration in the making. Trans-European conflict, cooperation and integration is addressed from a historical and contemporary perspective: We look at the historical constitution of Europe, its political institutions, societal objectives and symbolic representations in media, film, literature, popular culture and arts. In six learning units, we will cover:

  • The European Union: History and Current Challenges
  • Migration and Mobility
  • Philosophical and Political Concepts of Europe
  • War and Conflict in Europe
  • Imagined Others and Memory Cultures
  • Narratives of Europe in film, literature and arts

Although the official deadline is September 4th, students can still apply and their details will be processed manually.

 

 

Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Aurora Innsbruck Office team: Aurora@uibk.ac.atwww.uibk.ac.at/international/aurora/

Demography, Epidemiology and Healthy aging – The viewpoint of a geriatrician

On the 14th of September, the Health & Wellbeing group organizes an interesting lecture on Demography, Epidemiology and Healthy aging from the perspective of a geriatrician.

This lecture is organized by Prof. Nicola Ferrara, MD, of UNINA, and doc. Petra Mandysova, MSN, Ph.D. and doc. PhDr.Mgr. Helena Kisvetrová, Ph.D of UPOL. It will touch a wide range of topics, ranging from the demographics of ageing and the concept of healthy ageing, to the genetic approach to ageing and the characteristics of geriatic patients.

The lecture is worth 2 ECTS credits and will take place online. Join us Wednesday 14th of September 2022 at 10:00-13:00
CET at https://cesnet.zoom.us/j/97720087100 

Interested, please register by contacting petra.mandysova@upol.cz, before September 12th. 

A full overview of the topics for this lecture can be found here: 

Demography Epidemiology and Healthy aging – The viewpoint of a geriatrician – Sept. 14 2022

Workshop Outcomes – Peace Education for Karazin University, and GRT inclusion in higher education.

On 30 June 2022, two workshops titled ‘Developing a Peace Education Programme for Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine’ and ‘Removing barriers to Higher Education for Gypsy, Roma and Travellers’, were organised and moderated by Dr Spyros Themelis (UEA) and Dr Selma Porobic (Palacky University Olomouc) at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The two workshops, implemented under the framework of the Culture: Identity and Diversity pilot domain were a great success and will produce concrete outcomes in the future.

‘Developing a Peace Education Programme for Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine’

One of the developing features of Aurora support to Karazin Kharkiv National University is peace education programme. Peace education is an emerging field focusing on peacebuilding efforts through education in situations of collective trauma such as war, mass displacement, and genocide. This pedagogy focuses on the creation of safe environments for teachers and students to foster dialogue and reflection by enabling sharing of their own traumatic (and often conflictual) narratives and supporting perspective-taking.  

Under the guidance of Dr. Selma Porobić, this workshop brought together 14 experts from over 9 different institutions, and aimed to  explore a collaborative model focusing on the development of peace education programme for Karazin Kharkiv University. During the group discussion two set of questions were addressed. Group A focused on how to develop Peace education (PE) as integral part of general competences for academicians at Karazin, while Group B focused on researching PE in the ongoing war situation in the city of Kharkiv and in the Eastern Ukraine.

Among the most significant outcomes of this workshop, are the establishment of the International Expert team for peace education platform at Karazin University and initial planning of peace education programme including timeline for different components, research methods, staff training and COILs.

Thanks to the SPACE Network, represented in the workshop by Elke Kitzelmann (UIBK), an initial donation was made towards the realization of the Peace Education platform and further Aurora collaborations with Karazin University. In addition, collaborations with UIBK’s new MA Peace Studies program, under prof. Andreas Oberprantacher were initiated as well.  As part of International Summer School in Refugee Law and Rights, co-organized by Palacky University and Karazin University, on August 24th, students from UIBK’s Peace studies  program will engage with Karazin University’s MA students in the plenary session ‘ Prospects for Peace Building, Recovery & Reconstruction.

We look forward to engagement from more Aurora universities. Enquiries about the PE program at Karazin University can be sent to Dr. Selma Porobić, coordinator for Aurora support to Karazin University.

‘Removing barriers to Higher Education for Gypsy, Roma and Travellers’

Gypsy, Roma and Travellers (GRT) are the largest ethnic minority and at the same time the most marginalised in Europe. It is little surprise, therefore, that they are also one of the most, if not the most, underrepresented group in higher education.

This workshop explored the types of barriers facing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller students in accessing Higher Education and experiences of inclusion and exclulsion. In total 15 participants attended the event, including academics, practitioners, reseach students, as well as inclusion leaders in schools and local councils. Participants were of Roma and non-Roma origin and they shared perspectives from a variety of European countries (including Germany, Greece, Iceland,  Sweeden, the Czech Republic, Romania and the UK) and institutional contexts, including, schools, universisties, musuems and local couincils.

One of the outcomes of this workshop, was the decision to create a network of Roma inclusion research in higher education. It was also agreed that this network will aim to map national and international policies of inclusion and examine national and international reports relevant to the topic. Finally, it was agreed that the network will explore the possiblity of setting up courses on Roma education across the Aurora network and more broadly, and work with outreach officers to explore innovative practices on access.

Dr. Spyros Themelis, who led the workshop, will explore options for hosting a face-to-face meeting at the start of the new academic year. If you have any suggestions or would like to get involved, please email Spyros at: s.themelis@uea.ac.uk.

We welcome contributions from across all Aurora universities.