European Universities best practices shared on innovative educational model

16 December 2022

EU-CONEXUS were present at the Annual Conference of CHARM-EU alliance in Barcelona, 13-14 December. The conference contributes to the transformation of European Higher Education Area by identifying and highlighting the multi-level effects of the cooperation within alliances. It will bring together representatives of European University Alliances, students, staff and academics, policymakers as well as external stakeholders to provide an opportunity to discuss the possibilities and the actions to be taken during the new phase of the European Universities Initiative.

Amanda Sancho, EU-CONEXUS Academic Innovations from UCV and Professor and Minor Academic Coordinator Alexandru Aldea, represented the EU-CONEXUS Minor Programmes, and participated in the breakout session about ‘European Universities best practices and policy reform: Lessons learnt and recommendations for the future of the alliances’. In this session, they shared the process of development and implementation (concept, defining Minor Programme, pros and cons, achievements, and challenges in the implementation of the pilot) of two existing EU-CONEXUS joint Minor programmes.  

In pursuing their aim of structuring an inter-university “campus” and incentivise institutional transformation and remove barriers to transnational collaboration of HEIs, EU-CONEXUS have designed and piloted two joint Minor Programmes for Bachelor students. Academics from 6 universities co-created the concept of the Minor Programme (sometimes called specialisation).

These academic programmes are a specific interdisciplinary set of courses in the same or different field of studies, that undergraduate student’s tailor-made from a set of courses choosing 30 ECTS throughout their studies. Each Minor Programme includes five thematic areas (sectors); each sector is composed of topics (a field of study composed by one or more courses with a similar or compatible contents). In total, each Minor Programme proposes to the students a choice of about 22 courses. Each course lasts one semester and has a study load of 6 ECTS. 

To manage them, a Minors officers’ network was created to administrate the process of selection, mobilities and implementation, with the help of EU-CONEXUS Smart Campus for EU-CONEXUS learning environment. 

After two years of implementation, 87 teachers and 450 students’ involvement, these inter-disciplinary and cross-sectoral programmes have led to institutional transformations towards flexible curricula and intensified management and automatic recognition of new formats of virtual and blended mobilities. However, different obstacles thus for example the overlapping of the timetables, the academic coordination, the joint academic calendar, etc. are still a big challenge.