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Tilburg University participates in The European University Initiative

Published: 04th November 2020 Last updated: 06th November 2020

Today the kick-off of 'The European University Initiative' takes place. Representatives of 41 European universities meet digitally to discuss better collaboration. Demi Schaap of the student group Front and William Harris Duke of student group SAM will also discuss student involvement at universities with other student representatives from European universities.

The ‘European University’ is an initiative within the Erasmus program of the European Union with the goal of establishing new standards of cooperation between higher education institutions. European University is intended to act as a model of good practice to further increase the quality, international competitiveness and attractiveness of European higher education.

Rectors and directors of 41 European higher education institutions are meeting today for the first time to brainstorm on how educational institutions in Europe can work better together. The purpose of this meeting is to stimulate further action and coordination between European universities, their partner universities and national and European authorities, with the ultimate goal of helping higher education institutions across Europe to accelerate their transformation into the universities of the future.

Student engagement in Europe

Demi Schaap (fractie Front) and William Harris Duke (fractie SAM) are engaged in the European University initiative and are involved in an proposal to develop a university-wide minor on societal challenges. They see it as a priority to ensure that Tilburg University students are represented as well as possible within this project. The European University Initiative offers an attractive and accessible digital option to introduce students to other visions, cultures and teaching methods.

William: “The Executive Board agreed that virtual mobility and innovation will benefit the future of Tilburg University. The benefits of a digital exchange include inclusiveness, sustainability and preparing a student for a campus exchange".

William Harris Duke
Demi Schaap

Demi believes that the project also fits well with the vision of the university and the innovation that is currently taking place within education. She says: "Under the motto 'Understanding Society', our university wants to contribute to solving complex social issues. Group Front believes that this goes hand in hand with this project. This allows students from different European universities to get in touch with other students and teachers to exchange knowledge with each other."

Collaborative European Bachelor

Jörg Raab represents Tilburg University in the development of the Learning Work Package for the proposal to form the European University Initiative. He has been the academic director of the international Bachelor Global Management of Social Issues. This is an interdisciplinary social science bachelor that focuses on trying to organize finding solutions for wicked problems in an international context. He has been interested in internationalization of academic exchanges for quite some time.

“The European University initiative by the EU commission represents the next big step of a further integration of the European education area in higher education. It is vital for Tilburg University to participate in this endeavor with a group of strong European partners to enable Tilburg students to gain academic experiences in an online and offline international context which is easily accessible as possible.”

Jörg Raab

He will head the consortium’s activities of ENGAGE.EU to develop different thematic modules on the bachelor and master level. These modules will be composed of existing courses from different schools within Tilburg University and the consortium partners.

Joint courses

Tilburg University will collaborate with six leading European universities under the name ENGAGE.EU. Jörg: “The Engage initiative opens up the possibility to develop joint courses and ultimately joint programs with the partners in the consortium. In addition, it gives Tilburg University the opportunity to innovate and increase its flexibility in its education programs for example with regard to micro-credentials and life-long learning programs.”

Due to the Corona crisis and the accelerated development of online teaching capacities it should be possible to develop such modules relatively quickly. Tilburg University students will then be able to take part in those modules within their free minor space. A small pilot is currently already running, in which students from consortium partner institutions can take courses in the Department of Organization Studies at Tilburg University. It is planned to prolong the pilot in the next semester and extend it to other schools.

More information about ENGAGE.EU