Exploring Europe’s Past, Present and Future (EXEPPF)

Increasingly, employers and other stakeholders require transferable skills to be an attribute of university graduates. In combination with deep disciplinary knowledge, transferable skills enable graduates to address future societal challenges, navigate a constantly evolving labor market and ensure Europe’s global competitiveness.

Universities are well aware of the need to teach transferable skills in addition to core disciplinary knowledge. In recognition of this, a group of research-intensive universities have recently decided to form a European University Alliance. Over the years, each member of the alliance has developed highly innovative student-centered initiatives that address these much-needed transferable skills. Through mutual inspiration and joint recommendations, we will innovate teaching activities that foster the key competencies graduates require in a rapidly changing world.

In this strategic partnership project, we will analyze ten flagship initiatives at the partner universities. The aspiration is to identify ways in which these could be scaled up to make them more inclusive as well as ensuring meaningful co-existence with core disciplinary knowledge. The long-term vision is for the insights gained through the project to be translated into joint initiatives within the alliance, creating a European Campus that will help students develop a European mindset and ultimately global citizenship, in addition to transferable skills.

The objectives are:
* To conduct an analysis of innovative teaching initiatives in light of the transferable skills they foster. Given the current consensus on the importance of these skills in the education of coming generations, universities must further reflect on what these skills actually are and how they can be taught and evaluated among students;
* To inform and inspire university educators and other teachers as well as educational developers on opportunities for scaling up these initiatives and creating inter-university educational paths;
* To provide a stepping stone for the creation of a European Campus under the aegis of the aforementioned university alliance.

Although there is widespread agreement on the need for transferable skills, agreement on how they are defined is more limited. The first activity in the project is thus to map existing knowledge about transferable skills in higher education in order to agree upon a definition and a Transferable Skills Data Collection Grid to use in the project and to disseminate for broader use. Such a joint definition of and analytical tool for transferable skills across European universities has great potential to contribute positively to increasing mobility through supporting mutual recognition.

In the project, we will use the agreed-on vocabulary in the second activity, the analysis of the flagship initiatives by a mixed panel consisting of a peer from each of the other partner universities. This analysis will inspire those involved in the initiatives to develop them further as well as inspiring others to launch new initiatives and thus spread the teaching of transferable skills in subsequent years.

The third activity is to conduct a seminar to make recommendations addressing the possibilities for creating inter-university student-centered initiatives that foster transferable skills. These possibilities will be discussed at a final conference and explored after the project’s completion.

The fourth activity is to create an Open Online Education Repository. The repository will be an interactive online tool aimed at providing inspiration for new teaching initiatives that foster transferable skills at universities across Europe. The initiatives analyzed in the project will be fed into the repository as a point of departure, after which it will be possible to add other initiatives that can serve as inspiration in the years to come.

The project involves just under 100 participants from the partner universities, ranging from management representatives and experts who are members of a curricular advisory board to ICT specialists, student representatives, researchers and other teachers, as well as educational developers who have insight into teaching activities that foster transferable skills. By involving a wide variety of participants, a side benefit of the project is the creation of networks across European universities that have the potential to help generate more activities after the completion of this project.

The ambition for this project is for it to serve as a stepping stone to the creation of a European Campus. The partner universities in the project are forming a European University Alliance and intend to apply to be part of the European Universities Initiative. Transferable skills are at the forefront of the skills the initiative will aim to develop, and the strategic partnership project will therefore be a valuable element in this process.

Elisabeth-Selbert-Schule Hameln (GE) – lead partner
Tartu Vocational College (EE)
IISS “Ilaria Alpi – E. Montale” (IT)

01.12.2020 – 30.06.2023

Project coordinator/contact person:
Andrei Atškasov (ph: +372 7361 894, e-mail: andrei.atskasov@voco.ee)