End of March 2022 the ENHANCE Alliance organised the ENHANCE General Assembly and Strategy Committee meeting at the partner university Politecnico di Milano. More than forty academic staff, students, administrative staff and early-stage researchers from Berlin, Valencia, Trondheim, Gothenburg, Aachen and Milano joined for the first in-person meeting of these governance bodies since the creation of the Alliance. The key focus of the General Assembly was to reflect on the work we have done so far and identify the strategic pillars of the ENHANCE Vision 2030. The topical blocks were:
- Joint European Degree
- European Universities as Legal Entities
- Multilateral Recognition
- Enhancing our sense of community
- Skillsharing among Administrative Staff
- Empowering students
- Creating a community among PhD candidates
- Sharing facilities, data and other resources
EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY CHALLENGES
The ENHANCE Alliance General Assembly and Strategy Committee meetings gave the opportunity to representatives from each member university of the Alliance to discuss the challenges related to both the alliance and the European University Initiative promoted by the European Commission.
The Strategy Committee meeting, was opened and moderated by Ana-Marija Cvitic, Strategy Officer of the ENHANCE Alliance, who underlined that ENHANCE welcomes the Strategy for European Universities, highlighting the importance of attractive career paths and working conditions for academics and researchers, the role of academics and researchers in governance and having an inclusive and diverse approach to learning and teaching.
Further strategic topics were discussed, including the integration of the European study path, Alliance expansion by involving new partners and associate partners, the legal entity as well as green and digital transitions. The participants stressed the importance of being able to connect in person, talk together and collaborate and affirmed that ENHANCE is an ideal opportunity to share innovative methods and tools in education and research activities.
The General Assembly meeting was chaired by Professor Karl Palmas, who encouraged participation and highlighted the importance of continued learning while building the Alliance. The four statutory groups proposed different strategic necessities on how the European University could improve our educational and research experience.
The academic teaching staff emphasised how becoming a legal institution would provide support in avoiding administrative obstacles. In addition, they encouraged extending the number of pilot programmes and increasing professor mobility across institutions.
INVOLVEMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF, STUDENTS AND YOUNG RESEARCHERS
The early-stage researchers offered a strategic paper with multiple proposals to raise the involvement of early-stage researchers in the ENHANCE Alliance. In summary, they have requested a common database where information about ongoing research projects can be found to start in-common studies with Alliance members and to simplify the mobility and educational offer between Alliance members.
The administrative statutory group highlighted the heterogeneity of their status group. Their main proposal was to make the most of the know-how of all institutions with the aim of identifying and exploring synergies. By exchanging ideas between the Alliance members, ENHANCE can improve the efficiency of processes improving cooperation.
Finally, the student group highlighted their underrepresentation and proposed a new structure where more students can support the creation of ENHANCE. Amongst numerous valuable proposals, they talked about creating an “ENHANCE virus” movement, by developing a clear message to involve more and more students in the Alliance.
The ENHANCE General Assembly and Strategy Committee will meet again in physical form in spring 2023.