On Friday 28 April the ENHANCE General Assembly took place at TU Berlin with 38 representatives from the ten member universities, Associated Partners and the Operational Office, as well as 7 online participants. Together, the General Assembly members represent the four statutory groups of the Alliance: professors, early-stage researchers, students, and administrative staff. The purpose of this day of meetings, opened by the General Assembly Chair Prof. Karl Palmås, was to reflect on and discuss the purpose and organisation of this governance body going forward. As we near the end of the first Erasmus+ project phase, and following the expansion of the Alliance to ten members, this was a timely opportunity to refine and strengthen the mandate of the General Assembly. Members of the ENHANCE Strategy Committee were also invited to participate.
To allow for productive discussion, the General Assembly members were divided into four groups composed of representatives from various universities and statutory groups. These break-out groups within the meeting gave the opportunity to every participant to truly speak their voice and exchange easily. In a workshop format inspired by the Community Canvas framework, they reflected on the identity and structure of the General Assembly needed to fulfil its dual roles as an advisory body and community-building platform. A key objective of the discussions was to open the topic of the update of the ENHANCE Charter of Rules and Procedures to establish a clear foundation for the operations of this diverse body of ENHANCE governance in the future.
A warm and productive welcome for the three new partner universities
For the first time, representatives of the three new partner universities ETH Zürich, Gdańsk Tech, and TU Delft participated in the ENHANCE General Assembly. Representing their statutory groups, they also brought their new perspectives to the discussion and helped existing members see some topics in a new light. Collectively, members of the General Assembly who started at the very beginning of the project as well as those representatives who were participating in their first meeting, kicked off the workshop discussions with a reflection session on the joint vision for the core principles, structure, and responsibilities of the General Assembly.
In the afternoon session, they took a case study and explored how the General Assembly and its members could contribute to the successful development and implementation of ENHANCE educational offers. More precisely, they focused on the ENHANCE Micro-credentials and the role of this body in terms of community-building strategies and increasing awareness. One of the recurrent points concerned the idea of feedback and how members could best provide feedback and offer consultation at the development stage of new educational offers and other strategic developments of the Alliance. As the representation of the cross-cut of the ENHANCE community, the opinions and advice of the General Assembly are a valuable resource for the whole Alliance and help ensure the work of ENHANCE truly supports and contributes to the strategic priorities of each university and meets the needs of their students.
Interesting outputs for a strengthened General Assembly in the future of ENHANCE
In the final plenary session a spokesperson for each group presented the results of the four break-out group discussions, and all participants collectively reflected on the perspectives and ideas that had emerged throughout the workshop. There was already consensus on many points and a clear direction for the future of this governance body – it was inspiring to see the motivation and new ideas from members coming together. Reflecting on the lessons learned from the first years of the project, there were proposals for how to further improve the flow of information and support the General Assembly members in fulfilling their role, how to refine their mandate and select priority issues for the attention of this body, and how to sharpen the structures and reporting lines in place to ensure members can effectively communicate their proposals within the Alliance, and beyond.
The 2023 in-person General Assembly meeting in Berlin was only the starting point of a bigger piece of work that will happen in the following months to revise the ENHANCE Charter of Rules and Procedures and confirm the role of the General Assembly in the future. The General Assembly members will come together again later this year in two online meetings to finalise this reflection, as well as discuss upcoming developments in ENHANCE, as we reach the end of the first Erasmus+ project phase.
Thank you again to all participants of the General Assembly meeting for your insightful contributions and enthusiasm. We look forward to sharing more news from the ENHANCE General Assembly soon!