Delegacja z UWr po raz pierwszy na corocznej Konferencji Arqus! Reprezentuje nas w Padwie pani prorektorka ds. projektów i relacji międzynarodowych prof. Patrycja Matusz. „Bierzemy odpowiedzialność za młode pokolenie studentów. Dzisiaj jesteśmy również odpowiedzialni za studentów z Ukrainy, których edukacja została brutalnie zakłócona przez rosyjską agresję. Być może w nadchodzących tygodniach będziemy musieli odpowiedzieć sobie na pytanie, jak możemy im pomóc. Cieszę się, że Sojusz Arqus wyraził jasno swoje stanowisko na temat wojny w Ukrainie”- powiedziała wczoraj prorektorka prof. Matusz podczas swojego wystąpienia w Auli Magna w Pałacu Bo na Uniwersytecie w Padwie.
Konferencja odbywa się pod hasłem „Free to Choose. Fostering Access to Higher Education in European Universities” i jest częścią obchodów 800-lecia Uniwersytetu w Padwie. Więcej o konferencji przeczytacie Państwo na stronie. Sesje plenarne transmitowane są na kanale YouTube Arqusa.
Wystąpienie prorektorki prof. Patrycji Matusz znajdziecie Państwo na nagraniu.
Buona sera a Tutti, Signore e Signori,
it is a real pleasure for me and a great honour to represent the University of Wrocław in this historic building of Universita di Padova and to be able to speak in such a place at one of the oldest universities in the world on the occasion of its 800th anniversary.
I would like to express my acknowledgement for the Padova team for organising this annual conference of Arqus. On this occasion, I am also asking the Granada team to accept my sincerest thanks, especially Prof. Dorothy Kelly and Fernando Galan for the coordination of the application group, who worked in the past weeks on the new perspective of Arqus.
Ok I started like an Oscar Ceremony, and now it’s time to say a few words about the University of Wroclaw, a new member of Arqus alliance.
The University of Wroclaw is one of the ten best universities in Poland – an comprehensive Research University, located in the fourth largest city in Poland, with 650 inhabitants. We are proud of our region, and our excellent location, in close proximity to Prague, Dresden, Berlin and Vienna, is of great importance for our international relations and cooperation not only with our closest neighbours, but also those further away.
Let me mention a few numbers that say more about the University of Wroclaw.
We have about 25 500 students, 1200 PhD candidates, 10 faculties, 3200 employers and a lot of positive energy.
The University of Wroclaw is involved in mobility programmes and puts a lot of effort into developing a diversified offer for our international students. This year we hosted over 2,000 students from all over the world.
We offer 34 programmes in English at all levels: bachelor, master and PhD.
But our goal is to develop and work in the international arena, because we strongly believe in common European education.
Today I would like to ask the following questions:
– What does it mean for the University of Wrocław to be a member of Arqus?
– What do we expect from this cooperation?
Please allow me to start with some personal remarks. When I was a student, Socrates scholarship was accessible for very limited number of students from Central Europe. This scholarship and mobility opened me the door to different perspective, different didactic offer and it impacted my professional path.
When I started my research career, international cooperation in academia was mainly associated with research projects, publications, conferences, workshops, etc. The fellowship was somewhat related to teaching, but the main purpose of our mobility was research, new research perspectives, etc.
As Dr. Egron-Polak said in this morning session, today we live in a very challenging and fast changing world, in my opinion our responsibility for the future generation is bigger than before.
It is our responsibility to educate young people who will be active EU citizens, who will together create a democratic space for development. For whom values such as human rights, democracy, anti-discrimination and rule of law will be the foundation of all activities.
Together in Arqus, we stand a chance to create such a space and didactic offer, responding to challenges, adapted to new technological possibilities, emphasizing mobility, which is the basis for the exchange of thoughts, gathering experiences and building the competences of the future. So that for the next generations, the common Europe would not only be a slogan, the theoretical concept, but would become their reality, the value they strongly believe in.
Mobility of academic staff and students has always been a key aspect of internationalization in higher education. This is the main priority of the European Commission published in the „Communication on achieving the European Education Area by 2025”.
After the tough experiences of the Covid 19 pandemic, we learned that mobility may not be limited to physical only, so a discussion about blended or virtual mobility has become important again.
Existing evidence confirm that virtual formats can serve as an effective option to address challenges related to cultural awareness, inter- cultural collaboration, and transversal or soft skills. Prof. de Wit emphasised this morning that virtual mobility helps us to be more inclusive and accessible for more students. Nevertheless, virtual formats cannot completely provide the same kind of learning experience compared to physical mobility, where many of the benefits are gained from immersion in another culture.
A significant shift to virtual formats would present a wide range of challenges in terms of planning, logistics, the development of platforms or other systems, and the provision of technical support on the implementation and use of these systems.
There is general agreement amongst scholars that none of the forms of mobility is an alternative for replacing others. Each form adds to the enrichment of education in a different way.
However, new technical possibilities enable us to be virtually active and in almost constant contact with teachers, scientists, and students. For me, when it comes to the Arqus alliance, we should take advantage of long, short, and mixed mobilities so that the international context should become an everyday reality, not something unique for all members of our communities.
Arqus has promoted divers forms of mobilities, and in the new applications it has strengthened both physical, blended and virtual mobilities.
In my opinion, students are very important, but this is not the only target group important to the Arqus alliance, we speak about divers communities. We should think about and strengthen the mobility, exchange and learning process of academics and our administrative staff. Through the website and virtual platforms, we should connect our community members and allow them easy access to relevant opportunities within the Arqus alliance.
Teaching mobility is an important tool for improving the quality of study programmes at all partner universities. In my opinion, learning mobility has a positive effect on individual teaching skills, strengthens the development of an academic career and can provide a common framework for academics working in similar fields. Such a framework can be the starting point for developing joint academic offers. We know that joint Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes are very important to the entire Arqus offers.
In my opinion, the future of our education is a flexible offer of microcredentials, hybrid curses offered by some universities, open not only to students, but also
to graduates who want to learn new skills, broaden their knowledge, and stay in touch with the latest results of our research.
We live in increasingly intercultural societies, and diversity is and will remain the future of Europe. The aim of our activities at Arqus should be to help students gain intercultural understanding that will be crucial to their future careers, wherever they choose to go. For this skill, mobility and challenging oneself in cooperation in Arqus seem crucial. Mobility offers a wider set of benefits, including: the development of personal and professional skills and competences; increased adaptability to new and changing environments; developing a sense of European citizenship; and increasing labour market opportunities.
In conclusion, the strength of Arqus should be based on strengthening the mobility and exchange between partner university, The physical and virtual mobility and activites should address the challenges related to cultural awareness, inter-cultural collaboration and transversal or soft skills.
I my opinion virtual formats are, different from physical mobility, although they can be perfectly used as a complement to or alternative for physical mobility. By incorporating a combination of physical, blended and virtual forms of mobility into a curriculum, students have greater opportunities to integrate an international learning experience into their portfolio and have more opportunities to develop competences such as intercultural and linguistic skills, online collaboration, media and digital skills, online teamwork and networking, and critical thinking.
I hope that the Arqus Joint PhD School presented by prof. Zattin will be the priority for our alliance in the years to come.
We take responsibility for our students, the young generation of students.
Today we are also responsible for students from Ukraine. Their education was brutally interrupted by Russian aggression, perhaps in the coming weeks we will have to answer the question of how we can help them.
I am glad that Arqus has expressed his position on the war in Ukraine.
And I am sure that we share common values!
Thank you very much.