ACTION AVENUES AND MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE TOWARDS AN IMPROVEMENT IN TEACHING AND ADAPTATION TO THE EUROPEAN SPACE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Clustering is one of the key foundations upon which rests the process of transformation into campuses of excellence. Consequently, CEI CamBio advocates a vertical integration of all academic tiers in the project’s areas of specialisation, in accordance with the new Qualifications Framework as the most efficient way of forming professionals with an added competitive value and of becoming a reference for the economic sector as a supplier of comprehensively trained professionals.
Consequently, in order to ensure the realisation of the project’s potential regarding improved teaching and adaptation to the ESHE, CamBio has identified six avenues of action, included in the Strategic Plan 2012-2016: i) programme for the construction and adaptation of infrastructures and working spaces; ii) programme for the characterisation and development of new skills; iii) programme for the promotion of international mobility; iv) programme for the promotion of employability and entrepreneurship; v) CEI CamBio-Vocational Education strategy; and, vi) programme for the promotion of employability and ongoing learning.
The management structure supporting these policies towards improved teaching and adaptation to the ESHE will be the Excellence and Academic Coordination areas within the Consortium CEI CamBio, although some will be actively participated in by the Creativity and Innovation, Internationalisation and Entrepreneurship and Employment Areas.
These areas will act in coordination with the Escuela Internacional de Doctorado en Estudios Medio Ambientales (EID-EMA) in all matters related to teaching, innovation and entrepreneurship with regard to masters and doctorates.
L.1.Creation of alliances and networks
A.1. Design of degrees with professional qualifications, on offer in Spain and Morocco
The ESHE was born with the aim of increasing the competitiveness of the European university system and of attracting students from other countries with the twofold target of capturing talent and of becoming an instrument of regional development for these countries. Along these lines, the universities within the coalition wish to make the most of their traditional links with two regions with which they have been cooperating for decades and where two Transnational Campuses are being created: northern African and Latin-America.
To date, different degree structures and teaching levels have produced discrepancies in the mutual recognition of degrees and some reservations towards closer cooperation, which became particularly acute when degrees conferring professional qualifications were involved. The new opportunities created by the ESHE are offering a solution to this undesirable situation. This is already a reality regarding the Real Decreto 1393/2007, which regulates official university degrees.
The main instrument for the development of this policy will be the creation and implementation of joint degrees -particularly regarding degrees conferring professional qualifications- between one or more CamBio universities and one or more universities from one of the aforementioned geographical spheres, northern Africa and Latin-America. These programmes will comply with the requirements established in Article 3.4. of the Real Decreto 1393/2007.
The first of these projected joint degrees is being developed with Morocco, and will include the participation of CEI CamBio and the universities Abdelmalek Essaâdi (Tánger-Tetuán), Hassan II Mohammedia (Casablanca), and Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah (Fés), all of them also participating in the Transnational Campus Estrecho de Gibraltar.
Among the project’s different areas of specialisation these universities have shown a particular interest in the development of a degree in renewable energy. Therefore, in addition to the participation of the universities of Almería and Cádiz -soon to offer a degree on the subject- CamBio will enlist the participation of a large number of its affiliated organisations, especially those closely engaged with the field of renewable energy and its related professional qualifications: these include Abengoa, Aditel, the Agencia Andaluza de la Energía, Aurantia, Ayesa, the Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), the Centro Tecnológico Avanzando de Energías Renovables (CTAER), Cepsa, E.ON, ENCE, Isotrol, Matgas, the Plataforma Solar de Almería and Siemens, among others
A.2. Escuela Internacional de Doctorado en Estudios Medio Ambientales
CEI CamBio aims to articulate the project’s doctoral programmes so as to enhance the essential role of research in higher education, by becoming the meeting point between the European Space for Higher Education and the European Research Space. Doctorate holders thus become the key agents in the generation and transference of R+D, towards a new productive model and a sustainable economy.
The Escuela Internacional de Doctorado en Estudios Medio Ambientales (EID-EMA) unites all doctoral programmes related to the environment, biodiversity and global change on offer in the member universities and CSIC centres under a single management and academic coordination body. This involves the participation of a total of 7,085 doctorate holders. The target of the Escuela Doctoral is to acquire a high profile regarding quality, internationalisation and good results with the ultimate aim of becoming a trademark of excellence, prestige and international projection which will facilitate the capture of external funds.
Doctoral programmes are one of the project’s key factors in promoting creation, mobility and attraction of talent at the international level. Cooperation with foreign institutions for the joint design and development of post-graduate degrees will enhance CamBio’s leadership in the project’s areas of specialisation at the international level. This will ultimately also secure the continued participation of teachers, researchers, students, alumni and private firms in the development of these academic programmes.
The EID-EMA aims at:
- Becoming a model for doctoral education, based in the university but also integrating other national and international organisations and bodies involved in R+D.
- Providing an environment and community for the interaction of junior researchers, with special regard to the integration of international students.
- Providing institutional support and promoting research and the development of research initiatives for the attraction of funds and resources.
- Providing the tools for a homogeneous research career at all levels and increasing competence, not only in research, but also in innovation and employability.
- Attracting, shaping and developing the next generation of international competitive researchers, ensuring that the project remains at the forefront
Similarly, the EID-EMA is the best guarantee for the transference of knowledge to society and for the integration of doctorate holders in the productive sector, beyond university classrooms and laboratories. For this reason, the Escuela must operate with reference to other key strategic lines for the project, such as the promotion of entrepreneurship, employability and entrepreneurial culture, business opportunities, innovation, competitiveness and internationalisation.
Within this framework, the EID-EMA -which as mentioned was constituted by agreement on 25th July, 2011- has already undertaken the following actions, strengthening the Escuela’s development, substance and international projection:
- To offer a joint master’s and doctoral programme in ‘Conservación de la Biodiversidad en Espacios Tropicales’: by agreement between the University Pablo de Olavide, the Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), the University of Panamá and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. At master’s level, the programme will include compulsory practice in private companies. This initiative is related to the Centre of Excellence for the Environment and the Preservation of Biodiversity in the Ciudad del Saber, Panama, which according to the law regulating university teaching, is qualified to give valid degrees at the national level.
- To offer a joint master’s and doctoral programme in ‘Energía Solar’: currently being arranged between CEI CamBio member universities, the University of Kassel (Germany) and the Plataforma Solar de Almería, attached to the Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. At master’s level, the programme will include compulsory practice in private companies.
- To offer an international doctorate in global change, uniting all related master’s programmes currently on offer at CEI member universities: this includes, among others, the master’s in ‘Seguimiento y Adaptación al Cambio Global’ (UAL), ‘Cambio Global: Recursos Naturales y Sostenibilidad’ (UCO), ‘Ciencias de la Sostenibilidad para gestionar el Cambio Global’ (UNIA). The proposal aims at offering this doctoral programme in the prestigious ‘Center for the Study of Global Change’, Indiana University (USA), which has already shown interest in it.
- To reinforce the international projection of the Escuela de Doctorado en Estudios Medio Ambientales: the target of this action is to strengthen the Escuela’s structure and ability to attract doctoral students, for example, through the programme for the attraction of talent COFUND-Marie Curie, EU’s 7FP (which could mean 3 million Euros for 16 two year contracts). Additionally, the Escuela’s international projection will also be reinforced through participation in international post-graduate fairs, such as Higher Education Workshop (Copenhagen), Berlin Workshop and World Graduate School Tour (Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina).
A.3. Creation of the Doctoral Summer School in Environmental Studies
The Doctoral Summer School in Environmental Studies (DSS-ES) is aimed at supporting young researchers and doctoral students in the fields of environment, biodiversity and global change, with a multidisciplinary approach. For this, the DSS-ES will assemble international research experts to debate these topics through interactive seminars, lectures, presentations and workshops.
Additionally, the DSS-ES is conceived as an international arena where students can present their work and receive advice from international experts, facilitating discussion and helping young researchers to find their own academic and scientific space. Consequently, the programme will be eminently practical in nature, and will help to show the progress achieved by students in their doctoral project.
Similarly, it should also be of enormous importance for the interaction of students, researchers and teachers from all over the world, enabling the establishment of valuable contacts for the future.
The seat of the DSS-ES will rotate between the CSIC and the coalition member universities. For reasons of scientific interest, it may also be celebrated in the facilities of another of the affiliated bodies. It will have a month’s duration over the summer, the official language will be English and scholarships for the most advanced students will be contemplated.
L.2. Programme for the construction and adaptation of infrastructures and working spaces
It is a well known fact that one of the key targets for the ESHE is the generalisation of commensurable educational criteria and methodologies. This has required a transformation of teaching processes which affects the design of services available to the university community. Therefore, the CEI aims at effectively supporting teaching processes through the construction and adaptation of the necessary infrastructures. This involves the following actions:
A.1. Construction of a new Learning-Teaching building at the University of Cádiz.
A.2. Adaptation of the Escuela Politécnica Superior de Algeciras, University of Cádiz.
A.3. Adaptation of the Aula del Rectorado, University Internacional de
The ESHE focuses teaching activities on the students’ learning experience, allowing for the introduction of methods with fewer attendance-based lectures. This way, attendance-based learning can be scheduled over shorter periods and in smaller groups and can be supplemented with distance learning and self-evaluation methodologies. Consequently, it will be necessary to adapt classrooms and laboratories to these new needs; in short, the target is to promote flexible and open social learning environments.
For this reason, CEI CamBio has also given careful consideration to the multi-functionality of the interior spaces resulting from these building projects. Academic buildings must be able to respond flexibly and swiftly to the new demands posed by technology, science and society. The key for multi-functionality in a building, that is, for the features which will equip the building to respond to different uses, rests on modulation, which allows for a variable distribution. Educational spaces organised around modular ‘structures’ may be used in a wide variety of ways and may, therefore, be defined as multi-functional. In this sense, and once the most adequate orientation for classrooms and offices have been determined, the distribution of open areas around the façades will allow for a flexible arrangement of interior spaces.
L.3. Plan for the characterisation and development of new skills
The Real Decreto 1393/2007 for the regulation of university degrees incorporates a series of new skills to university training, including universal accessibility, entrepreneurship, promotion of the defence of human rights and sustainability. In this regard, the project’s proposed actions are:
A.1. Training programme on documentation, education and evaluation of new skills, aimed at CamBio’s administrative staff.
A.2. Pilot plan for accessibility, entrepreneurship, human rights and sustainability related skills, aimed at developing novel teaching techniques regarding these new skills.
L.4. Plan for the promotion of International mobility
Included among CEI CamBio’s strategic targets is that of internationalisation. Within the framework of an improved learning experience and the adaptation to the ESHE, this target focuses very particularly on the international mobility of students. In this regard, the following actions will be carried out:
A.1. European mobility programmes. CamBio’s actions will involve the promotion of the EU’s mobility programmes.
A.2. Transnational campuses mobility programmes, involving participating countries in CEI CamBio’s Transnational Campuses, Estrecho de
Gibraltar (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria) and Ibérico (Portugal and Latin America).
A.3. Programme for the promotion of scholarships Talentia sponsored by the Consejería de Economía, Innovación y Ciencia, Junta de Andalucía,
aimed at the promotion of mobility among talented students and their participation in advanced educational programmes. The aim of these scholarships is for Andalusian graduates to take post-graduate programmes in foreign universities. Scholarship holders commit themselves to returning to Andalusia for the continuation of their professional careers for at least four of the six years following the termination of their studies. In this regard, CamBio has offered to receive Talentia graduates in environmental sciences, once they finish their training, in order to facilitate their incorporation into the firms within the project’s innovative ecosystem.
A.4. Programme for the promotion of the internationalisation scholarships Extenda: These scholarships are promoted by the Agencia Andaluza de Promoción Exterior. This programme is aimed at training future professionals in the field of international trade in order to create a network of specialised professionals, with a beneficial effect on the internationalisation of the Andalusian economy. This educational programme, funded by the EU, contributes to economic development by promoting job market integration, entrepreneurship, adaptability, equality, and investment in human resources. The first stage of the programme takes place abroad, while the second is carried out in an Andalusian firm with an internationalisation strategy. CamBio has offered to receive Extenda graduates in environmental sciences, once they finish their training in order to facilitate their incorporation into the firms within the projects innovate ecosystem.
L.5. Plan for the promotion of employability and entrepreneurship
It is crucial to organise academic itineraries with reference to employability and entrepreneurship, which is achieved through practical training. In the case of post-graduate degrees, specialisation and research also play a crucial role. For this, CamBio’s academic offer is organised into three stages: basic degree, with which the foundations for a lifelong process of ongoing education are laid; specialisation, in post-graduate studies, which is laid out with reference to new job sources; and research and innovation at the doctoral stage, related to the generation and management of knowledge. In this regard, CamBio proposes the following actions:
A.1. Practical training programme, which will be organised around degree-specific skill maps, the diagnostic of training needs for the development of new skills, specialised courses in these new skills and their evaluation, the offer of curricular or extra-curricular practical training, professional consultancy services for alumni, etc. alongside complementary programmes, in some cases co-sponsored by the Servicio Andaluz de Empleo, for the promotion of the integration of students into the job market. Practical training, to be carried out with the coalition’s private partners, plays a threefold role:
- To reinforce the relationship between coalition members (and thus promote new job sources and research), allowing students not only to find a professional avenue for growth but also to observe future employment trends.
- To offer an ideal sample with which to assess the impact of the new skills in a professional context.
- Finally, and on the basis of the latter, to change and improve training strategies and teaching methodologies to respond to the demands posed by the private sector.
A.2. International Virtual Portal for improved employability: This aims at offering information about actions for the promotion of employability. The portal will mainly benefit CEI CamBio community members including students, alumni, researchers and lecturers within the coalition. The portal will include several tools for the identification of available opportunities, offered by the members of the coalition and other national and international organisations with which the project has established preferential relationships, such as Latin-American and North African universities -through the project’s Transnational Campuses- and national and international companies. These tools are as follows:
- Job offers.
- Information on how to increase employability (employability test, relevant articles, relevant links, etc.).
- Information on entrepreneurship and self-employment.
- Information on available training and ongoing education for students, alumni and lecturers.
- Information on scholarships.
- Information on national and international mobility programmes.
A.3. Creation of the High Performance Centre for Entrepreneurs: This project is aimed at the provision of comprehensive support to entrepreneurs, and thus the promotion of entrepreneurship among students. The target is to monitor and support the would-be entrepreneur from the development of their innovative idea to the official registration of their company. The specific actions to be carried out are:
- To create and maintain a reservoir of good-practices and ideas, for their dissemination through the CEI CamBio portal.
- To offer advice and training on entrepreneurship.
- To organise courses on the establishment of firms.
- To organise meetings with well known and successful entrepreneurs.
- To monitor the performance of alumni.
L.6. Strategy CEI CamBio – Vocational Education
In order to ensure effective coordination in the field of higher education, CEI CamBio intends to lay a solid cooperation network between different agents –in response to the aforementioned new Qualifications Framework and Real Decreto on Vocational Education– for the development of a series of actions towards wider synergies and improved training, creation of talent, employability, entrepreneurship and international mobility. These actions will include the CEI member universities and vocational schools involved in higher education. Additionally, CEI CamBio aims at extending this cooperation framework to other vocational schools, companies -based in Spain or abroad- and public administrations with which the project has preferential relationships.
The following actions are part of the Strategy CEI CamBio-Vocational Education, presented, debated and endorsed by the relevant public bodies at the regional level (Consejería de Educación and Consejería de Empleo):
A.1. Programme for the elaboration and continual updating of ‘cooperation maps’: Initially, CamBio has identified, with special reference to each of the project’s areas of specialisation, a number of ‘Professional Families’ (10), degrees (21), higher education centres (240 in Andalusia) and FP Insertion Centres (Consorcios Escuela). The latter are a special case, since their executive bodies include private companies, which thus also participate in this new academic cartography.
A.2. Programme for cooperation in the proposal of new Titulaciones LOE for their evaluation by the Instituto Nacional de Cualificaciones: CEI CamBio will participate in the work team formed by the Consejería de Educación and the Instituto Andaluz de Cualificaciones Profesionales in order to develop new professional qualifications around the professional families ‘Seguridad y Medio Ambiente’ and ‘Industrias Extractivas’, and to elevate these proposals for their evaluation by the Instituto Nacional de Cualificaciones. With this action, the project actively participates in the creation of referential degrees and integrated centres, while effectively monitoring trends in professional profiling.
A.3. Programme of meetings towards educational clustering:
- With the support of the Social Councils (Consejos Sociales) of coalition member universities, the project aims at promoting the mutual understanding Vocational Education-University, through the design of shared teaching-learning activities. This action also aims at organising a yearly Vocational Education-University-Private sector meeting around a single topic, which will be drawn from the CEI’s areas of specialisation.
- Creation of the institutional and academic channels necessary to facilitate
university access to Vocational Education graduates, through a rationalisation of access criteria and firmer recognition of degrees.
A.4. Programme for the cooperation Vocational Education-University-Private sector:
- The Agencia Andaluza de Promoción Exterior, Extenda, and Andalucía Emprende, lend their support to this action, aimed at developing a training programme based around employability and entrepreneurship and directed at students and teachers: entrepreneurship, business opportunities, company registration, innovation, competitiveness and internationalisation, etc.
- The project will also facilitate Vocational Education students’ access to training programmes carried out by companies within the coalition, and will encourage training leave for teachers, in coalition member companies or abroad.
- The internationalisation options available for Vocational Education students (Erasmus) will be complemented through the promotion of mobility to countries affiliated to the Transnational Campus Estrecho de Gibraltar: Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Those coalition member companies with branches in any of these countries will also lend their support to this project.
L.7. Plan for the Promotion of Employability and Ongoing Learning
As we have already mentioned, educational clustering is one of the foundations of the evolution of a university campus towards excellence. For this reason, and aside from the project’s programme regarding craft schools, CEI CamBio aims at cooperating with the programme Formación con el Empleo, sponsored by the Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración and with the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme.
A.1. Creation of the Group for the Promotion of Ongoing Education, led by CamBio and gathering public bodies and private organisations involved in the design and development of job market oriented training programmes in the project’s areas of specialisation.
A.2. Programme for cooperation with the Spanish National Agency for the European Lifelong Learning Programme, (Organismo Autónomo de Programas Educativos Europeos), which manages the Lifelong Learning Programme, with the following aims:
- To promote the international mobility of alumni, researchers and lecturers and administrative staff.
- To promote participation in mobility programmes, such as Erasmus (for university and vocational education-based higher education), Grundtvig (adult education) and Leonardo da Vinci (vocational education and training), and others promoting study leave (educational specialists, and vocational education and training teachers).
- To promote the dissemination of the European Portfolio of Languages in electronic format.