The Guild: European universities set recommendations for research-led education in the digital age

03 Jun 2021 | Network Updates

Higher education across Europe needs to cut red tape, engage with lifelong learning, and accelerate pedagogic innovation in a sustainable way to enable students to receive strong research-led education and develop relevant skills for the 21st century, according to the new Insight Paper published by The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities.

Its lead author, Prof. Jo Angouri (University of Warwick) shows that a discourse of ‘need for change’ is sweeping the higher education sector, with research-intensive universities being required to capitalise on research and simultaneously deliver excellent teaching and learning. This discourse has become more prominent during the pandemic as students and staff had to balance between ‘on’ and ‘off’ line, and universities were forced to provide blended learning in a short time.

In this context, The Guild’s new Insight Paper provides a framework for reimagining research-led education in a digital age. It seeks to open a conversation between universities, European policy bodies, the EU and national governments, proposing recommendations across six key themes:

  1. The future is not and must not be all digital
  2. Research-led universities should lend their distinctive strengths to lifelong learning
  3. Pedagogic innovation must be accelerated to educate for continuous change and disruption
  4. We must move beyond red tape to develop enabling policy tools and flexible regulatory frameworks
  5. We must articulate the value added of (international) collaboration
  6. We must invest in the sustainability of pedagogic innovation

“This visionary paper suggests that research-led universities have rich experience and commitment to ensure higher education continues to meet the needs of students, science, and society. It draws from outstanding practice across twenty-one leading universities in Europe to propose that universities will transform across six interdependent areas, calling upon funders and policy-makers to enable universities to fully realise their transformative potential for students,” Jan Palmowski, Secretary-General of The Guild, said.

“Our sector is uniquely positioned to make interdisciplinary teaching and research more inclusive to people from more diverse backgrounds, to equip a workforce with transferrable skills, and to negotiate mobility solutions with policy-makers at all levels — ensuring that learning has no borders,” Professor Jo Angouri, Academic Director: Education and Internationalisation at the University of Warwick and lead author of the paper, commented.

The paper’s interventions were launched on 4 June 2021 in a discussion with policy-makers and practitioners, at an event that will launch a series of debates in the coming months about the educational transformations we need.

This article was first published on June 04 by The Guild.

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