A crowd of internal and external stakeholders of Tampere University came together to celebrate the launch of the ECIU University at Cafe Toivo on the city centre campus on 5 February. Last year the EU awarded the ECIU University €5 million, spread out over three years, for developing an innovative new model of higher education in Europe. The new concept is based on demand-driven, international and flexible education and research.
The ECIU University will place a special emphasis on offering interdisciplinary and flexible education, tailored to the needs of society and students. The goal is to establish multiple living labs where academia and industry work together to plan and oversee joint projects. In addition, the ECIU University will enhance the flexibility of education by granting learners so-called micro-credits for individual courses and developing other methods for the recognition of learning.
- Universities must keep up with the times and prepare students for the changing world of work. It is important that students are able to flexibly pick and choose courses and develop the skills they will need in the future job market and our changing world, said Sander Lotze, project director of the ECIU University.
- We at the ECIU University believe that students build lifelong connections with their university. The ties remain strong and continue to evolve as alumni go through different stages of life, Sander Lotze said.
Director, Continuous Learning Heli Harrikari, who heads the ECIU project at Tampere University, echoes similar sentiments.
- The future of higher education is not ours to shape alone. The development of higher education is an undertaking that goes beyond the walls of academia. The ECIU University is not a project that has a beginning and an end; it is here to stay, Harrikari said.
In addition to the representatives of the ECIU University, the audience was addressed by the project partners, namely the Council of Tampere Region, the City of Tampere and Ponsse Ltd. A speech was also given by a representative of the National Union of University Students in Finland.
Anna-Kaisa Heinämäki, the City of Tampere’s deputy mayor for growth, innovation and competitiveness, highlighted the ECIU’s University’s important role at the city level.
- In the past six months I have come across the ECIU University in my work almost on a weekly basis. The ECIU concept offers the city an excellent opportunity to further build its international reach, she said.
Besides witnessing the opening ceremonies, the audience had the opportunity to attend workshops to get hands-on with the development of education. A practical exercise set up by Assistant Professor (tenure track) Henri Pirkkalainen invited the participants to reflect on the development of collaboration between different networks, the flexibility of education and the recognition of learning.
Text Minna Puntila