The University of Amsterdam participates in the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project STEM Continuous Professional Development at European Universities. The other partners in this consortium are the Jagiellonian University (Poland), the University of Oulu (Finland), the University of Naples Federico II (Italy), the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the European Chemistry Thematic Network Association.
Together the partners have received almost half a million euro from the European Union to develop and share innovative practices and promote cooperation, peer learning, and exchanges of experiences in higher chemistry education. The aim is to promote continuous professional development at European universities. It will help lecturers keep the quality of teaching and learning on track, while considering the developments in STEM disciplines and in society, and help them cope with challenging problems that arise.
To guarantee the high quality of education in the Netherlands, the University Teaching Qualification (Basiskwalificatie Onderwijs, BKO) programme supports teaching staff as they develop and improve with regard to the skills and educational competencies needed for teaching at university. BKO addresses general pedagogical concepts which are relevant for all lecturers. In this structure, the training cannot address the specifics of teaching and learning in one particular discipline and the potential that a specific approach or digital tool can have in a specific area.
Integrating knowledge in teaching
The fast development of science and technology knowledge is strongly connected to complex social questions. To cope with these developments and to assure a sustainable quality of teaching and learning in higher education natural sciences courses (STEM courses), a STEM-oriented lifelong continuous professional development (CPD) of lecturers in their local context is needed. The activities of the new project aim at integrating technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge in teaching and developing approaches to use technology to teach concepts in a way that enhances student learning experiences.
Dr Stefania Grecea, associate professor at HIMS is the project leader at the Faculty of Science. She is lecturing and coordinating courses in both BSc and MSc chemistry programmes and coordinates the MSc track Science for Energy and Sustainability. The specific CPD activities will be developed in collaboration with the faculty Teaching and Learning Centre, in particular Dr Natasa Brouwer, the faculty BKO coordinator. These activities will be embedded in the existing university teaching training programs in the continuation of the BKO.
During the three years of the project, two summer schools will be organised for lecturers who organise chemistry-oriented CPD activities in their faculty and who will become CPD-Ambassadors. In this way, the activities of CPD-Ambassadors will increase the knowledge at their faculties and beyond in the STEM community through multiplier workshops. The activities developed will be specific train-the-trainer sessions, co-creation activities, peer-learning approach and knowledge sharing based on the principles of a community of inquiry. They will form the foundation to reach the sustainability of CPD at European universities.