European Conference
on
European Models of Synergy between Teaching and Research in Higher Education
   
       
 
   
Abstracts
( E - I )
   
  
                                         ( By title, in alphabetical order )
    
Enhancement of the Research-Teaching Synergy Transylvania University case study 
    
Elena Helerea, Maria Popescu & Claudiu Coman, Transylvania University of Brasov, Romania
      
Synergy is presented in all domains, in specific forms. The concept defines the behaviour of a system as a hole, which brings new elements instead of the separate behaviour of the components.
In the last years, the synergy effects are valuated in a socio-economic environment at the level of work-teams, organisations and partnerships. New approaches are also proposed in education and research.
The paper deals with the ways of enhancement of the synergy in scientific research and teaching in the context of the knowledge based society. The many ways are analysed, focusing on: implementation of the new education models, research labs development and common strategies for research-teaching in universities, especially in master and doctoral schools.
Some aspects of the synergic effects in research and teaching at Transylvania University of Brasov are presented. The researcher-teacher role is also analysed, and some solutions are proposed, regarding: tasks evaluation and profile-job design.

References
1. Mircea Malita, Zece mii de culturi, o singura civilizatie. Spre geomodernitatea secolului XXI /Then Thousand Cultures and One
   Civilisation. To Geo-modernism of the XXI Century/, Editura Nemira, Bucuresti, 2001.
2. P. I. Kapita, Experimet, teorie, practica /Experiment, Theory, Praxis/, Editura Politica, Bucuresti, 1981.
3. Mihai Draganescu, Profunzimile lumii materiale /In the Profundity of Material World/, Editura Politica, Bucuresti, 1979.
4. Mircea Florescu, Conexiunile cercetarii stiintifice /Scientific Research Connections/, Editura Academiei, Bucuresti, 1981.
5. Michael Ciaran Duffy (Ed.), Engineering and Engineers. Proceeding of the XXth International Congress of History of Science, Liege, 
    20-26 July 1997, Vol. XVI, Edition Brelop.
    
From Competences to Initiatives
     
Paul Dan Cristea & Rodica Tuduce, University "Politehnica" of Bucharest
     

One of the basic outcomes of the Tuning project was to address several of the Bologna action lines and notably the adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees, the adoption of a system based on two cycles and the establishment of a system of credits. The Socrates Sub-Committee for Higher Education has identified implementing the Tuning methodology as a basic task of the Thematic Networks. The EUI-Net Thematic Network approaches a key aspect of the university role in a knowledge-driven society, namely the University - Industry cooperation for the effective training of future technical specialists in the context of a global labour market. Previous projects have addressed the problem of the societal university response for areas such as Business Administration, Education Sciences, Geology, History, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. 
The EUI-Net Thematic Network aims at identifying points of reference for generic and subject-specific competences in higher technical education. Competences are the learning outcomes: what a learner knows or is able to demonstrate after the completion of a learning process. This concerns both subject specific competences and generic competences, like communication skills and leadership. In the framework of the project, university staff, students and employers have been consulted on the competences they expect from graduates. 
But competences alone are not enough when it comes to convert knowledge into initiatives able to change world and society. Together with the ongoing investigation aimed to establish the generic and specific outcomes of higher engineering training in an Industrial specialisation, the SIG1 (Special Interest Group nr. 1 - Generic and specific competences in the subjects relevant to the industrial sector (e.g. Electrical engineering,
Mechatronics, Civil engineering), using the “Tuning” methodology) module of the EUI-net project has extended its area of interest in the direction of developing Technical Entrepreneurship. This implies joint activities of universities and enterprises to create a real entrepreneurial attitude amongst engineering students. Such a spirit must be sustained by an adequate training providing future specialists with necessary basic and specialised knowledge, but also requires their direct and early involvement in the current and future trends of the industrial field they will contribute to shape during their professional careers.

This initiative is along the plans on education and entrepreneurship of the European Commission announced on February 10th, 2006 by Gunter Verheugen, Vice-president and Commissioner for DG Enterprise and Industry, and Jan Figel, Member of the European Commission responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism. The stated intention of the Commission was to cultivate a more entrepreneurial spirit amongst schoolchildren and students. The recommendations for governments comprise including entrepreneurship in school curricula, training teachers in business awareness and improving cooperation between educational establishments and the local community. The European Commission has placed entrepreneurship high on the European agenda for several years, and its commitment to promoting entrepreneurship through Education is set out in the Lisbon Agenda.

In a Memo with the title “Promoting entrepreneurial mindsets – Examples of good practice in Europe” released by the Commission on February 13th, 2006, it is stated that examples of entrepreneurship education in EU Member States show that good practice exists in Europe. The challenge lies in making these initiatives more widespread and systematic. Education is positively linked with higher entrepreneurial activity. For example, some evidence shows that around 20% of participants in mini-company activities in secondary school go on to create their own company after their studies. Education in entrepreneurship increases the chances of start-ups and self-employment and enhances individuals’ economic reward and satisfaction. This is why curricula for schools at all levels should explicitly include entrepreneurship as an objective of education.

The University “Politehnica” of Bucharest (UPB), which co-ordinates the SIG1 module of the EUI-net project, has already made several significant steps in this direction. UPB will host on March 31st, 2006, an INTEL event that, between other purposes related to a more manifest presence of large companies within universities, will specifically address the problem of forming engineer students as young entrepreneurs. Future engineers will be prepared not only to be able to enter the labour market as employees, just as an additional highly trained working force. Graduates and even last year students will bring their fresh ideas, their initiatives aimed to technological advancement, but which will change the future of university and industry as well. This approach extends the tuning of various generic and specific competencies offered by universities across Europe in response to current and future industry needs and requests, to a new level that implies developing industrial initiatives in universities, is directly based on students' creativity, and requires both technical and business-like skills. 

During the month of April, twenty professors of UPB, from all the technical schools of the university, will be trained in a course of Technical Entrepreneurship that will be given by professors from Berkeley University, USA. This activity has the role of a starting point in a training-of-trainers effort to extend entrepreneurial training in all the engineering studies organised in the university. Entrepreneurship education will be included in a large variety of courses, at Bachelor, Degree and Postgraduate levels, and will be offered across many different academic departments. Courses comprise: Business Studies; Accounting and Finance; Community Studies; Cultural Resource Management; various engineering specialties. A new course of Technical Entrepreneurship has already been introduced in the curriculum of the Faculty of Engineering in Foreign Languages. This means that, almost without exception, each of UPB’s students will have the opportunity of completing an entrepreneurship module at some point during their studies. 
Students of the University “Politehnica” of Bucharest are also involved in other initiatives of the European Union aiming at promoting the ideals of co-operation and interchange between young scientists, such as the Contest for Young Scientists. This EU Contest gives students the opportunity to compete with the best of their contemporaries at European level, being an annual showcase of the best student scientific achievements. The young scientists have the chance to meet others with similar abilities and interests and to be guided by some prominent European scientists. The contest is a significant contribution to strengthen the efforts to attract young people to careers in science and technology and to develop their creativity and entrepreneurship initiative.
By extending the network activities to encompass such activities, directly relevant for the formation of specialists in a university-industry context, we hope to better contribute to the aim of building a more harmonious relationship between the scientific, technical and educational endeavors and the European society at large.

 
    
How to motivate research in students?
     
Lorna Uden & Josu Takala, School of Computing, Engineering and Technology, Staffordshire University, U.K. / Department of Electrical Engineering and Industrial Management, University of Vaasa, Finland
    
Research is an important part of a student’s university education. Students must be able to think for themselves and solve problems in their lives. Despite the importance of research in the student’s curriculum, many find research difficult and have no idea where to start to solve the problem. They may have had the subject matter knowledge and skills taught to them, but they simply cannot look at a problem and solve it. This has implications in a student’s final year work because they have to complete a final year project or dissertation as part of their degree. Year after year the author has to deal with students not knowing at the start of the project what to do or how to conduct their research. Students need problem solving, critical thinking and learning-how-to-learn in their employment. Because of the frustration faced by the learners, the author has had to look for ways to help students overcome this difficulty. 

To develop problem solving, critical thinking and learning to learn as well as communication skills are essential for a good research. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is often considered to be a good way to help students acquire the necessary skills. This paper describes the authors’ experiences of using the PBL to help students develop research skills. The results of PBL led to drastic improvements in students’ research abilities and critical thinking skills. 

The paper begins with the problems facing research students. A brief review of problem-based learning is given, followed by discussion of our problem-based learning experiences and outcomes. The paper concludes with long-term benefits to students and recommendations for further research.
      
Innovative ways of knowledge transfer between Universities and Industry.
      
Wim Van Petegem, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
    

In the relation between Universities and Industry knowledge transfer (in both directions) is a key issue. This could be done in different ways: academic programs, common research projects, internships, seminars, etc. The common meeting place (call it the 'knowledge market place') is often the university campus. Nowadays new ways of communicating through the use of ICT have become available and virtual communities pop up where university and industry could share knowledge and ideas.
In this paper we describe a few initiatives taken in the Leuven region to accommodate the constant demand for innovative ways of knowledge creation and sharing between the K.U.Leuven and its industrial partners. Examples range from support for spin-off companies, over videoconference lectures to (virtual) networking in Leuven.Inc. In this way it is explained how a university could play an important role in regional development and how industry could participate in knowledge creation in the university, to the benefit of both.

       
Integrating Community Based Research and Higher Education in Environmental Field-Case Studies Analysis
    
Venetia Sandu, Elena Helerea & Cornel Cofaru, Transylvania University of Brasov, Romania
      
Academic research is a double sided process in which the academic staff has the mission to educate the students and to develop coherent research work. It must be integrated in research strategies developed at global, regional (for example European ), national or local level. 
In the environmental field the research work is more challenging addressing directly both to industrial/ economic sector and communities, implying constraints imposed by legislation to the former and need analysis of the latter.
The concept of Community-Based Research is a dynamic research model appropriate to environmental demands which responds to questions imposed by communities, allowing community groups to address their own agendas and shape their own futures (ex. Agenda 21), emphasizing the development of knowledge and skills that truly prepare students for active civic engagement and also for further .The research is collaborative and change-oriented combining traditional learning with social interaction. 
Community-based learning enriches coursework by encouraging students to apply the knowledge and analytic tools to the pressing issues that affect local communities. Working with faculty members, industrial decision makers, community leaders and technical experts, students may develop research projects, collect and analyze data, and share their results and conclusions with the organizations and agencies that need the information, as well as with their professors. 
The purpose of community-based research projects is to enhance the understanding of issues affecting the community and to develop, implement and evaluate, as appropriate, plans of action that will address those issues in ways that benefit the community.
The findings tend nowadays not to be filed and kept away from the public eye, but to be rapidly revealed and turn into a useful plan in the benefit of community.
The profile of the researcher is transformed also: the” absent-minded character” who is concentrated exclusively upon its experiments and calculations and cannot be disturbed must change into a charismatic person eager to share his experience, to explain the phenomena and to ask for action to community being in the same time researcher, teacher and an activist . 

The paper deals with some case studies which implement the previous presented concepts. 
      
Interconnection of University Research Activities and Firms´ Practice
Case Study
Drahomíra Pavelková, Adriana Knápková & Daniel Remeš,  Faculty of Management and Economics, Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Czech Republic
   

The goal of the paper is to show possibilities for interconnection of university research activities and firms´ practice. The paper contains a case study describing creation and activities of the research team and its connection to business life - on the basis of solving the research projects dealing with companies and clusters´ competitiveness and performance. This case study shows the possibilities for mutual cooperation and ways for transfer the results of research to firms´ practice.

      
International Collaboration for Higher Education

Keywords: Distance Education, E-Learning Technologies, Virtual Learning Environments, Content Development Tools, Videoconferencing, E-Learning Standards

Danguole Rutkauskiene, Research Laboratory of Distance Learning Technologies, & Ramunas Kubiliunas, Department of Sociology, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania
    
Nowadays, distance education is almost always related with information communication technologies (networks, systems, hardware – software tools and so on). These technologies are the resources for distance education existence and support. The main task of this article is to review the present situation of distance education and resources for it in Lithuania. The article covers strategies, information systems, technologies and applications used for distance education support: national programmes and international projects, computer networks, virtual learning environments, videoconferencing systems, content development tools and standards. The analysis of the existing situation enables us to share experience with other countries, generate new ideas and identify the barriers that may restrict the future development of information communication technologies and resources for distance education in Lithuania.
     
 
   
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