SUCSESS Training 2 kick-off!

It was such a pleasure to see some 50 participants and speakers join the kick-off of the second SUCSESS training on Monday 24 May.

The session was started with Prof. Jarkko Saarinen and Dr. Kaarina Tervo-Kankare welcoming everyone to the second online training of the project.

The second training is strongly focused on regional development and inclusivity. The official objectives of the second training are: to understand community perspectives to university education, ​to identify how employability and sustainable regional development are linked,​ to understand entrepreneurship education and how to use new pedagogies for social innovation.​

The keynote was delivered by Prof. Daneel van Lill, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He is passionate about growing a new generation of future-fit leaders and managers. He reflected on multiple levels on the role of universities in society. The keynote was an inspiring start for the day.  

The second speaker was Dr. Norah Clarke, Director: Entrepreneurship, Universities South Africa, and she talked about the topic one of the training, i.e., entrepreneurial education. She talked about the fact that many of those who teach entrepreneurship, have not necessarily been entrepreneurs themselves. That is why it is important to bring in people from the industry. Bringing the knowledge triangle into action – learning from each other is vital for success. An entrepreneurial university creates an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurial activity to flourish. Collaboration is the key whether you do something across the country or within your own organisation – using whatever technology is available to your students in order to create an inclusive environment. Every student and graduate should be equipped to participate in the culture of entrepreneurship.

The third speaker of the morning, Mr. Mansoor Mohamed, South African Tourism, Head of Tourism Execution – Asia Pacific, touched upon the third topic of the training, i.e., online industry engagement. He shared his experiences and highlighted the importance of long-term planning.

The last speaker, Dr. Neil Davies Evans from the University of Zululand, lead us to the topic five, i.e., the use of technology in teaching in an inclusive way and the ways of accommodating teaching according to student diversity. He shared a huge infographic with lots of information compressed into one page. The infographic masterpiece was a collaborative effort of several South African universities and included topics and themes important throughout the world. He shared ideas about how universities can improve their teaching and student learning. No doubt, the 21st century graduate attributes, such problem-solving skills, entrepreneurship and employability skills, cross-cultural knowledge and ethical standards, are important throughout the studies. He encouraged everyone to put together learning events that encourage students to explore. Many students adopt a surface approach to learning, instead of a deep learning approach. That is mainly due to the learning methods used. We need to pay attention to the methods to improve student learning. There is both formal and informal learning. In the future, there needs to be focus on blending our learning spaces as much as we can, not relying on just one type of learning. Now it is time to think how we reinvent ourselves after COVID-19, to better support our students. Our institutions need to rethink how they work. Lots of food for thought! Dr Evans has shared his material with the participants so that it is possible to learn more about the impressive presentation.

After the interesting talks and discussions of the morning, it was time to split into smaller groups in the break-out rooms and discuss and develop the tasks of the second training in more detail. There were five smaller groups with the following topics and themes:

  1. Entrepreneurial education
  2. Students’ self-understanding on their competences, Students’ self-esteem, psychological aspects
  3. Online industry engagement and career services
  4. Universities’ / units’ actions in the surrounding society/communities, community perspectives, social innovations for the benefit of the region
  5. Use of technology in teaching in an inclusive way and the ways of accommodating teaching according to student diversity

The participants and facilitators all came from the six project partner universities.

The kick-off event ended with concluding words of the way forward – and the next checkpoint session will be already in three weeks’ time on Monday 14 June 2021.