In recent years, the European Commission has highlighted the importance of embedding a value creation mindset across all sectors and educational levels. It has been repeatedly emphasised that higher education institutions (HEIs) can act as major catalysts for this process. The potential of HEIs to create impact and stimulate an entrepreneurial evolution is primarily due to the high percentage of citizens attending HEIs and secondly, due to the fact that most leaders in society emerge from these institutions.
In this sense, academics play a crucial role in leading ‘bottom-up’ change at HEIs. For this transition to be effective, it is vital that these academics have the capacity to direct their thinking and actions towards value creation, and to integrate this into their daily teaching, irrespective of the discipline. Embedding entrepreneurial skills in students and creating more innovative and practical pedagogies and curricula, as well as engaging with external stakeholders, results in more employable, self-sustainable and impactful graduates.
However, a number of issues exist within this transition namely, a lack of expertise in employing innovative methods of teaching across disciplines; a misunderstanding of how to design and deliver more innovative, engaging pedagogies and “market-relevant” curricula ensuring better employability pathways; a need for academics who can introduce new education concepts and pedagogies alongside with facilitation of skills development of other educators; and finally the difficulty for academics to effectively engage with existing ecosystems for the purposes of education.
There is a distinct shortage of replicable and cross-disciplinary pedagogies that are able to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in students and provide them with the skills necessary to effectively create value. The development of these pedagogies is also hindered by the lack of support for the ‘change-makers’ in HEIs. For an evolution to take place, there needs to be an efficient knowledge exchange for improving higher education across faculties, HEIs, and even European nations.
The EDUCATORS FOR IMPACT project aspires to fill the existing gaps, innovate HEIs and train educators to keep up with the challenges that currently exist in Europe. The following section briefly details how we plan to do it.
- Increase awareness and knowledge of the needs and benefits of developing educators’ entrepreneurial skills and attitudes, to embed innovative and experiential pedagogies to enhance the impact of their teaching practices for their students across disciplines
- Facilitate development of new skills and attitudes among HEI educators, translated into their teaching practices, through training as well as development and implementation of Personal Application Projects
- Support transferability of good practices on innovative education across disciplines
- Develop an assessment criterion to profile educators for impact based on EntreComp and assess the entrepreneurial competencies training needs. These criteria will enable the creation of a training programme for developing entrepreneurial competencies that will validate and incentivize the uptake of innovative pedagogies and impactful education among HEI educators
- Develop more innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystems by fostering development of mindset oriented towards value creation among wider groups of HE educators and academics, locally and internationally
A few words about our approach:
…based on EntreComp
We actively promote the application of EntreComp Framework for the development of replicable and cross-disciplinary pedagogies for skills development
…innovative & cross-departmental
We foster cross-departmental partnerships between teacher training departments and other institutional departments providing entrepreneurship education.
We develop intellectual resources available for use by other higher education institutions sharing the same interests and challenges regarding the inclusion of entrepreneurial and innovative teaching methods into all disciplinary programmes.
We aim to develop:
EDUCATORS FOR IMPACT TRAINING INVESTIGATION REPORT – The Educators for Impact Training Investigation Report will provide a comprehensive understanding of the needs and benefits of developing educators’ entrepreneurial skills, as a vehicle to embed innovative educational pedagogies transversally and across academic disciplines.
EDUCATORS FOR IMPACT SELF-ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK – The Educators for Impact Self-Assessment Framework will include assessment criteria to profile ‘innovative educators’ and assess their needs for training on entrepreneurial competencies and knowledge.
EDUCATORS FOR IMPACT TRAINING PROGRAMME & TOOLKIT – The Educators for Impact Training Programme & Toolkit will facilitate the development of entrepreneurial skills and attitudes among HE educators, translated into their teaching practices through the development and implementation of a modular training programme. The toolkit will form an integral part of the training course and support participating educators in application of their knowledge.
At Educators For Impact, we strongly believe that this project will benefit society on many levels, and we are looking forward to witness the positive impacts of our research, development and training efforts.
Authored by Anna Fedorova (UNIBO)