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International webinar on "innovating HE pedagogy in turbulent times" - 23 June 2020

17 June 2020
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On Tuesday 23 June 2020, the CIVIS member University: the University of Bucharest, hosted an international webinar on “Innovating HE Pedagogy in Turbulent Times”, co-organized together with CIVIS  and UNICA.

The online event was moderated by Sorin COSTREIE, Vice-Rector of the University of Bucharest, as host of the event, and by Luciano SASO, the President of UNICA and Vice-Rector of University of Rome, La Sapienza.

Speeches within the webinar were delivered by: Lucian CIOLAN – Innovative pedagogies or adaptation for survival?; Clas HÄTTERSTRAND – From physical to digital – success factors and challenges when Stockholm’s University adapted to the corona virus pandemic; Romiță IUCU – Learn – Unlearn – Relearn teaching in the post-pandemic universities; Clara MOLINA – Rethinking student contact time; Anca NEDELCU – The Great Disruption”: recovery forecasts and post-pandemic pedagogy in higher education and Alice PEDREGOSA – Teaching during turbulent times – interplay of isolation and innovation.

Starting from the premise that the turbulent context of the pandemic can in fact become an opportunity for transforming the higher education environment and pedagogies, the conference tackled important issues like types, practices and key factors in innovating higher education, analysing the capacity of higher education to rapidly pass from more conservative and traditional models to innovative practices and formats. Only as an example, as the pandemic context forced the academic communities to build different types of connections, the complete return to face-to-face learning became quite improbable. Thus, teachers must find the most relevant and suitable formulas of adapting the consecrated types of connections and to identify blended solutions of interaction.

The webinar also discussed how fundamental theories, concepts and practices in higher education were affected by the sanitary crisis, offering to the participants' insights regarding concrete examples of adaptability and good practices of innovation used in the represented universities.

Addressing the challenges and incertitude faced by the universities due to the present context, the panellists identified the most significant pedagogical solutions, arguing that the digital and virtual turn imposed by the pandemic produced irreversible changes in higher education. As a result, the teaching staff of the universities must face the challenges with open minds and even be ready to "unlearn” former practices and formats in order to adapt to new rules governing the local, regional and global academic environment.

Thus, the teaching staff must undertake a new process of professionalization, meant to make them ready to face new pedagogical challenges (concerning information, technical issues, lack of knowledge on using digital tools).

The webinar ended with a Q&A session, which allowed interventions from the significant audience, including representatives from several European universities, members in CIVIS and UNICA, but also secondary teachers and students with an interest in the discussed topics.


Lucian CIOLAN is professor of educational policy and research, former Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences. Vice-rector with development projects and lifelong learning at University of Bucharest and co-leader (with Anca Nedelcu) of WP 7 Teaching excellence in the frame of the CIVIS project.

Clas HÄTTERSTRAND is Vice-President of Stockholm University since 2016 and Professor in Physical Geography. Among other responsibilities in various sectors of the University, mostly related to education, he is also Chair of the Quality Assurance committee and Chair of the Higher Education Pedagogic Unit.

Romiță IUCU is President of the Board of Trustees, of the University of Bucharest and professor at the Department of Educational Sciences. He has been appointed as Steering Committee Member of the EUA – European University Association, Teaching and Learning Initiative. He held several professional and management positions (former Acting Rector of the University of Bucharest 2016-2017, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, for more than 16 years). From all these positions, Prof. Iucu was designing, managing and validating higher education and adult education policies, at international and national level.

Clara MOLINA is currently Vice-Rector of Undergraduate Studies, so in charge of academic affairs. Previously involved in issues of quality assurance for official degrees. For 20 years lecturing linguistics in the department of English Studies (Faculty of Humanities)

Anca NEDELCU is professor at University of Bucharest, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, and, in the same time, vice-dean, in charge with international relations and quality management process. Her areas of professional and research interests spin around the concepts of equity, diversity in education, reflective practice, leadership and media education. Her professional record includes activities as international consultant, ministerial adviser at Ministry of Education and Research, trainer, project coordinator. Anca is currently involved in CIVIS project as co-leader of Work Package 7 and as an active member and leader of Virtual Mobility task force.

Alice PEDREGOSA is currently, Senior lecturer at Aix-Marseille University. Her main area of interest is education in science, both as a teacher educator at university and in research, and so she has also been involved in programs of teacher training for higher education teachers. Alice has spent the last 2 years in mobility at the National Institute of Education of Singapore.

UB is considered one of the most important educational, research and cultural institutions in Romania. During its 150 years of existence, it has achieved a steadfast national and international prestige. UB offers several study programmes, on all levels and means of university education: there are 93 bachelor programmes, 208 master programmes and 21 doctoral programmes. In present, UB has 32.000 students and over 1300 professors.

CIVIS is a European Civic University formed by the alliance of eight leading research higher education institutions across Europe: Aix-Marseille Université, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Universitatea din București, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Sapienza Università di Roma, Stockholm University and Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. It brings together a community of more than 384,000 students and 55,000 staff members including 30,000 academics and researchers. CIVIS aims to create a truly unique European interuniversity campus, developing a deep level of European integration, involving joint learning pathways, development of complementary research facilities and diverse degree pathways.

UNICA is an institutional network of 53 universities from 37 capital cities of Europe, combining over 175,000 staff and 1,950,000 students. Founded in 1990, UNICA seeks to facilitate international collaborations and promote academic leadership through understanding and sharing between its Members.

The next UNICA EduLab will be held on 4 December 2020 at the University of Bucharest.