About 450 students each year benefit from Erasmus+ funding when they opt to spend a part of their degree abroad, either to work or to study. It’s perhaps less widely known that Erasmus+ funding is also available for university members of staff who can teach, train or job shadow at an institution located in a participating country. This is an excellent opportunity to not only build on existing skills while meeting staff from other universities in the same field, but also to experience a different culture and work environment.
A few lucky members of professional and academic staff were fortunate enough to complete their staff mobility projects this year before the Covid-19 lockdown struck. What follows is an insight into what some of them experienced and what they got out of their respective mobilities…
Susan Watts, Project Officer in the Centre for Learning and Teaching, spent three days in November job shadowing in the Centre for Academic Teaching at Utrecht University (The Netherlands). Sue’s visit explored best practice and new ideas for educational innovation, academic development, and learning and teaching partnerships. Her recently published blog sums up her experiences very well.
Aste Dahl, Careers Adviser, attended a bespoke programme for three days in March at the University of South Denmark in Odense, learning about their Careers knowledge and practice, especially with regard to online tools, careers counselling and work with international students.
"I was very inspired by the University of South Denmark’s approach to Career Management Skills (CMS) and how they have embedded some of this in the curriculum, both face to face and online over a number of years, with collaboration with senior management and academics in each faculty. It has inspired me to look into researching implementing something similar online for non-placement students".
“I really liked that someone in the wider team that I visited arranges a 10-15 minutes staff wellbeing session with stretch bands in the corridor. This is a part of the University of South Denmark’s staff wellbeing strategy and is considered as part of your working hours. 5-10 staff members used bands, smiled and stretched and I thought this would be a great addition to our team here at Bath. (I’ve also included) a picture of a brain-storming pole, which was a concept I really like - this was for students, not staff”.
Daniela De Angeli is a Research Associate in the Department of Computer Science and is passionate about the ability of digital technologies to benefit society. She was invited to spend a week in February at the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) in order to share her experience of the design and evaluation of serious games through lectures. Daniela also supervised a user study, this time involving the RISE Centre of Excellence as well as CUT. The main purpose of this study was to test natural modalities of interaction with holograms of museum artefacts. The intended outcome was to inform the design of the interactive holographic display, so that the final installation would be, not only engaging, but also usable and intuitive for the general public.
Daniela is planning a follow-up study early next year, an academic publication and a presentation at the next CAMERA meeting. Researchers from CUT are also planning a reciprocal visit to Bath at a future time.
Beth Jones, Marketing Officer in the Faculty of Engineering & Design, visited Trinity College Dublin for five days in December. The objective of her visit was to share ideas and best practice for recruiting students internationally and recruiting students from a widening participation background – investigating how another institution is embedding widening participation messaging into their marketing and communication activities.
Beth engaged in job shadowing: with the Access Team learning more about the Trinity approach to Widening Participation; with an Engineering Faculty’s Global Officer seeing how this role recruits and supports international students; and with the Global Relations team gaining an insight into Trinity’s international marketing techniques including e-communications, web, recruitment and print activities. Beth was also able to arrange a number of meetings with key contacts within, and externally to, the University.
“I really enjoyed my time at Trinity. It was a great opportunity to gather some new insights, gain a different perspective on my role, and share this all with our team back at Bath. I am really thankful to my hosts for making my trip so enjoyable and for sharing their time and work activities with me.”