How can best practices be shared and implemented in all of the EC2U Alliance universities? This question was discussed in the meeting of the EC2U local coordinators in Turku, Finland, in June–July. The local coordinators have a central role in the EC2U collaboration, and the development work conducted by them benefits both students, teachers, staff and administrative staff.
The EC2U local coordinators are central figures managing and advancing the activities of the Alliance in their home universities and taking care of information flow between different actors, e.g. with the main coordination team at the University of Poitiers and between different work packages and working groups.
The local coordinators also act as sort of information banks at their home universities, offering information and guidance – or at least the right address for accessing the information – related to all EC2U activities.
Building the network has been challenging during the exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This is why the EC2U local coordinator at the University of Turku, Project Manager Liisa Järvinen, who organised the meeting in Turku, chose getting to know one another as one of the important goals of the meeting, allocating more time for this than what was possible in the tightly-packed virtual meetings.
“One of the important goals was getting to know each other, as there hasn’t been many opportunities for this during the pandemic. We spent the time discussing without hurry about our good practices and compiled suggestions for making different types of processes smoother. We also wanted to clarify the role of the local coordinators,” says Järvinen.
The meeting was also an excellent opportunity to introduce the campus of the University of Turku and the city of Turku to the colleagues.
The local coordinators discussed e.g. how different universities co-operate within EC2U with the cities, how they share information about opportunities brought by the EC2U internally, and about the challenges of the upcoming events, particularly reaching the right audience. For example, there are plans for organising a EC2U Day, as wished by the students.
The local coordinators meet monthly in Teams meetings. They met face-to-face in the EC2U Forums organised in Salamanca and Pavia and once at the University of Poitiers.
“Once more we came to see that a physical meeting of a couple of days can be very productive, and these meetings will be surely organised again in the future,” says Järvinen.
The meeting in Turku was participated by the local coordinator of the University of Pavia Giulia Falchi and her colleagues Melinda Kolb from the University of Jena, Maria Teresa Pérez Martín from the University of Salamanca, Diogo Henrique from the University of Coimbra, Flora Dausque from the University of Poitiers and the Alliance’s assistant coordinator Heather Hunter, who works together with Emilie Lama. The local coordinator of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași Ioana Serafinceanu was unable to participate in the meeting.
“Different universities have EC2U teams of different sizes, but the local coordinators still have largely similar duties. Together, we compiled a list of the duties and responsibilities to see the whole picture. We also considered improvement recommendations and changes, Järvinen explains.