ECOLAS is involved and helps to organize three events for those interested in Liberal Education in 2017 as part of the project BLASTER. The first of these events took place in Bratislava, Slovakia on 25-26 May 2017 (Campus of BISLA at Grösslingová 53) and was aimed at professional development of teachers in liberal arts and sciences and their pedagogical skills.
The seminar presented newly published book Learning and Teaching in the Liberal Arts which offers an overview of pedagogical methods supporting quality learning as an outcome of research on needs of university teachers. The workshop also offered opportunities and possibilities for starting a programme to train young teachers at academia.
The two days of sessions, intensive discussions, friendly debates, and enthusiasm about the topics among 50 participants from 8 countries prompted ECOLAS to offer not only a summary of the workshop lectures and mutual contacts but also to look into possibilities for cooperating in order to improve the condition, quality, and awareness of liberal arts education in Europe. In particular, the last discussion about our possible cooperation and the aim of our efforts was extremely helpful for plans and endeavors at ECOLAS.
It seems that the bachelor’s degree instituted throughout the Continent thanks to the Bologna Agreement has not reached its potential or fulfilled its expectations and it is often perceived with disdain by many educators in Europe. If there anything that can reverse this trend, and to legitimize the bachelor’s degree, it is through liberal arts education with its stress of teaching and learning, insistence on depth and breadth of knowledge, and stressing the variety of intellectual skills as the core of quality education. It was felt as a background of our conversation in Bratislava that you also care about the best ways to improve the quality of education, regardless if participants were part of a liberal arts program or a traditional university setting.
The workshop was facilitated by specialists in the field from Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Warwick, Masaryk University in Brno and BISLA based in Bratislava. The interactive sessions covered following topics: problem-based learning, stimulating interdisciplinarity, encouraging critical thinking at students and reflective and scholarly teaching. You can download their presentations here, here and here. Here you can find the event’s programme.