Category Archives: News

TEST Around the World

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TEST In Europe

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TEST Within Ecolas

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Third Liberal Education Student Conference will take place in Utrecht (NL) in May


From the 10th till 13th of May 2018, bachelor students from three different Liberal Education programs seated in Utrecht, The Netherlands, will co-host the third edition of the European Liberal Education Student Conference (LESC). They hope to welcome 110+ Liberal Education students from all over Europe to University College Utrecht Campus. Together, these students will reflect on the relation between Liberal Education and the needs of society, with a central question of the conference:


What does our changing society need from Liberal Education, and to what extent is your Liberal Education programme providing this?


Over the course of a long weekend, the students will engage in discussions, debates and lectures regarding this theme. The conference will be hinged on a number of lectures and panel debates from keynote-speakers. All students will write a contributions beforehand that will be discussed in small track sessions. Next to this, students will participate in several activities, case-studies and workshops that help them reflect on their own education programmes. Last, but certainly not least, all participants will get to know the iconic city of Utrecht through accommodation with, and personal tours from, local students.


Are you interested, or are you or your students part of a European Liberal Education program and would you like (them) to be part of this conference? Send an e-mail to and let us know! Visit for more information.

Future of European Education Echoes Liberal Arts and Sciences


The European Commission has recently released a statement setting out its vision for the creation of a European Education Area by 2025.  The statement includes several areas that are of interest to those interested in undergraduate education in the EU and the liberal arts and sciences movement in particular.


Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, states clearly the needs for Europe’s future in terms reminiscent of the very objectives of a liberal arts and sciences education: “As we look to Europe’s future, we need to equip ourselves with an ambitious, shared agenda for how we can use culture and learning as a driver for unity.  Education is the key, because it is education that equips us with the skills we need to become active members of our increasingly complex societies.  It is education that helps us adapt to a rapidly changing world, to develop a European identity, to understand other cultures and to gain the new skills one needs in a society that is mobile, multicultural and increasingly digital.” 


This statement echoes many of the characteristics of the liberal arts and sciences outlined in the recently published Guide to Emerging Liberal Arts and Sciences Practices in the EU – the cultivation of cognitive skills in problem solving, communication, analytical thinking; the importance of citizenship and its responsibilities; the cultivation of these skills to adapt to rapid change and to encourage life-long learning.


Among those aspects that the Commission designates for inclusion in a European Area of Education and related to LAS objectives are:


  1. Increasing mobility for faculty and students
  2. Greater cooperation on curricula development
  3. Promoting life-long learning
  4. Creating a network of European universities
  5. Preserving cultural heritage

For more information, see the full text of the Commission’s report.



Two vacancies at Amsterdam University College

Amsterdam University College currently has two vacancies for Head of Studies Academic Core and Head of Studies Sciences. Candidates are welcome to apply before 16 October 2017. Please see the vacancies below:

Two events hosted by BLASTER project this September

After the successful Teachers’ Training Workshop in Bratislava this May, ECOLAS takes part in two more events that are part of BLASTER project open to audience interested in liberal education:
Free symposium: Undergraduate Research in the Liberal Arts, 24–25 September, University of Warwick, UK
The event will celebrate the launch of Companion to Undergraduate Research in the Liberal Arts. It is aimed to attract teachers and leaders at academia who are interested in enhancing research profile of students at bachelor level of studies.
Introduction to Quality Standards in the Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) in Europe, Modernizing undergraduate education in Europe through LAS. 28–29 September, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany
The event will introduce a new Guide to Emerging Liberal Arts and Sciences Practices in Europe. It hopes to attract leaders of Liberal Arts programs and leaders in higher education who are considering implementation of Liberal Arts features at their institutions. All information regarding conference programme and registration can be found on the event’s website.

Conference: European Liberal Arts Education: renewal and re-formation

Friday 1st September – Saturday 2nd September 2017 at the University of Winchester, UK


Last year Amsterdam University College held a conference on the resurgence of the liberal arts and sciences and core texts courses in Europe in association with ACTC (Association of Core Texts and Courses). It brought people together around a number of important themes and questions, such as the meaning of a well-rounded liberal education, the reading of and education in core texts, pedagogy, assessment techniques and big questions. Papers and discussions ranged from exploring the content and structure of a core texts curriculum to the importance of philosophical, historical, literary and cultural traditions and texts. These discussions were not only collegiate in character; they also opened the door for further links between colleagues, programmes, teaching and research across European institutions.


The 2nd conference at the University of Winchester UK in September 2017, in cooperation with ACTC (Association of Core Texts and Courses), seeks to continue and build on these discussions. Any questions please email


On the website the deadline for proposals has passed but for any enquiries regarding submission of paper proposals as a result of publicity on the ECOLAS website please contact Rebekah Howes directly at

Second Year of Liberal Education Student Conference Again in Germany

After the great success of last year’s 1st European Liberal Education Student Conference (LESC) at Leuphana University Lüneburg, the second LESC will take place at University College Freiburg from May 04th – 7th. As last year’s topic “What is Liberal Education – and what could it be” was intentionally phrased relatively broadly, this year’s conference goes by the topic “A Complex World Needs Complex Thinking: The Potentials and Limits of Liberal Education in approaching Contemporary Challenges”. As exemplary challenges, prospective participants were asked to write a paper connecting features of Liberal Education with one of four following challenges:

  1. The Future of Health: How Long Should We Live? What Constitutes Disease?
  2. Distrust in Science and Institutionalised Authority: The Rise of Populism and Alternative Facts.
  3. Human Rights and Intersectionality: How to Balance Unity and Diversity in a Globalized World.
  4. Adapting to Technology or Adapting Technology: Labour and Power-Relations in the Digital Age.

In these four different tracks, different takes on Liberal Education will be examined considering the respective contemporary challenges. The results from the tracks will be discussed in a final student discussion, where commonalities and discrepancies between the tracks shall be given meaning.


The first track session will be devoted to conceptualising the challenge they are focused on. In the second track session, resulting educational challenges will be extracted from various facets of establishing key demands for problem-oriented Liberal Education in the last track session. Experts from the respective fields will join the track sessions to support the discussion.


Furthermore, there will be three keynote speeches over the course of the conference, that follow a similar scheme as the track sessions. The first by Prof. Dr. Heiner Schanz will open the event. Prof. Schanz has created an award winning graduate program in “Environmental Governance”; finding common ground in environmental science as well as implementing policy in this field is one of the most prominent examples of a complex global challenge. Secondly, Prof. Dr. Veronika Lipphardt will talk about DNA-profiling in criminological practice; academic background at University College Freiburg allows her to talk not only about the faced problem but also about educational challenges. Lastly, Dr. Helen Brookman, Director of Liberal Arts & Pro-Vice-Dean at King’s College London, will talk about Liberal Education on Saturday morning to stimulate thought for the third track session as well as the final student discussion.


The conference brings together 65 student participants from 18 European programmes whose travel costs to Freiburg were sponsored by ECOLAS. Follow the conference on Facebook at or visit the website at

ECOLAS Welcomes New Partner

ECOLAS is pleased to welcome the new BA degree programme in Global Governance at the University of Rome Tor Vergata to its newest partner.  The programme is an interdisciplinary degree option that combines Arts and Humanities, Economics, Engineering, Law, Medicine and the Sciences to help prepare professionals for the challenges of the 21st century.  Limited to 40 students, 20 Italian and 20 international, the programme is taught in English and, in addition to its small class sizes, features special seminars on globalization and governance using the vast resources of the Italian capital to invite prominent professionals to lead discussions.   Professor Gustavo Piga will serve as the campus liaison to ECOLAS.  For additional information see the programme’s website.

ECOLAS at the Global Liberal Arts Alliance Meeting

Samuel Abraham and Laurent Boetsch were recently invited to a meeting of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance at Denison University (USA) to introduce ECOLAS and its objectives to senior administrators from among the 29 institutions worldwide that make up the GLAA. Their presentation focused on the history of ECOLAS and its activities with a special section devoted to the current Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership initiative, BLASTER. The lively discussion that followed the presentation examined short-, medium-, and long-range opportunities for collaboration between ECOLAS and its affiliated institutions and the schools associated with the GLAA including issues regarding student access, mutual communication and funding strategies and faculty networking. Both consortia agreed to continue discussing possibilities of mutual collaboration.

You can read a summary of ECOLAS presentation here.

Project BLASTER at Its Halfway

BLASTER project’s Steering Committee has gathered at Leuphana University Lüneburg, 20 October, for its midterm meeting. The project partners have made progress in all three project “pillars”: Quality Standards in Liberal Arts, Teacher Training and Professional Development and, Undergraduate Research. A short report from the meeting and summary of activities up to now can be found here.

ECOLAS supports the 1st European Liberal Education Student Conference

Students of Studium Individuale from Leuphana University of Lüneburg and Liberal Arts and Sciences from University College Freiburg host the 1st European Liberal Education Student Conference (1st LESC) taking place May 12th – 15th in Lüneburg. Issues such as the future sustainablitity of universities, the contemporary importance of higher education, broad academic studies, personal development, and the ability to act responsibly will be broached. Self-responsible organisation of studies and an academic confrontation of current societal questions constitute the educational approach of a contemporary Liberal Education.


Many universities have introduced undergraduate programmes of the Liberal Arts and Sciences in the last years. The organisers of the 1st LESC now intend to investigate what the young row of European Liberal Education Colleges stands for. Does it correct undersirable developments after the Bologna reform? Or does it solely aim at preparing their students for life and work in globalised societies and labour markets?


Supported by ECOLAS financial grant, ca. 80 students and experts from all over Europe are going to gather in Lüneburg for four days in order to discuss these questions. Speakers will include Hans Adriaansens (ECOLAS Executive Board member). The Conference is held in English and was organised by and for students of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and shall thus also serve for a self-positioning: Which answer does Liberal Education present to the crisis of European Higher Education?


You are cordially invited to take part in the conference and visit e.g. one of the following events:
May 14th, 6:30-8:30pm: Panel discussion “Liberal education: The way forward?” Jürgen Kaube (Publisher Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Katharina Dermühl (Kiron Higher Education for Refugees), Hans Adriaansens (ECOLAS, Founder of University College Utrecht and “Initiator” of the European Liberal Education movement) and Megha Harish (Student at King’s College London) debate the status quo after 15 years of Liberal Education in Europe. Volker Balli, academic director of the Individual Studies programme at Leuphana University will be moderating this highlight of an extraordinary conference.

Venue: Museum Lüneburg.


May 13th, 6:30-7:30pm: “Green Metaphysics: Sustainable liberal arts education”, Nigel Tubbs (Dean University of Winchester, England)

Venue: Lecture Hall 4, Leuphana University of Lüneburg.


May 12th, 6:30-7:30pm: “Liberal Arts as Teaching Reflective Judgment: Economic, Democratic and Personal Implications”,Teun Dekker (Dean University College Maastricht, Niederlande)

Venue: Museum Lüneburg.


For more information visit: and

Liberal Arts Programme At King’s College London Seeks Deputy Director

King’s College London is seeking an interdisciplinary academic and educator for the role of Deputy Director of its Liberal Arts programme based in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.


The post is a permanent academic lectureship with a strong focus on interdisciplinary research and education (and their mutual integration), educational leadership, and the student experience. It forms an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary activity in this innovative and rapidly growing area of undergraduate education. The successful candidate will have an interdisciplinary mindset, will be experienced and effective in undergraduate teaching and assessment, and will have a strong commitment to student learning.


Please, send your queries to

Call For Papers For The First European Liberal Education Student Conference

In the past decade many European universities have introduced new undergraduate programs based on Liberal Arts and Sciences. What is Liberal Education and what could it be? Student committees at liberal arts programs of two German universities (Leuphana University Lüneburg and University College Freiburg) announce the 1st European Liberal Education Student Conference to take place from 12th until 15th May at Leuphana University Lüneburg in Northern Germany. It will provide a platform to:

  • discuss the various perspectives of students on European Liberal Education
  • publish transparently selected conference contributions in an edited volume or academic journal
  • bring together students of the Liberal Arts & Sciences as well as like-minded people from all over Europe in the metropolitan region of Hamburg
  • start the creation of a European Liberal Education student network

Visit the conference website for more details. The call for papers is open until 29th February.

ECOLAS offers a scholarship for the advancement of teachers in liberal arts and sciences

We are pleased to announce that we have started a new initiative called ECOLAS Scholarship for the Advancement of Collaborative Teaching to help teachers with the development of their professional skills. The focus of the program is to promote innovative projects in collaborative undergraduate teaching for the improvement of student learning. Click here for more information.

First Liberal Arts and Sciences and Core Texts Conference a great success

The first Liberal Arts and Sciences and Core Texts Conference took place at Amsterdam University College from 11-12 September. Welcoming guests from around the world, the conference was a great success in opening a dialogue about the role of core texts in a liberal arts and sciences education. This innovative contribution to Dutch higher education also serves as an inspiration across the Europe.

More information, highlights and a film of the conference can be found here.

Julie Johnson Kidd Fellowships Awarded

The call for proposals for the first Julie Kidd Johnson Fellowships to be administered by ECOLAS yielded twenty-two strong applications from thirteen separate  institutions.  A broad range of topics related to liberal arts and sciences learning was represented and included projects are dedicated to teaching, research and curricular development. Ten grantees from this first round of fellowships have been awarded (see the list) and a call for new proposals will be forthcoming in early 2016.

ECOLAS Activities Will Be Coordinated and Spread By Institutional Liaisons

Owing to the increasing number of activities open to interested liberal arts and sciences colleges and programs through ECOLAS, we have recently created a network of campus liaisons to serve as the principal points of contact between their institutions and ECOLAS. Approximately 20 schools have agreed to join the liaison program which aims to improve communication within the network, increase participation among all members and provide a means of collecting and sharing important data for the three projects to be realized through BLASTER, funded by a 275,000 euros Erasmus + grant. For a full list of campus liaisons and their institutions, click here.

Erasmus+ Application by ECOLAS, University College Roosevelt and Four Other Partners Successful

ECOLAS is pleased to announce that the recent Erasmus+ grant proposal BLASTER (The Best Liberal Arts and Science Teaching Expanded and Reinforced) prepared by ECOLAS and five strategic partners – University College Roosevelt (NL), Leiden University College The Hague (NL), Warwick University (UK), Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany) and Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania) – has been accepted and approved for funding in the amount of 275,500 euro by the Dutch National Agency Nuffic. The funds will be applied over the next two years to three project areas critical to the success and development of liberal arts and sciences programmes: 1) Quality Standards and Assessment; 2) Professional Development and Teacher Training, and; 3) Undergraduate Research. More information on the project proposal is available here.


While the strategic partnership will be responsible for the realization, dissemination and sustainability of each of the projects, we will be seeking the assistance of the entire ECOLAS network in the process of gathering ideas, data and suggestions to feed into each area. Additionally, over the two-year period of the grant there will be a number of transnational events that will be open for participation from schools outside the strategic partnership.

A Conference on Core Texts in European Educational Context in Amsterdam

The Liberal Arts and Sciences Education and Core Texts in the European Context Conference will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 11-12, at Amsterdam University College, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  The conference will examine the role of “core texts” within the framework of liberal arts and sciences education as a way to meet the challenge of modern higher education in a unique way.  Core texts are defined as those which have or are likely to stand the test of time and that provide the foundation for shared discourse within either Western or non-Western traditions.  According to the organizers, the conference welcomes papers that address “reflection on questions about the meaning of a well-rounded liberal education, the role and meaning of core texts in European higher education, pedagogical aims, teaching pedagogies, assessment techniques, the selection of texts, core texts and big questions, and so forth.”

For more information, please visit this site.

University College Roosevelt will host a seminar on teaching excellence

The Excellent Learning through Teaching Excellence seminar will take place on June 22-25 at the premises of University College Roosevelt, Middelburg, Netherlands. The seminar is organized in cooperation with Harvard University every year and is designed as a four-day intensive summer program to develop and enhance teaching excellence of senior instructors. It is looking for motivated and experienced teachers who are willing and able to spread the knowledge gained during the seminar among their colleagues. All courses are designed to inspire, motivate and teach new skills enabling teachers to get the best out of themselves and their students. All details about this opportunity can be found in this leaflet.

ECOLAS Scholarship For Teachers With Liberal Arts And Sciences Affiliation

ECOLAS is delighted to announce a new opportunity for faculty of liberal arts and sciences programmes throughout Europe.


The Julie Johnson Kidd Travel Research Fellowships aim to assist faculty in the liberal arts and sciences to carry out travel and/or research projects that will help inform their classroom teaching.  Up to ten awards of 1500€ each will be administered for the 2015-16 academic year.


The deadline for submitting the application is July 31, 2015.


More information about the fellowship is available here. The information includes application materials, a brief description of the programme as well as a few words about Julie Johnson Kidd in whose name the fellowship is awarded.

Here’s Why Nothing Prepares You for the 21st Century Like a Liberal Arts Education

The latest Forbes Magazine includes an interview with author  Fareed  Zakaria whose recent book is titled  A Defense of a Liberal Education.  You can read the entire interview here.


A recent article in the New York Times features the rise of the liberal arts in Britain and cites new programs in the liberal arts at King’s College London, University College London , the University of Exeter, the University of Birmingham and the University of Kent.  Read the entire article here.

Bringing the Liberal Arts to Engineering Education

Students in traditionally narrow disciplines sometimes overlook the value of the liberal arts but according to Lori Bordoloi and James J. Winebrake, “solving the problems of our time – eliminating hunger, preventing terrorism, minimizing our carbon footprint . . .-requires a multidisciplinary approach.”  They believe that integrating the liberal arts into engineering programs to provide the “. . .missing basics of engineering education including design and creativity teamwork and interdisciplinary thinking, and understanding the social, political, historical, and economic context of a project” is essential to a 21st century engineering education.  Read more at

IE University, Madrid hosts fifth annual Conference on Reinventing Higher Education

The fifth annual Conference on Reinventing Higher Education was held at IE University, Madrid, October 20-21.  Organized in collaboration with the British Council, the Conference yearly brings together university administrators, students, education policy makers and media experts to discuss issue related to the current status and future evolution of higher education, with particular attention to the EU.

King’s College hosts Liberal Arts Conference in London

King’s College, London, recently held a conference to examine current thinking in the UK about the liberal arts in universities and schools.  A key objective of the conference, titled The Future of Liberal Arts, was to discuss ideas about the place of liberal arts education in the context of the future of higher education in the UK.  In addition to participants from King’s College other contributors included representatives from St. Mary’s University College, Belfast, Leuphana Lüneburg Universität, Germany, Richmond College, London, University of Exeter, UK, Winchester University, UK, University College, London, and Imperial College, London.  You may see the conference program here.

ECOLAS cooperated on a conference hosted by Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) on liberal arts colleges

Annual ACA European Policy Seminar in 2014 was dedicated to Liberal Arts (and Sciences) education in Europe. It took place in Brussels on October 9. The conference offered five presentations on issues related to emerging liberal arts programs in the EU as well as three workshops in which students and alumni of the liberal arts shared their experience with regard to the international aspects of the liberal arts, careers available to liberal arts graduates and an examination of the liberal arts format for education.
The conference programme was made in cooperation with ECOLAS.

ECOLAS hosted a faculty development seminar

In collaboration with the Global Alliance consortium, ECOLAS has sponsored a faculty development seminar devoted to teaching practices and methods in the liberal arts including innovative and interactive approaches to classroom teaching.  The seminar took place on March 4-6, 2010, the workshops were facilitated by faculty representing the Global Alliance and was hosted by the Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts (BISLA).


For more information, see this website’s Events section or contact us.

ECOLAS Conference Attracts European Educators and Students

The Czech Senate in the famous Wallenstein Palace in Prague was the site of the recent European conference on liberal arts education organized by the European Consortium of Liberal Arts and Sciences (ECOLAS) and hosted by the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University in Prague, 8-9 June 2009. University educators from fifteen countries representing twenty-one liberal arts colleges and programmes as well as students from Charles University, Roosevelt Academy,  and the Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts gathered to discuss the issues provoked by the conference theme, “Liberal Arts and Sciences in Europe: Bringing Bildung Back In”.


This conference represents the culmination of two years of organizing work on the part of ECOLAS which remains dedicated to the cultivation of liberal arts and sciences education throughout the European Higher Education Area. Summaries of the panel presentations will be available soon on this website. Additional information can be found in this website’s section Events.

Bologna and Liberal Arts featured in recent publication

The Fall 2008 edition of Liberal Education, a publication of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, is dedicated to “Globalization and U.S, Higher Education” and includes several articles of interest for European educators. In an issue that “explores the potential impact of the Bologna Process on higher education in the United States” articles by Clifford Adelman (Accountability “Light”: Our Version Is Going the Way of the Dollar vs. the Euro), Paul Gaston (Bologna: A Challenge for Liberal Education – and an Exceptional Opportunity) and Sheldon Rothblatt (Global Branding and the Celebrity University) are of special interest to liberal arts’ educators.
In her introductory message (Bologna Plus: The Liberal Education Advantage), AAC&U President, Carol Geary Schneider challenges European educators when she writes, “Some will point to the greater precision—criterion-referenced standards for specific disciplines—that is being attempted through the Bologna Process with its “tuning” of cross-national degree requirements. But the Bologna Process does not promise European students an integrative, cross-disciplinary liberal education that is clearly tied to the responsibilities of democratic and global citizenship. Absent that promise, both its vision and its precision are insufficient.” The entire issue is on line here.

ECOLAS Conference Features European Higher Education Policy Update

ECOLAS and Amsterdam University College hosted a two-day conference on October 30-31 for seventeen leaders from European liberal arts and sciences colleges and programs. Discussion sessions included: an introduction of ECOLAS as a consortium dedicated to the cultivation of the liberal arts and sciences within the European Higher Education Area; the role of liberal arts and sciences within the Bachelors degree cycle of the Bologna framework; a report on the recent position paper, “College Learning for the New Global Century”, produced by the American Association of Colleges and Universities; strategies for the next stage of evolution for ECOLAS including a general conference on the liberal arts and sciences to be held in April, 2009, and future funding opportunities. More information can be found among Events.