The Steering Committee for the Erasmus+ BLASTER project met October 19-20 at Leuphana Universität, Lüneburg, Germany, to hear progress reports on the three projects currently in development and to plan for the activities of the grant’s second year. The committee is composed of representatives from each of the six strategic partners that make up BLASTER – University College Roosevelt (Netherlands), Leuphana Universität (Germany), Warwick University (UK), University College Leiden (Netherlands), Vytautus Magnus University (Lithuania) and the European Consortium for Liberal Arts and Sciences-ECOLAS (Slovakia).
The committee heard from the leaders of each of the three “pillars” of the grant: Quality Standards, Teacher Training and Professional Development and, Undergraduate Research. The Quality Standards group is preparing a three-part manual aimed at educators and policy-makers interested in beginning liberal arts and sciences programmes. The manual will address the essential characteristics and framework for LAS, case studies of current European models and information on specific quality standards for curricular, structural and organizational aspects of an LAS programme. The manual will have both a text version and an interactive online version that will be maintained so that it can continue to serve over time as a resource for EU educators. The Teacher Training and Professional Development group reported on two successful workshops held for faculty at BISLA (Bratislava, SK) and University College Roosevelt (Middelburg, NL). In addition, they outlined progress toward the development of a “teacher training kit” that will be made available to all institutions that aim to strengthen instruction at the undergraduate level. The group dedicated to Undergraduate Research has held a workshop for faculty and students and is working towards the publication of a special edition of Reinvention: an International Journal of Undergraduate Research (Warwick University, UK) dedicated to the work of students of the liberal arts and sciences.
The results of the work of BLASTER will be disseminated publicly in a series of “multiplier events” throughout the second half of 2017. Each of the events will introduce the intellectual outputs produced by the project that will be made available for use by students, faculty, administrators and educational policy makers across the European Higher Education Area. Information regarding each event will be available during the spring 2017.