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KU Leuven - Stellenbosch University Think Tank

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Stellenbosch University Think Tank by Katrien Vanelven, KU Leuven

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KU Leuven - Stellenbosch University Think Tank

  1. 1. 12 December 2018 EADTU Peer Learning Activity – Virtual Mobility KU Leuven – Stellenbosch University Think Tank
  2. 2. International Office2 Contents 1. In a nutshell 2. Format 3. Lessons Learnt
  3. 3. International Office3 In a nutshell
  4. 4. International Office4 In a nutshell • Extra-curricular Honours Programme • International and intercultural • Each university selects up to 15 students • Students define content within a given central theme, and shape their own multidisciplinary research project • International, interdisciplinary academic team of coaches • Regular work sessions, including video conference sessions with invited speakers • Campus visits • Very student-driven
  5. 5. International Office5 Previous editions 2017 Art & Science: An Enduring Relationship 2016 Brave New World? Merging Technology and Society: Opportunities, Challenges and Threats for the Quality of Life. 2015 Making the City of the Future. Spatial Planning, Diversity, Sustainability, System Inputs and Outputs, and Adaptability
  6. 6. International Office6 Current edition The Voice of the People. Izwi labantu – Stem van het volk – Vox Populi – Die stem van die mense
  7. 7. International Office7 2019 edition
  8. 8. International Office8 Format
  9. 9. International Office9 Objectives • Students deepen and share knowledge of discipline, and broaden it by outstepping boundaries own field of study • Students share insights and perspectives in direct dialogue with students and experts from various disciplines • Students are forced to look at own context and points of view in different way, when confronted with students with different daily reality and cultural context. • Students are challenged to think out of the box • Transferable skill development • Gain experience in communicating experiences to broad audience
  10. 10. • Average of 2-3 hours per week • Depending on phase International Office10 Workload students
  11. 11. International Office11 Structure • February to May: Evening work sessions, including invited speakers and video conference sessions • Easter Break: Focus Week on campus 1 • July – August: • Students organise collaboration autonomously • Present progress report and comprehensive content statement • September - November: • Feedback phase • Continuous progress reports on projects and preparing Workshop Week. • Finalising texts and other material • End of November: Concluding event on campus 2 E.g.: 2015 and 2016: presentation and public debate. 2017: exhibition. 2018: documentary film.
  12. 12. Role: • Guidance. Being available and supportive. • Evening work sessions: moderation of discussions • Supervising content and timeline • Providing necessary contacts (e.g. ethical committee, experts in topic, etc.) • Evaluation of students’ participation International Office12 Academic coaches
  13. 13. International Office13 Academic coaches Team: • 4 faculty members at KU Leuven and 2 at Stellenbosch University. Volunteers. • Workload: • Evening sessions: 3 hours (including preparation) • Follow-up: 1 hour per week. Coaching via email. • Focus Week and Workshop Week: intense coaching
  14. 14. Role: • Communication: preparing call, website, sessions, students,... • Liaison between both teams. • Organising selection committee meeting, evening sessions, campus visits, participation in events,… • Following up on students’ progress and briefing academic team • Budget Team: • 1 administrative staff at KU Leuven. 2 at Stellenbosch University. International Office14 Non-academic support staff
  15. 15. Workload: • Evening sessions: 4 hours (including preparation) • Follow-up: 1 hour/week • Focus Week and Workshop Week: full-time International Office15 Non-academic support staff
  16. 16. International Office16 Profile of students • Master’s student at KU Leuven at start programme • Excellent academic record • Intrigued by theme • Motivated to engage in 10-month multidisciplinary research project • Motivated to invest in intercultural cooperation • Demonstrate social commitment and interest in social issues • Good working knowledge of English and excellent communication skills • Looking for extra challenge • Open to self-reflection
  17. 17. • Engage themselves to participate in evening sessions, Focus Week and Workshop Week. • Make clear effort to contribute to project and collaborate with fellow students. International Office17 Profile of students
  18. 18. International Office18 Application Mid-October: Call. Deadline: 30 November. Application file should include • CV • Motivation letter • Copy transcript Bachelor’s studies • If applicable: copy transcript previously completed Master's degree Selection criteria • Academic record Bachelors/Honours/Masters. • Motivation letter (affinity with proposed theme) • Study progress Application and Selection
  19. 19. • Only KU Leuven group / Stellenbosch University group • Brainstorm session • Invited speaker with open discussion • Visits to organisations, events, lectures, etc. related to central theme • Evening sessions for all students • High-quality video conferencing • Presentations and documents are shared on screen • Discussions moderated by coaches International Office19 Evening sessions
  20. 20. • Content development with joint lectures, workshops and discussions, decisions on substantive focal points and structure of papers,.. • Consensus on content of sub projects to be developed • Consensus on format of output to be delivered by Workshop Week • Clarification of South-African and Belgian context • Community-building and facilitating communication • Stimulating collaboration and substantive process International Office20 Focus Week
  21. 21. International Office21 Focus Week • 50% work sessions • 40% organised teambuilding and leisure activities • 10% free time
  22. 22. International Office22 Workshop Week • Content and formal elaboration of concluding presentation of results • Formal public presentation: symposium, posters, exhibition, debate, etc. • Cultural activities and trips
  23. 23. • 50% work sessions • 35-40% leisure activities • 10-15% free time International Office23 Workshop Week
  24. 24. International Office24 Dissemination
  25. 25. International Office25 Dissemination
  26. 26. International Office26 Evaluation of students’ participation • Permanent, continuous evaluation • Each team evaluates its own students • Show clear effort to contribute to the project and to collaborate with fellow students at KU Leuven and Stellenbosch University.
  27. 27. International Office27 Recognition of students’ participation • Certificate signed by both institutions
  28. 28. International Office28 Recognition of students’ participation • Extra-Curricular I-Portfolio. Officially KU Leuven Honours Programme.
  29. 29. “I learned a lot about teamwork across borders – not only challenging due to geographical distance but also due to variations in regard of cultural-specific values, working attitudes, and personalities. One of the most pleasant, yet hardest teamwork so far – I almost feel like I could handle any kind of teamwork I will encounter in the future. A nice by-product: I am now confident that I want to pursue a research career after my graduation.” - Charlotte, Think Tank 2018 International Office29 Feedback from Participants
  30. 30. “The Think Tank is truly an environment to think and grow without the pressures of having to perform. It is that freedom of thought and the interactions with so many different students that provided a space where students were not afraid to say what they really thought. The Think Tank is a unique experience as it challenges one in different ways than the challenges faced in one’s studies or everyday life. You are sometimes challenged out of your comfort zone and to find a balance between doing things your way and allowing other people to take the lead.” - Think Tank 2017 group International Office30 Feedback from Participants
  31. 31. International Office31 Lessons Learnt
  32. 32. • Additional mid-term campus visit - improved quality of collaboration and results - reduced academic coaches’ workload • Clear goals for each phase and adjusted overall timeline • Coaching: giving students freedom, managing conflicts, motivating students on permanent basis, way of consulting other students and team,… • Consistency team of coaches International Office32 Lessons Learnt
  33. 33. More information www.kuleuven.be/english/international/thinktank/index www0.sun.ac.za/international/current- students/international-opportunities-for-su-students/think- tank.html

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