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KU Leuven – Stellenbosch University
Think Tank
EADTU Virtual Mobility Week 21-23 May 2019
Contents
1. KU Leuven – Stellenbosch University Think Tank in a nutshell
2. Format Think Tank
3. Lessons Learnt
In a nutshell
In a nutshell
• Extra-curricular Honours Programme.
• Predominantly online programme supported by two very short
physical mobility periods
• Each university selects 15 to 20 students in any study field
• Student-driven. 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
• Two campus visits
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
2018
The Voice of the People
Current edition
Format
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
• Development of transferable skills
• Gain experience in communicating experiences to broad audience
Workload students
• Average of 2-3 hours per week
• Depending on phase
Structure
• February to May: Evening work sessions, including invited speakers and
video conference sessions
• Easter Break: Intensive 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: Workshop Week with concluding event on campus 2
E.g.: 2015 and 2016: presentation and public debate.
2017: exhibition. 2018: documentary film.
Academic coaches
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
Academic coaches
• Team: 4 faculty members at KU Leuven.
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
Non-academic support staff
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.
Non-academic support staff
Workload:
• Evening sessions: 4 hours (including preparation)
• Follow-up: 1 hour/week
• Focus Week and Workshop Week: full-time
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
Profile of students
• Engage themselves to participate in evening sessions, Focus
Week and Workshop Week.
• Make clear effort to contribute to project and collaborate with
fellow students.
Application and Selection
• Application
• Mid-October: Call. Deadline: 30
November.
• Application file
• 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
Evening sessions
• 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 students. Coaches intervene when
necessary.
Focus Week
• 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
• Clarification of South-African and Belgian context
• Community-building and facilitating communication
• Stimulating collaboration and substantive process
Focus Week
• 60% work sessions + on-topic activities
• 30% teambuilding and leisure activities
• 10% free time
Workshop Week with concluding event
• Content and formal elaboration of concluding presentation of
results
• Formal public presentation: symposium, posters, exhibition,
debate, etc.
• Cultural activities and trips
Workshop Week with concluding event
• 55% work sessions
• 35% leisure activities
• 10% free time
Dissemination
Dissemination
Evaluation of students’ participation
• Permanent, continuous evaluation
• Each team of academics evaluates own students
• Show clear effort to contribute to the project and to collaborate
with fellow students at KU Leuven and Stellenbosch University.
• Presence and active participation during evening sessions, Focus
Week and Workshop Week.
Recognition of students’ participation
• Certificate signed by both institutions
Recognition of students’ participation
• Extra-Curricular I-Portfolio.
Officially KU Leuven Honours Programme
Feedback from Participants
“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
Feedback from Participants
“Also after my graduation my Think Tank experience came in
handy. When I started working, my employer organized
leadership training for the team of young starters. It was
unbelievable how much I could go back to what I experienced
and learned during the Think Tank program. It is now very useful
in the workplace and I often think back to all the challenges we
encountered back then and how we dealt with them.”
- Matthias, Think Tank 2018
Feedback from Participants
“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
Feedback from Participants
“Personally, I learned more than I expected from the whole Think
Tank experience. It was a wonderful opportunity to leave my
comfort zone and challenge the limits of my knowledge and
capabilities. You can build me a time machine and send me back
in time, and I will do the Think Tank over and over again!”
- Nicholas, Think Tank 2017
Lessons Learnt
Lessons Learnt
• 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
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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Ku leuven stellenbosch university think tank

  • 1. KU Leuven – Stellenbosch University Think Tank EADTU Virtual Mobility Week 21-23 May 2019
  • 2. Contents 1. KU Leuven – Stellenbosch University Think Tank in a nutshell 2. Format Think Tank 3. Lessons Learnt
  • 4. In a nutshell • Extra-curricular Honours Programme. • Predominantly online programme supported by two very short physical mobility periods • Each university selects 15 to 20 students in any study field • Student-driven. 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 • Two campus visits
  • 5. 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 2018 The Voice of the People
  • 8. 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 • Development of transferable skills • Gain experience in communicating experiences to broad audience
  • 9. Workload students • Average of 2-3 hours per week • Depending on phase
  • 10. Structure • February to May: Evening work sessions, including invited speakers and video conference sessions • Easter Break: Intensive 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: Workshop Week with concluding event on campus 2 E.g.: 2015 and 2016: presentation and public debate. 2017: exhibition. 2018: documentary film.
  • 11. Academic coaches 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
  • 12. Academic coaches • Team: 4 faculty members at KU Leuven. 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
  • 13. Non-academic support staff 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.
  • 14. Non-academic support staff Workload: • Evening sessions: 4 hours (including preparation) • Follow-up: 1 hour/week • Focus Week and Workshop Week: full-time
  • 15. 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
  • 16. Profile of students • Engage themselves to participate in evening sessions, Focus Week and Workshop Week. • Make clear effort to contribute to project and collaborate with fellow students.
  • 17. Application and Selection • Application • Mid-October: Call. Deadline: 30 November. • Application file • 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
  • 18. Evening sessions • 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 students. Coaches intervene when necessary.
  • 19. Focus Week • 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 • Clarification of South-African and Belgian context • Community-building and facilitating communication • Stimulating collaboration and substantive process
  • 20. Focus Week • 60% work sessions + on-topic activities • 30% teambuilding and leisure activities • 10% free time
  • 21. Workshop Week with concluding event • Content and formal elaboration of concluding presentation of results • Formal public presentation: symposium, posters, exhibition, debate, etc. • Cultural activities and trips
  • 22. Workshop Week with concluding event • 55% work sessions • 35% leisure activities • 10% free time
  • 25. Evaluation of students’ participation • Permanent, continuous evaluation • Each team of academics evaluates own students • Show clear effort to contribute to the project and to collaborate with fellow students at KU Leuven and Stellenbosch University. • Presence and active participation during evening sessions, Focus Week and Workshop Week.
  • 26. Recognition of students’ participation • Certificate signed by both institutions
  • 27. Recognition of students’ participation • Extra-Curricular I-Portfolio. Officially KU Leuven Honours Programme
  • 28. Feedback from Participants “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
  • 29. Feedback from Participants “Also after my graduation my Think Tank experience came in handy. When I started working, my employer organized leadership training for the team of young starters. It was unbelievable how much I could go back to what I experienced and learned during the Think Tank program. It is now very useful in the workplace and I often think back to all the challenges we encountered back then and how we dealt with them.” - Matthias, Think Tank 2018
  • 30. Feedback from Participants “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
  • 31. Feedback from Participants “Personally, I learned more than I expected from the whole Think Tank experience. It was a wonderful opportunity to leave my comfort zone and challenge the limits of my knowledge and capabilities. You can build me a time machine and send me back in time, and I will do the Think Tank over and over again!” - Nicholas, Think Tank 2017
  • 33. Lessons Learnt • 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