The world is facing a complex set of societal challenges - from COVID-19 to climate change – to address which the higher education institutions (HEIs) are tasked to foster more societal engagement and global connectedness within their teaching and learning activities to impart students with relevant competencies to face such 21st century challenges. This also resonates with the vision of VU Amsterdam to enrich its educational practices through societal engagement and greater collaboration and cooperation across disciplinary and international boundaries. In line with this vision, along with 9 other research-intensive and innovative Universities, VU Amsterdam plays an important part in the AURORA European Universities alliance that works to foster cooperation across and beyond European universities to equip students and teachers with the skills and mindset to address societal challenges and contribute to societal impact.
In the first phase of the AURORA alliance (2020 – 2023), the project developed a broadly shared educational vision, and defined standards, procedures and approaches to governance that contribute to strengthening the alliance and its contribution to progressing educational practices that focus on societal engagement, sustainable development goals, promoting development of key transversal competencies among students and teachers, and instilling in all Aurora members the skills and the mindsets needed to tackle the societal challenges of tomorrow. The next phase -AURORA2030 project – aims to leverage its previous lines of progress to stimulate academic excellence and societal engagement across all AURORA Universities, influencing societal change through future-proof education and research with a shared focus on innovative pedagogies that foster societal engagement, such as service learning and co-creation. The project will focus on fostering inter-institutional learning, knowledge sharing, and the development of competencies among teachers and staff to improve and strengthen education and research that fosters societal change. Further, the project will realize a living learning community of students, faculty, staff, administrators and other community stakeholders across the Aurora ecosystem to continue collaboration, co-creation and innovation.
In this postdoctoral research project, you will be part of the AURORA2030 project – Workpackage 4 which focuses on Teaching and Learning for Societal Impact. Within this Workpackage you will be involved in both project management and research. You will be tasked to create a community of engaged academics/researchers across AURORA Universities to share societal engagement practices in education, and to foster mutual learning and co-development of joint frameworks on innovative pedagogies that serve as a benchmark for teaching and learning in AURORA. In your research position, you will use interactive and interventionist methodologies for monitoring, evaluation and co-design. You will also explore through comparative analysis, the different education practices across different Universities to uncover design configurations/frameworks for societal engagement in Education.
The position involved contribution to this research area for 50% of the time, and teaching in various courses offered by the Athena Institute for the other 50%. Teaching tasks include lecturing, course coordination, workgroup coaching as well as supervising Master students during their internships and literature reviews on various topics in the Athena Institute’s educational programmes Your duties
- Managing the tasks/activities within the Workpackage 4 (Teaching and Learning for Societal Impact) in the AURORA2030 project, and having oversight of and building connections with the other workpackages within the project
- developing a research programme within the project that pertains to societal engagement practices in education, comparative analysis of such practices, and development of consolidated configurations, models or frameworks related to the topic
- supervision of junior researchers and a PhD candidate
- teaching master students, including course coordination and thesis supervision, in courses that are part of the Institute’s transdisciplinary teaching portfolio
- linking up education/research efforts at VU with the real-world issues addressed in co-creative multi-stakeholder initiatives. You also assess and evaluate the added value of VU involvement
- publishing articles in high quality journals. You also communicate research findings and insights via other, more widely accessible forms of writing and presenting
- contributing to administrative tasks and responsibilities of the Athena Institute
- engaging with stakeholders both inside and outside of academia in co-learning processes
- contributing to a pleasant, diverse, and safe work environment at the Athena Institute