Archive of European Projects

BUILDING THE CULTURE OF SOCIAL INNOVATION IN HIGHER EDUACTION
Start date: 01 Dec 2015, End date: 30 Jun 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Project aims to carve new paths of development for European HEIs in social sciences. It will also witness the Partners making a ground-breaking attempt to change the current paradigm of teaching entrepreneurship at HEIs. Currently, there are 816 master and 198 bachelor degree programmes in social sciences offered by European Universities and the demand for courses in social sciences is growing (UNESCO: World Social Science Report 2010, www.masterstudies.com). The role of social sciences, however, is progressing from social engineering to a wider set of contributions to society. Therefore, there is a need for more fundamental and “joined-up” reflection upon the needs of societies coping with ICT, welfare, migration, climate change and ageing population. HEIs have an essential role in forming the next generation of social entrepreneurs, prepared and positioned to solve these problems. However, they are faced with numerous obstacles – most notably by a lack of cohesive campus-wide vision for social innovations and a lack of staff. Our studies show that students overwhelmingly prefer professions in the social sector; however, they are more interested in “experiencing” rather than studying social innovation by becoming involved in its implementation (CC survey, n=36, 20.03.2015). Therefore, HEIs that wish to implement a culture of social innovation must be ready to increase the flexibility of teaching pathways, incorporate student-driven activities into their curricula and use Massive Open Online Courses. The Project has THREE ESSENTIAL AIMS: 1. Fostering the implementation of social innovation at European universities (mainly in Centr. Europe) by developing and mainstreaming useful instruments addressing the demands of HEIs: model curricula, step-by-step guidebooks, explanatory videos and sourcebooks, 2. Changing the paradigm of entrepreneurship education by making it more practical and student-oriented through developing, testing and implementing flexible and project-oriented learning pathways, 3. Increase the accessibility of Centr. European universities by mainstreaming the MOOCs (as an example we will use designing social innovations). The Project is BASED ON FOLLOWING PILLARS: 1. A far-reaching and socially important idea translated into a comprehensive and coherent implementation concept that includes a “design and test” formula, deep involvement of Partners and networks (“The envoys of Social Innovation”) and empowerment of stakeholders to shape the project in a manner that guarantees its relevance to the current demand of the target group, 2. An innovative approach, which consists in the combination of: student-led learning activities (new to the world innovation), a mentoring programme for incubation, using open learning communities in formal learning and exploiting elements of massive online teaching in Social Innovation, 3. A strong partnership. The Partners specialise in various fields and thus complement each other. Together, they will constitute a complete environment for the development of academic entrepreneurship: HEIs, business incubators, entrepreneurs and social organisations. The project will IMPACT the following groups: DIRECTLY: EUROPEAN HEIs. They will benefit from adapting and exploiting the instruments and learning curricula, a redesign of the learning environment (classrooms, campuses, communities), improved quality of teaching, strengthened research. They will also attract more students by becoming more accessible (MOOC) STUDENTS: they will gain practical and flexible education helping them develop their projects and grow in their field of interest. They will be supported by a competent staff of educators, mentors, they will strengthen their transversal skills and links to local communities, and enhance their employability EDUCATORS: they will learn more flexible and student-oriented teaching methods, they will learn how to support social innovations in and outside the classroom, and they will experience the benefit of sharing resources with their colleagues MANAGERS: they will gain comprehensive instruments for building a campus-wide strategy for the implementation of soc. innovations PARTNERS: they will be fully prepared for implementation of soc. innovations. In the future, they will run dedicated specialisation courses on soc. innovations for students and establish the first incubator of soc. innovation among HEIs in Poland. INDIRECTLY: SOCIAL INNOVATORS: they will attract new innovators and strengthen their network BUSINESS INCUBATORS: they will adapt better to the needs of socially driven businesses DECISION MAKERS (at the national and European level): they will receive new instruments for supporting the development of social innovation culture in the academia and beyond SOCIETY: it will gain open access to high quality entrepreneurial education and a new cadre of socially oriented innovators who will work to increase the quality of our lives.
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