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Wittenborg Assistant Professor Attains PhD in Ethical Leadership

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Assistant Professor Attains PhD in Ethical Leadership

https://www.wittenborg.eu/wittenborg-assistant-professor-attains-phd-ethical-leadership.htm

Wittenborg Assistant Professor Attains PhD in Ethical Leadership

Wittenborg Assistant Professor Attains PhD in Ethical Leadership

Wittenborg Assistant Professor Fahad Shakeel’s five years of dedication to his PhD research culminated in the successful defence of his thesis on 15 November, at Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen. Although Shakeel started his doctorate in May 2016, he had been developing the project since he was a research assistant in Pakistan years before.

“I have always wanted to pursue research, and the topic of ethical leadership has been a long-standing interest to me so, by the time I decided to submit my PhD proposal to multiple universities, it was already well developed. This was really helpful, and I advise prospective PhD candidates to have a clear idea of where they want to go before joining the programme,” he says.

Shakeel, who joined Wittenborg full time this year, teaches various modules for bachelor's and master's programmes. Titled “Ethical Leadership: A Broader Definition, Conceptualisation and Measurement Scale’’, his thesis investigates the main virtues associated with ethical behaviours in leaders from the private and public sectors. The study proposes a model called the Broader Ethical Leadership Scale (BELS), which he tested based on a questionnaire that was answered by 909 public officials from the Netherlands.

According to Shakeel, he was intrigued by this topic due to the multiple scandals associated with leaders across the world, which damage the reputation of institutions: “Ethical leadership is a research field that is still in its infancy, but which is growing more popular. It does not only focus on leaders’ personal values, but also on the efforts that they make to inculcate ethical behaviours in their followers. In some cases, leaders are ethical but do not pass on their values, which is a limitation.”

While conducting his research, Shakeel had to face practical challenges, such as difficulties to find housing, but these issues never discouraged him, and he highlights how supportive and friendly his supervisors were. “Lack of motivation was never a problem for me, not only because I had a strong interest in the theme of my study, but also because my supervisors were really helpful and engaged. When you are starting a PhD, it is important to look for chemistry between you and your supervisors, because this has to be a trust-based relationship,” he says.

Wittenborg Assistant Professor Attains PhD in Ethical Leadership

Shakeel explains that one of his main research conclusions is that the public’s expectations and perceptions about leaders are constantly evolving, simultaneously with society: “While previous research focused only on core ethical leadership values, such as being fair, having morals and acting with justice, my study proves that society develops new expectations as it evolves. In the globalised world we are living in, people expect leaders not only to care about their stakeholders, but also about values such as diversity, empowerment and sustainability. Besides, leaders need to have the ethical competence to go beyond just following the rules, and take context into account when making decisions.”

He defines his thesis as a starting point, stressing that he plans to develop further research on the topic of ethical leadership, with the goal of raising awareness about societal values and expectations concerning leaders: “Research in this field is important because it will provide us with a consensus of what ethical leadership entails, as well as new tools for education, which is at the core of raising awareness. The BELS scale is already being used by another Wittenborg lecturer, Bert Meeuwsen, who is pursuing his doctorate at Leiden University. Part of Bert’s study involves collecting data from students of the High Performance Leadership course at Wittenborg. His research analyses educational interventions on ethical leadership among international students of business studies.”

Wittenborg Assistant Professor Attains PhD in Ethical Leadership

The thesis defence was attended by Wittenborg’s Head of School of Business, Dr Rauf Abdul, as well as Head of Operations Lasantha De Silva, and Manager of Academic Partnerships Myra Qiu. Abdul highlighted Shakeel’s qualities as an academic, researcher and professor, expressing the Wittenborg family’s happiness and pride in his achievement. “Fahad is a dedicated young academic with a great mindset for teaching and research. He defended his PhD in an excellent way, and ethical leadership is an interesting topic that has become more important than ever for both private and public offices. Many Wittenborg colleagues are eager to collaborate with him on research on this and other related topics for possible peer-reviewed publications,” he said.

WUP 2/12/2021

by Ulisses Sawczuk

©WUAS Press


Wittenborg Participates in Event Organised by JCI Apeldoorn

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Participates in Event Organised by JCI Apeldoorn

https://www.wittenborg.eu/wittenborg-participates-event-organised-jci-apeldoorn.htm

Wittenborg Participates in Event Organised by JCI Apeldoorn

Wittenborg Participates in Event Organised by JCI Apeldoorn

Wittenborg’s Human Resources Manager, Maike Nuyken, and Manager of Academic Partnerships, Myra Qiu, gave a presentation at the event organised by JCI Apeldoorn, an association of local entrepreneurs, at the Aventus Building earlier this month. During the activity, Myra and Maike introduced Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (WUAS) to the 25 members of JCI Apeldoorn with the goal of connecting both institutions and creating professional opportunities for WUAS students.

The talk and Q&A session that followed centred around topics such as Wittenborg’s structure, students and staff, part-time jobs and internship possibilities for students, and job prospects after graduation. During the presentation, the attendees were eager to learn about WUAS’ student body and graduates, and particularly interested in the different ways to engage talent, as many businesses in the region are suffering from staff shortages. After that, each participant received a copy of Wittenborg’s factsheet.

According to Maike, exchanges like these are important because local businesses are not always fully aware of the multiple possibilities to engage international talent. “Wittenborg has a lot of experience in that regard and can provide useful tips and expertise. We see that as an important way to contribute to the local community and our students’ career opportunities,” she said.

Wittenborg’s participation had been requested by Marloes de Goeijen, who was inaugurated as JCI’s new member at the event. Marloes is also Advisor New Business for Oost NL (East Netherlands Development Agency), an organisation that focuses on strengthening and stimulating the economy of the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel. She mentioned that the presentation was very insightful for JCI’s members, adding that the association is interested in maintaining the cooperation with Wittenborg: “It would be great to continue this exchange, staying involved with events such as job markets, to expose students to the local business community”.

WUP 30/MM/2021
by Ulisses Sawczuk
©WUAS Press


Wittenborg Says Goodbye to Staff Writer after 8 Years

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Says Goodbye to Staff Writer after 8 Years

Wittenborg Says Goodbye to Staff Writer after 8 Years

Thanks Anesca, and Totsiens

After 8 years, Wittenborg staff writer Anesca Smith - an award-winning journalist from South Africa, who is also a Wittenborg alumna - has left Wittenborg to move on to other endeavours.

Many readers will recognise her name from the countless insightful, sharply written articles that she wrote for Wittenborg over the years. Anesca is not retiring from writing, as she will now have more time to write articles for newspapers from around the world as a freelance journalist. Aside from her writing, Anesca will also continue to focus on her fashion business, African Design Collective, which specialises in modern African-designed merchandise.

Asked to reflect on her work as a writer for Wittenborg, Anesca said the following:

"I think what drives me as a journalist in general is a natural curiosity and the belief that everything - and everyone - is connected, and I live for the insight I can glean from those connections. That also applies to my time at Wittenborg - whether I was writing about the Indian student who learned to live his best life with diabetes or the president talking about education issues at large - there's magic in the everyday, you just have to look for it. International higher education was a new field for me and I loved learning about the mundane and the politics of academia."

Wittenborg Says Goodbye to Staff Writer after 8 Years

To Wittenborg's staff and students, and especially to her colleagues in the news team, Anesca was more than a byline. Not only will we, therefore, miss a talented and sharp writer, but also a trusted colleague and dear friend. To give Anesca a proper send-off and our well wishes on her last day, we organised a farewell moment, which included time to reminisce and look ahead over some coffee and cake, as well as a speech from Wittenborg's director, Peter Birdsall. In his speech, Birdsall highlighted Anesca's talent and credibility as a journalist, the value her work provided to Wittenborg and the way it inspired students and staff members that have an interest in writing. He also mentioned how much he enjoyed their weekly chats. For this article, Birdsall furthermore adds that "Anesca has been instrumental in reporting news for the newsletter and our website, and we will miss her critical and professional approach to balancing what are important messages for us as a business school with what is important to society, especially from the context of diversity, inclusion and internationalisation."

Thanks Anesca, and totsiens!

WUP 28/11/2021
by Marius Zürcher
©WUAS Press


An Evening Filled with Music, Joy and Flavour at Wittenborg Amsterdam

by Wittenborg News -

An Evening Filled with Music, Joy and Flavour at Wittenborg Amsterdam

https://www.wittenborg.eu/evening-filled-music-joy-and-flavour-wittenborg-amsterdam.htm

An Evening Filled with Music, Joy and Flavour at Wittenborg Amsterdam

An Evening Filled with Music, Joy and Flavour at Wittenborg Amsterdam

Wittenborg Amsterdam business students experienced an evening filled with music, joy and flavour on Friday, 19 November. Organised by senior lecturers Amy Abdou and Dadi Chen, the Music Workshop & International Food Night brought together ten students from different countries, such as India, Iran, Indonesia, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

During the event, participants had the opportunity to perform songs in their own languages, sharing a bit of their cultures with the group. After the performances, the students enjoyed a potluck dinner with typical dishes from different countries.

According to Abdou, who besides being a lecturer is also a singer and songwriter, the purpose of the event was to help students build confidence and work on their self-expression skills. “Entrepreneurs must be open and confident when pitching an idea or doing a presentation, and music is a great tool to help them build on these skills and connect with audiences on an emotional level. This activity was modelled after the workshops I organise for businesses, based on the work of social psychologist Amy Cuddy, who developed the principles of power posing,” she said.

Soujanya Garimella, an Indian MBA student who participated in the activity, described the event as “joyful and exuberant”. “We could sing our hearts out throughout the entire event. Moreover, it was a great way of getting to know our fellow colleagues and participants. Overall, it was an impressive and fun session where we could let go of our stress and be ourselves completely. I am thankful to our lecturer Amy for making this happen,” she added.

A video of the event will be available shortly on Wittenborg’s digital channels.

An Evening Filled with Music, Joy and Flavour at Wittenborg Amsterdam
An Evening Filled with Music, Joy and Flavour at Wittenborg Amsterdam
An Evening Filled with Music, Joy and Flavour at Wittenborg Amsterdam

Wittenborg Welcomes 65 New Students from 17 Countries

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Welcomes 65 New Students from 17 Countries

https://www.wittenborg.eu/wittenborg-welcomes-65-new-students-17-countries.htm

Wittenborg Welcomes 65 New Students from 17 Countries

Wittenborg’s Introductory Lunch Marked the Sixth and Last Intake of 2021

To mark its sixth and last entry date in 2021, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (WUAS) organised an introductory lunch for students and staff today, 25 November. WUAS offers six intakes per year, in February, March, May, August, October and November. This time, 65 new bachelor’s and master’s students were welcomed, out of which 53 will be studying in Apeldoorn and 12 in Amsterdam, starting from Monday, 29 November.

The new Wittenborg family members come from 17 different countries: India, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Iran, Russia, Portugal, Singapore, Afghanistan, Germany, Italy, China, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

The introductory lunch was held at the Aventus Building, in Apeldoorn. Besides enjoying the food and drinks, the 20 students who attended the event had the opportunity of getting to know each other as well as WUAS’ staff and lecturers.

In his welcome speech, the president of the board of Wittenborg, Peter Birdsall, pointed out that many of the new students have made a life-changing decision by moving abroad, with the goal of improving their lives. Moreover, Birdsall shared important tips and gave advice on how to successfully enter the job market in the Netherlands.

“It is important that you get your profiles done on LinkedIn, because we have discovered it is the best way to promote yourselves. Make sure to create an organised and detailed profile, highlighting your previous achievements and the subjects of your current studies and research assignments. As a first step, you can use LinkedIn to connect with other Wittenborg students and lecturers, and always feel free to ask for tips on how to upgrade your profile,” he said.

Birdsall also advised students to learn Dutch, mentioning that this will provide them with a significant advantage over other applicants when searching for a job. “If you can follow Dutch lessons, pick that up as soon as you can. When looking for a job, one of the advantages will be if you can show people you can communicate in the local language a little bit.”

Covid

Another topic discussed by Wittenborg’s president during his speech is the current state of the COVID-19 crisis in the Netherlands. He urged students to get vaccinated, adding that WUAS’ support staff is available to provide information and answer questions that may arise. Birdsall also pointed out that WUAS offers free antigen tests to students, who can request them at the Spoorstraat building’s front desk.

Wittenborg Welcomes 65 New Students from 17 Countries

A New Journey

Emma Zanini, an Italian student who will be pursuing an MBM degree in Digital Marketing and Communication, expressed her excitement about starting this new journey. According to Zanini, one of the main reasons why she chose Wittenborg is the fact that WUAS offers different intakes throughout the whole year.  

“It is great that you can choose the best time to start studying, especially during this COVID-19 situation. I am also very happy to join an international business school, with people of different backgrounds and cultures coming from all over the world. It is my first time studying abroad, and one of my goals is to improve my English. Besides, I am excited about Wittenborg’s practical approach to education, which goes beyond just research and theory,” she said.  

Gurdeep Kour, who comes from India and will be studying a pre-master's programme for the MBM in Digital Marketing and Communication, described Apeldoorn as a beautiful, tidy and green city. “It is a very nice place to live. People are friendly and always smile at you, and the weather is also good. I am having a great experience.”

According to Negar Ashnaee, a Sports Business Management student from Iran, the introduction week has been very helpful. “All the teachers are lovely and friendly, and they explain everything so clearly. Whenever you ask them any questions, they are open to answer you,” she pointed out.

 


Business Club for Kids Kicks Off - with a Little Help from Wittenborg Students and Staff

by Wittenborg News -

Business Club for Kids Kicks Off - with a Little Help from Wittenborg Students and Staff

https://www.wittenborg.eu/business-club-kids-kicks-little-help-wittenborg-students-and-staff.htm

Business Club for Kids Kicks Off - with a Little Help from Wittenborg Students and Staff

Mentoring the Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow

An initiative supported by Wittenborg Amsterdam to form a business club for young entrepreneurs in Amsterdam Zuidoost recently had its first meeting.

According to Wittenborg senior lecturer Amy Abdou, the Ondernemers Club was formed after a group of local kids aged 11 – 14 years expressed an interest in entrepreneurship. Among them is the former child mayor of Amsterdam Ilias Admi (13) and Dutch television star Darryl Amankwah (15). Darryl can currently be seen in the Dutch TV-series Kamp Koekieloekie. He wants to develop his entrepreneurial ideas further and, like Admi, wants to capitalise on his current popularity as a speaker and presenter.

Admi is already registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce as a self-employed person and has ambitions to be a professional guest speaker. In fact, he is already in demand as a guest speaker and panellist and has a following of 4,000 on Instagram.

The other members of the club include Emil Versteegh (11), whose company Make it So sells ideas and designs. His website is a work in progress and he would ultimately like to win a bid from a larger company to design something in the field of transportation. Finally, there is Molara Seerdorf (25) who aspires to become an actress, develop concepts for television and write screenplays. She is currently co-owner of My Skin Poppin that offers vegan care products.

Wittenborg EBA student Luuk Ornstein – who is also a writer and an actor – will be one of three mentors at the club alongside Abdou, who teaches Social Entrepreneurship at Wittenborg, and Daniel Versteegh, a local entrepreneur and founder of AI Captain.

“If the kids come up with a good idea, we will support it through mentoring,” said Abdou. “We want to become a reliable place where young people can get good information about starting their own businesses. The Ondernemers Club will be a place for young entrepreneurs who need a toolkit to grow, a place where they can develop and enhance their entrepreneurial endeavours.”

The Ondernemers Club also wants to develop new methods to help young entrepreneurs and in the future create an educational package for young people who are interested in entrepreneurship, investment and raising capital. There are plans to launch an educational arm of the club to speak to other young people about entrepreneurship and talent development in Amsterdam Zuidoost.

WUP 25/11/2021

by Anesca Smith

©WUAS Press


Wittenborg at ICEF Berlin 2021

by Wittenborg News -
Wittenborg at ICEF Berlin 2021

ICEF Berlin Sees Return to In-Person Meetings between Education Agents and Providers

Most education markets around the world are recovering quickly now and international students are getting ready to study abroad again. This was the word from ICEF Berlin 2021, which took place at the start of November in the German capital. Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences was also at the event, represented by Lena Vandenbosch, Wittenborg's International Partnership Manager.

ICEF Berlin is the international education industry’s largest and most comprehensive global networking event and this year returned for its 27th edition with more than 800 agents and 110 education providers. The event also saw a return to in-person meetings alongside virtual one-on-one meetings.

Wittenborg at ICEF Berlin 2021

Vandenbosch said the first event day was taken up by seminars, followed by two days of face-to-face meetings while the final day was set aside for virtual meetings. Wittenborg's Admissions Team had a total of 32 official face-to-face meetings and 20 virtual meetings with agents from 28 countries.

This included Albania, Benin, Bhutan, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, India, the UK, Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

"There was a buzzing atmosphere at the event. You could sense that everyone was very excited to be back in a face-to-face setting," said Vandenbosch.

"It was great catching up with many agents that we are already working with at the numerous networking events. I also had the opportunity to connect with new agents and other educators in the industry. The general feeling throughout the event was that most markets are recovering quickly now an students are getting ready to study abroad again. Nearly every agent I had a meeting with expressed how the interest for the Netherlands is increasing and that they were very pleased to be meeting an institution from the Netherlands at the event."

WUP 23/11/2021
by James Wittenborg
©WUAS Press


Enhancing Quality in Education Through Practice-Based Research

by Wittenborg News -

Enhancing Quality in Education Through Practice-Based Research

https://www.wittenborg.eu/enhancing-quality-education-through-practice-based-research.htm

President Calls for More Practice-Based Research

In the Netherlands, research among lecturers and staff at universities of applied sciences is less compared to research universities, since the former are basically more practical and profession oriented. However, at Wittenborg, it is greatly valued and recent months have seen an increase in the number of such research conducted by faculty and staff.

Since the beginning of the last academic year, the President of Wittenborg, Peter Birdsall, has encouraged faculty and staff to collaborate with each other or even with external researchers to conduct research based on their own teaching specialities. He said that it is only normal for Wittenborg to tap into the knowhow and expertise of its employees to conduct practice-based research to enhance the quality of teaching and learning. And his call has borne fruit, with an increase in the number of research papers published in peer-reviewed journals over the past few months.

Enhancing Quality in Education Through Practice-Based ReseaEnhancing Quality in Education Through Practice-Based Researchrch

Academic research can increase the body of knowledge and benefit society. Being a university of applied sciences specialising in business, conducting research is a pertinent contribution to the industry. Companies often use research to help them make decisions about marketing, human resource management, production, logistics, and strategic decision making. Research in these domains not only benefits the companies, but also other stakeholders and society in general.

Recent researches undertaken by Wittenborg staff and students are varied and include topics on sustainability, AI and employment, ethics, education, trade and logistics, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on work-life balance. All of these researches, which include theses submitted by master's students, were published in peer-reviewed, international journals. (Read news articles on published master students' theses here and here).

Among the papers that were recently published was research done by Wittenborg lecturer Dr Alexander Bauer, who teaches at Wittenborg’s study centres in Munich (Germany) and Bad Voslau (Austria). His ‘A New Paradigm for CPD in Sales’ was published in the International Journal of Sales Transformation in September. Dr Bauer has more than a decade of international sales and management experience, leading global sales teams stationed in North and South America, Europe and Asia. In the research, Dr Bauer worked with Dr Colin Mackenzie from Edinburgh Napier University to find effective ways of training sales staff, especially those working in small and medium-sized enterprises.

Enhancing Quality in Education Through Practice-Based ReseaEnhancing Quality in Education Through Practice-Based Researchrch

Another recently published research paper titled ‘University of Applied Sciences Students’ Engagement with Scientific Literature for Final Year Projects: An Exploratory Study’ was conducted by a Wittenborg team comprising of the President of Wittenborg Peter Birdsall, Head of School of Business Dr Rauf Abdul, Senior Lecturer Dr Dadi Chen and Education Support Administrator Hanna Abdelwahab. The research was conducted during the lockdown and looked into the issue of the quality of final year projects done by students from universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. The research led to the discovery of some key factors that hindered the engagement of these students with scientific literature. Research such as this is practical and provides bountiful information to Wittenborg and other universities of applied sciences, as it can shape future restructuring of the curriculum leading to better quality in teaching and learning.

Having a culture of researchers who work hard to discover new information in a systematic manner is relevant to the advancement of society. Although the impact of the research may not be immediate, it provides useful information and knowledge, which can impact society in the long run. As knowledge increases, society will progress. As quoted by Kofi Annan (7th Secretary-General of the United Nations), “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family."

WUP 21/11/2021
by Hanna Abdelwahab
©WUAS Press


tudents Share Key Takeaways from Climate Change Project Week

by Wittenborg News -

Students Share Key Takeaways from Climate Change Project Week

https://www.wittenborg.eu/students-share-key-takeaways-climate-change-project-week.htm

Students Share Key Takeaways from Climate Change Project Week

Students Share Key Takeaways from Climate Change Project Week

Conducted by Wittenborg at its three study locations, Apeldoorn, Amsterdam and Munich, the ‘Climate Change Summit Simulation’ Project Week involved more than 150 students, encouraging them to immerse themselves in the issues of climate change. During the activity, which took place between 3 and 5 November, students were divided into 7 groups, each one acting as an economic region or key country, classified as “developed” or “developing”.  Overall, many of the 100 nationalities at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (WUAS) were represented.

By making use of digital communication platforms, the teams engaged in lively debates, and each worked on producing a policy document to be presented to the summit at the end of the project week. The ultimate goal was to "reach" a global agreement that successfully keeps climate change well below 2˚C over preindustrial levels globally – which the students did with flying colours. The initiative was run simultaneously with the COP26 world climate change summit hosted in Glasgow (UK).

Students Share Key Takeaways from Climate Change Project Week

According to Krish Bonthula, an MBM student from India, project weeks like these help participants connect with other students and lecturers, also contributing to the overall progress of their studies. “It has helped me in many ways. Among other opportunities, I had the chance to lead my team, conduct factual research regarding my topic and I improved my presentation skills as well”, he says.

Aya Nishida, an HBA student from Japan, mentioned that the project helped her develop her communication skills. “It was my first project week and I really enjoyed it. I made some new friends and improved my teamwork competencies”.

 

Students Share Key Takeaways from Climate Change Project Week

Apart from developing the students’ personal and professional skills, the activity was also intended to raise their awareness about the causes of climate change, its economic effects and possible solutions, as well as the importance of climate change negotiations.

“By taking part in this project week, I am able to spread awareness about climate change, educating more people and asking them to join us in this cause”, says Erfan Homayounmoghaddam, an HBA student from Iran.

After the Project Week, students had to fill in a survey as a means of evaluation and self-assessment. The results will be shared in the next few days.

WUP 19/11/2021
by Ulisses Sawczuk
©WUAS Press


Partner Schools in Erasmus+ Eco-systems of OSS Project Set to Make Big Social Impact

by Wittenborg News -

Partner Schools in Erasmus+ Eco-systems of OSS Project Set to Make Big Social Impact

https://www.wittenborg.eu/partner-schools-erasmus-eco-systems-oss-project-set-make-big-social-impact.htm
Partner Schools in Erasmus+ Eco-systems of OSS Project Set to Make Big Social Impact

Project Missions Bear Successful Results

Erasmus+ Eco-systems of Open Science Schooling Project, with Wittenborg as the project coordinator, is progressing impressively. During the last few months, partner schools have been actively working through their missions and have all borne successful results.

During the last virtual meeting held on 5 October, each of the four project practice partners (Lithuania, Romania, Poland and Turkey) presented the completion of their first project missions. The outcomes derived from project missions of all four partners were impressive and applaudable, as the missions not only enhanced the learning of science on the part of the students but also had a significant social impact on the general community and society. Below are snippets of project deliverance from the partner schools.

Partner Schools in Erasmus+ Eco-systems of OSS Project Set to Make Big Social Impact

Project Lithuania: Bringing Back the Bees & Butterflies

For Pasvalys Levens Primary School (Pasvalio Levens Pagrindine Mokykla) in Lithuania, its project mission stems from a decline in bee and butterfly populations in the last 20 years, due to intensive agriculture, widespread use of pesticides and herbicides and climate change. The team managed to garner support from Darius Agro and ASEJA who provided seeds and other necessary materials for the setting up of bee and butterfly-friendly gardens in homes, schools and public parks in the Pasvalys area.

Through wide-scale promotion, farmers lent their support and started reducing the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides on their fields. In order to promote their mission and to increase community interest and involvement, the team carried out outdoor activities such as outdoor butterfly painting and drawing in their own and in neighbouring communities.

The team members commented, "We are proud that our mission is meaningful for the community and environment and we have developed connections with the community partners.​ The idea of attracting and preserving pollinators met with so much support that one of the grateful bee keepers, Vaidas Baliunas, awarded the team with 10 litres of honey.​ We are truly grateful to Erasmus+ Project for this opportunity and support."

Partner Schools in Erasmus+ Eco-systems of OSS Project Set to Make Big Social Impact

Project Romania: Outdoor Education

For Gheorghe Titeica School in Romania, their mission was the promotion of outdoor schooling. The students participated in a national project contest called ‘School in Nature’ and became partners of ‘Life Education for All’, an association which initiated the campaign for outdoor education at national level.  

The association helped to promote the project mission throughout the community and, as a result, the school received supplies in the form of bean bags, relaxing armchairs and mobile whiteboards for their usage until May 2022. Other partners that were in support of their initiative are the non-governmental Youth Communities Association (Association Comunitati Pentru Tineret) based in Craiova and Exchange Volunteer Service, who joined them in the outdoor English classes, workshops and activities in the Romanescu park.

The students commented, "We can say that our Mission 1 changed us a lot, brought us better collaboration, better communication and coordination in our groups, more creativity and developed our critical thinking. These partnerships, and eco-systems are really inspiring and we felt like active participants rather than passive actors in our personal development/learning process."

Partner Schools in Erasmus+ Eco-systems of OSS Project Set to Make Big Social Impact

Project Turkey: Pet Therapy

For ITU ETA Foundation College in Turkey, an initial mission to investigate animal and human digestive system changed to a more passionate one: investigating therapy with animals. The team believed that animals have a way to heal the sick, comfort the depressed and provide affection to those who need it.

The team promoted the idea of having pets among students and it was so successful that students started sharing their experiences of their own pets. The team surveyed Firat university staff, animal hospital staff and experts, teachers, families, office workers and other community members to find out more about therapy with animals. Their pet survey revealed that having pets in the office helps reduce employee stress levels and leads to social and health benefits.

Their next mission is to partner with Firat University to investigate the effect of animals on the level of happiness in humans. Students commented that having this project, which stemmed from their own idea, has made school more interesting, as they learn not just by listening to teachers but by doing activities and being involved in the survey and visits to places.

Partner Schools in Erasmus+ Eco-systems of OSS Project Set to Make Big Social Impact

Project Poland: Fossils & DNA

At Liceum Ogólnokształcące z Oddziałami Dwujęzycznymi im. Adama Mickiewicza in Poland, students participated in various activities, such as a DNA isolation workshop organised by BioCen (Biocentre of Scientific Education) and a lecture by a neurobiologist Prof. Krzysztof Turlejski from the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Sciences, UKSW, in Warsaw.

Study trips to Nasiłów, a Vistula ice-marginal valley, rich in fossils in the layers of chalk from 65 million years ago, and the Korzeniowy Gorge in Kazimierz Dolny, enhanced students’ knowledge and learning experiences. The school, with the cooperation of the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Sciences UKSW in Warsaw, also conducted an exhibition which displayed the collection of fossils.

The success of the projects as well as the positive impacts the projects have on the society at large were applauded by all partners.
More information about the individual schools’ activities can be found in the Open Science Schooling webpage at Eco Oss (eco-oss.eu).

WUP 17/11/2021
By Hanna Abdelwahab with contributions from partner schools
©WUAS Press


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