Arqus Teaching Excellence Award: and the winners are…

Poster indicating the name of the activity.

Jenny Kunhardt, Maeva Baudoin and Johannes Ringel from Leipzig University and Birgit Phillips from the University of Graz have been selected as the winners of the first Arqus Teaching Excellence Award (2019-2021).

The winners of the first Arqus Teaching Excellence Award (2019-2021) organised by the Arqus Alliance have been selected. The special jury selected the team of teachers Jenny Kunhardt, Maeva Baudoin and Johannes Ringel (Leipzig University) for the Arqus Teaching Excellence Award for enabling research-based teaching category and Birgit Phillips (University of Graz) for the Arqus Teaching Excellence Award for enabling students category. The winners will be awarded a 5,000 Eur prize to be dedicated to the development of teaching or competence.

A strong connection between research and teaching can be targeted in many different ways. Courses that promote research-based teaching and learning and actively involve students as junior researchers are particularly considered as “Arqus Teaching Excellence Projects”. The Arqus Alliance is also very interested in how learning processes have been reflected during the course and how students’ feedback has been integrated and used for the improvement of learning experiences and teaching methods.

The winning project in the category “research-based teaching” has been the module “Urban Management I”. The module was taught in the winter term 2020/21 online by Professor Johannes Ringel, Maeva Baudoin and Jenny Kunhardt of the faculty of Economics and Management Science of Leipzig University. It is embedded in the broad field of sustainable urban development with the focus on a topic with increasing attention in the (German) scientific community: Living in small and medium-sized cities, specifically in the region of Leipzig. There are plenty of small and medium-sized cities with high relevance for local public services and different development paths that are currently changing due to the growth of Leipzig. The module looked at challenges for sustainable development according to the SDG 11 (Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations).

The concept of the module was competence-oriented and research-based with students delving into chosen examples after getting a general overview. In nine groups the students developed their own questions, collected data and interpreted their results for more sustainable development of the region. "We are very proud to receive this honour for our teaching and learning project. We, and also the students, have invested a lot and the award confirms our approach" said Jenny Kunhardt from Leipzig University.

The Arqus Teaching Excellence Award for enabling students directs attention to local practices that contribute to the development of teaching and learning in increasingly complex university settings. It acknowledges that subject-specific activities conducted in teaching, learning, and assessment have considerable influence on how students develop as learners, thinkers, and doers. It also acknowledges the value of connecting local practices across institutional, national and cultural borders.

The winning initiative in the category “enabling students” has been the Bihar Remote Service Learning Project. In this project, students are required to translate education theory into practical, community-based action that benefits a marginalized community in Eastern India, while enhancing students' teamwork, communication, digital and reflective skills. “I’m incredibly honored to receive this award. It means a lot to me because I truly believe in the value of community-engaged education for the students, the community, and society as a whole. I hope that by receiving this award I can bring visibility to the many educators who are working to increase university civic engagement with their local communities and communities around the world” said Birgit Philips from the University of Graz.

A total of 33 members from the Arqus universities applied for the Teaching Award. The Jury, who decided on the winners, consisted of 7 members from different universities: Alain Trouillet, Professor of Physics at the University Jean Monnet Saint Etienne; Maria Ángeles Serrano Garcia, Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Salamanca; Carlo Mariconda, Professor of Mathematical Analysis at the University of Padova; Rudolf Egger, Professor of Empirical Learningworld Research & Higher Education Didactics at the University of Graz and three student Representatives: Jorigis Marčėnas from the Vilnius University, Thomas Helland-Hansen from the University of Bergen and Rebekka Hesse from the Leipzig University.

The award winners will be invited to participate in the second Arqus Annual Conference (4th-6th April) and to give guest lectures or workshops for Arqus teachers. Additionally, the University of Graz has published two podcasts (episode 1 and episode 2) with the teaching experiences of its 6 nominees.

Side event "Arqus Teaching Excellence: meet the award winners"

On 7th April at 9:00 am (CEST), a side event promoted by the Arqus Task Force on Teaching Excellence will take place in Padova. Jenny Kunhardt and Birgit Phillips will present their award-winning projects (see above). The meeting is intended as an opportunity to know more about the most remarkable aspects of these two initiatives, with a focus on methods, student engagement, interdisciplinarity and learning outcomes.

Register before 6th April at 12:00 pm (CEST) for attending face-to-face (at Sala Seminari, Department of Economics and Management, Via del Santo 33, Padova) or online.