Third Annual Meeting of the 4EU+ European University Alliance
Sorbonne University, Charles University in Prague and the universities of Warsaw, Heidelberg, Copenhagen and Milan met in Heidelberg from November 3 to 5, 2021 for the third annual meeting of the 4EU+ European University Alliance.
With each of the member universities of the 4EU+ European Alliance rotating the organization and hosting of the event, this year's 4EU+ Annual Meeting welcomed nearly 200 people to Heidelberg. It took place at a pivotal moment, the first face-to-face meeting since the beginning of the pandemic, just after the reception of the mid-term evaluation report from DG Education and before the preparation of the response to the call for the second wave of funding for European universities.
"The mid-term evaluation of 4EU+ is excellent. It demonstrates the momentum and development of all the components of our roadmap across the six institutions, confirming it as a ‘tangible reality.’ It also confirms that our vision from 2018 is fully in line with the objectives of European universities," said Serge Fdida, Sorbonne University’s Vice President of International Development and coordinator of the project funded by DG Education.
The annual meeting was notable by the diversity of its participants and the strong representation of the Alliance’s many sectors. In attendance were rectors and presidents of the member universities, vice-rectors, members of the 4EU+ Academic Council, representatives of the four 4EU+ flagships, as well as students, professors and academic researchers who participate in 4EU+ pedagogical projects, and members of working groups and managers of local 4EU+ offices. Sorbonne University’s delegation also reflected this diversity: "We were very well represented, with nearly twenty people from Sorbonne University, at both the faculty and university levels, representing staff and students," said Hakima Fassi Fihri, head of the 4EU+ office at Sorbonne University.
The meeting allowed us to mobilize our community on essential themes related to the advancement of 4EU+ activities. In particular, the progress on pedagogical pathways and joint investments in research associated with the four flagships, the challenges posed by the digital transformation of institutions, and the collaborative tools that the Alliance seeks to develop. The meeting also touched on delicate questions relating to the quality of the processes and the accreditation for students who participate in the construction of activities. "We discussed the creation of flexible and innovative 4EU+ study pathways, joint courses and programs, as well as how to strengthen the links between our universities by facilitating, for example, the physical and virtual mobility of our students and faculty, as well as administrative staff. We also looked at how to strengthen the sense of belonging to 4EU+ among all of our communities at the six universities, as well as many other issues," explains Hakima Fassi Fihri.
The Governing Board of 4EU+, composed of the rectors and presidents of the six universities, also met to define priorities in responding to the second call for proposals, which will be published shortly and should be finalized in the spring of 2022. "The debates allowed us to take a position on current issues such as the European diploma and the expansion of the composition of alliances desired by the Commission," explains Serge Fdida.
The annual meeting of the 4EU+ Alliance was also an opportunity to pay tribute to Jean Chambaz, the recently retired president of Sorbonne University, who was instrumental to the creation of 4EU+. He received the Ruperto Carola Medal from the University of Heidelberg on behalf of Rector Bernhardt Eitel.