TOWARDS ENTREPRENEURIAL UNIVERSITY: NEW ERASMUS + STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP PROJECT

The Department of Education of the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Department of Management of the Faculty of  Economics and Management and the Centre of Entrepreneurship Practices at Vytautas Magnus university have started to implement the ERASMUS+  strategic partnership project  “Professional Development of University Educators for Improving Students' Entrepreneurial Skills”, (PROFEDU,  Nr. 2014-1-PL01-KA203-003551). Project consortium is composed of 4 organizations from three European countries: the project coordinator – University of Economics and Innovation in Lublin, Poland (Wyzsza Szkola Ekonomii i Innowacji w Lublinie); the project partners: Vytautas Magnus university, Lithuania; Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Alava, Spain; and Human capital organization from Spain - Formación Euskadi S.L.L.

The project is aimed to improve entrepreneurship education at higher education institutions and in such way to contribute to better quality of higher education and its' potential to produce entrepreneurial graduates.

The project aim is based on results of the studies made by the European Foundation for Entrepreneurship Research showing that teachers at higher education institutions lack knowledge and experience for developing students’ entrepreneurial skills (Entrepreneurship and Higher Education, OECD 2008). Research reveal that most educators do not have a clear picture of entrepreneurial skills as well as lack entrepreneurship mindsets themselves and often relate entrepreneurship skills only with Economics and Business studies.

The aim of the project will be pursued by developing a set of instruments that will support educators in deepening knowledge and skills on entrepreneurship and empowering them to incorporate entrepreneurship education into their curricula across different study courses. The project is focused to promote entrepreneurship education based on interdisciplinary, cross-curricula approach, relating entrepreneurial skills not only to business or economics studies but with other disciplines as well.

In order to reach the aim, the following objectives will be met in the project:

1. Analysis on practices of entrepreneurship education in higher education sector in Spain, Lithuania, Poland, USA and Canada will be carried out. The main objective of the analysis is to reveal the experiences and practices on entrepreneurial skills development in HE sector which can be transferred and integrated into the model of entrepreneurship development in higher education institutions.

2. A model of entrepreneurship education in HE sector will be framed. The model will discuss the main aspects of entrepreneurship development: general concepts, principles, attitudes and approaches related to entrepreneurship education, didactic methodological parameters (such as integration principles and methods of entrepreneurship skills development into curriculum, etc.), research innovations (contracted research development, cooperation with business, development of innovative products),  institutional support, entrepreneurship specification in terms of knowledge, skills, attitude and values, professional profile of educators needed to develop students’ entrepreneurial skills, roles  of stakeholders in entrepreneurship education, etc.

3. Modules for strengthening educators’ professional profile in relation to developing entrepreneurial skills will be worked out. It is planned to frame four modules that will cover the aspects discussed in the model of entrepreneurship development. The modules will be tested through training activities with educators of the universities that participate in the project.

4. Scenarios for integration of entrepreneurship model into curriculum and study subjects will be developed. At least 7 scenarios aimed to promote students' entrepreneurship mindset and develop their entrepreneurial skills will be worked out.

While implementing the above mentioned objectives the project will:

 -  bring together members of academic society and business sector to raise awareness on  importance of entrepreneurial skills for successful performance in working, learning activities as well as other environments;

 - provide methodological background and instruments for developing entrepreneurship aimed to improve educators' and students' entrepreneurial attitudes and skills;

- provide opportunities for participants to get familiarized with practices and experiences of the entrepreneurship development which could be transferred and integrated into daily teaching/learning activities;

- support educators in designing scenarios for developing entrepreneurial skills;

- contribute to strengthening the professional profile of teaching staff.

14 university educators – members of the project direct target group - will be directly involved in the project activities: 7 from Poland and 7 from Lithuania. However, a number of dissemination seminars, round-table discussions and other events are planned to reach and benefit from the project results larger numbers of the project stakeholders: university administrative staff, business representatives, employers.

We hope that the project will contribute to strengthening international cooperation and experience on entrepreneurial education. It is expected that project outputs will bring a step further in the process of promoting entrepreneurial education and entrepreneurial culture in society in Poland, Lithuania and Spain as well as  in the other European countries and will generate further research and projects on the issue.