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The German “FHWS 3IN” support project turns challenges into resources

Group of FHWS students sitting and talking to each other
As a University of Applied Sciences FHWS has a lot of expertise to contribute to the 3IN Alliance. However, as a university of applied sciences, new structures need to be built up to prepare FHWS for its new role as a 3IN Alliance university. How can one master that balancing act?

When we were informed by the German Academic Exchange Service about an additional project funding for German HEIs that took part in the first EUI funding call with very good results but no funding, we knew that we should not miss this unique opportunity. Luckily, our hard work paid off and we received funding for the next 3 years for a support project “FHWS 3IN”, that allows extensive work towards the entire alliance’s goals.

Through FHWS 3IN we work out our strengths as a University of Applied Sciences in order to bring them into the alliance in the best possible way. At the same time, we want to create new structures to integrate innovations coming from the alliance. After all, we are committed to and believe in the common mission of the 3IN Alliance. Nevertheless, we also want to use the FHWS 3IN to promote the visibility of FHWS in our region as a university of applied sciences with a European outreach.

International office meets social sciences

FHWS 3IN -project team was formed in February 2020. The fact that we come from two different professional directions of FHWS, the international office and the faculty of applied social sciences, makes our daily project work very interesting.

We can say that the entire project idea is the result of a co-creation process. And now, as a project team, we try to reach our common goal let’s say, of Europeanisation of FHWS, from two different angels. At the same time, everyone brings the best of their field to contribute to FHWS 3IN.

To contribute best to the 3IN alliance, we work to develop transnational, interdisciplinary forms of teaching, in order to motivate and prepare our students and staff members in an interculturally competent manner for their stays abroad. We also keep in mind that not everybody has the opportunity to go abroad. Thus, we also work on digital solutions for teaching and mobility.

Can digital solutions become a norm?

The current situation has shown us that digital solutions have become more important than ever. Due to COVID-19, we had to switch very quickly to a digital workflow in our daily project work. This has worked surprisingly well.

Now the challenge is to think of digital solutions for most of our measures, to think of digital alternatives for physical meetings and activities that had been planned already.

However, if digital solutions are found, the question remains, how to can motivate students and staff to take advantage of them. How can we promote international activities in the current situation and if so, should we?

Crisis is a possibility to create solutions

FHWS 3IN is now strongly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. We had to cancel all our physical international activities. Nobody knows if we will be able to continue the project in its intended form, but we are trying to get something positive out of the difficult situation.

More than ever, we are forced to push measures of digitization. To create a meeting place for the alliance in times of COVID-19 we organize an online conference where we invite speakers of our 3IN-alliance partners to share their professional view on COVID-19 in their home countries. Responses to the crisis – a transnational view will take place on 14th and 15th of May via a web conference tool.

Now it is up to us to show if we are able to transform challenges into resources.

About the authors

Dr. Kristina Gehring & Stefanie Witter are both working as project coordinators in the project FHWS 3IN at University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt. Kristina Gehring is working in the International Office and Stefanie Witter works at the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences.

Photo by: Stefan Bausewein

About the blog

3IN blog offers perspectives on Inclusion, Integration and Involvement. The writers come from the alliance of seven diverse higher education institutions across Europe, sharing a goal: a world where no one is left behind.

The core purpose of the 3IN Alliance, and our ambitious long-term objective, is to co-create an innovative European University. Read more from our website.

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