Interuniversity exchange in the FORTHEM Alliance: Universities of Mainz and Jyväskylä address innovative best practices in learning and teaching

High-profile delegation of the Education Council of the University of Jyväskylä familiarizes with JGU's promotion of innovative learning and teaching and gives new impulses in the field of university development

13 February 2023

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland are both members of the FORTHEM Alliance, together with seven other universities from all over Europe. The European Universities network will be receiving some EUR 14.4 million in financial support in the current funding period extending to the end of 2026. In keeping with the goals of this transnational collaboration, a high-level delegation from the University of Jyväskylä recently visited Mainz University to share best practices of Innovative Pedagogy, campus and degree course development, and teacher training.

"Our extensive and stimulating exchange of views was a remarkable and exceptional experience for everyone involved. The vice rectors of our partner university and the JGU Executive Board joined in with various experts to further develop one of the central FORTHEM missions, the Skills and Competences agenda. This involves a shared commitment to enhance and establish future-oriented, innovative pedagogies based on a student-centered mindset", emphasized Professor Stephan Jolie, JGU Vice President for Learning and Teaching. "This working visit has been a great example of how we live our FORTHEM vision: Our alliance is a driver of innovative concepts for student-oriented learning and teaching. In our discussions, we covered a wide range of various pedagogical models in which our teaching staff assist and guide their students to take ownership of their learning process. We will continue to develop these models together – to enable students to take a more active role in their learning."

During the two-day meeting, the representatives from Jyväskylä and Mainz discussed innovative teaching projects at JGU and their strategic promotion by the Gutenberg Teaching Council (GTC), the quality management processes involved in JGU-internal accreditation of degree programs as well as university services for well-being support of students. In addition, the guest from Finland were introduced to subject-specific projects in the fields of computer science, chemistry, physics, mathematics, political and historical sciences. The agenda of the visit was thus in line with the strategic framework of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and its aim to foster a shared vision of higher education as well as to increase quality and equal opportunities of university teaching. Within the European context in particular, the University of Jyväskylä has a pronounced profile in learning and teaching focusing on student-centered learning, a broad commitment to teaching, and distinctly forward-looking course structures.

About the FORTHEM Alliance

FORTHEM is one of now 44 European University alliances through which the EU Commission intends to create a European Higher Education Area with learning, studying and research transcending national borders. The idea behind the European Universities concept goes back to the ‘Initiative for Europe’ keynote address given by French President Emmanuel Macron on 26 September 2017 at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

The FORTHEM Alliance fosters the Europe-wide exchange between the more than 227,000 students, some 2,300 doctoral candidates, nearly 16,000 academics, and more than 14,000 administrative staff at Mainz University in Germany, the University of Burgundy in France, the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, the University of Opole in Poland, the University of Palermo in Italy, University of Valencia in Spain and the University of Latvia, together with the two new partners, the University of Agder in Norway and the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu in Romania.