31 October, 2009

First talks on ethics

Ethics is hot. Since the start of the economic crisis leading us into a worldwide recession, people have been realising that it was the greedy and unethical behaviour of the banks and brokers that caused the crash.
A quote from the Journal of Business Ethics (Volume 8, Number 8 / August, 1989 !!): "A bank's responsibility extends to Government, customers, shareholders, staff and the community. In the future, as we face increasingly complex and conflicting issues, our resolve and commitment to ethical behaviour will be tested." And so it has !
Codex Diplomaticus: could this be an example to us?
Recently, the media have been drawing our attention more and more often to the ethical dimensions of particular issues to be considered. Besides, there seems to be a growing receptiveness, among both educators and ordinary citizens, toward including ethics training in all types of education. From these developments one may conclude that a specific project on teaching ethical competences could hit the nail on its head.
This week 4 lecturers from the CMV department travelled to Lithuania for two days of intensive international discussions on that very issue. The Vilnius meeting formed the kick off for a new learning partnership (within the LLLP) focussing on teaching and evaluating ethical competences.
At Vilnius College of Higher Education we got to know each other first via presentations by each organisation separately, but also later by the collective sharing of values that we felt were ethical values to be taught in education.
Still, it's always the talks in between and the talks during breaks, lunches and dinners that people get to know each other best of all. This social networking is often crucial in establishing good working relationships in projects, especially to fall back on while working in your own home institutions before the next meeting comes up.
Exhausted and full of (international)ideas, having experienced fascinating exchanges with all the 6 other European partners, we returned back to the Netherlands.
Click here for a visual report of the meeting.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This blog post reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained herein.

26 October, 2009

Rotterdam has its MUNRO

Today was the big day: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences organised its first university wide Model United Nations. Students from many different departments gathered at the Kralingse Zoom location to play their roles as delegates and world leaders at a simulated United Nations session.
In the morning a warming up took place under the skilful leadership of Edo Brunner, actor/director at BNN. In this interactive session a variety of issues were put to the vote, all linked to the general themes of sustainability and climate change. Are you willing to do your bit? e.g. eat vegetarian food three times a week? or sacrifice your short breaks by plane in order to put a stop to global warming?
Even though the big auditorium was quite full there were lively discussions and many took the opportunity to speak out on issues that were close to their hearts. It was obvious that the training sessions in debating were gradually beginning to pay off.
Here some pictures of the interactive session in the morning.

MUNRO: an impression from Jane Traveller on Vimeo.

05 October, 2009

Meet the Dutch delegation

Today was the first real preparation meeting of the four staff members that will represent ISO / CMV at the first project meeting in Vilnius. Just a few more weeks to go before they'll meet EU partners from Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.
Although there have been lots of short discussions and exchanges in the corridor, in between meetings and classes, this was the first time that we actually sat down to talk extensively about our input at the kick off meeting in Lithuania.
It is never easy to decide on the appropriate amount of information about one's organisation, one's perspectives on education and the way education (in this case ethics)is provided at one's own institute within only 10 to 15 minutes. There is always the risk of an overload of information. Educational systems differ from country to country and so do teaching methods, as well as values and norms in general.
The partnership in this new Grundtvig project not only covers 7 different countries, but it also represents a variety of organisations dealing with adult education. This will definitely mean a lot of new impressions and ideas to absorb in a short time.
As this is a learning partnership this is also what we are aiming at, learning from each other and moving forward together to produce a number of interesting results in the field of teaching ethical competences within Europe. It will be exciting to find out what the common European ground will be.
These are the four delegates from Rotterdam: Hans Donders, Harry Vrins, Danitsja Polak and Anja Stofberg.

04 October, 2009

Learning to think internationally

Building an international dimension into your graduation paper has been a requirement for the 3rd consecutive year now for all CMV students. Prior experience showed that thinking internationally does not come automatically to the majority of the students, even though there have been a number of outstanding exceptions.
This year it was decided to draw attention to this requirement at a very early stage, namely by having a short presentation at the first conference for year 4 students under the theme of "The Plan". In 30 minutes students were given an overview of the ways in which they could introduce an international dimension in their papers. Our students are the future workforce and the future is international after all !

First visit to ISS

Not many people active in Dutch social work education are aware of the fact that there is a unique institute housed in the Hague, providing policy oriented social science. I'm referring here to the international Institute for Social Studies (ISS). In fact, I even dare to state that it's probably better known abroad than anywhere in the Netherlands, with more than 10,000 alumni in more than 160 countries.
Via an introduction from a colleague at our school of social work I managed to make an appointment with the welfare officer at ISS, Martin Blok. Before showing me around through the building, I was told about the multicultural community at ISS and the range of teaching programmes provided for postgraduate professionals, mostly from developing countries and countries in transition, but also from the EU and northern America. Although it recently (July 2009) became part of Erasmus University Rotterdam, it will remain based in the same building in the Hague with its own student residences on the campus next to the ISS building.
What a wonderful learning environment this must be for the student body and academic staff; with students from all over the globe an excellent opportunity is created to stimulate and enhance learning from the inside knowledge and diverse experiences of each other, a unique and unequalled resource to the best of my knowledge.
This preciously hidden gem deserves to be in sharper focus within our own institute.