Priorities:Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania Student Priorities

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Fall 2023 Priorities

Developing team-work and improving social skills among students

Developing team-work and improving social skills among students by creating workspaces in the University campus so that students can collaborate on different projects together and interact with one another to boost creativity and innovation.

Out of the nine faculties, only one has spaces where students can meet and collaborate, and that means that students need to use off campus resources, which is logistically difficult, or meet in public places (cafés, libraries, online), which are either expensive or ineffective for the purpose. By repurposing furniture and creating workspaces along hallways, the university does not need to use classrooms, which are already fully booked to run courses, in order of achieving this.

Promoting diversity and inclusion within the organization and its programs to ensure a broad spectrum of perspectives and ideas. Implementing policies and practices that encourage participation from underrepresented groups. Making all the social groups and genders feel welcome. Developing strategies to ensure the organization's activities have a lasting impact on the community. Promoting eco-friendly and sustainable practices in all initiatives. Using materials that are recyclable and pollute as little as possible. Thinking of creative ways of using existing resources.

Improving students' leadership and management skills

During our assessment of the University opportunities, we have discovered several of them that are offered by external associations or partners. Inspired by this, we discovered that it would be beneficial for students to be able to share knowledge and skills during hands-on workshops with their peers. The workshops would be led by students that are skilled in any particular area. The Program would be named Share Your Passion and it would give students the opportunity to showcase skills and hobbies for other interested students during workshops and this would aid them in developing management and public speaking skills. Sharing knowledge and skills students are passionate about, would boosts their confidence and would give them the opportunity of networking with others that have similar interests.

There really is no program at the moment that encourages students to take initiative and mentor others and a program such as this would cover some areas or information where faculty do not have time to cover in the usual university curriculum. This would mean that that students could register either as organizers for a workshop in their area of expertise or passionate subject, or as participants. Organizers would receive a toolkit for sharing their passion with others so that they can develop their management skills and would receive support from fellows in organizing the workshop so that the knowledge and skills transfer would be efficient. Also, receiving feedback after every event would help students identify where they can improve or how the Share Your Passion Program may improve.

Fostering engagement within the community

Developing programs and initiatives to bring people together, such as community events, workshops, and forums.

Creating online platforms or forums for like-minded individuals to connect and collaborate by establishing clear and concrete objectives. Fostering community engagement is an ongoing process that requires genuine commitment, active listening, and a willingness to adapt and improve continually. Building strong relationships and a sense of belonging within the community can lead to long-lasting partnerships, increased support, and a more vibrant and thriving community.

Seeking collaborations with other organizations, institutions, and individuals to broaden the scope of opportunities and reach a wider audience. Forming strategic partnerships that align with the organization's goals and values. By reaching to existing partners the possibility to maintain and develop new ideas and gain support increases.

Keeping students informed through digitalization

By embracing digitalization, we can ensure effective dissemination of information and keep people informed swiftly and efficiently. This digital approach facilitates the seamless transfer of essential updates, news, and developments, reaching a broader audience instantaneously and fostering a more connected and well-informed community.

We have noticed that first-year students are facing challenges in locating and connecting with their fellow peers on different online platforms and groups, such as WhatsApp, specifically created for their class. To enhance this process and ensure greater accessibility, there is a need for the implementation of more official and prominently displayed modes of online communication, fostering a more inclusive and streamlined approach to connecting new students within the university community.

Fall 2022 Priorities

Bringing people together and increasing visibility for already existing Innovation & Entrepreneurship opportunities

Two obstacles we have encountered in our IE ecosystem are the lack of visibility for projects that promote Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the fact that there is no opportunity for students from all majors to come together in a common space, get to know each other, and possibly bridge the gap between Faculties later on. Thus, we have imagined an Info-Session type of event where students from all majors are brought together: ULBS Info-Session. The event is also an opportunity for students to receive information about all the opportunities available. Each Research center, program, internship, workshop, event and so on would have a stand available, students walking through the info points and stopping to talk to the relevant people about the opportunities that catch their eye. The available stands would have lists where students could drop their contact information to be contacted for future events. Each stand would also have a board on which the question ”Have your heard about X? (X being the program, event, center, etc) ”, where students can mark ”YES/NO” in order to assess the visibility of the existing opportunities and see where there is a need for improvement. At the same time, the event would take place in an open space where there is room for people to chat, have snacks and coffee, and get to know each other. At the end, another board would be ready, containing a table with the question ”With how many people from each department have you interacted today?”, where students can mark the number of people they socialized with. With this idea, we are planning to assess if bringing people together can create the opportunity for communication.

Creating the opportunity for students to showcase creativity and contribute to developing IE in our University

There have been attempts in the past at encouraging innovation, but they haven't been that fruitful. Thus, we imagined a competition for bright ideas where the winning one would be sponsored: Bring your idea to life. In order to do this, people would have to enroll in the contest, go through a training before submitting their application, and then compile their application including the idea, the resources needed, and the plan to implement it. The submissions would be reviewed by a University board, which would select the one project that can come to life. Through this, we hope to encourage students to be creative and to offer the example that they, too, can do it.

Bringing inspiration and motivation into our University

While mapping the school's ecosystem in our Landscape canvas, we discovered there is a gap in inspirational events. Thus, we have imagined bringing a TED-like event in our University, where students and teachers could be inspired by the innovative people in our community. To maximize the impact of the envisioned TED-like event at our university, it is essential to identify key themes that resonate with our school community, ensuring that the content is both relevant and engaging. Diversifying the roster of speakers to include a wide array of local entrepreneurs, researchers, artists, and professionals can offer a broader spectrum of inspiration and promote inclusivity. To foster meaningful connections and collaborations, structured networking sessions and interactive workshops should be incorporated, encouraging active participation through Q&A sessions and panel discussions. It is crucial to develop strategies for long-term impact, such as follow-up workshops, mentorship programs, and project incubation initiatives, to ensure that the event's inspiration translates into tangible actions and projects within our school community. Additionally, creating a comprehensive marketing plan utilizing various communication channels will generate enthusiasm and maximize attendance, ultimately fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning within our university.

Introducing teachers to a Design Thinking mindset

While completing the Landscape canvas, we also uncovered that there are limited opportunities for teachers' training and development. There is plans of ULBS D-School to implement a course for teachers, and an approach we have imagined is offering a challenge for them to fulfill during the Design Thinking course. The challenge given would have the potential to impact the IE ecosystem. In conjunction with the completion of the Landscape canvas, the recognition of limited opportunities for teachers' training and development at ULBS D-School prompts a comprehensive approach to the proposed teacher course. Customizing the training modules to address specific educational challenges and integrating practical experiences such as real-world case studies can equip educators with tangible skills and a deep understanding of Design Thinking principles. Fostering a collaborative learning environment and facilitating peer-to-peer knowledge exchange among teachers can promote a culture of shared learning and innovation. Moreover, establishing a framework for continuous support and mentorship beyond the course duration, alongside a robust evaluation mechanism to assess the program's impact on teaching methodologies and overall academic performance, can ensure the sustained success and effectiveness of the training initiative, ultimately contributing to the growth and enhancement of the broader educational ecosystem at ULBS D-School.