A SOFT TAKE-OFF IN THE DIRECTION OF ‘BOLOGNA’
In 2009-10 ten new degrees have begun to be taught at the UPM (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), which are the first group of degrees that this University will offer within the framework of the EHEA (European Higher Education Area).
One of these is the Degree in Building Engineering, which was implemented in September 09 in the EUATM (Escuela de Arquitectura Técnica). It is heir to the former 'Arquitecto Técnico' degree that will become extinct as the new degree is successively implemented. This paper unveils the strategy that the EUATM management staff has designed and is developing, so that the complex process that involves the incorporation of our School to the model of 'Bologna', takes place smoothly and with guaranteed success.
Right from the beginning, the fundamental line of action to achieve this goal has been trying to get the cooperation of the majority of lecturers in this purpose. The management team wants everyone to think that this is a task for all and offers the greatest number of people possible the option to participate actively in the project with different levels of contributions or involvement.
However, this baseline is not easy to follow. We are aware that for many colleagues the new model is a threat to their way of working and their autonomy as teachers. There are many shadows that blur the potential benefits that methodological change enthusiasts try to show to those who are not.
For some of our colleagues ‘Bologna’ is asking them for more effort but does not provide the compensation that one can expect in any fair exchange. What can we argue to persuade non-believers?
The prior actions relate primarily to establishing channels for dialogue and coordination at all levels to ensure the participation of a large majority of the School lecturers in different tasks, so that they do not remain outside the process of integration in the EHEA. Moreover, before the beginning of each semester of the new degree, meetings of all lecturers have taken place to obtain information about their needs and possible suggestions to improve the overall quality of the School.
In 2008-09 there was a pilot project to adapt the studies to the EHEA in two groups of the first former 'Arquitecto Técnico' degree with 60 students each. The findings and conclusions have been disseminated and considered for the latter adaptation of the new degree studies.
For students of this course the Integration Program has emphasized special information about what the EHEA means and the best way to follow this different form of learning. The mentoring program, in which advanced students act as mentors to new students, has been very successful.
Subject and semester teaching coordinators are the link between all lecturers who teach the same subject, or those who teach in the same semester period, and the Associate Director of Academic Affairs and Faculty, ultimately responsible for the degree. Acting with the confidence afforded by their peers, the coordinators watch that agreed planning in the Learning Plans is met.
In the EUATM we have adopted a smooth take-off to ‘Bologna’ because we know that our point of departure is built on solid foundations and we are aware that we are going to a higher place and the difficulties associated with the rise.
It would not be useful for anyone to leave a large number of colleagues behind, abandoned on the road, rejecting this adventure, because the launch has been sharp, misdirected and without a clear goal.