THE UNIVERSITAT POLITÈCNICA DE VALÈNCIA SURROUNDING AREA: A TEACHING RESOURCE FOR KEY SKILLS
The teaching-learning model in the context of the European Higher Education Area is based in the training of the students not only in degree-specific knowledge, but also in key skills. Spanish universities, supported by ANECA (National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation), drafted White Papers for each Bachelor Degree with the explicit aim of achieving consensus in the design of the degrees adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Key skills play an important role in these degrees, as they are necessary skills to develop any profession. One of the key skills, common to most degrees taught in the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) is the sensitivity towards environmental issues. This paper proposes to use the resources offered by the surrounding area of the UPV campuses to promote such skill. The analysis of agricultural activity and urban planning within the suburban areas next to the Vera UPV Campus in L'Horta Nord in Valencia or in an area of high environmental interest as the La Safor Wetland (Gandia UPV Campus) allows addressing various environmental issues. For example: irrigation water management, waste management, urban planning of the cities of Valencia and Gandia, etc. Specific case studies are developed based on these agricultural systems in different subjects within different bachelor degrees taught at the UPV, as Environmental Sciences Bachelor Degree, Agricultural Engineering, Architecture or Industrial Design Engineering. Working with these case specific studies allows integrating the various Campus activities with the surrounding area and vice versa, since local people (farmers, town people, and planners) will be involved in the activities. This experience will increase students’ motivation because the lessons explained in the classroom will be put into practice in real systems. In addition, geographical proximity facilitates the activities outside the classroom without added cost to the institution.