Patricia Reilly, Deputy Head of Cabinet to Tibor Navracsics the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, visited Warwick on 20 November 2017. Mrs Reilly, a senior advisor and policymaker in Brussels, came to Warwick to meet students and staff, and to find out about some of Warwick’s innovative teaching methods.
Mrs Reilly’s day started with a meeting about the Erasmus student exchange programme, which her Directorate General (DG) of the Commission manages. She met five Warwick students who had completed exchanges last year and two students – one from Poland and one from Italy – who are at Warwick this year.
Without exception, the students praised the programme and told Mrs Reilly how they had benefitted from the experience. They were also frank about some of the challenges they faced – both personal and practical – but were clear that they had all learnt a great deal from their experience. They all said how important, and inspiring, it was to live and study (or work) in another country and to become immersed in a different culture.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
Mrs Reilly’s DG also manages the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme and her next meeting was with Warwick academics, who have received awards under the programme, along with eight Research Fellows whose two-year Fellowships are funded by the EU.
Academics told Mrs Reilly that the Fellowship programme gave them the opportunity to bring really excellent researchers to Warwick and that this raised standards of research all round. They also said that EU awards allowed them to expand the scope of their research into new, synergistic areas and to help build their networks of collaborators.
The Fellows explained how the programme provided them with the training and experience to be able to develop their careers at a time when it is difficult for them to break into academia.
Innovative Teaching at Warwick
In her final meeting of the day, Mrs Reilly met colleagues from WMG and Warwick Business School to discuss Degree Apprenticeships and the latest developments in e-Learning.
With the EU focussed on ensuring that workers’ skills levels are high enough to meet the challenges of the 21st century economy, colleagues explained to Mrs Reilly how WMG is working with employers to deliver training which equips engineers to acquire appropriate skills and how to be flexible in rapidly changing workplaces.
And, Mrs Reilly was also shown how WBS’s distance learning MBA takes advantage of the latest technology to deliver attractive learning materials which are also very rich in content. At a time when the EU is encouraging universities to adopt modern teaching methods, the WBS presentation provided plenty of useful and interesting ideas about how education might look in the future.
Mrs Reilly and Erasmus+ students
Mrs Reilly meets academics and MSCA Fellows