Initiative Future of Teaching at UZH

 

Being a successful student means more than just getting a degree. Your studies shape the entire course of your life and prepare you for making responsible contributions to our shared future.

UZH offers students an excellent environment full of opportunities and a level of diversity that is unprecedented in Switzerland. We are also developing our teaching on an ongoing basis. Teaching at UZH meets the changing demands of a society in flux – creatively, innovatively and on a wide variety of levels.

We have launched the Future of Teaching initiative in order to more vigorously and strategically coordinate and promote these developments. The initiative encompasses five strategic directions.

 

 

Portrait Thomas Hidber

Developing Teaching Together

 

Enthusiastic, resourceful and gifted instructors create positive learning experiences and directly improve students’ prospects for the future.

Freedom is needed to create new types of teaching and refine existing ones to be up to date and effective over the long term.

This is why UZH promotes innovative teaching ideas and advocates for the creation of a lively, cross-faculty teaching community.

What’s being done to pursue this strategy?

 

  • The Teaching Fund (“Lehrkredit”) that was established in 2016 was replaced with the broader UZH Teaching Fund (ULF) as of 1 August 2022. It contains five funding lines. The amount of funding has nearly tripled and will amount to an annual CHF 2 million from 2023 on.
  • In the UZH Curriculum guidelines, the Office of the Vice President Education and Student Affairs has formulated six quality criteria that should guide curriculum creation, establishing a university-wide standard for attractive academic programs.
  • The office has intensified its efforts to build a teaching community that creates added value for members of the teaching staff.
  • The School for Transdisciplinary Studies (STS), founded in 2021, acts as a hub for promoting inter- and transdisciplinary studying and teaching. It offers courses to students from all faculties, supports instructors with developing and carrying out their teaching, and increases the visibility of inter- and transdisciplinarity at UZH.

 

 

 

Portrait Thomas Hidber

Expanding Horizons

 

Good teaching is open to outside ideas and offers students a variety of opportunities for gaining international experience.

New cooperations are currently arising between European universities, and they offer great potential for change when it comes to teaching. Common virtual campuses are being built, online learning resources are being shared, and experimental, innovative forms of student mobility are being created.

UZH is involved in university networks in order to be part of these dynamic developments and to showcase and contribute its strengths on the international stage.

What's being done to pursue this strategy?

 

  • On 9 May 2022, UZH joined Una Europa, an alliance promoted by the European Universities Initiative, thereby paving the way for future research and teaching cooperation with international partner institutions. The University of Zurich is actively involved in planning and implementing academic programs which will also benefit UZH students in the future. The current focus is on innovative, interdisciplinary teaching projects in the field of European Studies and Sustainability.
  • UZH is also a member of other carefully selected networks. UZH is also involved in Universitas 21, an international network of research-intensive universities, in the League of European Research Universities (LERU), and in the Berlin-Vienna-Zurich University Network.

 

 

 

Portrait Thomas Hidber

Flexible Lifelong Learning

 

Universities share their knowledge with society. Researchers disseminate their findings, tackle current issues and inspire others to do their own thinking.

With society and technology undergoing rapid transformation, the need for lifelong learning is growing, as is the demand for shorter, more flexible and more open formats for acquiring knowledge on the university level.

UZH sees itself as a trailblazer when it comes to lifelong learning. The university is making efforts to open up its course offerings even more while at the same time ensuring their high level of quality.

What’s being done to pursue this strategy?

 

  • UZH is using its members in Una Europa to co-develop and test microcredentials that count as course credits and that are offered inter-institutionally. The first step involves clarifying the necessary legal, technical and didactic requirements.
  • UZH continues to promote dialog with business leaders, policymakers and the general public via its outreach activities, which are being developed on an ongoing basis. A concept paper with guidelines is currently in development to address the growing importance of outreach from universities.

 

 

 

Portrait Thomas Hidber

Improving Digital Services

 

Teaching and studying activities rely on having digital services that are as smooth, intuitive and user-friendly as possible.

Here it’s equally important to close existing digitalization gaps as well as to future-proof the university in terms of digital services. 

UZH provides the necessary prerequisites and ensures that digital services for students, instructors and administrative staff are fast and continually improved.

What’s being done to pursue this strategy?

 

  • Since 2020, the Process Owner E-ducation division, based in the Office of the Vice President Education and Student Affairs, has been supporting the university with the strategic development of its digital services within administrative support units for students and teachers. At times, the division also assists with deploying educational technology. Establishing this new unit has far-reaching implications for the interplay between all stakeholders active in this space (the faculties, Central IT, etc.). Currently a digitalization governance structure is being set up with the aim of facilitating efficient and effective cooperation between these stakeholders.
  • As of the 2022 Fall Semester, booking modules are operational at UZH. Alongside updated technology and a redesign, the university has also invested in making the booking module bilingual and more up to date in terms of user friendliness.
  • In addition to OLAT, UZH will have access to a second exam software program starting in 2023. Inspera was the clear winner in the call for tenders: it gives examiners at UZH more freedom of choice and allows them to create and evaluate proficiency-based assignments, even with large class sizes.
  • In all places where there’s unnecessary heterogeneity between the faculties, UZH aims to reduce complexity and introduce careful harmonization. For instance, new standard sets for data modeling in SAP Student Lifecycle Management (SLcM) are being created in order to depict curricula and modules in a more uniform way across faculties.
  • In the fall of 2022, UZH will also wrap up its Self-Audit and Degree Audit project; students now have the opportunity to track the progress of their studies in the new application and can actively apply to complete their studies at the Office of Student Affairs.

 

 

 

Portrait Thomas Hidber

Campus of the Future

 

For students, the campus is the social core of the university – a place to make contact inside and outside of their courses. It’s a place where the university community comes to life.

These encounters can only take place if the appropriate space is provided, whether it be in person, virtual or a hybrid between the two.

UZH is pursuing an experimental approach when it comes to designing spaces for teaching and learning; we are launching relevant pilot projects and are paving the way for the campus of the future.

What’s being done to pursue this strategy?

 

  • The highly influential Stadtuniversität UZH project is UZH’s way of ensuring that teaching and research can keep pace with the times and that the students of the future can also receive high-quality education and training. We are currently working on a concept concerning the teaching and learning spaces of the future. The concept will define standards for mid- and long-term construction and renovation projects and serve as a guide for concrete teaching development projects (e.g., as part of FORUM UZH).
  • The fast pace of digitalization means that the requirements for equipping classrooms and lecture halls are also changing more quickly. For already existing rooms, the basic requirements for up-to-date teaching include high-performance WiFi, state-of-the-art audio/video technology and plenty of power outlets. The necessary infrastructure is currently being evaluated and expanded on an ongoing basis.
  • In addition to its long-term construction projects, UZH is also pursuing a low-threshold, experimental approach when it comes to developing teaching and learning spaces. The aim is to find solutions to immediate challenges as quickly as possible. Two pilot projects are currently under way. One involves the creation of hybrid teaching lecture halls at three UZH sites. The other project involves creating study spaces that offer a range of learning options while also being places where students can socialize and make use of relevant services.

 

 

 

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