The ECTN Association General Assembly was held at the Faculty of Chemistry, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland on 13-14 April 2019 under the Presidency of Emmanuel Sinagra (University of Malta).
After a welcome from our hosts and a brief presentation of the Faculty of Chemistry at the Jagiellonian University, Prof. Rudi van Eldik (Faculty of Chemistry, Jagiellonian University and University of Erlangen_Nuremburg, DE) gave a very entertaining and thought provoking lecture entitled ‘Chemistry with Feeling’. Rudi van Eldik is very well known for his chemistry demonstration lectures that are extremely popular with both school and university students.
This was followed by a joint presentation by Natasa Brouwer (University of Amsterdam) and Iwona Maciejowska (Jagiellonian University) on the successes of the ECTN Work Group on Lecturing Qualifications and Innovative Teaching Methods. This group has produced an online course entitled ‘Teaching in University Science Laboratories’. In the second year of running this course in 2018 there were 144 participants of which 85 completed the course and gained the certificate. There is now a plan to make this available as a MOOC on Coursera, twice a year in September and February. More information will be available on the work group web pages on the ECTN website.
There followed a presentation of EChemTest statistics showing how the various pass levels for the tests have been arrived at and the advantages gained by moving the tests from the commercial QuestionMark programme to the Open Source EOL software developed at Perugia University. This has allowed us to create more Test Centres (there are now 16 and it is expected to increase to 18 in 2019) and there is no limit to the number of test sessions we can run.
At the General Assembly the following Committees and Work Groups held working sessions:
Chemistry Student Mobility and Database, Lecturing Qualifications and Innovative Teaching Methods, Chemistry in Everyday Life, Quality Standards in Teaching Committee, Joint and Multiple Degrees, and Activities for Students. The outcomes from these sessions can be found (or will be found shortly) on the Work Group or Committee webpages on www.ectn.eu.
At the business session of the Assembly, the President Emmanuel Sinagra ‘University of Malta) congratulated the Label Committee and Virtual Education Community Committee which are working very well and are responsible for attracting new members including the Universidad Mayor de San Andres, La Paz, Bolivia. Unfortunately their contact person was unable to attend the General Assembly due to last minute visa problems. However, we were able to show a video presenting the UMSA during our meeting. The UMSA is now an EChemTest Test Centre following a successful online training course for them, thanks to cooperation from Rey Juan Carlos University and Complutense University in Madrid.
Reiner Salzer is retiring from the position of Chair of the Label Committee. He was warmly thanked for all the work he has done for the Association over many years and especially for his work as Chair of the Label Committee. He will be replaced by Pavel Drasar (UCT Prague) on July 1st, 2019.
ECTN has now set up a new Standing Committee entitled Quality Standards in Teaching. One of their activities is to develop an outline and possible requirements for a Euroteacher Label. The mobility database, originally called MOBICCHEMS, has been renamed the Chemistry Student Database and is in the process of being transferred from Toulouse to the ECTN website. The people at Toulouse, especially Anne-Marie Billet, Caroline Sablayrolles, and Severine Camy were thanked for all the work they did in developing the database.
The members approved the accounts for 2018, the revised budget for 2019, and a budget for 2020. The membership fee will remain at 350 Euros.
An election for a member of the Administrative Council was held. There were 3 candidates for 1 position on the Council. In a very close contest, Livia Simon Sarkadi, Szent Istvan University, Budapest, HU was elected. Pita Vandevelde, who is leaving the Administrative Council, was thanked for her work within ECTN over many years and it is hoped that she will be able to come back and make further contributions in the future.
The first session on Sunday 14 April included an excellent and informative plenary lecture on ‘The Experiences of the Establishment and Implementation of Doctoral and Master Double Degree Programmes around Europe’ by Prof. Pavel Matejka (UCT Prague). He described the many issues that need to be resolved when double or multiple degree programmes are set up. These include the compatibility of study programmes, organizational aspects, accreditation aspects, financial details for both institutions and students, administration, timing and national laws versus university study rules. UCT Prague has a number of double degree programmes so the presentation provided an authoritative survey of these aspects.
There followed a workshop that enabled all participants to sample the various EChemTests. More details about activities concerning the EChemTest can be found on the EChemTest webpages. Members are urged to promote the use of these tests.
At the meeting dinner ECTN Awards were presented to:
Pascal Mimero for his work over almost 20 years that involved creating the ECTN website, editing the newsletter and establishing the EChemTest. This work laid the solid foundations on which the Association’s visibility was established and on which the EChemTest has been able to develop.
Reiner Salzer for his work as Chair of the Label Committee that has further developed the Eurolabels® as a significant part of European accreditation of chemistry programmes and leaves a sound base for further initiatives. Also for his role in creating the European Employment Survey for chemists that has been so successful in recent years.
The next General Assembly of the Association will take place in April 2020 in Perugia, Italy. The precise date will be communicated to all members later.
You are not a member of the Association? Why not join?
The Association is becoming increasingly active and influential in higher education in chemistry in Europe. The very successful quality Eurolabels® for bachelor, master, and doctorate, the EChemTest® which is now developing rapidly towards widespread use by the membership of the Association, participation in the virtual education area in general, and development of student contests and online courses for university teachers are just some of the Association activities. Other activities involve Quality Standards in Teaching, Chemistry Student Mobility, Joint and Multiple Degrees and Chemistry in Everyday Life.
Visit our website at www.ectn.eu or contact Tony Smith (Anthony.smith[at]cpe.fr) for details of how to join the Association and become involved, as well as obtain the many advantages offered by membership.