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Let the academic year begin

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Publié le lundi 01 octobre 2018

Six lecturers and researchers were awarded the “Teaching Awards” during the annual Rentrée académique celebrations, while students of the future student delegation were offered funding to help them start their task.

The ceremony on Thursday 27 September was the first official event to be held at the pristine Maison des Arts et des Étudiants. Guests included Minister of Health and for Equal opportunities Lydia Mutsch, Minister Delegate of Higher Education and Research Marc Hansen, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna and President of the European University Association and former Rector of the University Prof. Rolf Tarrach.

The “Teaching Awards” and student reward

The nominees are chosen by students of all three faculties. This year, the best teachers are:


The student awardees remained a mystery at the time of the event – the reward will in fact go to student delegates, who will be nominated in October.

Plans for the academic year

Rector Prof. Stéphane Pallage announced key initiatives of this coming year: “We will intensify research-based learning, seeking the perfect mix of teaching, peer learning and digital support. The new Competence Centre will create opportunities for continued education.” The University intends to adopt a gender policy, doing its share to improve the representation and status of women in science in high-level positions.

The rector recalled that on the Welcome Day one week ago, he told students: “Look at your neighbours in class, think that the one to the left will one day be the CEO of a major company and the one to the right a first-class scientist. Imagine that perhaps the future Prime Minister and maybe a Nobel Prize winner sits next to you. I invited them to dream and to dream high.”

The University’s role is to give them the tools to realise them. One such tool is of course the recently opened Learning Centre, a modern chapel of knowledge offering a set of services and tools for learning, training and researching.

Higher education and research in the country’s context

In his talk, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna expressed his view on public endowment: “In finance, each investment is a cost. But each euro spent on the University is indeed an investment, in our youth, our country and for our future generations.” He continued: “In times when nationalism and protectionism puncture the fibre of our society, it is important to have places with a multicultural and multilingual culture.”

He stressed the need to continue combining digitalisation in education or research with the financial world – creating talent and opportunities for FinTech, one of the most promising sectors for Luxembourg.

Rethink Higher education as digitally enhanced blended learning process

Keynote speaker Prof. Marcus Specht of the Leiden University focused on the intersection of human learning and digital technologies. In traditional classes, a lot of learning is detached from context, but technologies can combine different environments and contexts. Prof. Specht gave the example of a trainee learning how to repair a part of a plane using a virtual helmet, with his tutor guiding his actions in a virtual setting. Such tools and contexts will continuously feed a student’s motivation, which itself is strongly influenced by self-regulation. Learning technologies can show us a dashboard of our evolution in the learning process.

For a long time, the education sector was reluctant to jump onboard the digitalisation movement. Today, there is an opportunity to develop a new paradigm of human learning and problem solving, he concluded.

© University of Luxembourg / Michel Brumat