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SDUUP | Newsletter December 2020

THEME: TAL2020 - The Great Example - The Student's Journey

At the TAL2020 conference Tine Lynfort Jensen, Career and Employability Consultant with SDU RIO, and Jesper Piihl, Vice-Head of Department for Education, Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management, presented The Student’s Journey. Jesper and Tine are part of the group behind The Student’s Journey and describe it as a dialogue and a constant reflection on how to create a holistic education, which in addition to academic knowledge gives the students an array of personal and professional qualifications.

The Background of The Student’s Journey

The starting point for the work with The Student’s Journey is an aspiration to make professional competences beyond academic education a part of the student’s curriculum. At SDU, the professional competencies are mostly offered through extra-curricular activities provided by organisations like SDU International, SDU Library and SDU RIO. The Student’s Journey aims at bringing these activities together and incorporate them in the curriculum in a way that is meaningful to students, teachers and the organisations, which provide the activities.

In the Student’s Journey, professional competencies are structured through three domains, which gather activities across the students’ studies. Central to The Student’s Journey is the fact that working with the three domains takes place across campuses, institutes and in close cooperation with SDU RIO and external cooperators. The three domains are:

  • Personal qualifications: Intercultural and professional skills, etc.
  • Career qualifications: How to communicate your qualifications and what you can use your education for.
  • Establishing networks: Involves knowledge about relevant companies, actors and industries within the student’s field. The goal is to integrate the students into the local and regional business community. 

Jesper Piihl explains the idea behind the three domains, and their role in The Student’s Journey. “We are trying to create a combined narrative across the huge amount of activities available for the students, in order to communicate them to the students as one narrative. The Student’s Journey also helps us see, how the co-curricular activities can be combined with the academic education of the students.”

The co-curricular activities are implemented in the curriculum by making them a part of the students’ courses. By distinguishing between the student’s curriculum and the teacher’s curriculum, we avoid the issue of co-curricular activities competing with the teacher’s part of the course, while they still feel like a part of the course for the students. In this way, the three domains are made a part of the student’s education.

Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals

The dialogue around The Student’s Journey has been focused on how the SDG’s might be implemented into The Student’s Journey. This is done by linking the SDG’s with the focus of The Student’s Journey on professional competencies. Inspiration is drawn from OECD’s Learning Compass 2030, in which a part of the professional competencies involves the students being able to take responsibility, working with dilemmas and creating new value as co-agents in the world. The Student’s Journey is thinking of integrating the learning compass’ logic, so that students are preparing themselves for their work life not only for their own sake – but also to be able to contribute to new developments in the world – especially in regards to the SDG’s.

Based on these thoughts, the group behind The Student’s Journey is currently working on ways to incorporate the SDG’s into the three domains. Tine explains that so far, they have come up with two possible solutions. One is to expand the definition of the three domains to incorporate the SDG’s and thus a broader understanding of professional competencies. Another solution could be to add a fourth domain, which will contain professional competencies in relation to the SDG’s.

Possible future developments

Currently, The Student’s Journey is working to make the three domains a framework for the student orientation days next year. The idea is to have the domains create an overarching theme for the orientation days. In the future, The Student’s Journey could also be incorporated into Itslearning.

With The Student’s Journey, the hope is to create an ecosystem around the students, giving them knowledge of, experience with and contacts within the network of companies and organisations, which operate in the industry, the students will be working in after their graduation.

Editing was completed: 02.12.2020