The Need for STEM Continuous Professional Development at European Universities
The quality of university education is dependent on organizational elements, students' competences, and the effort and commitment of academic teachers that are influenced by motivation, competences and personal views about what good teaching practice is. The European Chemistry Thematic Network (ECTN) is committed to sustainable improvement of the quality of the university chemistry teaching practice. The ECTN Working group Lecturing Qualifications and Innovative Teaching Methods promotes innovative active learning methods, cooperation and partnership between the lecturers at different European universities in their continuous professional development (CPD) and exchange of knowledge and teaching experiences in an international context. This ECTN working group has initiated a new European project on continuous professional development of lecturers who teach in STEM disciplines (STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at European universities called STEM-CPD@EUni. The way of teaching is strongly connected with the discipline, teaching science in particular. The complexity, specificity and high level of conceptual knowledge in higher education make the university teacher the very expert who has the privilege and the task to make his/her own choices about the relevant content to teach, the teaching methods and the appropriate digital tools in order to create powerful learning activities on the way to making more profound the conceptual knowledge of students. The central idea of the project is to create a new type of actor to promote continuous professional development in STEM teaching, the CPD-Ambassador. This idea is based on the TPACK framework (a synergy of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge of the lecturer). The STEM-CPD@EUni is an Erasmus+ Strategic partnership project of 5 European universities and the ECTN Association.
In this position paper, the argumentation for the start of the new project is given and the explanation of how the project aims to realize its goals.