Here at Erasmus University Rotterdam we are all about creating positive societal impact and building bridges between our education and the world beyond our campuses. To accelerate the development, strengthening, and implementation of impact-driven education, it is important to bring people together so they can share their knowledge and grow together. With that in mind, Impact at the Core organized the first Impact Education Conference on Tuesday October 4, 2022.
People from all over the country gathered aboard the SS Rotterdam to share best-practices and share inspiration. The day was opened with a keynote speech by Prof.Dr. Arwin van Buuren (Academic Lead Impact at the Core, Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Bieneke Verheijke (Senior Programme Manager Educational Innovation, Erasmus University Rotterdam) about impact-driven education. In today’s world, societal challenges are tumbling over each other. In this time in which there is so much to be gained, it is pertinent that we continue to ask the important questions when it comes to impact-driven education. Do we really invite our students to think about what they can do in relation to societal challenges? Do we truly engage them with societal issues? The truth is, if we want to make an impact with our education, we must re-think the way we educate our students.
This conversation continued over two roundtable workshop sessions. Partners from Hogeschool Inholland, Hanze Hogeschool, Risbo, Hogeschool Rotterdam, TU Delft, Universiteit Utrecht, and UTwente travelled to Rotterdam to share their knowledge and best practices. We spoke about societal impact through co-design, Futures Literacy as a skill for students, Living Labs as Powerful Learning Spaces, the Rise of Community Engaged Learning, and much more. In every workshop, impact-driven education was approached from a different angle and discussed from a different perspective. Yet, they all came together in their ambition to bridge the gap between science and society through our education.
The discussion roundtables at the end of the day sparked interesting conversations between the participants of the conference. The importance of bringing students along for our impact journey was emphasized. After all, it is their education we are talking about. Another challenge the participants touched upon was the question: how can we make impact-driven education more equitable and accessible for all? To some, the academic world is seen as untouchable. How do we remove barriers and bring people of all backgrounds together? There are no easy answers—that is why we must continue the conversation. The subject of stakeholder involvement in our education was recurrent throughout the day. The exchange of experiences helped to create an awareness of the different perspectives that come into play when it comes to external stakeholder involvement—especially as they play such a significant role in impact-driven education.
The Impact Education Conference was an inspiring event attended by many passionate professionals in the field of impact-driven education. The lively discussions and good conversations proved once again the importance of bringing people from different fields together. Whether they’re students, teachers, researchers, or external stakeholders, all parties should have a seat at the table when we discuss the future of our education: impact-driven education.