Learning for, in and with society

Photos of the event are now available! 











© Frank Wissing

Drawing inspiration from the EUA vision for 2030, “Universities without walls”, this event explored the various links between the societal responsibility of higher education and universities’ learning and teaching activities. It addressed learning from three perspectives:

  • For society, because there are many ways in which universities can have and demonstrate their impact as learning institutions in service to society, for example through community-based learning and open education.
  • In society, because universities can only truly serve society if higher education is based on a comprehensive, agile and forward-looking understanding of learning and skills needs, for example in the form of authentic learning.
  • With society, because universities need the exchange and engagement of all stakeholders and their broader community, for example through co-curricular and other co-creative approaches to learning and teaching, in order to understand and address current and upcoming learning needs.

Through a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, the Forum provided a platform for discussion on how universities enhance learning and teaching. It is an ideal event for vice-rectors for academic affairs, deans, and management involved in learning and teaching. It also welcomes researchers, teachers, students, policy makers and other stakeholders in higher education.


Welcome from the Rector

2021 04 29 km rektorwahl 4I am very happy to welcome the participants of the EUA Learning and Teaching Forum 2024 to Bochum. Since the foundation of Ruhr University Bochum, 58 years ago, teaching has been of special importance at this university. As first institution of higher learning in the Ruhr Area, it brought university education to this region. Constant innovation and a special responsibility to help also non-traditional students to succeed have been hallmarks of learning and teaching at Ruhr University.

During the last two decades, learning and teaching at Ruhr University became much more focussed on students’ needs, for example by focussing on digitalization and internationalization. Our students became more actively involved in the development of teaching and learning; and the spread of digitalization and the development of our recent sustainability strategy (Sustainable RUB 2030) are only two of the fields where students have been instrumental. RUB has been spearheading digital self-assessments and e-learning for well over 20 years and the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic led to a further digitalisation push. In addition, the European Council's initiative to strengthen strategic partnerships between higher education institutions across Europe helped us to form the European University of Cities in Post-industrial Transition (UNIC) with 9 partner universities in all parts of Europe.

The European Universities Initiative has importantly contributed to the networking between higher education institutions across Europe. Events such as the Learning and Teaching Forum of the European University Alliance promote the exchange on learning and teaching-related issues not just within and across alliances but throughout the whole of Europe and beyond.

The subject of the Learning & Teaching Forum in 2024 "Learning for, in and with society" focuses on the EUA vision for 2030, which aims at "Universities without walls." It puts the links between university education and social responsibility in the spotlight. This very timely vision creates special demands on teaching. I am pleased that this particular focus topic is being discussed in Bochum, as it is also a focus at Ruhr University and at our university alliance UNIC.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Martin Paul, Rector of Ruhr University Bochum


About the University

Bochum 1 RUB Marquard with copyright

Ruhr Universität was founded in 1965 as the first academic institution in the north-western industrial region of Germany in Bochum. Today the university is at the centre of one of Europe’s largest science hubs and offers academic education, innovative research, and transfer activities far beyond the region’s borders.

More than 41,000 students are enrolled at 21 faculties at Ruhr University. This makes it one of the ten largest universities in Germany. 630 soccer fields could be set up on the 4.5-km² campus. 6,360 members of staff make Ruhr University the largest employer in our city.

For students, Ruhr University is an attractive place to study. It offers a broad range of subjects and allows students to combine them in flexible ways. In 2010, teachers and students worked together to develop an overall vision for the development of Learning and Teaching at Ruhr Universität. This mission statement is currently updated by students and teachers.

Research-based learning is the overall teaching philosophy that offers students increasing independence and responsibility for their own learning processes. Digitalisation is fully integrated into Learning and Teaching for more than 20 years. As an additional feature, the third mission of universities is increasingly shaping our teaching approach. Our engagement in the university alliance UNIC is a vivid example for this, as the ten partner universities in UNIC work hand-in-hand with their cities to aid their students to develop into change agents and engaged citizens for our cities’ futures.


About Bochum

Bochum 2 RUB Marquard CopyUntil the middle of the 19th century, the city of Bochum was an agrarian town. In the second half of the 19th century Bochum, like the whole Ruhr Area, turned into a center of coal mining and steel production.

Severely destroyed at the end of World War Two, mining and steel were instantly revived afterwards. Yet, with their decline in the 1960s, the city underwent major structural changes with all the accompanying side effects of unemployment, financial challenges and anxiety.

Today, Bochum is the science hotspot in the Ruhr region - nine academic institutions in higher education, around 60,000 students and almost 10,000 employees stand for a unique academic diversity.

Thanks to its many museums and exhibitions, Bochum holds many opportunities for art lovers to discover and marvel at. With three art museums and numerous important contemporary sculptures, Bochum is exceptional as a city of art.

Bochum is equally well known for its theatre, the Schauspielhaus, hosting one of Germany's most renowned acting companies, and for the VFL Bochum, a well-known soccer club in the German Premier League (Bundesliga). Its gastronomic venues in the so called Bermuda3eck (Bermuda Triangle) makes Bochum the centre for nightlife in the Ruhr area.

Thursday 8 February

EUA in a nutshell

Official Opening and Plenary Session I: Learning and teaching for societal impact

  • Rebecka Lettevall, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Global Engagement and Human Rights, Malmö University, Sweden
  • Matic Kramberger, Chairman of Board of Education, Association of Student Clubs of Slovenia

Breakout session A

Flexible learning and teaching: what, how, and does it work?

Teaching for social change Service-learning as a means to foster and bolster the third mission

Mainstreaming teaching and learning for societal good through academic quality and student engagement processes

Teaching with impact Challenge-based learning as an approach for practiceoriented teaching

Collaborative approaches to ensuring a more authentic learning experience

Lunch session: News from the EU and EHEA an update on European higher education policies

Breakout session B

Challenges and enablers in designing transnational joint education provision

Creating a student-centred reality: a strategic odyssey

A challenge-based sprint to learn with in and for society

Reimagining education

The impact of collaborative networks on the societal relevance of learning and teaching

Plenary Session II: When the stakes are high: making external stakeholder involvement a win-win-win

  • Kate Morris, Head of Engaged Research, Innovation, Societal Impact, Irish Universities Association (IUA)
  • Rui Lima, Associate Professor, University of Minho, Portugal
  • Lisa Methling, Consultant for Political Networking and Europe, City of Bochum, Germany


Friday 9 February

Development and strategic benefits of learning and teaching centres

Transcending institutional borders with future skills learning: moving from transfer to transformation in higher education

Using AI to prepare students for their role in society: how can we engage with new tools?

"Universities without walls" - Distributed leadership in higher education

Learning and teaching in EUAs Trends 2024 study What is changing what is not and what would you say

Empowering students to face today and tomorrow’s challenges

Plenary Session III: The university as a learning institution

  • Bjrn Stensaker, Vice-Rector Education, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Nora Jansone-Ratinika, Director of Centre for Educational Growth, Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia
  • Geneviève Le Fort, Vice-rector for Quality and Social Responsibility, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland
  • Bernold Hasenknopf, Senior Advisor for European Commitment, Sorbonne University, France

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