Widening HEIs Lay Foundation for Vision and Mission: Successful Phase Completion by ULPGC and UAc

The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and the University of the Azores have achieved a significant step in the EXPER Project with the successful completion of the phase dedicated to defining their respective Vision and Mission. Through the application of the co-design methodology, both universities have gathered valuable inputs from regional stakeholders and citizens in the Canary Islands and the Azores. These inputs will play a crucial role in establishing the Vision and Mission of the universities, ensuring the active involvement of their surrounding ecosystem.

Throughout the months of April and May this year, ULPGC and UAc conducted a comprehensive engagement process with stakeholders in their respective communities. Workshops were held to gather valuable inputs, enabling the definition of the mission and vision of each institution. Simultaneously, an online consultation on social media, facilitated by the EXPER Project, actively involved citizens and contributed to shaping the mission and vision statements. These collaborative efforts ensured the active participation of both stakeholders and citizens in the strategic planning process of ULPGC and UAc.

Paving the way for the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The ULPGC’s Mission and Vision are now set to reflect the commitment to anticipate and prepare human resources for technological and climatic changes, foster a culture of lifelong learning, and address the specific needs of the Canary Islands and social issues. The baseline workshop conducted last April the 27th with local stakeholders emphasised the importance of research and innovation in areas related to climate change, aligning with societal and environmental needs, promoting regulatory changes, engaging in European projects, and developing language competencies through multilingualism. As well as explore collaborations with institutions in Latin America to facilitate knowledge exchange and mutual development.

During the online consultation through social media the project had the possibility of involving citizens in the Canary Islands. The canarian society highlighted the importance of collaboration, competence, commitment, employability, social awareness, continuous improvement, resource support, and social impact emerged as key aspects to be incorporated into the ULPGC’s Mission and Vision. The consultation also emphasised the citizens’ desire for the university to be a collaborative learning environment that produces competent professionals dedicated to their community, facilitates graduates’ employability, and promotes social and ethical awareness. The establishment of connections and alliances, both within and outside the university, as well as a focus on continuous improvement and addressing social challenges, were also accentuated.

Setting the route for The University of the Azores

Similarly, co-design session for the University of the Azores (UAc) held last May 27th revealed the stakeholders’ collective recognition of the need for the UAc to adapt to technological, social, and climatic changes. During the involvement process, stakeholders emphasised in UAc’s potential to prepare qualified human resources for the job market, align educational offerings with local and global needs, promote student engagement in scientific and technological activities, facilitate internships, improve accommodations for students and visitors, and foster cooperation through partnerships with companies and organisations. Furthermore, stakeholders suggested that the UAc could play a role in supporting public policies, stimulating technology transfer, encouraging entrepreneurship, establishing collaborations with regional companies, securing stable funding, advancing academic and scientific careers, and modernising infrastructure. Additionally, stakeholders recommended that the UAc might take into account to positioning the Azores as a natural laboratory for research, attracting and retaining talent, and renewing its academic staff through the recruitment of young professionals.

Moreover, the online consultation with citizens in the Azores highlighted their emphasis on UAc about boosting “teaching,” “research,” “education,” “innovation,” and “community.” These keywords reflected the value attributed to the UAc’s role in providing quality education, conducting impactful research, fostering innovation, and engaging with the local community. The consultation also revealed a desire for the university to strengthen its resources, ensure equal opportunities, and collaborate with various stakeholders to achieve its community-serving goals.

The next phase of this process will involve defining the Individual Strategy for both widening universities within the framework of the co-design methodology. This phase is scheduled to take place between September and November of this year.