AUAS-wide research group Higher Education extended by four years

8 Jun 2023 14:44 | Communication

The AUAS Executive Board recently decided to prolong the mandate of the AUAS-wide Higher Education, Research & Innovation research group led by Didi Griffioen for four years. According to rector Geleyn Meijer, "Didi Griffioen's research contributes to our ongoing professionalisation at the AUAS, which remains of the utmost importance."

The Higher Education, Research & Innovation research group is one of AUAS's four institution-wide research groups. These research groups work across the breadth of the AUAS, and Didi Griffioen's research group combines three different research directions in which results have been achieved over the past four years.

Didi Griffioen (photo: Christa Romp)

In the coming years, Griffioen and her team will build towards further giving form to the new 'Transdisciplinary innovation and learning' research programme. She says: "Lecturers, students, researchers and industry partners are cooperating more and more, for example in living labs. Innovating in society together is one of the AUAS's strategic priority areas. This cooperation is often complex because those involved have different wishes and responsibilities, and they sometimes speak a different 'language'. This transdisciplinarity offers opportunities but it also has risks. It is important to have a good understanding of what is needed for successful transdisciplinary cooperation so that we can optimise it. This is what the research group is going to contribute to in the coming years."

Three research directions

The new research programme builds on previous research that is still being finalised. Firstly the research group managed to improve the connection between education and research in very many degree programmes. Its approach and results have been compiled in a book, Creating the Desire for Change in Higher Education, containing change management tips and tricks for higher education. The research group then also completed a Comenius Leadership project in which students, lecturers and researchers cooperated on integrating research into the education curriculum. "The practical development has recently been completed. It is important to make the lessons learned available to a wider audience, as these cooperations do not yet speak for themselves" Griffioen says. Research integration, transdisciplinary collaboration and change management are also the cornerstones of the new research programme.

Finally, the research group has done a lot of research on student development at the AUAS. It examined how students become fully-fledged professionals and the roles that knowledge and identity play in this. Students were followed intensively for four and a half years. "This summer, we will speak to the students we have followed for the last time. It is good and very useful that they allowed us to observe their development. When you speak to a first-year student, whether of physiotherapy or social work, they usually can't yet put into words exactly what their profession entails. During the degree programme, they find more and more words to that. They really develop a story and insight into what knowledge they need to practice that profession in the way they want. We call that professionalism. With the knowledge we get from this project, we want to better position and support students in their degree programmes in the future, also within living labs."

Effective cooperation

Didi Griffioen is delighted with the Executive Board's decision to prolong the research group by four years. This allows further development along the path already taken. "You see that in learning and innovation there are a lot of stakeholders, each bringing their own background and perspectives. We want to further explore how to get those different parties to cooperate even more effectively to achieve good learning and powerful innovations."

Besides Didi Griffioen's research group, the AUAS-wide Promising School Careers in a Diverse City and Impact of Practice-based Research research groups also recently received a favourable mid-term evaluation from the AUAS deans.