This year, Kaunas University of Applied Sciences is the leader among Lithuanian higher education institutions in terms of the number of approved applications and received scholarships for attracting foreign teachers. In the autumn semester of this academic year, as many as 14 foreign lecturers from the USA, South Africa, Greece, the Netherlands, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Greece, Jordan, Spain, etc. work remotely in the faculties of Kaunas University Of Applied Sciences.
Various international projects respond to one of the tasks of our HEI – to improve the preconditions for international openness of studies. “The mobility of visiting lecturers from foreign education and research institutions is one of the essential measures that help develop the internationality of studies and research by attracting highly competent foreign lecturers and researchers to Kaunas University of Applied Sciences,“ states Jolanta Valiaugienė, Head of the International Relations Department of Kaunas University of Applied Sciences, talking about fostering international relations and cooperation with foreign partners and adds that this activity is continuous as most of the foreign lecturers visit KUAS, not for the first time.
The state financially supports the visits of foreign academics to Lithuanian higher education institutions. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports implements such a funding initiative by encouraging the country’s higher education institutions to expand their openness to the world and participate as actively as possible in the international exchange of ideas. Visiting lecturers come from foreign countries considering the study programmes, course units or modules offered by the higher school.
This year, Dr Hans Lottrup, a lecturer-practitioner from Denmark, a co-owner of the Danish Marketing and Communication Agency “iPLEXUS” for 14 years, lectured at the Faculty of Business of KUAS. The lecturer’s rich experience in the field of entrepreneurship, strategic corporate governance and organisation of social marketing campaigns have contributed to reinforcing the innovation of the study programme of Tourism and Hotel Management.
Dr Ivar Soone from Estonia, who has extensive practical experience in consulting companies in various businesses and is actively involved in marketing research, also shared his insights in the Faculty of Business. During his lectures, students deepened their knowledge and skills in the field of international marketing management, got acquainted with innovations in the field of global marketing and technology, enriched general English language skills and specific professional terminology, learnt about the integration of the latest research into the study process and marketing processes. Dr Ivar Soone is actively involved in the project activities of strategic partnership networks, in which the academic staff of Kaunas University of Applied Sciences also participate.
“The opportunity for students to gain international experience without leaving the premises of the academic camp is of great value. Visiting lecturers allow students to gain knowledge about different teaching methods and intercultural understanding,“ admits Dr Andrius Brusokas, Head of the Department of Tourism and Leisure Management.
On 8–21 October, a lecturer from Latvia prof. Tija Zirina shared her knowledge and experience at the Department of Education of the Faculty of Arts and Education.
The Department of Education has a long-term and meaningful relationship with the professor from Latvia. “This is not the first visit of the academician, her lectures are very attractive, innovative and informative, we always receive positive feedback from students,“ rejoices Asta Jakimavičienė, Head of the Department of Education.
Besides, in the autumn semester, prof. Costas Mantzalos from Cyprus gave lectures to students of Graphic Design. According to the lecturer of the study programme of Design Gintarė Jarašienė, it is planned that the professor and students will create a visual logo “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”. “For many years, the students and lecturers of the study programme of Design have been actively collaborating with Frederick University. By participating in the professor’s lectures, students acquire new knowledge and skills in the study of the course, “ says lecturer G. Jarašienė.
For the second year in a row, the students of Computer Network Administration in the Faculty of Technology of Kaunas University of Applied Sciences, have a chance to listen to Dr Georgios Ouzounis from the USA. This lecturer is the Vice President of “ElectrifAi”, working in the field of data science, as well as a member of the community of the Professional Association of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a reviewer of 5 international scientific journals.
Dr Georgios Ouzounis shared with students his 20 year-experience of career and research in various science, research, and business institutions in different countries.
From 28 September to 9 October, lectures for the students of Multimedia Technology were given remotely by Professor Dr Dianne Helen Welsh from the USA. During her career, Dr D. H. Welsh has authored seven books (Global Entrepreneurship, Case Studies in Global Entrepreneurship, etc.) and published more than 150 articles on entrepreneurship. She is a certified business consultant who has provided advice to companies such as “Hewlett Packard”, “Gymboree”, etc. Dr D. H. Welsh is recognised in the field of entrepreneurship and honoured with awards for achievements in science and education.
During her lectures, students came up with business ideas, conducted a business feasibility study, analysed potential business problems, and the success factors of new products and services. “I am pleased that globally recognised researchers are joining the academic staff of KUAS. The lectures given by visiting professors increase the internationality of studies, studies become more diverse and exciting,“ says Dr Irma Spūdytė, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Technology.
Also, during the autumn semester, the students of the study programme of Food Technology had the opportunity to listen to the lectures of Dr Afam Israel Obiefuna Jideani. This researcher is a professor in the Faculty of Food Science and Technology at the University of Venda in South Africa, who received more than ten awards for active and productive research and fundraising for research and development. The professor is currently leading an interdisciplinary team of researchers in the field of plant-based food technology and bioeconomy.
“The contacts established with foreign academicians encourage students to choose the opportunity to study under exchange programmes or do internships abroad. Students learn about the research and problems solved by foreign researchers, expand the boundaries of their professional perception, and compare the achievements of Lithuania and foreign countries in the field of studies, which encourages curiosity and satisfaction with studies,“ maintains Dr Ina Živatkauskienė. Head of the Department of Environmental Engineering of the Faculty of Technology. Dr Janis Kaminskis, a lecturer from Riga Technical University, Latvia, is also working in this Department.
The students of the Faculty of Medicine had the opportunity to listen to Jan Jaap Reinders, a lecturer from the Netherlands. The expert regularly participates in the international conference “HESDIA”. He not only gives reports but also is a member of the scientific committee.
The heads of the departments point out that the visits of lecturers from abroad help develop English language skills and specific professional terminology; get acquainted with the integration of the latest research into the study process, innovative study methods, and acquire intercultural communication skills. Moreover, such visits contribute to purposeful inter-institutional cooperation, that is joint research, development and implementation of international projects, expansion of academic mobility of the staff and students, renewal of study modules and course units.
To assess the applications of higher education institutions for funding, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports considers the practicality and validity of the visit of a foreign academic staff; the benefit of the stay for the students and the higher education institution; the compliance of the pedagogical and scientific (artistic) or practical experience with the course (module) to be taught; motivation of the higher education institution to accept a foreign or expatriate academician of Lithuanian origin, and the part of the funds allocated by the HEI to finance the visit of a foreign lecturer.
Currently, Kaunas University of Applied Sciences actively participates in the annual competition to submit applications for funding visiting lecturers from foreign countries in 2021, which is announced since 2012.