Richard Clouet: «Each OR is the last frontier of the EU and the necessary nexus with other continents»

The Vice Chancellor of Internationalization and Cooperation of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria argues that Campus RUP is an opportunity, both for the outermost regions and for the European Union. These are his answers to the Europa Rup questionnaire

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THE ALLIANCE Campus RUP to create a highway for mobility, training and research among the outermost regions will add value to the European Higher Education Area, due to «the international and research potential» of these unique territories of the EU, says Richard Clouet, Vice-Chancellor of Internationalization of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Dr. Clouet is a lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages, Faculty of Translation, of which he has been dean for five years. His research focuses on the intercultural perspective of the acquisition of English as a second language and its use as a lingua franca in the academic and scientific sphere. He has agreed to respond by email to the Europa RUP questionnaire about the virtual campus project and material that the ULPGC shares with six other universities in the outermost regions.

Richard Clouet
Richard Clouet.– Foto: © ULPGC.

What is the underlying reason for your University to participate in the Call for European Universities with a consortium that unites the seven universities in the outermos tregions and does not join other consortiums?

The ULPGC is convinced that the EU has to continue with its current commitment to the singularities of the outermost regions, and in particular with the public university institutions in these regions. Through the Campus RUP project, we seek greater recognition of these singularities and we want to give greater visibility to the efforts being made by the consortium’s universities on issues of student mobility, PAS and PDI, and in the development of research projects.

Campus RUP is a great opportunity to demonstrate that the outermost regions are a real strength for the EU and that it is in the EU’s interest to take advantage of the international and research potential of these universities to continue growing in an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive way.

What strengths and opportunities does your university contribute to the Campus RUP project?

Since it was created 30 years ago, the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been very active in everything related to its participation in European projects, both in research and cooperation and mobility. He has a long experience in the management of these projects and has a qualified and committed administrative and teaching staff. It also has infrastructures that allow hosting, at any time, meetings, conferences and all kinds of national and international meetings.

Another of the strengths is directly related to the first initiative of joint cooperation in all higher education centers of the outermost regions of the EU, the UNAMUNO Network, of which the ULPGC was a member and whose main objective was to develop a common strategy based on in trust and in the transfer of information, knowledge and experiences as a fundamental element for the development of the outermost regions.

The cohesion created through this network fostered an active presence of the ULPGC in the different forums and meetings of interest that were held, thus favoring a good knowledge of the realities of the regions involved. The knowledge of the partners allowed fruitful collaborations between the Universities and their research teams that allowed for greater cooperation, reinforced lines of research, information exchange, technology transfer, joint work, doctoral thesis addresses, and so on.

Campus RUP foresees that 50% of university students will move between the outermost universities, within a period of three years. Are your institutions ready to face the technological, administrative and cultural change that is involved in building a virtual campus, recognizing credits and qualifications and understanding in English and in three other languages? In terms of physical mobility, will students have aids for their stays in other overseas universities?

The project is focused on generating very positive synergies among the partners to promote mobility. The mobility programs involve an exchange of experiences and knowledge of high value, and, in this sense, Campus RUP is an ideal opportunity to promote the mobility of students, university professors and administration and services personnel from the Canary Islands to the rest of the ORs universities of the European Union, and also from the ORS universities towards the Canary Islands.

University of the sea between three continents

Mobility, in many cases, will be focused on virtual mobility with the support of Information Technologies and ICT communication.

The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been quite innovative in this field, promoting the first degree through the Internet (Bachelor’s Degree in Psychopedagogy) since the 2001/2002 academic year and, as of 2003 and following the changes reflected in the Organic Law of Universities (LOU), creating the Telecommunications ULPGC structure approved in the Governing Council of June 25, 2003. As a culmination of this development process, on April 1, 2005 the Governing Council approved the Regulation of the Telecommunications structure ULPGC.

The commitment of the ULPGC for the implementation of non-face-to-face studies through tele-training soon «infected» its virtues to face-to-face teaching and very soon the professors requested to be able to use it as support for their face-to-face subjects. From the 2004-2005 academic year all the subjects of the different face-to-face courses taught at ULPGC have a support tele-training platform at their disposal that incorporates all the services of this type of applications. Thus, in addition to repositories of text and multimedia documents, other more advanced tools are offered such as forums, bulletin boards, tutorials, email, chats, … Through this environment, students can contact their teachers, raise their doubts, send their work and receive the corresponding qualifications, etcetera.

Regarding the recognition of credits and degrees, the ULPGC has several degrees shared with other universities, both Spanish and international: from the United Kingdom, France and Germany. This experience shows that the recognition of credits and degrees has never been an impediment to mobility.

Finally, the ULPGC has been receiving many students of mobility every year for quite some time, reaching close to a thousand students these last academic years, thanks to scholarship programs such as Erasmus +, Santander, Carolina Foundation, Compostela Group of Universities, SGroup of Universities , Women for Africa, etc. In several cases, the ULPGC also finances mobilities with its own funds.

Two postgraduate courses will be taught, a Master’s Degree in European Studies and another in Blue Economy. What will each of them contribute to the graduates?

The Master in European Studies will provide a general and transversal training of a range of issues related to the European Union, emphasizing the particularities of the outermost regions. It will give students a multidisciplinary and global vision of the EU in order to better understand their actions.

The Master in Blue Economy, also multidisciplinary, will consider all the economic activities that depend on the sea in the European Union. There is no doubt that the sea and coasts are the engines of the economy in ultraperipheral environments such as the Canary Islands.

With these two masters, it is intended to explain the importance and the key role of our islands in the EU as a whole, as well as to sensitize students to the different problems of our island environment.

«Campus RUP will help the European Union to continue betting on its outermost regions, without forgetting the key role that its universities have to generate knowledge and citizenship»

The Campus RUP project is committed to creating science connected to the industry, and in line with the smart specialization strategy. How will Campus RUP contribute to European innovation?

Indeed, we are committed to encouraging the incorporation of innovative companies and developing joint actions to promote the transfer of scientific and technological knowledge in the blue economy. Likewise, the strategies to support the EU’s better knowledge and blue growth can contribute to the improvement of the EU’s international competitiveness, the creation of jobs and new economic activities, while protecting our biodiversity and our environment. marine environment.

The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has a Vice-Rector for Research, Innovation and Transfer that will be directly involved in the success of Campus RUP.

What will Campus RUP bring to the European Higher Education Area? How will it contribute to making the outermost singularity better understood in European capitals?

Campus RUP will help the European Union to continue betting on its outermost regions, without forgetting the key role that its universities have to generate knowledge and citizenship. What we intend with Campus RUP is to make our institutions even more visible in the European Higher Education Area, highlighting the academic and research excellence of each of them and remembering that each one of them is, in a certain way, the last frontier of the EU and the necessary nexus with other continents.

Why does Campus RUP deserve to be chosen as one of the first projects of the European Universities Initiative?

Campus RUP deserves to be chosen because it is a completely original project that shows that, despite their geographical remoteness and limitations due to not having all the resources at their disposal, universities in the outermost regions of the EU have much to teach the rest of the Union on mobility and research issues. If mobility between universities in different countries is an added value for any student in Europe, it is of utmost importance for students from outermost regions who find additional difficulties to study and train abroad.

We also hope that Campus RUP will make the EU citizens aware that the universities of the outermost regions are excellent academic and research institutions, which deserve to be equated in all aspects with those of the rest of the European territory.

Finally, we intend that Campus RUP allows the outermost regions to approach each other to enhance the common European values ​​they have at a key moment in the history of the European Union.

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