The Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku) received 21 applications for status as Centres for Excellence in Education in 2019. Of these, 8 have now been selected as finalists.
Academic communities with the status of 'Centre for Excellence in Education' (SFU) demonstrate excellence in teaching and education, and develop innovative practices in education. The ambition of the prestigious national initiative is to foster excellent research-based education.
The Center of Excellent Simulation and eLearning (SIMeLearn) is the only contribution from UiS. The consortium behind the application consists of employees at the Faculty of Health Sciences at UIS, Laerdal Medical and Stavanger University Hospital.
Great recognition for hard work
The application from UiS achieved score of 6 (Excellent) of 7 possible.
– We are pleased to have become SFU-finalists, and not to mention that we got such good feedback from the committee. It was a great recognition for the work that was done not only by us, but by many at SUS, Laerdal Medical and at the Faculty of Health Sciences, says Bjørg F. Oftedal and Thor Ole Gulsrud who led the application process.
Quality improvement and lifelong learning
SIMeLEARN’s ambition is to provide excellent, innovative learning methods to educate and prepare healthcare personnel for professional practice, lifelong learning and continuous quality improvement. This is also reflected in the centre's three objectives:
- Develop and globally implement innovative simulation and e-learning methods in collaboration with students, faculty and the professional practice field.
- Prepare students for the transition from education to professional practice by using simulation and e-learning to expose them to realistic professional and clinical challenges, thereby equipping them with lifelong learning skills.
- Use simulation and e-learning to implement quality improvement in clinical practice, thereby enhancing the students’ learning experiences.
SIMeLearn will contribute to improving the quality of education at the Faculty of Health Sciences, and facilitating lifelong learning among all students at the faculty's degree programmes. Overall, SIMeLEARN will have a direct impact on more than 1200 students annually.
Prestigious national initiative
The Norwegian ‘Centres for Excellence in Education’ (SFU) is a prestigious national initiative to stimulate excellence in higher education, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Higher Education and Research. There are currently eight such centres.
Academic communities seeking status of 'Centre for Excellence in Education' (SFU) must demonstrate quality in existing teaching and education, as well as an innovative and feasible centre plan, including a clear plan for dissemination of knowledge and practices.
The application process
For the establishment of new centres, Universities can apply for 4 to 8 million Norwegian kroner annually for five years. The funding and centre status are awarded for five years, with the possibility of continuation for another five years, subject to an interim evaluation.
– We are in fierce competition with seven other finalists. It is therefore important that we prepare well for the committee’s visit in September. It will be a lot of work, but also very exciting, Oftedal and Gulsrud added.
The finalists will be visited by the committee in September. Subsequent to the visits, the committee will submit a recommendation to the Diku board. The board will make a decision on appointment of new SFUs in December 2019.
Text: Cathrine Sneberg