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Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and the Pilot Course experience. Future perspectives

It's time to take stock for VGTU, our Lithuanian partner which we remember, is a prestigious center of excellence with worldwide experiences of cooperation and a very innovative Faculty involved in our project, the Faculty of Creative Industries.

Here below the reflection of the team of lecturers lead by Prof. dr. Tomas Kačerauskas.

Contemporary universities not only have to give students education in their chosen fields of studies but as well enable them to be responsible part of society, to help them critically evaluate various issues in the rapidly changing contemporary world, enable them to indicate and solve various problems in their life and professional development.

The pilot course “Cultural Studies in Business” at Vilnius Gediminas Technical Universities was addressing the topics of “Managerial Communication”, “Creative Society”, “Social Responsibility”, “Everydayness Aesthetics”, “Cultural Studies” and “Leisure Studies”.

The pilot course brought together the best experiences of professors in different although related fields. As the general introductory course “Cultural Studies” and other subjects in humanities (such as Ethics, Philosophy, Aesthetics, Creative Writing, Sociology etc.) are taught at university and in most cases are mandatory for freshmen’s it was important to create a new course which would bring cultural studies and business together.

The pilot course was taught by four professors form Faculty of Creative Industries including Prof. dr. Tomas Kačerauskas, Assoc. dr. Jolanta Saldukaitytė, Assoc. dr. Živilė Sederevičiūtė-Pačiauskienė and Assoc. Prof. dr. Viktorija Žilinskaitė-Vytė. All of these lecturers come from the project partnership. Each of them presented their own topics in the field of CSB.

Beside this, a guest lecturer assoc. Prof. dr. Edvardas Rimkus of the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies was invited for the discussions about the relationship between technologies and culture. Prof. Rimkus didn't enjoy the whole process but his contribution was useful as internal-external eye on the main topic of Cultural Studies.

In general, it is not a common practice for a course to be taught by a specific dedicated team of lecturers (although it does occur) but all coordination was smooth and clear.

In addition, the structure of the course was inspired and encouraged not only by close collaboration of local professors from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Vilnius Tech), but as well, and especially, by colleagues from partner universities.

The critical approach to Cultural studies in general was brought up by Euro College Kumanovo (North Macedonia) and La Sapienza University (Italy) while issues in business and economics were constantly raised by colleagues from Wisdom University (Albania) and University of Split (Croatia). In addition, professors from UBI University (Portugal) raised important questions in the context of contemporary art and architecture.

Overall the different experience, different approaches to the same questions, intense discussions during the multiplier events consistently led towards the concept of the course introduced in spring semester 2020/2021 at Vilnius Tech.

The course itself was very rich and broad. That was a big challenge for students as well. They had not only to get familiar with the material and topics presented by different professor but to see the different, complimentary as well as conflicting interpretations and approaches as well. Students were encouraged to form they own views and their own opinions. In this course, the enrolled students are from the study programme “Entertainment Industries” in Faculty of Creative Industries (group PINf-17/1, IIIrd course, 28 students). In the beginning, the meetings with students have been physical from 03.02.2020 to 27.02.2020. Later from 28.02.2020 to 29.06.2020 all classes had to move online (Zoom platform) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The course was mandatory, in total it had 40 hours, out of which 20 hours was lectures and 20 hours of practical work (seminars).

During the semester students had to present the on-desk research works. Course ended with the final exam, which included questions from each topic. At the end of the course, students were awarded with certificates and 6 ECTS.

Overall, it was a positive and challenging experience for both, professors and students.

Future perspectives in Lithuania

VGTU is a technical university of the Capital of Vilnius with a smart and innovative team ready to continue the process at national level or widening the already international network.

The main goal of our project is to increase the quality of HEI Education in Europe through the production of 3 Intellectual Outputs among which the main one, the proposed enriched Curriculum "Cultural Studies in Business" at Master Degree level. At VGTU we think that this development can be possible in the next years taking into consideration the starting phase of the Pilot Course in our master study programme „Communication of Creative Society“.

Article written by Tomas Kačerauskas, Team Leader of CSB project - Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies

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