Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia is a consortium member of the SMARTI (Support for Innovative Methodology, Approaches and Tools for Teaching through the Medium of English in Order to Improve Educational Yield, Sustainability and Internationalization ) Project within Erasmus+ Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education Program.
The duration of the Project is three years (2021 – 2024).
Partners of the SMARTI Project:
Curriculum Training at Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom
On April 3-12, 2023, Curriculum Training within the Erasmus+ CBHE SMARTI Project was held at Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom. Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia (PAARA) was presented by Rector Khachatur Ghazeyan and Tereza Khechoyan, Project Coordinator in Armenia, Director for International Cooperation and Development of PAARA.
A 10-day training was dedicated to the development of the EMI 10 modules and lesson plans to improve EMI teaching, to support innovative and student-centred teaching methodologies, tools, and approaches, in SMARTI Project Partner Universities in Armenia.
Dr. Adam Shore, Director of Liverpool Business School (UK) and Dr. Gerard Cullen, SMARTI Project Manager (TU Dresden), welcomed participants.
The training sessions were conducted by EU trainers Gerard Cullen and Sven Riddell from Dresden University of Technology (TUD); Professors Maureen Royce, Ryan Wynn-Williams, Casey Beaumont, and Amanda Mayson from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU); Professor Eduardo Cardoso from Catholic University of Porto (UCP), and Marina Platonova and Tatiana Smirnova from Riga Technical University (RTU).
Each Partner University from Armenia is expected to develop two modules using resources (literature, teaching materials, practical excercises, group works, etc.) provided by the European Partners. PAARA is to develop two modules: Module 3: EMI Oral Teaching Skills Part 2 and Module 10: EMI Individual Teaching Support.
On the last day of the training, each Armenian University representatives presented the draft versions of the two modules and lesson plans, which were considered by the European Partners. They presented their comments and recommendations regarding the structure and content of modules and lesson plans presented by Armenian Partners.
The first pilot trainings, to be organized in Armenian Universities in September-November, 2023, will be observed by European Partners.
Promotion of SMARTI Project by Lead Partner in Armenia
The Lead Partner of SMARTI in Armenia Tereza Khechoyan, Director for International Cooperation and Development of the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia (PAARA), undertook to promote the SMARTI project by presenting the Project website at the following events in 2022:
Special Annual Steering Meeting of Coordinator & AR Partners and Introductory Main Curriculum Training
In 2021, SMARTI (Support for Innovative Methodology, Approaches and Tools for Teaching through the Medium of English in order to improve Educational Yield, Sustainability and Internationalization” project within Erasmus+ Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education Program was launched .
In addition to universities in a number of countries, the project consortium also includes several Armenian universities, coordinated by the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia.
On September 27-29, a hybrid online meeting was held between representatives of the PAARA and other participating universities of Armenia. The aim of the meeting was to analyze the work carried out so far within the framework of the project, to summarize the results of the meetings of Armenian universities, clarify the existing problems and the roadmap for overcoming them, as well as to discuss a number of technical issues.
The Project Coordinator from Dresden University of Technology Gerard Cullen, and Katja Ullmann, lecturer of the same university, visited Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia, in this regard and both of them had lecture offline. Andrea Stubenrauch and Sven Riddell, professors of Dresden University of Technology lectured online.
The meeting was opened by PAARA Rector Mr. Khachatur Ghazeyan. He welcomed the participants and wished them fruitful work.
On the first day of the three-day meeting, the Armenian representatives of the project presented the work done within the framework of the program.
On September 28, the next day of the training, “English as a Medium of Instruction” seminar/training was held.
The project aims to internationalize the universities participating in the consortium through the teaching of English, as well as the mobility of students and teachers.
SMARTI Steering Group Meeting Held at Liverpool John Moores University
On April 19-21, 2022 a steering group meeting within the Erasmus+ CBHE SMARTI Project was held at Liverpool John Moores University which was attended by PAARA Rector Khachatur Ghazeyan and Director of the Centre for International Cooperation and Development Tereza Khechoyan.
The tasks completed so far in the frame of the Project, the emerged issues and further activities were discussed during the meeting.
Tereza Khechoyan presented the activities fulfilled by the Consortium-member Armenian partner institutions, which was highly appreciated by the attendees.
The upcoming activity within the Project, EMI Curriculum Training, is envisaged to be held at Liverpool John Moores University during the first two weeks of September 2022. Furthermore, the Armenian partner institutions will organize the “National Awareness Day” events within the Project in October.
In addition, Issue 1 of the Project Newsletter 2022 is to be released in June 2022.
In-house Multiplier Training on ESP and ECTS/Tuning Concluded at PAARA
On April 12 and 15, the concluding training sessions on ESP and ECSTS/Tuning were held at PAARA. This last part of the training was dedicated to the topic of how to make effective presentations in English.
During the first theoretical session held on April 12, the participants were assigned to make presentations on their preferred topics by leveraging the newly-provided tips, which help to make presentations more effective and engrossing.
During the concluding session on April 15, the participants gave a masterclass on how to make creative and engaging presentations in English by applying the new skills and knowledge obtained during the whole course of the multiplier training organized in the frame of the SMARTI Project and proving the effectiveness of the training sessions.
At the end of the concluding session, PAARA Rector Khachatur Ghazeyan, who also attended the sessions, handed over certificates of participation to the participants. The stakeholders were happy since the outcomes were gratifying for both the organizers and participants.
The audience highly appreciated the training and hoped for further similar training programmes in the future.
To conclude the training, Tereza Khechoyan and Tatevik Movsisyan, who organized the training on the basis of the one held in Porto in January 2022 in the frame of the SMARTI Project, thanked the participants, promising to provide them with other opportunities of enhancing the latter’s soft and hard skills through similar events.
In-house Multiplication Training on ESP and ECTS Continues at PAARA
On April 5 and 8, two more sessions within the in-house ESP and ECTC/Tuning Modular Training in the frame of the SMARTI Project took place at PAARA. This time the large and zealous audience (32 participants) got familiarized with the European Credit Transfer System and Tuning methodology. The training was held by Ms. Gayane Hovhannisyan, Project team member, Head of the Centre for Quality Assurance, and supported by Mrs. Tereza Khechoyan, Director of the Centre for International Cooperation and Development, local coordinator of the Project, and Ms. Tatevik Movsisyan, Deputy Director of the above Centre, Project team member.
In addition, Mrs Gayane Martirosyan, leading specialist of the Centre for Quality Assurance, presented the gratifying results of the survey on the participants’ satisfaction with the meeting, the expected outcomes, logistics, etc., which was conducted at the end of the first session on ECTS and Tuning methodology.
The first theoretical session (April 5) was interactive, which involved several games and tasks for the audience to reveal what they acquired from the provided information. Furthermore, in the end, the audience was given the assignment to develop either a syllabus, a curriculum or an assessment rubric based on the ECTS and Tuning methodology.
During the second practical training (April 8), one of the faculty representatives, Mrs Ani Momchyan, presented a syllabus for the “Artificial Intelligence” course. Mrs Laura Petrosyan, Head of the Chair on Psychology of Management, introduced the “Psychology of Management” Master’s Programme curriculum. Mr Armenak Ayvazyan, Head of the Department of Science, presented a syllabus for the “Information Management” course. It is noteworthy that the assignments were fulfilled in line with the ECTS, attaching special significance to the definition of the learning outcomes by skillfully applying Bloom’s Taxonomy to make the outcomes measurable.
A number of students made a presentation on how to assess a master’s thesis by propounding their version of a rubric for that.
ESP and ECTS/Tuning Modular Multiplication Training Launched at PAARA
On March 30, 2022, PAARA launched the multiplication events based on the ESP and ECTS/Tuning Modular Training held at the Catholic University of Portugal on January 17-22, 2022 in the frame of the SMARTI Project.
The multiplication training comprises six (three theoretical and three respective practical) interactive sessions.
The first two sessions were held on March 30 and April 1, 2022. The training is organized by Tereza Khechoyan, Director of the Centre for International Cooperation and Development of PAARA, Lead Coordinator of the Project in Armenia and Tatevik Movsisyan, Deputy Director of the above Centre, SMARTI Project team member. The first meeting of the training was opened by PAARA Rector Mr Khachatur Ghazeyan. In his welcome speech, the latter stressed the importance of similar training courses targeted at the faculty and staff capacity strengthening. Mr Ghazeyan also highlighted the role of the SMARTI Project in contributing to the internationalization of the Armenian Partner HEIs through the establishment of EMI Centres.
During the theoretical session, another Project team member- Mr Khachatur Bezirjyan, who is also a subject teacher within the Project, delivered a lecture on academic writing skills, particularly on academic writing in English. Within the lecture, issues pertaining to plagiarism, referencing, research methodology, and research paper structuring were also addressed.
The capacity audience (37 participants in total, including faculty and students) was enthusiastic about learning new skills in writing quality reports, and research papers and presenting them in English. The number of presentations the participants made during the practical session held on April 1, 2022, as an assignment was indicative of the audience’s avid interest in improving their academic English skills. Amongst the presenters, a number of students made presentations on their Master’s thesis applying the newly-gained knowledge and techniques in practice.
Hybrid-Format ESP and ECTS/Tuning Training in UCP, Porto
On January 17-21, 2022, one-week hybrid-format “ESP and ECTS/Tuning Modular Training” in the framework of the Erasmus+ SMARTI Project took place at the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP).
The training was organized by Eduardo Cardoso, UCP assistant professor and coordinator of Work Package 1 & 4 of the Project. Gerard Cullen, Project Manager from TUD (Technische Universität Dresden), also attended the event.
A part of the representatives of the Project Consortium-member institutions from Armenian (14 people), Russia, Portugal, Germany and Latvia partook in the training in person. The other part of representatives from the UK (LJMU), Latvia, the Russian Federation, and Armenia attended the meeting online.
Rector Khachatur Ghazeyan, Director of the Centre for International Cooperation and Development, Project Coordinator of the Armenian Universities Tereza Khechoyan and Deputy Director of the Centre for International Cooperation and Development Tatevik Movsisyan represented PAARA.
The ESP and EMI teachers, as well as the representatives of the international offices of the universities, were the target of the one-week training.
The agenda of the training entailed issues pertaining to cover letter, motivation letter, as well as report and minutes writing, preparation and making of quality presentations, the components of the ECTS, the principles the latter stipulates for defining learning outcomes, etc.
During the meetings, the representatives from Riga Technical University, Marina Platonova and Tatjana Smirnova, as well as those from Liverpool John Moores University, Maurice Royce, Casey Beaumont, and Ryan Winn-Williams, introduced online their experience of EMI teaching.
In the frame of the training week, a number of meetings and discussions were held to identify the further activities within the Project, to reveal the current challenges and issues, and find ways of tackling them.
First Edition of the SMARTI Newsletter Issued in Armenian and English
The Erasmus+ CBHE SMARTI Project has an e-newsletter: “SMARTI Newsletter”.
The Newsletter is to be issued twice a year, one from the part of the Consortium member Armenian institutions and one from the part of the Consortium member Russian institutions. The “SMARTI Newsletter” will shed light on the activities carried out within the Project in Armenia and Russia, covering the upcoming plans and actions as well.
The first issue of the “SMARTI Newsletter Armenia” was published on November 25, 2021. It was prepared by the Armenian AIDA Group (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) members: Tatevik Movsisyan (PAARA), Anna Martikyan (SUSh), Sona Alaverdyan (GSU), Susanna Hayrapetyan (ANAU), Yelena Harutyunyan (ANQA), Gayane Kanaryan (VSU). The editor of the issue is Lusik Vardanyan (VSU).
SMARTI Project Dissemination within World Quality Day 2021
On November 11, 2021, an online meeting on “Quality of Life and Quality of Education” was organized in PAARA to mark World Quality Day 2021. The online meeting was attended by the staff, students and graduates of PAARA. The aim of the meeting was to showcase the continuous steps targeted at the improvement of the quality of the education provided by PAARA.
Tereza Khechoyan, Director of the International Cooperation and Development Department, delivered a speech on the quality of education, pointing out that amongst the 17 Sustainable Development Goals stipulated by the UN the fourth pertains to the quality of education.
Tereza Khechoyan also made a presentation on the Erasmus+ CBHE SMARTI Project to highlight the Project’s crucial role in the improvement of the quality of education in PAARA and the other Consortium member Armenian universities. She namely introduced the gist, the goals and specific objectives, the establishment of the EMI Centres in the Armenian partner universities, the anticipated 9 modules to be designed within the SMARTI Project, as well as the sustainability of the Project.
In terms of the education quality improvement through the SMARTI Project, Tereza Khechoyan also referred to the role of English as a Medium of Instruction in higher education in Armenia to ensure the compatibility and competitiveness of the students in today’s labour market.
In addition, she noted that another essential objective of the Project is the transformation of the “Public Administration” study program into an English-taught one to attract incoming students, thus boosting one of the strategic priorities- the internationalization of PAARA.
Coordination Meeting of Upcoming Activities to Be Carried out by SMARTI Project Armenian Partner Institutions
On October 28, 2021, PAARA Vice-Rector Tereza Khechoyan as a representative of the Coordinating University of the Armenian institutions involved in the SMARTI Project held a regular online meeting with the participation of the representatives of the latter institutions: PAARA, GSU, SUSh, VSU, ANAU and ANQA.
During the meeting, issues about the establishment and equipment of EMI Centres in the above universities, relevant staff recruitment, selection of the members of the AIDA Group prescribed in the Project WP4 (Dissemination and Exploitation), preparation for the upcoming training, as well as the development of the SMARTI Newsletter and involvement of relevant responsible persons were discussed.
The participants of the online Coordination Meeting also raised several financial and organizational questions.
Erasmus+ SMARTI Monitoring
On October 15, 2021, the National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia under the leadership of Program Coordinator Lana Karlova conducted the monitoring of the SMARTI Project at PAARA, which was attended by the representatives of the Consortium member universities from Armenia: Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia, Goris State University, Armenian National Agrarian University, Vanadzor State University after H. Tumanyan, M. Nalbandyan State University of Shirak, as well as ANQA (National Centre for Professional Education Quality Assurance Foundation).
Acting Rector of PAARA Khachatur Ghazeyan and Acting Rector of Goris State University Artush Ghukasyan aslo attended the monitoring meeting.
During the monitoring, PAARA Vice-Rector for Foreign Relations Tereza Khechoyan as a Local Coordinator presented the course of the Project, the activities carried out to that point and their results.
Lana Karlova raised questions to reveal the outcomes of the Project implementation, the planned activities, the obstacles related to them, as well as the observed risks.
During the heated discussion, the representatives of the Consortium member institutions addressed a number of questions related to the Project, and proposals to make the Project implementation more effective were made.
Annual Steering Group Meeting in Armenia within Erasmus+ SMARTI Project
On October 5-9, 2021 a number of meetings and discussions were held in Armenia within the SMARTI Project with the participation of the representatives of the institutions of some of the Project Consortium member countries: Armenia, Russia, Germany and Latvia.
On October 5, Gerard Cullen, the Project Manager and representative of the Project grant-holder, Dresden University of Technology, Tereza Khechoyan, PAARA Vice-Rector for Foreign Relations, Local Coordinator of the Armenian partner universities, Olga Safonkina, the representative of Ogarev Mordovia State University and Local Coordinator of the Russian partner universities, had a meeting with Lana Karlova, the Program Coordinator of the National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia, to discuss the activities carried out in the frame of the Project, its current state and challenges.
On the same day, a meeting on the quality assurance issues in the frame of the Project was also held in ANQA (National Centre for Professional Education Quality Assurance Foundation), which was attended by the representatives of Dresden University of Technology, Riga Technical University, “Russian Register” Certification Association and ANQA.
On October 6-8, the three-day hybrid SMARTI Project Steering Group meeting took place at Goris State University. The meeting began with the opening remarks by Artush Ghukasyan, Acting Rector of Goris State University, and Khachatur Ghazeyan, Acting Rector of Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia.
During the meeting, Ara Amiryan from Armenian National Agrarian University and Alexey Kupryakhin from Petrozavodsk State University (Russia) presented the results of the surveys and desk and field studies conducted within Work Package 1 according to countries, pointing to the issues and the ways of resolving them.
Each of the participating universities presented their reviews on the strengths and weaknesses of the Headway online resources selected for the ESP self-study, as well as the similarities and differences of the universities with regard to the ECTS Guide for quality assurance in higher education. Tatevik Movsisyan, Head of International Cooperation and Foreign Relations Department, made a relevant presentation on behalf of PAARA.
Within the meeting, the Consortium members had the chance to introduce the dissemination events held in their universities and their results, as well as the planned ones.
PAARA Vice-Rector for Foreign Relations Tereza Khechoyan, as a representative of the local coordinating university in Armenia, made a presentation on behalf of the Armenian partner universities, and Olga Safonkina, as a representative of the local coordinating university in Russia, made a presentation on behalf of the Russian partner universities.
Other representatives of the Project Consortium member universities also made online speeches during the meeting. In particular, Adam Shore from Liverpool John Moores University reflected online on the EMI descriptors in line with the EHEA Qualifications Framework and the planned ESP training. His colleagues introduced “Rosetta Stone License” language learning possibilities for the Project participants.
Eduardo Cardoso, Project WP 1 Manager from the Catholic University of Portugal, online addressed the EU’s best EMI practices, the strategies developed, as well as the importance of the student-centred learning methodology in terms of EMI teaching.
In his online presentation, Leandro Oliveira from the Catholic University of Portugal addressed the dissemination issues within the framework of the Project, in particular the newsletter design, social media conduct, and Project website promotion.
Franz Kaplusch, the Project Financial Manager from Dresden University of Technology in his online presentation referred to the financial reporting, procurement of equipment, as well as the key financial questions raised by the Project participants.
Valeria Racheeva, the Project website creator and provider, online presented the functioning website of the Project, its sections, content and the improvement issues.
During the three-day meeting, the issues regarding the establishment of EMI Centres in the Armenian and Russian partner universities and the acquisition of the relevant equipment were also discussed.
In addition, online English language level audit testing was conducted for the Armenian and Russian partner universities for the selection of the EMI teachers to participate in the upcoming training within the Project.
The meetings in Armenia concluded with the final one on October 9 in PAARA which was attended by PAARA Acting Rector Khachatur Ghazeyan, Vice-Rector for Foreign Relations Tereza Khechoyan, Head of ANAU’s International Relations Department Garik Hambardzumyan and Project Manager Gerard Cullen, the representative of Dresden University of Technology. During the meeting, the results of the meeting of the Armenian universities, the current challenges and the roadmap to tackle them, as well as a number of technical issues were wrapped up.
Dissemination Event on Erasmus+ SMARTI Project at PAARA
On June 30, 2021, a Dissemination Event was held at PAARA dedicated to the EU funded Erasmus+ CBHE SMARTI “Support for Innovative Methodology, Approaches and Tools for Teaching through the Medium of English in Order to Improve Educational Yield, Sustainability and Internationalization” Project, which was attended by the representatives of the faculty and staff, as well as the students of PAARA.
During the Dissemination Event, Mrs Tereza Khechoyan, PAARA’s Vice-Rector for Foreign Relations, as a representative of the local coordinator of the Armenian universities, presented the “SMARTI” Project consortium member universities, the aim of the project, the activities to be implemented, as well as the nine modules to be designed and conducted within it and the expected outcomes.
It is noteworthy that the participants were inspired by the innovative approaches to teaching, the development, and implementation of EMI courses and study programs to be introduced in the frame of the “SMARTI” Project.
The Project aims to promote the internationalization of the Consortium member universities, as well as the faculty and student mobility through the introduction of EMI courses.
Three-Day Online Kick-Off Meeting of the Erasmus+ Capacity Building Higher Education (CBHE) SMARTI Project Held
From March 30 to April 1, the three-day online kick-off meeting of the Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) SMARTI (Support for Innovative Methodology, Approaches, and Tools for Teaching through the Medium of English in Order to Improve Educational Yield, Sustainability and Internationalization) Project was held.
Representatives of the 15 member institutions of the Project Consortium from 6 countries (Armenia, Russia, Germany, UK, Portugal, and Latvia) participated in the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Project Coordinator from Dresden University of Technology Mr. Gerard Cullen, Dean of the Chair of Languages and Culture Prof. Prunitsch, as well as Programme Coordinator of the NEO in Armenia Ms Lana Karlova, and Programme Coordinator of the NEO in Russia Mrs Olga Oleynikova made opening remarks.
Within the three-day online meeting, the Consortium member universities presented their project teams, as well as the importance of EMI in terms of the internationalization of universities and contribution to their Strategic Plans. The study programmes to be developed and strengthened in the frame of the Project in the partner universities of Armenia and Russia were also presented.
A special emphasis was made on the development and introduction of the 9 EMI modules within the Project.
PAARA was presented by Vice-Rector for Foreign Relations Mrs Tereza Khechoyan. Mr Khachatur Bezirjyan, Head of the Department of Science, Ms Tatevik Movsisyan, Head of the International Cooperation and Foreign Relations Department, and Ms Gayane Hovhannisyan, Head of the Quality Assurance Centre, also attended the meeting as project team members.
Ms Christine Spirow, Financial Manager of the Project from TUD, elaborated on pivotal finical issues and Mr Gerard Cullen reflected upon the management ones.
The European partner universities addressed the activities prescribed in the five work packages (Preparation, Development, Impact & Dissemination, QA, and Management), their implementation terms, the issues of the creation, design, and content of the Project website, and other technical issues.
SMARTI Presented at the National Online Kick-Off Meeting of the 7 Newly-Selected Erasmus+ Capacity Building Higher Education (CBHE) Projects
On March 17-18, 2021 the two-day online kick-off meeting, organized by the National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia and dedicated to the presentation of the seven Erasmus+ Capacity Building Higher Education (CBHE) projects with the participation of Armenian HEIs selected under the Call for Proposals 2020, took place.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meetings were held on Zoom.
At the beginning of the meeting, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador H.E. Mrs. Andrea Wiktorin, as well as Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Mr. Karen Trchunyan welcomed the participants.
Mrs Tereza Khechoyan, PAARA’s Vice-Rector for Foreign Relations, as a representative of the local coordinator presented the “SMARTI” (Support for Innovative Methodology, Approaches, and Tools for Teaching through the Medium of English in Order to Improve Educational Yield, Sustainability, and Internationalization) Project.
Mrs Tereza Khechoyan spoke about the Project description, aims and objectives, planned activities, expected outcomes and deliverables, sustainability, and the impact on the target.
Particularly, reference was made to the relevance of EMI application, the internationalization through the courses taught in English to be developed in the frame of the project, i.e. the involvement of incoming students and the boosting of the student and teacher mobility as a whole.
The development of transparent, national and international, educational standards and comparable learning tools and teaching standards in accordance with the Bologna criteria, the enhancement of the quality of academic content and staff and students in the Programme Countries through the development of sustainable curricula for teacher training within the Project were also highlighted.
Mr. Khachatur Bezirjyan, Head of PAARA Department of Science, and Ms. Tatevik Movsisyan, Head of the International Cooperation and Foreign Relations Division, attended the meeting as Project team members.
During the meeting, the experienced project teams shared their practice concerning the CB project implementation.
Ms. Lana Karlova, Programme Coordinator of the NEO in Armenia, as well as Programme Officers Ms. Edith Soghomonyan and Ms. Ani Torosyan addressed in detail the issues and potential challenges related to the implementation, operational and financial management of the CBHE grants in Armenia.
Within his presentation, Mr. Ruben Topchyan, Director of National Centre for Professional Education Quality Assurance reflected upon the quality assurance issues in terms of the CB project implementation.
Mr. Samvel Karabekyan, Advisor to the RA ESCS Minister, Erasmus+ Higher Education Reform Expert, presented the RA Draft Law on Education and Research, the new perspectives for HEIs.