RUN-EU’s international SAPs change the way we learn and study


Short Advanced Programmes (SAPs) are short, project-based courses worth 1–6 credits that are open to students from all the Regional University Network (RUN) higher education institutions.

SAPs are multi-disciplinary international studies that offer students the competence needed in the future world of work. They are jointly organised by the RUN higher education institutions, so that the implementation involves at least two, and in most cases more, RUN institutions. Whenever the situation allows, SAPs also include a short contact teaching period in one of the organising RUN higher education institutions. During SAPs, students work together surrounded by teachers and students from different RUN institutions. They also create international links to partners in the world of work.

The first SAP pilot was jointly implemented in late winter 2021 by HAMK and the Portuguese Polytechnic of Cávado and Ave (IPCA). According to student feedback, SAPs’ objectives of close connections with the world of work and active teamwork between students from different higher education institutions across borders and time zones were well realised.

SAPs offer our students a new way to learn while simultaneously networking internationally and deepening their international competence.

I work as a RUN-EU project coordinator at HAMK and I am involved in a work package that coordinates the RUN SAPs. RUN’s SAP work package involves a group of colleagues from all the RUN higher education institutions. Our task is to develop and coordinate short study modules as part of the RUN European University studies. The start of this work was not made any easier by the fact that we, the representatives of the work package, have only met each other in Teams meetings. However, after we managed to create the common criteria and definitions for SAPs, the agenda of the work package has progressed enormously quickly.

During the spring of 2021, the work package was buzzing with activity as we brought together dozens and dozens of new SAP initiatives and proposals from different higher education institutions, and helped our institutions and their SAP coordinators to network with each other in order to launch the practical plans and arrangements for SAPs. At the moment, the implementation of almost 30 SAPs is under way, and more are in the pipeline.

New SAP develops students’ work-related skills

One of the SAPs to be implemented this autumn is How to Navigate through Unfamiliar Contexts: Develop your Study Skills for the Future, which HAMK is actively involved in implementing. This SAP is targeted at students in all fields at the RUN higher education institutions, and it includes a five-day contact teaching period at HAMK. The planning phase of this SAP also involved HAMK’s student representatives, or members of the RUN European University Student Board. In the SAP, students have an opportunity to develop their own competence to meet the requirements of the future world of work.

As work is constantly taking on new forms around us, the competence it requires is also changing. During this SAP, we will dive into the world of future competence and coach future experts with the capacity to work in changing multidisciplinary and multicultural environments.

The SAPs currently on offer can be followed on the RUN European University website

Saara Lindén
International Officer
Project coordinator for RUN European University at HAMK

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