The academic community at UiA’s Department of Popular Music is among six selected finalists competing to become a new national Centre for Excellence in Education.
There were 28 candidates who applied to become a Centre for Excellence in Education (SFU) in 2022. Six of the applications have been shortlisted. Among the six shortlisted is the Department of Popular Music at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Agder (UiA).
The department is applying for SFU status with the project CreaTeME, which will promote and further develop the creative use of technology in music education. Dean Marit Wergeland at the Faculty of Fine Arts thinks that being chosen as a finalist is a victory in itself:
“I am very proud that our application is among the six finalists. It is a fantastic recognition of the expertise in our academic environment”, she says.
During September, the expert committee appointed by the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir) will visit the institutions of the finalists. After the visit, the committee will recommend which of the applicants should be awarded Centre for Excellence in Education. The final designation of centre status will take place before the end of 2022.
Head of the international expert committee that assesses the applications, Professor Rolf Hughes, told hk-dir.no in June this year that the finalists have managed to turn visions into good and concrete plans. Many of the applications have innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to important issues.
“There is a wide geographical spread of finalists, which shows that excellent academic environments are not exclusive to big cities”, Hughes told HK-dir.no.
At the Faculty of Fine Arts, Dean Wergeland and everyone involved at the Department of Popular Music are now preparing for the visit of the expert committee. Wergeland emphasises that all the work done in relation to the SFU application is of great value, regardless of the outcome.
“There is much in place for our academic environment to become a driving force in the creative use of technology in music education, both nationally and internationally. And we will continue to develop the academic environment and expertise, regardless of what happens with the awarding process later this year.”
She also points out that the department has been working in a targeted and systematic fashion over time to challenge existing educational models and to facilitate entrepreneurship and student active learning.
“The department is characterised by a willingness to change and a commitment to providing students with a future-oriented education. This is particularly important when the students enter a constantly changing labour market, where technology both poses challenges and provides opportunities”, says Wergeland.