09 Dec The second STAND Project Management Meeting (online event)
On Friday, November 26th, IBC-M hosted an online project management meeting to discuss the progress and plan upcoming activities of the STAND Project.
The meeting was opened with welcoming remarks by Prof. Mihone Kerolli, IBC-M Project Coordinator, who also briefly pointed out points of discussion for the day:
- WP2 A.2.3 Roundtables to present the assessment report – Events preparations
- WP3 A3.3. Capacity building training and consultancy sessions for management staff – Events preparations
- WP4 Development: Upgrade of national and university regulations – Planning on starting its implementation
- WP5 Development: Technical Infrastructure Modernization and Update – Updated on equipment purchase
- WP8 Management – Updates on financial transfers with Alb partners.
Enora Pruvot (EUA) reported on the progress of WP2. Development of University Autonomy Scorecards done during October and November. Taken per country, regarding Kosovo, the meeting took place on October 20th with Task Force leaders (Prof. Avdulla Alija and Bujar Gallopeni). After the meeting, the EUA template was updated with the provided information. With the Albanian partners’ task force, the meeting took place on October 25th, analyzing the dashboard together and clarifying what was left. It was interesting to compare differences and similarities with Kosovo. Meeting between EUA and Montenegro partners took place on November 8th, reported being on the same phase as two other partner countries.
All three partner countries are now working on the final results of the University Autonomy Scorecard, finalizing the reports and preparing for the upcoming event A.2.3 Roundtables to present the assessment report. Kosovo reported that the event would take place on December 9th at the University of Prishtina, and all preparations are being done. At the same time, Albania and Montenegro reported that they would organize the roundtables in January due to the winter holidays.
IBC-M has started with preparations for WP3 A3.3. Capacity building training and consultancy sessions for management staff – workshops at institutional level on four dimensions: staffing, academic, financial and organizational dimension in order that the lessons learned during the workshops, study visits with EU partners, to be shared with the institutional staff from each local/regional partner. At IBC-M, the workshops will take place on the second week of December, and a draft agenda will be shared with the partners who can serve as a model for organizing the workshops at their institutions.
WP4. Development; Upgrade of national and university regulations is a work package that is foreseen to start mid-February 2022. All partner countries will prepare the set of updated regulations, statutes and other documentation utilizing developed skills and experience in the previous project phases, workshops and study visits. International experts will later evaluate the documents, and the summary will be presented at the outreach conference at the end of the project cycle.
The upcoming planned visit to Bari, UNIFG, was the next point of discussion. As agreed by the consortia over a month ago, the visit will take place on the 17th and 18th of January, 2022. Following the latest developments regarding COVID-19, Fedele Colantuono (UNIFG) expressed that he is not optimistic that the visit will be realized. However, he suggested that we stick to the same dates for now and advised those who need visas to start with the application process but not with purchasing travel tickets, until it is confirmed that the visit will take place.
Besa Arifi (SEEU) reported about a three-day workshop that was supposed to be held at the SEEU, that due to recent developments, they are planning to move it to February and begin preparations in December together with the EUA. However, it remains just an initial plan due to the ongoing changes with the pandemic. If there is a need, the workshop will be postponed to early spring.
Prof. Mihone Kerolli (IBC-M) stated that in regards to A3.2 Establishing a regional expert network on university autonomy, a call for experts needs to be announced. The draft of the announcement will be shared with EUA in order for them to use their channels to promote and ensure a broader outreach of the experts.
WP5. Development: Technical Infrastructure Modernization and Update has been discussed. Prof. Mihone Kerolli (IBC-M) explained to the consortium that there were a lot of requests from partners allowing them to switch the procurement of University Management Software with the procurement of hardware equipment. IBC-M has made the request to EACEA about those changes, and in return, they requested additional information on breaking down the equipment budget, and we are still waiting for a confirmation. The consortium will be updated as soon as we get the response, and then coordination for tender procedures will start.
The consortium was also informed that even though the official reporting period for the STAND project will not take place until September next year, IBC-M has decided to go for interim internal reports from each partner to get a clear picture of the first year of project implementation. The deadline for submitting the first interim internal reports is January 14th and partners will soon receive the needed documents for the reporting.
Mirko Topalovic, Finance Manager IBC-M, was the next to present, informing participants that the first installment transfer is completed for the majority of the partners, except for three Albanian partners, MESY, UAMD and UT, with whom some problems occurred due to their internal procedures for accepting funds from abroad. This issue should be soon resolved. Regarding TUHH, they are supposed to send the bank instructions to complete transfers.
Prof. Mihone Kerolli wrapped up the discussion, going through the topics discussed throughout the meeting. She informed participants that we will share the project updates and plans for the upcoming activities by the beginning of the new year with the whole consortium.