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INTERFACE Kick-off Meeting at the University of Graz

Graz. The kick-off meeting of the Tempus project “INTERFACE – Developing and Setting up Measures for Initiating, Enhancing, and Sustaining Higher Education-Society Cooperation” took place from 17-18 March 2011 at the University of Graz which is also grant holder and project coordinator. The meeting was attended by high-level representatives of the participating partner country universities, student organizations and other research organizations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia as well as of the European partner universities and alumni associations in Austria and the United Kingdom. The specific objectives of the project are enhancing the employability of university graduates; ensuring LLL and on the job training for academics; fostering transfer and multiplication of academic knowledge to society; combating brain drain; and setting up a continuous learning and quality improvement system for universities. These specific objectives will be achieved through the following three major steps: (1) The necessary structures and capacities at the PCUs in order to achieve these objectives will be identified and developed through knowledge transfer; (2) Interface Centers (IC) dealing with career counseling, LLL and alumni activities will be established at each PCU; and (3) Pilot projects dealing with either career counseling, LLL or alumni activities will be conducted at each IC.

The project will contribute to ensuring that the targeted Universities are able to facilitate the graduates’ entrance into the labor market through enhanced partnerships with enterprises; to set up an institutionalized Life Long Learning (LLL) system, and to establish a quality improvement system through coordinated contact with alumni.

At the kick-off meeting all partners of the project shortly presented themselves and talked about the further steps in the project. Moreover, the current situation regarding the three areas Lifelong Learning, Career Centers and Alumni Activities at all participating partner country universities was discussed while the EU universities presented the existing structures and good practice examples at their own institutions.