2024 Consortium Meeting - Program

Thank you to our outstanding contributors! The sessions below represent core content for the meeting, with presenters/facilitators on similar topics to be grouped together into collaborative sessions.  Grouping details will be coordinated with presenters and then posted here when finalized.

Site Updates & Team Spotlights

Site Update

Collaborating, Innovating, Empowering: The VIP Experience at Rīga Stradiņš University

Aija Bukova Zideluna / Justīne Krūmiņa

Rīga Stradiņš University

The Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) VIP program is a unique initiative designed to foster collaboration, innovation, and student growth. Spanning a year, the program sees students from diverse disciplines working together on real-world challenges under the guidance of experienced faculty members. This collaborative approach allows students to develop their communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills while gaining valuable practical experience in research.
The program's focus on real-world application is evident in the range of projects undertaken by students. These projects address critical issues like mental health, ergonomics, and indoor air quality, public health and pediatrics allowing students to contribute directly to practical research and data collection. Faculty mentorship plays a crucial role in the program's success, providing students with ongoing support and expertise throughout the study course lifecycle.
A site update is planned to present the VIP program experience at RSU. RSU will showcase the VIP's diverse range through detailed profiles.

Impact of Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program on engineering student skillsets

Chrysanthe Preza

The University of Memphis

Challenge or problem-based learning help students develop deeper content understanding and enhanced STEM skillsets and provide opportunities for learning across multiple contexts. Educational interventions that include active learning, mentoring, and role modeling are particularly important in recruiting and retaining female and minority students in STEM. With this framework in mind, we implemented the Vertically-Integrated Projects (VIP) model at a public urban research university, in the 2022-2023 academic year with the goal of helping participating students increase engineering and STEM identity and other psychosocial outcomes. This talk will report on the results from the first 2 years of our VIP program implementation. In Fall 2022, 12 students (7 women; 4 Black/African American; 2 Hispanic) participated on 2 VIP teams. Five students (4 women, 1 Black/African American, and 1 Hispanic) did not continue to the spring 2023 semester. In Spring 2023, a third team was added, with a total of 13 VIP students (4 women; 3 Black/African American; 1 Hispanic; 1 Asian; 1 Mixed; 1 other). In Fall 2023, two more teams were added (offering a total of five teams), with a total of 22 students (14 women; 7 Black/African American; 4 Hispanic; 1 Asian; 1 Mixed). In Spring 2024 one more team was added (offering a total of six teams), with a total of 24 students (12 women; 6 Black/African American; 5 Hispanic; 4 Asian).
VIP participants had a mean GPA of 2.99/4.00 (SD = 0.86) in Fall 22, a mean GPA of 3.29/4.00 (SD = 0.87) in Spring 23, and a mean GPA of 3.31 in Fall 23. The mean GPA for all students in the College of Engineering was 2.81 in Fall 22, 2.82 in Spring 23, and 2.91 in Fall 23 showing that overall, VIP participants performed academically as well or better than their peers in the College of Engineering. At the end of the first year, participation in the VIP program was associated with increased self-perceived abilities on six specific skills. Additionally, most participants agreed that the VIP program helped them develop 20 skills at least “somewhat.” In this presentation, we will also report Spring 24 GPAs and survey results from the 23-24 academic year.

The University of Arizona’s VIP Program: Rapid Growth and Curricular Integration

Martha Bhattacharya, Kay Orzech

University of Arizona

The VIP Program at the University of Arizona, a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and R1 Research University, occupies a unique space amid a web of undergraduate research infrastructure on campus. Our program launched in Fall 2020, and as of Spring 2024, engages 269 students from 65 majors and across 12 colleges, spanning science, arts, engineering, and humanities. A unique aspect of our program is that we support about 10% of our students via supplemental support to active federal work-study (FWS) awards, allowing these students to meet their financial aid needs while working as a VIP researcher. With our rapid growth, we have three major challenges: (1) credit models and curricular engagement across a breadth of fields, (2) FWS administrative support demands, and (3) supporting faculty and student VIP team growth (intra-team growth as well as new team seeding). We will present our current approaches to these challenges, including our planned creation of a community science data VIP to facilitate early research entry and training. We will also invite discussion on best practices across VIP sites to meet the needs of students and faculty.

VIP Program Launch at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at AUB

Joseph Zeaiter

American University of Beirut

The VIP program at the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA) was launched in Spring 2024 with the aim of integrating undergraduate and graduate students into ongoing research across all departments, and to provide them with hands-on experience and mentorship from esteemed AUB faculty members at MSFEA. This new VIP program is a progression of the campus-wide MEPI-TLP (VIP & Create-X) which was launched in April 15th 2021 in partnership with Georgia Tech University. The current VIP program falls under the MSFEA leadership and strategy of delivering a large fraction of the curriculum in an experiential learning format at scale while incorporating standards and measures that articulate clear expectations. By providing hands-on experiences and opportunities for reflection, the VIP program is designed to help students develop practical skills, deepen their understanding of fundamental engineering and science concepts, and prepare for success in their future careers. Currently, 16 VIP projects have been accepted working on cutting edge research and development topics, including: artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, cyber security, wireless communication devices, recycling and circular economy, drug delivery, bioremediation, design of space and the built environment. From all departments, a total of 120 students from sophomore to graduate levels have joined the VIP projects with VIP courses registered and made equivalent to technical electives inside or outside major.

VIP4WIL at University West, Sweden: Integrating VIP with work-integrated learning (WIL)

Wilma Westin, Andreas Sülau

University West, Sweden

University West (Högskolan Väst) in Sweden recently won a three-year grant from Vinnova, the Swedish agency for innovation, to pilot a VIP4WIL programme that integrates VIP principles with work-integrated learning (WIL). University West is the sole Swedish higher education institution with the right to issue degrees in WIL, traditionally understood as a pedagogic approach where learning happens through the integration of on-campus teaching and doing work-based activities. 
The aim of the VIP4WIL project is to develop an innovative pedagogical model to produce more students interested in postgraduate training and a future career as a researcher, especially in relation to the need for more, high-quality research graduates committed to working in the Swedish sustainability sectors.
In the pilot phase of VIP4WIL, four to five on-going research projects will form the basis of student learning and engagement. Importantly, these research projects all address sustainability challenges, and academics at University West work closely with societal partners to identify these problems. To this end, VIP4WIL is working closely with the Societal Impact Hub West (focused on collaboration between academia, business, public and non-profit actors for increased societal impact and development) at University West.
In addition, student learning is institutionalised through various courses with clear logics of progression that students can take as part of their degree. To partake in these courses, students must be included in one of the VIP4Wil research projects where they work alongside peers from all levels of study and academics on real-world sustainability challenges.

Year two of VIP at Georgia Southern (GaSou) University

Dr. Shainaz Landge

Georgia Southern University

This session will highlight the Georgia Southern (GaSou) University's experience of implementing Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program. It will showcase the growth in different areas, including, recruiting students, building the VIP teams and getting support from the administration. This program led by VIP faculty mentors is targeted to enhance high impact practices by engaging undergraduate students in long-term, interdisciplinary project teams. The students involved in various teams and different backgrounds gain valuable experience for their future endeavors. Our long term goal is to create a sustainable undergraduate research program and apply for external funding.
Team Spotlight

A Neuroscience VIP Tests Predicted Genetic Associations with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Martha Bhattacharya

University of Arizona

Because VIP courses were originally developed in engineering disciplines, relatively few studies have documented the impacts of the VIP model on students in the life sciences. We developed a VIP course in Neuroscience with a focus on identification of ligands and receptors in neuron-glia communication in the context of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) using the Drosophila model system. Students first download and organize genomic data from publicly available databases to identify genes implicated in AD or ALS. Next, students build fly strains to alter expression of their genes of interest in control and disease backgrounds. Finally, students test whether their genetic manipulations alter disease associated behaviors using simple behavioral paradigms (olfactory association to test memory, and climbing to test motor function). We surveyed students over the duration of their enrollment (1 to 3 semesters) to evaluate self-efficacy and intent to persist in research using a validated survey instrument called the Persistence in Science Survey (Hanauer et al, 2016). Our data show gains in self-efficacy and persistence, with students enrolled for multiple semesters showing enhanced effects than those enrolled for only a single semester. Student self-reflections highlighted teamwork and iteration as key activities that enhanced positive experiences in the course. Impressively, many VIP student researchers were subsequently accepted into competitive summer research programs following their participation in the VIP course. Overall, our newly developed VIP course could be used as a framework for increasing research participation in Neuroscience.

Biking Beyond Boundaries: Team Spotlight for Project MjoInir

Samantha Micek and Colleen Kelsey

New York University (NYU)

We are proud to say that NYU is a global campus, and that includes our international VIP team: Project Mjolnir. Project Mjolnir is an industrial design and mechanical engineering focused team with the goal of creating an adaptable and more accessible mountain bike for wheelchair users and for individuals with other physical limitations. The bike is $40,000 cheaper than what is on the market currently. What is especially interesting about this project is that it is also one of our international teams! Project Mjolnir  has students from 3 of NYU’s global campuses (NYC, Shanghai, and Abu Dhabi) and the team has built and tested a bike on 3 different continents (and counting). Furthermore, this allows students to experience and navigate real-world challenges such as project management and communication across different time zones. It also provides the opportunity to test products in different geographical terrains, thereby putting the team’s research into action. Because a large part of this team’s mission is making sports accessible for everyone, we find it really awesome that they have made the team accessible to students from all reaches of our global campus. As administrators, we would like to share our experience with the Consortium on building and managing a global team, the unique challenges and opportunities of collaborating across the globe, and showcase how Project Mjolnir’s work expands well out of the Design and Engineering fields. This team provides students with an incredible multi-layered, interdisciplinary and hands-on experience that really is the heart of VIP.

Climate Innovations Research and Career Opportunities

Kevin Caravati, Paula Gomez, Xinyan Li

Georgia Tech Research Institute

The Climate Innovations VIP explores technologies and practices to assess the impacts of climate, man-made and natural events on regional ecosystems. Spring 2024 student teams align with Drawdown Georgia research themes in Buildings & Materials, Electricity, Transportation, Land Sinks, and Food & Agriculture. Teams utilize tools including AI and GIS, best practices (mobile applications for engaging communities) and systems frameworks to create innovations for addressing complex environmental challenges. Climate innovation strategies require assessment/benchmarking frameworks to ensure unbiased/objective and use-inspired research to accelerate transition to users. Structuring of AI-ready data sets, baseline models, and metrics into practical and affordable solutions for communities and decision makers are highlighted in this class. Our goal is to inspire and inform the next generation of diverse learners as they tackle complex environmental and humanitarian global challenges.  This VIP provides an ideal platform to network with potential and existing VIP Consortium sponsors and universities especially HBCUs, MSIs, and international partners, as the career opportunities at the intersection of climate, technology, and AI have never been greater.

Contributing to Student Success through Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Research in Structural Biology and Drug Discovery

Mark dela Cerna

Georgia Southern University

The "Protein Biochemistry and Just about everything in the intersection of chemistry and medicine" (PB&J) VIP at Georgia Southern was established in 2022. PB&J is part of the dela Cerna group which aims to maximize the druggability of the human genome through drug discovery and validation of novel or understudied cancer targets. The group, including VIP Volunteers (students who cannot enroll officially but contribute to VIP goals), has maintained roughly 13 members with several projects. In this session, we hope to share some of the practices that have evolved over our short existence so far. For instance, we stress a student success-centric approach, where success is not necessarily tied to project outcome but on the growth and trajectory of each member. Each year, students fill out and discuss Individual Development Plans (IDP) which are evaluated at the end of each year or of their tenure in the lab (whichever comes first). Students have primary projects but are also encouraged to have secondary projects ("the lab is our playground") that may not necessarily contribute to the group's broader goals. Students are also given the opportunities to coordinate external collaborations related to their work. Furthermore, we have employed a "sub-group" strategy where motivated and interested senior students are treated as "PIs in Training" and lead, with a certain level of autonomy, their own groups of 1-3 students. So far, these efforts have yielded positive outcomes (grad school, scholarships, etc) but we continue to strive to provide better professional development for our members.

Empowering Future Engineers: Enhancing Education through the Integration of Turtlebot 3 Robotics and AI in the VIP program



In the dynamic field of education, especially at the intersection of technology and innovation, creating a participatory and enriched learning environment is crucial. Our lab has taken a significant step in this direction by incorporating the Turtlebot 3, a versatile and compact robotic platform, into our curriculum to support student experiences and technical skill development. This initiative grants students practical exposure to the rapidly growing field of autonomous systems, utilizing Turtlebot 3's self-driving features along with a depth camera for introductory vision AI learning. Furthermore, by integrating various sensors, this platform offers a comprehensive educational tool, enabling students to explore the complexities of robotics and AI. Our methodology encourages students to choose topics that resonate with their interests and career goals, promoting autonomy in their learning process. This autonomy not only boosts ownership and motivation but also reflects real-world problem-solving scenarios. Our lab's supportive framework assists students in realizing their project ideas, fostering independent problem-solving and critical thinking. The ultimate objective of our VIP program is to enhance students' practical and theoretical understanding, thereby improving their project implementation experience and development skills. Through this initiative, we aim to nurture students who are proficient in using advanced technologies like Turtlebot 3 and equipped with the skills necessary to evolve into future creators and innovators. This program highlights our commitment to student-centric learning and the development of future technologists and innovators. Additionally, we will make a student poster presentation for a specific VIP team in terms of team spotlight.

VIP to promote student engagement in writing scientific publications

Linda Mezule

Riga Technical University

VIP Team “Bioenergy” from Riga Technical University was established in autumn 2019. From that time numerous undergraduate, PhD and Masters level students have been taking part in the activities related to development of a technology for food waste composting. Each semester at least 10 students have been enrolled based on their motivation and previous involvement.
Laboratory research in process optimization has been combined with design of sensor system for process monitoring and a unique prototype. In 2024, to facilitate the development of individual research skills students are working together to publish previous research results. Scientific literature reading and publication analysis, formulation of research questions and analysis of results are only some of the examples. Supervisor support is provided via weekly discussions and provision of individual tasks. 
The main challenges of the task include the need to consolidate and structure past experimental work, acquisition of sufficient theoretical knowledge, and enrolment of new students from no-biology study programs.

Designing for Indigeneous housing

Professor Nicholas Rowe, Dr Karamia Mueller, Professor Deidre Brown

University of Auckland

This paper explores the formative stage of a VIP design for the Māpihi Māori and Pacific Research Centre at the University of Auckland. Our research supports Māori and Pacific whānau to live in healthy, sustainable and affordable homes. MĀPIHI co-creates research with hapū, iwi, communities, NGOs, local and central government agencies, practices and other research entities. Together we create the knowledge, design and construction techniques, workforce and policy advice needed for transformational change in housing quality and supply. We have expertise in every part of the housing and community building cycle and its relationship to wellbeing through our research programmes in whenua, hanga, kāinga and hauora. Within this paper, we explore the opportunities to grow our Indigenous research cohort by foregrounding Indigenous knowledge systems wihtina VIP.

General Sessions & Breakout Sessions


Doing it Well: Measuring the impact of VIP using the framework of high-impact practices for experiential learning

Donna Llewellyn, Lavanya Seetamraju

Boise State University

Program assessment practices for VIPs vary in scope, depth and what they measure. One lens to assess the VIP experience is through measuring its impact on the participating students. A starting point for this is understanding what we mean by impact in this context and thinking about how to define it, keeping in mind the background and culture of the academic institution.
In this session, we share a framework that the Boise State Experiential Learning Network has created for assessing the impact of experiential learning practices at Boise State. We tie this to the broad goal of student success, which is also a key goal in the University’s strategic plan. We use the term “high-impact experiential learning” to bring together two pedagogical concepts. First, we look at the concept of experiential learning, or the process of learning through doing. While many courses and offerings may involve an experiential component, a transformative and impactful experiential learning experience requires careful and thoughtful planning and intentionality. The second term we investigate is “high-impact practices” (HIPs), which has been used to describe teaching and learning strategies that have been found to provide significant educational benefits to students, including historically minoritized and/or underserved populations. VIPs by virtue of their structure, align with both concepts. For VIP administrators and faculty leads, this session can serve to inform their own VIP assessment practices and/or provide a framework for creating or improving existing VIPs.

Overcoming Resistance: Integrating Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) into University Curricula

Abbas Tarhini, Pierre Rahme

Lebanese American University

This abstract investigates the integration of Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) into university curricula, addressing the challenges and resistance encountered in this process and exploring strategies to overcome them. VIP courses, characterized by long-term, multidisciplinary projects spanning multiple semesters, offer significant and sustainable educational benefits, including enhanced student engagement, interdisciplinary collaboration, and experiential learning. Despite these advantages, the integration of VIP courses into the university curriculum often faces resistance stemming from various sources, including faculty skepticism, logistical challenges, and institutional resistance. This work seeks to identify these barriers and propose practical solutions to facilitate the seamless integration of VIP courses. Drawing on case studies and best practices, the work aims to provide actionable insights for universities looking to adopt or expand VIP initiatives. Moreover, it aims to empower educators and administrators to overcome resistance, thereby unlocking the transformative potential of VIP courses in higher education.

Program sustainability: Moving between program phases while keeping faculty program developers and VIP instructors engaged.

Marie Väfors Fritz(1), Petri Gudmundsson(1), and Paul Chin(2)

1 Malmö University, Sweden; 2 University of Bath, UK

Interactive Workshop: Program Sustainability and Phase Mobility Challenges. Sharing best practices of credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing learning management structures. 
VIP sites have different organizational structures and are managed in a variety of ways dependent on local conditions, national educational systems, and learning management structures. Some are managed and administrated at the university level and others at faculty or departmental levels and not all essential VIP elements are always fully conformed to. Two VIP Programs at the University of Bath and Malmö University, in the ‘currently developing the provision’ and the ‘active site’ phase, have had positive goal fulfillment since their implementation but each site experiences challenges in the development process as the VIP programs receive attention and grow. The two sites differ somewhat but share similar structural components, and these will serve as a base from which to start the discussion of how to grow consciously, purposefully, pedagogically, and administratively.
The main challenge we want to discuss is how to transform a VIP program from an extracurricular form to a within-curricular form with credit-bearing courses. Is this always the best practice or are other options and forms of management and administration just as VIP goal-fulfilling? This workshop aims to compile good practices, and recommendations for how to proceed with developing VIP programs despite challenges and obstacles, which will be achieved through group discussions with sites on similar and more advanced phases.

Scaffolding VIP Program Expansion

Afroditi (Vennie) Filippas, Shanaka Wijesinghe, David Naff

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University is transitioning from a college-level VIP Program to a campus-wide program. While much knowledge was housed in the college-level program, expansion to serve the full campus has required work, negotiation, and scaffolding. In this presentation/session contribution, VCU will share our strategies and lessons learned, including research on our existing VIP teams, mapping of VIP essential elements to VCU’s infrastructure, distribution of responsibilities within the implementation team, and scaffolding for institutionalization (temporary course numbers, working with departments to establish “rules of engagement” for students in colleges not previously served by VIP, etc.).

Vertically Integrated Projects: Weaving Innovation into the Curriculum

Abbas Tarhini, Pierre Rahme

Lebanese American University

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPs) offer transformative learning experiences for students by merging academic coursework with real-world research and design challenges. By working on long-term, multidisciplinary projects alongside faculty and graduate students, undergraduates gain invaluable skills in collaboration, communication, and project management. Despite these advantages, challenges persist in seamlessly integrating VIPs into the university curriculum.
This think tank will delve into the critical question: how can VIPs become an integral part of the academic landscape? We intend to explore practical methods for integrating VIP courses, including curriculum mapping, assessment strategies, and faculty buy-in initiatives.
Key discussion topics:
 - Integration Strategies: Examining successful models for embedding VIPs within existing majors, minors, or general education requirements.
 - Challenges and Resistance: Identifying common obstacles, such as course credit allocation, faculty workload, and departmental resistance to change.
 - Overcoming Barriers: Sharing solutions and best practices for navigating administrative hurdles, building faculty support, and promoting student engagement.
 - Assessment and Evaluation: Developing mechanisms for measuring the impact of VIPs on student learning outcomes and program effectiveness.
By fostering open dialogue and collaboration, this work aims to empower institutions to overcome barriers and establish robust VIP programs that enrich the student experience and drive innovation within the curriculum.

VIP as an Institutional Initiative for Capacity Building

Hasitha Mahabaduge

Georgia College & State University

Georgia College & State University (GCSU) started its VIP Program in 2022. GCSU is the designated public liberal arts university in the state of Georgia. GCSU recently unveiled its strategic plan, Imagine 2030, to become nationally preeminent public liberal arts university. VIP program will be internally structured within GCSU’s newly proposed Institute for Innovation and Design to address one of the key pillars of the new strategic plan, Innovation.  Approach of setting up a VIP program at a liberal arts university, current status and plans to expand the program across disciplines as well as aligning VIP program goals with the university strategic plans will be presented.

Working Session for Collaborative Paper: Institutional Structures and Curricular Innovation

Julie Sonnenberg-Klein, Deon O'Bryant

Georgia Tech

The VIP Consortium identified key elements of VIP, but no research has been done on how these elements fit (or clash) with institutional cultures and structures in different contexts. We propose a collaborative exploration of the topic to map landscapes in higher education that shape curricular innovation. In the session, participants from institutions with different curricular structures will work in small groups. Groups will compare and contrast their institutions in four areas: 1) degree requirements, 2) student freedom in choosing courses, 3) faculty freedom to create new courses, and 4) how 1-3 shape obstacles they encountered/are encountering in incorporating key VIP elements (offered for credit, students graded, count toward degree requirements). Groups could explore other avenues as well, such campus environment, collaboration between academic units, etc. Session participants will be invited to co-author a paper. Author work outside of the session may include compiling spreadsheets of requirements for five majors from their institution, summarizing the ideas from their group, and synthesizing overall findings. Those who contribute to the paper after the session will be cited as authors; those who attended the session will be cited as contributors or contributing authors. Whether contributors are cited as contributors in the narrative or a contributing authors with a by-line will depend on the guidelines of the journal to which the paper(s) is submitted.
Program Enhancement

A Focused First Year Experience Research Community Through Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) at Georgia Southern University.

Dr. Shainaz Landge and Prof. Jessica Orvis

Georgia Southern University

This session will focus on steps to build the first-year experience (FYE) course embedding Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) and Freshmen Research Initiative (FRI). This specialized FYE course is an introduction to college and to research. Its major aim is to teach the basics of college-level research and simultaneously develop a roadmap for achieving student academic goals. It also targets to engage with various aspects of the university community in order for the students to squeeze as much value as possible out of their experience at Georgia Southern (GS). This focus research community FYE-VIP – Introduction to STEM research gives students an opportunity to visit different VIP teams by attending one of their class meetings, interacting with their faculty mentor and student scholars. It also helps enrolled student to explore the scholarship activity in different VIP sections so that they are ready to sign up for a VIP team the following semester! This proposal will show the various professional development activities carried out by freshmen students in the FYE class and its growth over last three semesters; its positives and the activities in progress.

Enhancing VIP Student Recruitment and Retention in Social Sciences: A Collaborative Approach

Karin Fisher

Georgia Southern University

The recruitment and retention of VIP students in social sciences programs presents ongoing challenges. This abstract proposes a collective working, planning, and problem-solving session to improve recruitment and retention strategies specifically tailored for a VIP class within the social sciences discipline.
This session will engage participants in a collaborative effort to identify current barriers, explore innovative approaches, and develop actionable solutions to enhance student engagement and success in VIP courses. Drawing upon collective expertise and diverse perspectives, participants will examine existing recruitment practices, analyze factors influencing student enrollment decisions, and evaluate retention strategies.
Key objectives of the session include:
1. Identifying potential obstacles and opportunities in recruiting students to research-focused social sciences classes.
2. Sharing best practices and successful recruitment strategies from various institutions and disciplines.
3. Brainstorm creative solutions to address common student retention and persistence challenges.
4. Develop an action plan for implementing and evaluating new recruitment and retention initiatives.
This session aims to empower participants to collectively address the issues surrounding student recruitment and retention in social sciences VIP classes by fostering a collaborative environment. Through strategic planning and concerted efforts, we aspire to cultivate a supportive and inclusive learning environment that attracts and retains diverse students, ultimately enhancing all stakeholders' educational experience and academic outcomes.

Using VIP to embed Enterprise and Entrepreneurship alongside Education for Sustainable Development in Curricula

Thomas Devaney or Scott Strachan

University of Strathclyde

Recent changes to UK Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAA Subject Benchmark Statements) made explicit recommendations for the inclusion of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (E&E) as cross-cutting themes across all degree curricula in the UK. We will outline the integration of E&E, alongside ESD into the VIP for Sustainable Development (VIP4SD) program, working in collaboration with Strathclyde Inspire, emphasising the program's commitment to enhancing innovation and developing both entrepreneurial and UNESCO sustainability competencies.
We will focus on a framework for integrating expert Strathclyde Inspire Supporters into VIP4SD groups, detailing the selection process, roles, and their contributions to the projects. We also developed and implemented a pitching workshop, focusing on delivery techniques and non-verbal communication to bolster the participants' ability to effectively communicate their ideas. This prepared student groups for the program’s annual VIPer Pit (i.e. Shark Tank) event, which offered a more immediate incentive for participation.
Additionally, we introduced a competency self-assessment tool to evaluate and track the participants' growth in entrepreneurial competencies. This was pivotal in identifying development areas for individual participants and the overall enhancement of future VIP4SD support and workshops. This complements another tool which does likewise for UNESCO sustainability competencies among VIP4SD students. Initial findings from an albeit small initial group suggest significant growth in self-perceived entrepreneurial competencies among participants.
We will also speculate on the long-term implications of embedding E&E alongside ESD in the curriculum through an authentic, experiential learning vehicle such as the VIP4SD program, and the benefits of enhanced employability by fostering a sustainable and entrepreneurial mindset and project commercialisation. This initiative highlights Strathclyde University's commitment to fostering entrepreneurship for societal progress, improving educational quality and community outcomes.

Building a European VIP Hub- a work in progress!

Brigita Dejus, Stephen Marshall and Scott Strachan

Riga Technical University and University of Strathclyde

This talk reports on the formation and development of the European VIP Hub. Its purpose is to create a forum to publicise VIP, support new emerging sites, and function as a community to disseminate good practice.
As the number of sites with VIP programs grows internationally, there will be a need for a structure to manage and engage these sites in a coherent way. We anticipate that the European VIP Hub will serve as an exemplar for other regions to organise and grow.
To date, the members of the hub have held two in person meetings, the first was collocated with the Strathclyde VIP showcase in March 2023 and involved intensive discussion around key topics such as staff engagement, and mainstreaming.
In October 2023, RTU organized the 1st International VIP Coordinator and Student Assembly. As a part of this event, a 2-day hackathon-based pitch competition was held for students. The program provided students to improve their presentation and prototyping skills. In addition to the student activities, VIP coordinators had a workshop on preparing project proposals. On the second day, VIP coordinators had the opportunity to meet all the RTU VIP teams.
As an outcome of the Assembly event, a funding application is in preparation to the EU to support future networking activities. In addition to this, existing mechanisms such as Advisory, Boards, External Examiners and Visiting Professorships are being leveraged to support networking activities.
Students produced a short video at the Assembly which will be shown at the Consortium meeting.