Why did you agree to participate in the development of the programme?
Daniella Dominika Galla: All initiatives that improves the quality of education are important. I, personally, wrote my doctoral dissertation on a creative teaching methodology tool that I had developed, holding workshops and conducting in-depth interviews with teachers in every county of the country. I am currently involved in the development of the one-year Marketing master’s degree programme, so I’m actively involved in issues related to teaching methodology. I deem it important for us, colleagues, to give feedback to each other within our professional community, but it is not all the same within what framework. We had the opportunity to have a say in the development of the programme, and therefore I wanted to be actively involved.
Éva Mikáczó: I graduated in 1990 from the legal predecessor of Corvinus University in the Accounting and Statistics degree programme, and throughout my career I have been involved in the subject, attended a lot of professional training, and later I was involved in curriculum development for two subjects. It is not accidental that this is also the focus of my research: similarly to Daniella, I also wrote my PhD in education methodology.
How did the Teaching Excellence development take place?
Daniella: The colleagues in Milestone Institute managed the whole process in a very professional manner. The spring semester was a period of exploration, when they wanted to get to know us and how we worked, so they organised round table discussions with colleagues, there were discussions in small groups, but there were also occasions when I sat down with them individually to talk about certain topics. For me it was positive how accurate the summaries of the talks were, how they answered all our questions and how easy it was to contact them if we had any questions. Any of the lecturers could attend these sessions and everyone could share their views.
Éva: At the beginning I was sceptical about the involvement of an external party in the process, and I expressed this in one of the discussions. In retrospect, I think that the involvement of the Milestone Institute did bring a positive yield in the process. From discussions and conversations with colleagues, it was easier for them to identify opportunities for improvement as outside observers.
The evaluation of lecturers is a delicate issue, how could they manage disagreements in the process?
Daniella: Their approach was very diplomatic in all situations, and most of the time they did not have to intervene. We, university lecturers, had to conduct a number of conversations among ourselves and in many cases we ourselves, the colleagues, convinced each other. My experience was that there was a lot of fear and doubt surrounding, for example, the lesson visits, which I think is completely understandable. However, I have always told my colleagues that they should always see the possibility of positive recognition. As a lecturer, why shouldn’t I get positive feedback on a subject I like to teach? Why is it a problem if it is done in an organised framework? It was important and useful to discuss these issues at institutional level.
Was their anything that surprised you during the process?
Éva: I had a day when I taught my own subject at 8 in the morning, and then at 9.50am I went in to see a colleague presenting the same topic. It was a very interesting experience that although the curriculum is similar, there is a lot of overlap between the examples, the lecturer always adds their own perspective.
I also just found out that colleagues working at the Institute of Business Economics had been attending each other’s lessons to date, so the younger ones saw the lessons of the older ones and the older ones welcomed the younger colleagues coming to the Institute by giving feedback on their classes.
How can this help the work of the lecturers?
Éva: I, for example, have learned methods from colleagues as a lesson visitor and plan to use them in my own classes. For me it is a great opportunity to create a framework for helping each other on professional issues of education.
Daniella: I agree with Éva, because several times I had the feeling, while watching colleagues’ presentations, that “what a good idea, I, too, will apply this”.
It also means a lot that as lecturers we have a common field to talk to each other about professional issues. There have been examples of this before, but it is better to do it in an organised framework. For me, the conversation before and after the lesson visit was a very positive experience.
What was your experience with the lesson visits? What did you learn from it?
Éva: My lesson in the spring semester was visited by a member of staff from the Methodology Centre, and it was useful as they gave an accurate account of my class in the discussion afterwards. They complimented me in many places and questioned me on certain points, but never did they say that I had done anything wrong. It was a very humane and constructive discussion.
Daniella: I realised during the lesson visits how difficult it is to give feedback, but at the same time there is help, as you can learn a lot from the Methodology Centre staff members. I am the kind of lecturer who is open-minded and tries to learn constantly, even from my students, but it is only natural that some colleagues are not so comfortable with feedback. It is very important that we all give each other constructive advices. After all, the common objective is to get the best out of ourselves and each other in order to give our students the best out of our lessons and beyond.
What is your experience of the autumn semester programme?
Éva: Two of my lessons were visited by colleagues and I was in as an assessor in two lessons. I have greatly positive experience, I had very good discussions with the other lecturers. Moreover, there were times when I visited a lesson that I noticed a method from another lecturer and realised that it does not look good from the outside, so I should give it up. It was a very interesting experience.
Daniella: In this semester I evaluated colleagues on two occasions and I was also evaluated on both professional and methodological aspects. I find that the programme led to a greater focus on educational performance at the university than in the past, which is expressly very forward-looking. I hope that we will also have an end-of-semester forum discussion, when we collectively sum up the experiences and draw lessons for the future. The aim is to achieve both lecturer and student satisfaction so that Corvinus remains without doubt the first choice for the next generation.