The Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching aims to expand spaces of liberal education in the social sciences and humanities and promotes undergraduate classroom as a place of collaborative inquiry into the subjects of study and development of critical perspectives and skills to address the important issues in the society. ReSET places the highest value in individual intellectual autonomy of students and scholars as it seeks to create educational experience that develops independent and original thinkers and empowers the academics as agents of change – in the daily practice of engagement with students and colleagues, original scholarship and transformative presence in the lives of their communities and society at large. By focusing its effort on individual teachers, ReSET bypasses the rigid institutional hierarchies and cultivates the roots of alternative culture of inquiry and production of knowledge and socially relevant intellectual engagement directly in the classroom.
Projects supported by ReSET foster an ethos of peer collaboration and engage regional groups of university academics guided by international teams of resource faculty in the critical reappraisal and development of the content and methods of undergraduate teaching in important subject areas. The program builds communities of academics dedicated to original, critical and innovative scholarship and teaching from across the geographies, outside the confines of often conservative and inward-looking institutional and disciplinary settings. With support from ReSET, the participating academics get access to international avenues of knowledge production, most current resources and new thinking in their fields and, by virtue of such intellectual and professional support network, become empowered to challenge and overcome the dominant conservative practices in their home academic environment.
Long-term project activities comprise regular seminar engagement, collaborative research and teaching development work and find immediate application in the on-going classroom and extracurricular work by the project participants. ReSET typically supports projects during three years while the teams of participants and resource faculty generate and enact new curricula, course content, materials and effective methods of classroom engagement and make the new approaches and resources available to the colleagues in the region. By choosing timely, pressing and controversial subjects and approaches to their exploration, ReSET projects challenge the existing ideological and geographical divisions and nurture interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives and ongoing integration of teaching and research.
ReSET supports projects in the humanities and social sciences which present viable rationale for the advancement of undergraduate teaching on the subjects and themes that are in need of significant revision, are new for the curricula or are particularly affected by the ideological or political discourses and constraints, or where the academic tradition in the targeted group of countries has been particularly dissociated from the developments in the field internationally. Support to the projects reflects their relevance to the open society agenda, the potential to increase students’ awareness and challenge conventional wisdoms on important social issues and the promise of a lasting change in practices of teaching and learning. While the projects develop their own original solutions to the specific issues in chosen subjects, they are united in an approach based on critical engagement with the existing scholarship and practices of curricula development and delivery, active long-term collaboration of international peers and direct connection to undergraduate classroom. ReSET does not engage in development of general pedagogy or practice of generic (non-subject-specific) teaching methods. Instead, it promotes the teacher’s active engagement as a scholar and public intellectual and construes teaching as a process of scholarly inquiry where students are active learners in the context of their society and community.
ReSET projects take roots within the region’s university community and actively enlist its support. Each project brings together a group of 20-30 junior faculty from the target region (currently, countries of Southeastern Europe and Eurasia) and an international team of resource faculty; all academics involved in the projects are dedicated teachers in the humanities and social sciences. Resource faculty are recruited for their qualities as “master teachers,” expertise on the subject and active involvement in international scholarship. Long-term commitment of the participants and core resource faculty to the projects is essential. Participants and resource faculty engage in a continuous multi-year program, which includes regular seminar sessions (typically summer seminars of 2-3 weeks in length, and shorter intensive and small group meetings in the interim) and inter-session project activities tailored to the project's teaching and curriculum development agenda and the needs and capacities of the involved colleagues.
HESP issues an open Call for Concept Proposals, which are then developed into full project proposals following the recommendations of HESP, and encourages original and imaginative solutions to the subject and region-specific issues and needs.
The ReSET program is currently under revision. Updated information about the program format and priorities, and guidelines for the grantseekers will be published in September 2012.
Download and read the list of projects supported in 2003–2012 at left.
Oleksandr Shtokvych, Senior Program Manager
Tel.: (36-1) 882-6153
Elena Naumkina, Program Officer
Tel.: (36-1) 882-6152