Münster (May 12th, 2022) - While assistance options are available for students, teachers and researchers from Ukraine, few are geared specially toward Ukrainian university managers and administrators. The demand is substantial: Around 200 Ukrainian university administrators signed up for the BarCamp, which was organized by FH Münster University of Applied Sciences and took place online in cooperation with the Leibniz University of Hanover as part of the "THEA Ukraine X" project. The training and development program actually focuses on internationalization and knowledge management. Now, due to the war, other topics are taking center stage-and these are exactly what the Münster team have requested for the BarCamp.

Back at the start of the year, managers of Ukrainian institutions of higher education could sign up for a training concept. "The 'X' in the project's name stands for 'multiplication'. Our goal is to train Ukrainian experts who conduct multiplication training at their institutions," explained Dr. Sonja Mikeska of Wandelwerk, FH Münster University of Applied Sciences' center for quality development, which is coordinating THEA Ukraine X. Then the war started, Dr. Mikeska related, and the goal became finding out exactly what topics are relevant to Ukrainian university managers.

"Before the war, the focus was on quality management, mobility and research project applications," said Petra Pistor, also of Wandelwerk, where her duties include international training. "Now, the crucial question is how to keep Ukrainian potential in the country." University staff fear a brain drain, where experts leave Ukraine and never go back. "A great deal of knowledge would be lost. This is why we need to consider how concretely things like projects have to be structured in order to get this enormous potential back to Ukraine some day," said Dr. Mikeska.

Participants, however, are also greatly concerned about how they can stick with the universities, teach, and develop internationalization strategies even though many people have fled and the country is in a state of emergency. The topics on the agenda are surprisingly normal, given the war. For Pistor and Dr. Mikeska, nothing about that is unusual. "During the previous project, we met many Ukrainians and even now we remain in close contact with our partners. We're seeing a strong feeling of patriotism in them. They may be seriously concerned for their country, their fellow Ukrainians and their school, but they're also keenly interested in networking. The need to stand together is enormous. And they're taking great pains to plan out how they can get the best for their school despite the war," said Pistor.

THEA Ukraine X started on October 1st, 2021 and will run until September 30th, 2023. It is being conducted by FH Münster University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with Sumy State University in Northeast Ukraine, though the program is geared toward university managers and administrators throughout the country. They have the opportunity in the coming weeks to adapt their concepts for the multiplication trainings. The next step will be online training.

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