Leadership and Organisation for Teaching and Learning at European Universities – LOTUS

The LOTUS project aims to contribute to capacity building and strategic change management for learning and teaching at higher education institutions across Europe. The project also aims to discuss and demonstrate the potential of various actors (ministries, university associations, student and staff unions, etc.) to support transformation and innovation in learning and teaching.

LOTUS is led by EUA in partnership with a diverse consortium of higher education institutions, national rectors’ conferences, education ministries and organisations actively involved in learning and teaching across Europe.

LOTUS is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, as an initiative to support the implementation of European Higher Education Area (EHEA) reforms. LOTUS will run until September 2022.

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  • Background

    LOTUS builds on the results of and follows up the EU-funded EFFECT project, and in particular the 10 European Principles for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, devised as a framework to support the development of institutional strategies in learning and teaching. LOTUS aims to carry this work forward and focus on advancing implementation of such institutional strategies through a participatory approach that involves leadership, staff and students across the institution.

    LOTUS also addresses the need to enhance cooperation in learning and teaching across the European Higher Education Area, as underlined in the Bologna Process (see the 2018 Bologna Communiqué) and several European level studies on recent developments in learning and teaching (such as “The changing pedagogical landscape” and “Trends 2018: Learning and Teaching in the European Higher Education Area”).

  • Objectives & approach

    Foster higher education institutions’ capacity to develop and implement structured and systematic approaches to enhance learning and teaching.

    The project will carry out a Leadership Development Programme to address processes and conditions at higher education institutions to implement learning and teaching strategies. A total of 40-60 higher education institutions will benefit from this Leadership Development Programme, while supporting each other through a peer-learning and problem-solving approach. LOTUS will also address the key challenges that institutions face in priority areas of the EHEA reforms (such as student-centred learning, digitalisation, teachers’ professional development, institutional organisation and quality management), and seek ways to build them into an overarching institutional framework, thus relating learning and teaching to other parts of institutions’ missions.

    Explore how learning and teaching can be best supported by national and European policies

    A Policy Dialogue will explore how different stakeholder groups in learning and teaching can support institutional developments, facilitate interinstitutional exchange and collaboration, and contribute to national and European policy development. A series of national workshops and European-level policy dialogue meetings will be organised – fed with lessons from the Leadership Development Programme.

    Provide a set of recommendations for supporting learning and teaching development through inter-institutional cooperation, at regional, national and European levels

    Building upon the results from the participating higher education institutions under the Leadership Development Programme and from the policy dialogues, LOTUS will propose recommendations on how cooperation between institutions can contribute to enhancing learning and teaching, and how this can be supported by national and European stakeholders (authorities, organisations).

  • Activities

    Preparation of the Leadership Development Programme

    (September 2020-December 2020)


    Leadership Development Programme

    (September 2020-June 2022)

    Policy Dialogue

    (December 2020-June 2022)


    (September 2020-September 2022)

    • Desk research and literature review
    • Content preparation for the Leadership Development Programme











    • Two rounds of a one-year Leadership Development Programme, benefiting a total of 40-60 higher education institutions.

    · Primary target: Vice-rectors for learning and teaching, who will involve a team with different profiles and key roles in strategy implementation (students, teachers, administrators)  

    · Under each round, institutions will be grouped in small leadership working groups

    · External experts to support each leadership working group, based on their specific needs, throughout the programme.

    • Three national workshops to gather higher education institutions and national authorities and agencies from the same system
    • Two European Policy Dialogue meetings

    · Target groups: representatives from ministries, national rectors’ conferences, higher education institutions, staff and student unions, university networks, and other organisations and institutions of relevance for learning and teaching

    · Purpose: to discuss how, at the European level, different types of actors can contribute to learning and teaching development.

    • The project communication strategy
    • A final dissemination conference
    • A final publication with key policy messages and practice-based recommendations

    Under these activities the following events are set:

    • 10-11 February 2021: Induction workshop (2 online sessions over 2 days) for the participants of the 1st cohort of the Leadership Development Programme (LDP). The following are the purposes of the event:
      • Introduce to, and invite to discuss the LDP approach and methodology;
      • Offer input presentations and discussions on change management and leadership in learning and teaching, and peer-learning methodology;
      • Launch the 5 leadership working groups.
    • 04-05 October 2021: Debrief/Induction workshop (2 online sessions over 2 days) for the participants of the 1st and 2nd cohorts of LDP. The combination of the debrief and induction workshops aims to facilitate an exchange of experience between the two cohorts of LDP. Besides fulfilling the purposes of the induction workshop as stated above, the event will also fulfil the following purposes for the debrief workshop:
      • Conclude the LWGs, summarise and analyse the progress made and results, both in terms of contents (for the individual institution, and the group), and work methodology (what have they learnt, how could that be used in other institutional contexts, recommendations for the Programme);
      • Offer a plenary discussion with all participating institutions on lessons learnt and reflect on capacity to work in an inter-institutional context.
    • 1-15 September 2021: Webinar series open to public organised by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture aiming to start the policy dialogue strand of the project. The three webinars took place on 1, 8 and 15 September from 14.00 to 15.00 CEST under the following themes:
      • Webinar 1: Leading transformational change, 1 September
      • Webinar 2: Future-proof higher education, 8 September
      • Webinar 3: Re-valuing higher education teaching, 15 September
    • 25-26 October 2021: European Policy Dialogue on Supporting the enhancement of learning and teaching. Building on common interest topics identified through the LOTUS Leadership Development Programme, and through a series of interviews conducted in 30 EHEA countries, the policy dialogue offers a mix of plenary discussions and breakout sessions to reflect on the development of learning and teaching across Europe. A specific focus is dedicated to the concept of leadership in teaching, explored through case studies and discussions between participants. On the first day (25 October), the programme will present various national policies and initiatives for the enhancement of learning and teaching. On the second day (26 October), it will focus on leadership in learning and teaching, which has been identified in the LOTUS project as a condition and enabler for learning and teaching enhancement and transformation, but so far seems to receive only little attention at institutional and national levels. The participation to the event is upon invitation only.
  • Project partners

  • Associate partners


  • Promoting a European dimension to teaching enhancement


    14 February 2019

    The EFFECT project produced a feasibility study on how teaching enhancement can be promoted in the m...

    Read more
  • Trends 2018: Learning and teaching in the European Higher Education Area


    11 October 2018

    Trends 2018 examines how learning and teaching at European higher education institutions evolves in ...

    Read more
  • EUA’s Learning and Teaching Initiative: Report from the 2017 Thematic Peer Groups


    27 November 2017

    This report aims to provide the reader with an insight into the discussions and conclusions of the t...

    Read more
  • Enhancing the education mission of European universities: A proactive response to change

    Policy input

    16 October 2017

    The European Principles for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching were developed as part of Erasm...

    Read more
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