37 university faculty members from nine Latvian higher education establishments compete to participate in the Buffalo program

In August of this year and January of 2023, sixteen Latvian university faculty will travel to the United States of America, and go to the University at Buffalo, State University of New York to improve their digital skills. They will work to enhance the teaching quality of information and communication technology subjects and learn leading-edge methods in the preparation and teaching of IT courses. Currently, 37 university faculty members from nine Latvian higher education establishments are competing to participate in the Buffalo program. The results of the selection procedure will be announced shortly. The Buffalo program in Latvia is coordinated by Riga Business School as a structural unit of Riga Technical University and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund according to the priorities defined by the Ministry of Education and Science.

 

On May 5th, the application process for the Buffalo program concluded. We received 37 applications, which will be selected to participate in the program. During this call, applications were received from faculty of Riga Technical University, Riga Stradins University, University of Latvia, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, BA School of Business and Finance, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Ventspils University of Applied Sciences, RISEBA, and Liepaja University.

 

Also, during these two study semesters, academic staff from Latvian universities and scientific institutions active in the digital sector will be able to select subjects from the offer of several faculties. The program emphasizes integration of digital content into various areas. This means that academic staff can learn the latest methods in preparing and teaching IT study courses, skills in the student project management and supervision, as well as studies and interdisciplinary academic experience.

 

Riga Business School Director Jānis Grēviņš emphasizes that, “This program has its roots in 2018 when we worked with our strategic partners to create a new, interdisciplinary IT excellence education program. We are pleased that via this program we can both educate young professionals and also support academic staff offering students world-class education and knowledge. Without a doubt this is an invaluable contribution to the growth of Latvian education and also the competitiveness of emerging experts on the national and European level. I am glad that the graduates of the Buffalo program already use what they learned in their daily work. I hope that this project stage is only the first accomplishment and that this will cause a ripple effect of positive transformation in higher education in Latvia.”

 

With the fourth study season coming to close, in May 2022, 22 faculty members from various Latvian universities returned to Latvia after full-time studies at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, USA. After graduating from the program, university faculty members are required to ensure the transfer of obtained knowledge, by continuing work in any of the Latvian higher education establishments which the faculty members are implementing successfully. They not only improve the content of the study courses and the learning process but also apply new, innovative digital solutions in the practical and research work which, without a doubt, will promote teaching quality of information and communication technologies in Latvia in the long-term. 

 

Inese Muzikante, Riga Business School Lecturer, Graduate of Buffalo program: “The experience of the Buffalo program inspired me and gave me many new ideas. It was not easy to become a student again, but it was definitely worth it. The courses I took are far from psychology, for example, programming and analysis of social networks, so I understood that anything is possible.”

 

Agita Līviņa, Professor and Lead Researcher at the Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Graduate of Buffalo program: “I returned to the University at Buffalo after 10 years (Fulbright Student Program) and this time as a full-time student which allowed me to get learn about the university from the student’s perspective. Studies at the university provided practical experience as university faculty members regardless of their age and field of education integrate application of technologies in their courses and ask students to look for solutions and do things themselves. If you work, then you get a result.”

  

In the framework of the Buffalo program, university faculty members from Latvia receive paid tuition, accommodation and transportation costs, visa and other expenses related to travelling. During the studies, each participant receives a EUR 2500 scholarship per month. After returning from studies at the University at Buffalo, academic staff must continue pedagogical work in any higher education establishment of Latvia for at least two years.

 

The first group of university teachers went to the USA in 2019 and raised their digital capacity. In total, 58 university faculty members from Latvia have gained knowledge in the University at Buffalo. This ERDF project will continue until 2023. The Buffalo program is one of the two higher education innovation programs. Alongside the Buffalo program, the MIT J-WEL program includes participation of 17 higher education and organization executives and leaders from Latvia. They are learning management and innovation skills. All information about both programs is available at www.innovationeducation.lv.

 

About the Buffalo program:

This program prepares the core of Latvian digitalization teaching staff, helping them to acquire high-level digital skills and world-class knowledge on the content, application, teaching technologies. Studies take place at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, USA.

The study program is part of the agreement between the Riga Technical University and Central Finance and Contracting Agency on the implementation of the project “Support for RTU international cooperation projects in research and innovations” (1.1.1.5/18/I/008).

The following higher education establishments are involved in the development of the Buffalo study program: University of Latvia, Riga Technical University, Riga Stradins University and Riga Business School.