Identifying common practices in Colegios Mayores
From April 2022 to September 2022
Colegios Mayores are the Spanish version of the European Colleges, a relatively unknown and long-standing innovation in higher education to serve the socialization of future ethical leaders of society. Over nearly a millennium, they have existed at universities across Europe.
The main objectives of this project are to verify: 1) if there is a common agreement on what are the most characteristic practices of the Colegios Mayores; 2) the level of implementation of these practices in the Colegios Mayores; and 3) if the way in which the collegial community is involved in these practices corresponds to the model of "Communities of Practice".
Project description and significance
Colegios Mayores can be defined as non-profit higher education centers, necessarily integrated in a university, which provide non-formal education to a diverse variety of university students and professors that belong to a value-driven community in a residential context. Nowadays, there are 125 Colegios Mayores distributed in 24 Spanish universities, with nearly 20,000 university students and professors living together. Similar entities exist in other European countries, represented in the European University College Association.
An important aspect of the organization and implementation of Colegios Mayores’ educational practices is their non-formal character. These practices do not include a fixed content or demand mandatory participation with a formal assessment. It is true that all those who wish to renew their colegial status at the end of the academic year must have shown their commitment to the mission of the community, which can be assessed, at least in part, by observing their degree of involvement with the practices of the Colegio Mayor.
In this regard, some centers spell out in detail the minimum requirements necessary to renew colegial status, while others simply state that it is up to the Director's discretion. In any case, the way in which these practices are implemented and assessed is not a formal one.
Despite the wide variety of colleges, a number of common practices can be identified. This project aims to validate 6 common practices of the Colegios Mayores. It also aims to find out their degree of implementation and whether the way they are put into practice can be explained through the "Communities of Practice" approach.
This validation process will be done by means of a survey to directors of Colegios Mayores.
Communities of Practice
Hoadley, C. (2012). What is a community of practice and how can we support it?
A community of practice is an important theoretical construct that underlies a particular model or learning, namely, learning in which people, through a process of legitimate peripheral participation, take up membership in an identity with a community that serves as the home of these shared practices. While knowledge communities can take many forms (communities of interest, knowledge-building communities, Delphi groups, etc.), communities of practice typically have a degree of informality (low to moderate institutionalization, making them a community and not an organization), and high connectivity (rather tight social relationships between members of the community, and a relatively high degree of identification with the group).
The activities/outputs proposed to achieve this are:
Elaborate a report
Presentation of report
Publish an article