TREE - Teaching and research in engineering in Europe
Contributing to the development and the enrichment of the European dimension in Engineering Education (EE) constitutes the global goal of TREE. In other words to enhance the compatibility of the many diverse routes to the status of Professional Engineer which exist in Europe and, hence, to facilitate greater mobility of skilled personnel and integration of the various situations throughout Europe. It must be emphasised that, according to the spirit of the Bologna Declaration, enhanced compatibility does not imply uniformity, and is certainly not intended to lead to a reduction of standards to the best common level that can be found. This was also the goal of the two TNPs (acronym for Thematic Network Project) dedicated in the recent past to EE in general: H3E (supported under Socrates I) and E4 (supported under Socrates II). The activities of these TNPs constitute the "roots" of TREE. It is then natural to assess first the contribution of these previous experiences to the global goal, giving for granted that, because of the continuous evolution of higher education in Europe, it would be naïve to consider such a goal as already reached. Looking in particular at E4, the box of volumes (one for each Activity plus two general ones and a CD-rom) collecting the results of the three years of activity of this TNP is providing evidence of many areas in which TNPs can contribute to the development of the European dimension in higher education: networking, tuning, life-long learning, use of ICTs, quality assessment and assurance, are some of the areas which come to mind.It is believed that a new TNP in EE in order to be successful must blend study activities, forum organisation and pioneering exercises, keeping as a main target the production of all sort of TOOLS for enhancing the European dimension. In fact, as important as reports/studies on the various key topics mentioned above, as developed during E4, may be, it is widely believed that an activity focused more on well identifiable projects/initiatives would be welcomed. The activity of TREE will be developed along four main lines:A. the tuning line (new curricula for the two-tier structure of higher education, tools for quality assessment and assurance, accreditation, extension of ECTS); B. the education and research line (status and promotion of doctoral studies, role of research activity in EE, value of research oriented project work);C. the attractiveness of EE line (for young people, especially women, for extra-EU students, by special initiatives such as joint/double degrees); D. the sustainability line (sustain EE institutions by, e.g. developing continuing education, and/or open and distant learning opportunities, but also study ways to make valuable tools, identified during the TN, self-sustainable).