The Yehuda Elkana Center for Teaching, Learning, and Higher Education Research, named after the third president and rector of Central European University, Yehuda Elkana (1934-2012), is a collaborative academic unit, advancing applied research, teaching excellence, and professional development in higher education. It works with participants at all stages of involvement in higher education, from students preparing for degree programs, to doctoral students preparing for academic programs, to faculty and university administrators advancing their skills.
Building on a two decades of engagement in these areas at CEU, the current center brings together, under one roof, the Yehuda Elkana Center for Higher Education and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).
Its many initiatives cluster in four foci:
- Teaching Development - Prepare doctoral students for academic careers and support faculty in their teaching through courses on teaching in higher education, certificate programs, workshops, grants, support for teaching assistantships, mentoring during initial teaching experiences;
- Development of University Administration and the Higher Education Sector- through bilateral partnerships and workshops for institutions - as well as certificates, courses, and training for individuals - strengthen institutional capacities, develop university leaders, foster cultures of quality, support teaching excellence, and promote democratic and collaborative practices;
- Expanding Access and Preparation for University Study - through the CEU University Preparatory Program (CEU-UP), an immersive, six-month program for students of refugee background, preparing to study in the social sciences and humanities;
- Research - Conduct innovative and applied research in higher education, including higher education systems and policy, administration, socio-political engagement, and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).
The Elkana Center builds on approximately two decades of experience at CEU in developing teaching excellence, promoting research in higher education and the scholarship of teaching and learning, in advising on higher education, in professional development programs for university leaders and faculty, and in preparatory and access programs. These programs serve not just CEU faculty and doctoral students, but connect CEU with higher education institutions, governments, and non-governmental organizations from countries on five continents. The current Center builds on the work of its predecessor centers (the Elkana Center for Higher Education and the Center for Teaching and Learning), CEU's long history of cooperation with the Open Society Foundation (OSF), former access and preparatory programs, and partnerships within the Open Society University Network (OSUN), the CIVICA university alliance, and Erasmus+ projects.
In all its activities, the Elkana Center promotes research-informed, inclusive, and reflective practices to foster excellence in higher education and to promote the open society mission of CEU. Inspired by its namesake, the Center places a particular focus on applied studies and practical initiatives, on the importance of context, on the value of asking big questions, on the questioning of knowledge and established practices, on openness to the possibilities of dynamic transformation, and on engagement in democratic and civil society.