Romain Martin has been a driving force behind several initiatives at the Uni since taking the office in March 2016, including the Competence Centre for lifelong learning and the Luxembourg Learning Centre
Photo: Michel Brumat/University of Luxembourg
On 1 April, University of Luxembourg vice-rector for academic affairs Romain Martin will begin his new role as senior advisor in Luxembourg’s higher education ministry.
“I see the offer not as going away from the university,” Martin says, “but serving it and the whole higher education and research ecosystem from a different position.”
For Martin, the new role is “larger in scope, but a logical continuation of what I’ve done here at the university.”
The LLC just finished its first full semester of being open, following its completion in September 2018. The LLC offers, on one hand, classical library services. But it also offers a multitude of collaborative space configurations as well.
“Intentionally, we didn’t name it the 'University of Luxembourg Learning Centre', but the 'Luxembourg Learning Centre' to highlight that it is open not just to our students and employees, but to everyone in the country,” Martin says.
Through massive online open courses (MOOCs), it can be too easy to learn in an isolated environment. Martin says the social interaction aspect is still important.
“What the university stands for in the future is a collaborative, digitally-enhanced learning environment. We want students to sit here on campus, collaborate together, interact either live or via technologically-enabled media with tutors, to have a learning experience with a social component.”
Jobs of the future
Training into an unknown future is also a core reason the Competence Centre was established.
“Due to technological change, there will be major shifts in people’s careers and required qualifications,” says Martin. “One example is the banking sector where many tasks will be taken over or fundamentally changed by AI. Increasingly, employees will be required to update their qualifications on a regular basis or undertake reskilling activities to keep up with changing job profiles."
Even as new jobs may be taken over by AI, he believes new jobs will also be created. “We shouldn’t think of digitalisation as a threat. There are a lot of opportunities there as well.”
This is why the Competence Centre focuses "on certificates rather than full-fledged study offers," Martin says, adding: "We will be constantly in contact with the industry to adapt our courses to the changing needs of the job market."
Supporting “team Luxembourg”
As Martin gets ready to take on the senior advisor role, he admits it will be a challenge. One question he’ll face is “how we can make, out of the landscape of higher education and research, a real team Luxembourg, where we try to be as complementary as possible inside the country with all the various actors.”
But he is confident in that team. “There’s already a good climate of cooperation, and I’m confident we can build up from that.”