Ann Katherine Isaacs, history teacher and researcher at the University of Pisa, has coordinated or contributed to numerous Erasmus projects and been on nine staff mobility trips. She first got involved in 1989 by taking part in the pilot project to develop the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), and is still active today: she contributed to the new ECTS users’ guide for a system now used by millions. ‘I have been very privileged to be able to contribute to developing the European Higher Education Area, and linking it with the European Research Area,’ she says. ‘Thinking back, I can clearly see now the importance of those first steps in ECTS and in Erasmus staff mobility.’
Over the years, she found Erasmus Intensive Programmes particularly instructive: ‘They were like a laboratory for understanding the different interests, research and teaching styles in different countries.’ What she saw fed into a series of projects under the heading CLIOH (Creating Links and Overviews for a New History Agenda), including the European history networks CLIOHnet2, which won the Erasmus Gold Prize in 2009, CLIOHRES and CLIOHWORLD.
Now she is chair of the history group in Tuning, a process to develop guidelines and reference points to improve quality in higher education, and has helped export the process to other continents. Erasmus, she says, ‘has had a huge impact. I’ve had the great satisfaction of being able to participate and make relevant changes.’ Looking to the future of the programme, she urges: ‘Let’s make it work better and better; let’s keep at it.’
University of Pisa, Italy (Università di Pisa, Italia)
History/Associate professor of Early Modern History