The project “Lithuanian Academic Scheme for International Cooperation in Baltic Studies”

The aim of the project is to strengthen the centres of Lithuanian (Baltic) studies abroad, to promote their activities and cooperation with scholarly and academic institutions of Lithuania in order to improve the quality of higher education. The main focus of the scheme is to involve both staff and undergraduates in academic activities in the domain of Lithuanian studies, first of all through exchange of academic staff and undergraduates. With this in mind, both formal tuition and internships are organised at Lithuanian universities, long-term lectureships are set up in foreign centres of Baltic studies (referred to below as CBS), and short-term visits of academic staff are arranged. Academic staff from Lithuania will offer lectures, supervise undergraduates, present recent research in the domain of Lithuanian studies, etc. Visits of academic staff from CBS are also provided for, as well as training courses and educational events in Lithuania such as summer schools and dialectological expeditions. In order to promote a direct dialogue between the centres of Baltic studies, practically oriented as well as scholarly conferences and seminars are planned. In order to ensure a broader outreach of Lithuanian studies in digital space, six on line teaching and learning tools as well as two teaching tools in PDF format will be compiled. Information on the project activities (educational events, courses, schools, conferences, seminars, etc.) will be available on the BALTNEXUS website.

Main implementing institution: Vilnius University

Project partners:
Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences
Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore
Vytautas Magnus University

Project start date: 02 February 2017

Project end date: 01 February 2023

Pre-project activities (long-term teaching in foreign CBS) started on 14 April 2015.

Project objectives and activities:

1. Promote a direct dialogue between the centres of Baltic studies, spread information about current activities in the domain of Baltic studies

1.1. Coordination of activities in Baltic (Lithuanian) studies, outreach of Baltic studies in digital space.

One of the project tasks is to continually update the BALTNEXUS website ( BALTNEXUS is the official project website that will keep the community informed about current activities such as undergraduate training, refresher courses, summer and winter courses, educational events, long-term teaching, visits of Lithuanian academic staff to the CBS and of staff from the CBS to Lithuania. The website will also inform on project developments such as online teaching materials, digital publications freely accessible online, conference abstracts, etc.

1.2. Organisation of conferences and seminars.

Conferences and seminars are events giving scholars and undergraduates from around the world the opportunity to meet, share fresh ideas for their scholarly research, and broaden their scientific horizons. The project envisages organizing a series of conferences on Lithuanian and Baltic studies. Academic staff and undergraduates from all BSC as well as institutions of learning and education in Lithuania are welcome to participate in the events.

1. Inaugural project conference “Lithuanian (Baltic) Studies in Contemporary Educational Processes”.
2. Conference “Lithuanian Literature and Cultural Contexts II”.
3. Kazimieras Būga Memorial Conference: Etymology, Onomastics and Language History.
4. Second Pranas Skardžius Memorial Conference.
5. Conference “Reformation and Lithuanian Studies”.
6. “Lithuania Congress 2017”.
7. Conference “Francisk Skorina and his Prague Bible. The Multilingual Cultural Legacy of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Present”.
8. Academic seminar “Comparative Exchanges: Baltic Studies and World Literature”.
9. Academic seminar “Baltic Scholars’ Agora: Literature, Culture and Mythology”.
10. Academic seminar “Baltic Regional Identity: Contacts and Contexts”.
11. Project closing conference.

2. Promote and implement exchange of academic staff and undergraduates between Lithuanian institutions of education and learning and the centres of Baltic (Lithuanian) studies abroad./p>

2.1. Lectorships of Lithuanian language and culture at foreign centres of Lithuanian studies (long-term teaching) and short-term visits.

Long-term lectorships are financed under the present scheme in the following centres of Baltic studies:
2.1.1. In EU countries:
– at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest;
– at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main;
– at Tartu University;
– at Warsaw University;
– at Vienna University;
2.1.2. In non-EU countries:
– at the University of Illinois in Chicago;
– at the University of Washington in Seattle;
– at the University of Lviv.

2.1.3. Short-term visits to foreign BSC in EU countries.

2.1.4. Short-term visits to foreign BSC in non-EU countries.

In order to meet the needs of foreign centres of Baltic studies, short visits from Lithuania to foreign academic institutions are planned during which academic staff will lecture, present recent research results, conduct seminars and offer advice to lecturers from BSC as well as to undergraduates, assist in compiling teaching aids, participate in discussion meetings and get involved in other activities of the BCS. Staff will be sent to foreign BSC according to the needs of the centres.

2.1.5. Short-term visits from foreign BSC. In order to promote the teaching of subjects of Lithuanian interest in the BSC, lecturers from the centres will be offered in-service training and get opportunity to work in Lithuanian libraries and archives, to give lectures, meet, discuss and organize joint projects with Lithuanian colleagues.
During their visits to Lithuania, staff from the BSC will be able to:
– compile teaching aids for their lectures;
– exchange experience with Lithuanian educational and research staff;
– give guest lectures for Lithuanian undergtraduates and academic staff if desired;
– participate in conferences and events organised by Lithuanian institutions of education and learning.

2.2. Formal and informal tuition for students from centres of Baltic studies abroad at Lithuanian institutions of higher education.

Lithuanian language and culture curricula abroad usually do not provide the students with adequate competences and skills without additional training in Lithuania. This project offers undergraduates from foreign centres of Baltic studies the opportunity to come to Lithuania for partial studies and internships.

The scheme provides for studies of various duration and intensity for foreign students at Lithuanian universities:
Partial Lithuanian studies are carried out at Vilnius University: a special programme of Lithuanian studies for foreign students is being developed; students from the BSC will be invited to apply for this partial studies curriculum.
Formal Lithuanian language summer and winter courses as well as formal Lithuanian language and culture courses will also be organised.
The project also provides for undergraduate internships. This is an opportunity for bachelor, master or doctoral students to profit from professional internships in various fields as well as to improve their language skills, to get more closely acquainted with Lithuania, or to collect material for their research and term papers in Lithuanian studies.
We furthermore plan short-term educational events such as Lithuanian language courses, educational trips and sightseeing events. These will enhance students’ motivation to study Lithuanian, improve their skills or undertake more serious studies. Educational and cultural events will be organised in order to establish closer relations between the centres of Lithuanian (Baltic) studies and Lithuanian scholarly and academic institutions and communities as well as to promote awareness of current intellectual, artistic and cultural trends in Lithuania.

2.2.1. Formal studies for undergraduates.

1. One-term Lithuanian studies at Vilnius University under a special curriculum in Lithuanian studies for foreign students. 330 academic hours, 28-32 credits. Approximately 70 students will be accommodated.
2. First- and second-cycle studies at the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences and Vytautas Magnus University. Depending on the chosen study programme, students are provided with the opportunity to choose courses taught at Lithuanian universities. 28-32 credits, approximately 89 students will participate in partial studies.
3. Internship at the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences and Vytautas Magnus University. Internship locations will be selected taking into account the study cycle (first, second, third) as well as research needs.12 credits are granted. The approximate number of trainee students will be 27, the duration of an internship is 4 months.
4. ne-month formal summer courses at Vilnius University. Six courses will be organized. Approximately 72 students will participate, 100 academic hours, 6 credits. Educational activities are planned.
5. Two-week formal summer courses at Vilnius University. Five courses will be organized. Approximately 60 students will participate, 50 academic hours, 3 credits. Educational activities are planned.
6. Lithuanian language and culture courses at Vytautas Magnus University. Six courses will be organized, duration: 26 days. Approximately 168 students will participate, 100 academic hours, 6 credits. Educational activities are planned.
Internship and studies will be organised during the entire duration of the project.
Students will receive certificates specifying the number of credits and assessment of acquired skills.

2.2.2. Informal studies for students.

1. Summer school of Lithuanian studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin. 6 schools, duration – 2 weeks, 60 academic hours. Every year two Lithuanian language lecturers will be delegated to conduct intensive Lithuanian language courses.
2. Summer camps of Lithuanian language, culture and history are organised by the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences.
3. Dialectological expeditions are organised by the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences. Two expeditions are planned, each with a duration of 7 days, 56 academic hours. The approximate number of participants will be 40.

3. Support the activities of foreign centres of Lithuanian (Baltic) studies abroad by offering in-service training to academic staff as well as providing teaching tools and subscriptions to periodicals of Lithuanian interest.

3.1. In-service training of lecturers working at the centres of Lithuanian (Baltic) studies.

3.2. Development of teaching tools relevant to Lithuanian (Baltic) studies and subscriptions to periodicals of Lithuanian interest.

3.2.1. Teaching tools in PDF format.

1. A C-level Lithuanian textbook is to be developed for the use of senior undergraduates in centres of Lithuanian (Baltic) studies abroad. Prospective authors: A. Kaškelevičienė and V. Stumbrienė. A Lithuanian teaching tool will be compiled aiming at reaching the highest European proficiency levels C1 – C2 in Lithuanian. Many learners in the centres of Baltic studies are on a higher proficiency level in Lithuanian and want to study further. At an earlier stage of the project only Lithuanian teaching tools for A and B levels were compiled and a lack of textbooks for self-teaching is felt in the centres. Lecturers are forced to prepare teaching material themselves. The textbook to be compiled will fill this gap.

2. A digital tool of integrated learning (SIUP) “Lithuanian in the World – the World in Lithuania”. The prospective authors are Assoc. Prof. Ž. Kolevinskienė, Assoc. Prof. R. Jurgaitis, Prof. Dr. S. Radzevičienė, Prof. R. Ragauskienė, Prof. Dr. D. Vaitiekūnas and others. This is an interdisciplinary learning tool with certain interactive elements, integrating aspects of history, Lithuanian, literature and culture. Such types of teaching tools adapted to the needs of BSC have not been compiled so far. The SIUP will be a universal, technically easily accessed teaching tool adapted to the needs of staff and and students of BSC. SIUP will encourage interest in historic and cultural relations between Lithuania and individual countries, contemporary interaction between nations, states and societies as well as cooperation in various fields of political, economic and socio-cultural life. SIUP may serve for cultural integration and adaptation of Lithuanian immigrants in different countries.

3.2.2. Interactive teaching aids.

This activity is undertaken to create electronic learning tools, which would help lecturers teach and learners study Lithuanian on the basis of data of current usage. Even though the Internet is full of information, a substantial part of it is excessively difficult for the learners. Therefore, interactive learning tools of different levels of language competence will be compiled for learners and lecturers, where they could search for information independently.

1. Learners’ corpora are electronic collections of texts at A1, A2, B1, B2 levels. The corpora will be morphologically annotated and accentuated, with links to audio pronunciation in the database of Lithuanian Standard Pronunciation.
2. Learners’ corpora (A1, A2, B1, B2 levels). 4 corpora will comprise texts produced by speakers of other languages, enabling study of the typical usage of speakers of other languages as a basis in compiling tasks and compiling a list of basic words.
3. Online learner’s dictionary of Lithuanian usage. The database will contain the most common Lithuanian words relevant to learners, with all their inflectional forms, stress, phonetic transcription and audio pronunciation, as well information on valency and collocations.
4. User interfaces for accessing the morphologically annotated corpus. Search by grammatical categories, collocations, etc., with a possibility of downloading search results.
5. An Automatic accentuation tool.
6. An Interactive database of Standard Lithuanian Pronunciation. Provides inflectional forms, stress and intonation data, transcriptions and audio pronunciation for the most frequent Lithuanian words. This tool will be developed by specialists employed for the purpose.

3.2.3. Subscription.

According to the needs of BSC, subscriptions to periodicals of Lithuanian interest are offered.

Target group:

Undergraduates at Lithuanian institutions of education and learning and in foreign centres of Lithuanian (Baltic) studies (including undergraduates at foreign centres of Lithuanian (Baltic) studies that are to be set up), academic staff (including research workers and lecturers at foreign centres of Lithuanian (Baltic) studies that are to be set up), the Lithuanian World Community.