VIA University College 2017-06-20T08:25:54+00:00

VIA University College

(in collaboration with `The Danish Society for the Promotion of Life Wisdom in Children´: Boerns Livskundskab (BL))

Brief description

As Denmark’s largest university of applied sciences, VIA University College ( develops and offers a variety of accredited programmes within education, social education, health, technology, business etc. With more than 18,000 students and 2,100 staff members, VIA offers programmes and education within four professional main fields that are organised within four faculties. VIA’s teacher education is the largest in Denmark, and all educational programmes combine theory, project work, work placements as well as simulation-based training and e-learning. VIA has a strong tradition in developing our curricula in close cooperation with professional practice and the key stakeholders, e.g. teachers, pedagogues, school principals and regional and national institutions, focusing on combining state-of-the-art research and learning environments with our collaborators’ understanding of practice-related challenges and opportunities.

Partner’s role in the project

The role of VIA in cooperation with BL is to be responsible for developing the HAND in HAND programme for staff to build their SEI competencies, and to be in charge of the training for the local trainers (national multipliers). VIA is also developing materials to train school staff. Further, VIA will conduct a review of the existing literature on school staff training and their impact (research and practice) across Europe and internationally.

Read more about VIA: and about The Danish Society for the Promotion of Life Wisdom in Children:

Staff members involved in the project

Brigitte Lund Nielsen

She holds a PhD in Educational Research, (thesis title: “Science teachers’ meaning making of teaching practice, collaboration and professional development” and has MA degrees in Science Education and in Geoscience, and a BA-Ed/Teacher Education. Her present position is senior associate professor, and she is leading VIA’s Programme for Professional Education in the Research and Development Centre for Profession & Education. Birgitte has extensive experience teaching and supervising in teacher education and in research projects. In particular, she has broad research experience in the fields of teacher education and continuing professional development, e.g. research in the QUEST 2012–2015 project developing and testing a model for collaborative professional development for teachers. She also has experience in both qualitative and quantitative methodology and research reviews, and was e.g. evaluating the Danish Relational Competence Project 2012–2016. Moreover, she has research experience from EU projects (e.g. AR-sci 2015–2017).

Link to list of publications


Elsebeth Jensen

She holds a PhD in Didactics/Educational Research and has been a lecturer in Teacher Education since 1995, Head of the Department from 2007 to 2011, and is presently the Vice Dean for Teacher Education at VIA. In her PhD project, she examined the topic of cooperation between teacher and student(s) regarding goals, course content and methods used. It was a theoretically grounded, empirical investigation into how cooperation evolves and course content takes shape in the classroom, with a particular focus on what is significant when teachers and students ascribe meaning to the cooperative processes. She has research experience e.g. from VIA’s centre with a focus on an inclusive learning environment (2008–2011), and from the Centre for Inclusion (2016–2017) with the project: How do teachers create communities of learning in the classroom?

Helle Jensen

She holds a MA in Psychology and is a specialist in psychotherapy and supervision, a family therapist, and chair of The Danish Society for the Promotion of Life Wisdom in Children. She worked as a clinical psychologist in the Danish school system from 1981 to 1994, and continued teaching relational competence (presence, awareness and empathy) to professionals working with children and youth. She has been teaching abroad since 1990, starting with a programme in Novosibirsk for teachers in primary and secondary school, and later in many European countries, e.g. Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and Poland. Further, she was the lead teacher in a 2-year International Education programme situated in Germany and the lead trainer for a developmental and research project called “The Relational Competence Project” at VIA University College, where student teachers were followed during their 4-year education and, beside their ordinary education, receiving training in relational competence.

Katinka Gøtzsche

She holds a MA in Dramaturgy and Psychology and has been teaching in a Danish high school since 2006, while she is also coaching students with academic and social difficulties. She has broad experience teaching in the field of relational competence focusing on how to develop presence, awareness and empathy for professionals working with children and youth. She works in many different European countries, e.g. Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria and Slovenia, e.g. teaching in a 2-year International Education programme situated in Germany. In addition, she has also been teaching in the large-scale Danish “Relational Competence Project” at VIA University College, Aarhus for student teachers. In the programme, the students were followed throughout their 4-year education where, apart from the ordinary education, they receiving training in relational competence, empathy, presence and awareness.

Hilmar Dyrborg Laursen

He holds an MA in Educational Studies (thesis title “Relationship between theory and practice with reference to the development of professional competence”). He has 21 years of experience as a senior lecturer in educational theory in VIA’s Teacher Education Department. He also has broad experience in teacher education and development of the teaching profession, e.g. through participation in several research and development projects. Examples are: The development of a prototype for supporting students’ autonomy in teacher education (2014–2016); How do teachers create communities of learning in the classroom (2016–2017).

Lise A. Réol

She holds a MA in psychology. Her current position is associate professor at VIA, holding 8 years’ experience in teaching psychology and special needs. She has research and development experience in the interest fields of education, learning environments, learning and body and movement in schools. She was a participant in the developmental and research project called “The Relational Competence Project” at VIA University College. This entailed a 4-year co-creation project involving students, primary and secondary teachers, educators and scientists under the leadership of Helle Jensen.