The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) is one of the nineuniversities of applied sciences recognized by the Swiss Confederation. Founded under federal law, SUPSI provides bachelor and master degree courses, featuring cutting-edge teaching that combines theoretical-scientific education with vocational and application guidance. With its four departments (Department for Environment Constructions and Design, Department of Business Economics, Health and Social Care, Department of Innovative Technologies and Department of Education and Learning) and affiliated schools (University of Music of Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana, Fernfachhochschule Schweiz, Accademia Teatro Dimitri), SUPSI offers 21 Bachelor programs, 13 Master programs and over 500 continuing education courses, and is attended by over 9,000 students from Ticino, Switzerland and other countries. Great care is
given to research, carried out in key sectors on competitively acquired projects with large European and national agencies or mandated by organisations and institutions. Special attention is paid to applied research: with 200 on-going projects every year, done by more than 100 full time researchers and scientific collaborators, research at SUPSI is proportionally more significant than at other Swiss University of Applied Sciences institutions. Among the four SUPSI’s departments, the Department of Education and Learning (DFA), recognized institutionally as a Teacher Training Professional University, is heir to a centuries-old tradition dating back to 1837 when the first school for teachers was founded. Since 2009, the DFA has been dealing with the training of future teachers for kindergarten, primary, lower and upper secondary schools. This is the only institution in Switzerland, which provides the full training required to qualify
teachers to work in the Swiss non-vocational school system, where courses are held entirely in Italian. It employs over 130 people and maintains numerous regular collaborations with external speakers. It enrolls about 270 Bachelor’s students, over 180 Master’s students, about 10 Diploma students, and more than 2,700 people in short continuing education courses. Research at DFA is mainly performed by researchers affiliate to five Competence centres and two laboratories. The Competence centre for Innovation and Research on Education Systems (CIRSE) carries out scientific research in the field of education. The CIRSE has a permanent staff of 22 people, including teachers, researchers, a secretary and a centre head. The CIRSE is an interdisciplinary team composed of researchers formed in psychology, sociology, educational sciences, social sciences, and political science. The Canton of Ticino school division finances about two-thirds of the research conducted by CIRSE. This gives CIRSE researchers easy access to the canton’s public schools and also gives them a concrete view of the reality and needs of those who live and work for and in the school system.
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