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Simona Sava

Simona Sava

Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Simona Sava works currently at the West University of Timisoara (since 1997), where she has been a full professor since 2009. Her main research topics are professionalization in adult education, validation of competencies, and educational policy on both national and international levels. She works with organizations for developing the Romanian system of adult education, carrying out innovative international and national projects. Her publications include more than 70 studies and articles and more than 15 books. She is chief editor of the Journal of Educational Sciences, a member of several professional associations, and was the vice-president of the European Consortium of Research and Development Institutes of Adult Education (ERDI).

Her main contribution to adult education is in the field of professionalization of adult educators, as described in her habilitation thesis. She set up formal pathways for becoming an adult learning professional (ALP), coordinating the European master in adult education at her university together with ten universities from nine European countries. She researched the impact of European studies on professionalization of ALPs, and she set up concepts and tools for integrating alternative pathways of professionalization by researching how to validate them. She was the main coordinator and author for the book, References for the development of the professionalization system for adult education practitioners, which was awarded the 2014 Prize of the Romanian Academy for Education-IT-Environment. The book was the basis for the single Peer Learning Activity organized by European Commission in Romania on adult education issues, and is considered a best practice example for specialists in adult education.

During her more than 20 years of academic career, Sava established the most dynamic institute of adult education in Romania, the Romanian Institute for Adult Education (IREA) and ran it as Director for about 15 years, then focusing more on university research and teaching.

Sava has acted to make the concept of a lifelong learning university a reality. By establishing and running the research institute IREA, she has contributed to improving practices by using validated tools and methodologies. She is an expert consultant for providing evidence-based policy making, as well as for monitoring its implementation, and evaluating its impact. She is a well-known specialist for Romanian adult education, providing her expertise to the European Commission. 

As head of the Department of Educational Sciences at her university, she has widely contributed to improving the pedagogy of higher education, educational management, and social pedagogy, actively promoting the concept of a learning city and regions. She has made important contributions for improved processes and practices in higher education, researching on issues like social dimension of higher education, student attrition, transition from higher education to labor market, transition to higher education, internationalization of higher education, and more. She also researches ways to increase participation into adult education, provides portraits about adult education in Romania, promotes the benefits of lifelong learning, and proposes policy briefs for increasing participation into lifelong learning.