University of Agder Erasmus Policy Statement
The overall strategy for the University of Agder was adopted by University Board in October 2009 and revised in September 2012. This strategy plan is a working tool for the entire university and includes all the important issues connected to the development of UiA for the years 2010-2015.
International relations is an important aspect of the university profile. It is a substantial part of the overall strategy and the basis for a specific action plan which will be developed in 2013-2014. Internationalsation of the UiA is not included as a separate section in the university strategy document but it is related to and reflected in all parts of the strategy. The main vision is to be a strong driving force in the region, possessing nationally significant and internationally respected educational programmes and research environments.
Having implemented the Bologna structures (3 cycles, ECTS-credits, grading scale etc) and the Diploma Supplement as early as 2003, the University of Agder was the first Norwegian institution to be awarded the ECTS/DS labels in 2004. This achievement was the result of an institutional strategy emphasizing the importance of internationalisation at home and participation of students and staff in European and other international exchange programmes as well as European multilateral projects. UiA is continuing to contribute nationally and internationally to the further promotion of ECTS exchange proceedings and principles.
UiA has two major perspectives on internationalsation - a comprehensive collaboration with the best universities in various parts of the world, aiming at improving academic quality and increasing international recognition, and, second, involvement in global challenges through a long-lasting partnership and cooperation with universities in low and middle income countris (LMIC) in the South and East as well as BRIC-countries in order to contribute to building competence and capacity for development.
These two perspectives are creating the basis for the choice of partners by the University of Agder. The current portfolio of cooperation agreements, both Erasmus interinstitutional agreements, other agreements and MoUs with HEIs from participating and non-participating countries consists of 315 agreements with HEIs in many countries of the world. Therefore for 2014-2020 the main task will be to evaluate and optimise the existing portfolio in order to increase the student and staff mobility numbers. However, UiA will support new agreements that will be initiated or evaluated positively by one or several faculties, the Central Administration or agreements based on the proposals of new possible partners and approved by the UiA's faculties. The faculties together with the International Education Office may also initiate a cooperation agreement with a new partner based on suggestions from students, who are willing to take specific courses that can not be provided by one or several of the existing partners.
UiA will continue to cooperate with the HEIs in Europe both in participating and non-participating countries and pay close attention to the development of relations with HEIs in North, Central and South Americas, as well as LMIC and BRIC-countries. The geographical areas of interest could also be defined by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (for example by creation of specific programs as Norway-India, Norway-Brasil, Norway-Russia etc).
UiA will focus on the following important objectives and target groups of mobility activities:
UiA will continue to encourage placement partnerships, although this type of cooperation has so far generated only marginal mobility compared to academic mobility, mainly due to the structure of UiA's study programmes where only few of them include placements. Placement partnerships are and will be established mainly through existing academic links with universities acting as facilitators.
By increasing the administrative support to the faculties, UiA will encourage them to develop double/multiple/joing degrees with a limited number of partner universities, based on the existing cooperation and by recognising the creation of such programs as a next step in the cooperation development process. This will be described in detail in the upcoming action plan for internationalisation at the University of Agder.
The strategy of the University of Agder defines active participation in an international academic environment as one of its main objectives. This includes an increase in the number of study programmes taught in English, focus on good international collaborative partners and facilitation of mobility for both students and staff. Based on this objective, UiA will seek participation in various cooperation projects under the Programme that include, but are not restricted to, the development of strategic partnerships, knowledge alliances and capacity building projects with HEIs in the Third countries (LMIC and/or BRIC-countries, non-participating European countries and North America). The University of Agder has a strong tradition of participation in international education and research projects, and this experience will be widely used in future projects under the Programme.
The UiA's strategy for participation in international cooperation projects implemented under the Programme (both as project coordinator and as a partner) aims at strengthening internationalisation by relating it more systematically to research and education activities, developing the position of the University of Agder as a HEI responsible for its own region, characterised by a strong international orientation, assuming global responsibility and contributing to sustainable sosietal development. A close link between education and research will enable the University of Agder to continue promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the society by offering relevant learning opportunities which include relevant exchange periods abroad, placement and traineeship opportunities and focus on a global dimension of the education. A more detailed strategy for UiA's organisation and implementation of international cooperation programmes under the Programme will be presented after the final version of the Programme will be adopted by the European legislators and a specific Call for Proposals will be published.
UiA will give a clear priority to participation in the Key Action 1: student and staff mobility (both within Europe and to/from Third countries). UiA will also encourage the faculties to participate in joint degrees as a part of the modernisation process. According to the Norwegian legislation every student is entitled to an exchange period abroad if he or she wishes so. In order to assure high quality in study programmes all students at the UiA are also offered the opportunity to go abroad for one semester or two as a part of their degree. These factors have also strengthened UiA's intention to participate actively in the Key Action 1.
Key Action 2: strategic partnerships, knowledge alliances, capacity building both with countries in Europe and Third countries, will also be a part of UiA's strategy for participation in the Programme. In this Key Action, the University of Agder plans to participate both as project coordinator and as a partner. Many of UiA's faculties have a wide experience in project development and implementation both in research and education (EU's FP, various projects funded by the Norwegian Ministries, Research Council as well as SIU, Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education). This valuable experience will be used as a basis for future projects within Key Action 2.
At the present moment, UiA is still considering possible participation in the Key Action 3: networks and policy support measures. This decision will be taken after the publication of the specific Call for proposals by the EU.
Participation in the Key Actions of the Programme will have a direct impact on the modernisation of the UiA. The overall strategy of the University underlines the necessity of being a strong driving force in southern Norway, becoming an active contributor to innovation in the public and private sectors and promoting itself as a HEI that responds to global challenges in education and research.
By taking part in Key Actions 1 and 2, the University of Agder will respond to the priorities defined by the EU's Modernisation Agenda. UiA will increase the attainment levels to provide the graduates and researchers Europe needs by promoting the modern study programmes with a study abroad component, improve the quality and relevance of higher education by supporting staff exchanges, foster employability and entrepreneurship and involve enterprises in the design and delivery of programmes; strengthen the quality through mobility and cross-border cooperation by supporting the mobility componend in all study programmes; link higher education, research and business for excellence and regional development by realising the goals outlined in the overall strategy of the UiA; improve governance and funding by development of new strategic alliances, obtaining the HR Excellence in Research logo etc.
The strategy of the UiA is published on the official webpage
Responsible for this page: Thomas Fiskå <thomas.fiskaSPAMFILTER@uia.no (Remove SPAMFILTER from the address)>