Part 1: Why we participate in Erasmus
What would you like to achieve by participating in the Erasmus Programme? How does your participation in the Erasmus Programme fit into your institutional internationalisation and modernisation strategy?
The University of Skövde is one of the most profiled universities in Sweden and we provide high quality education, competitive research and close and continuous collaboration with industry. Our research activities focus on the development and use of advanced information technology systems and models aiming to find smart solutions for the future and for the benefit of business and society. The education areas are mainly focused on the disciplines in which the University conducts strong research.
The University’s vision can be summarised in the key words; academic profiling, excellence, and care for students, staff and society. Digitalisation for sustainable development is the unifying theme for the University, meaning that perspectives on digitalisation and sustainability in different ways are to be integrated into the activities of our seat of learning. Both within education and research, the University can use the transformative power of digitalisation as a tool for contributing to a sustainable society. The University has for many years also recognised globalisation of higher education as an important move towards worldwide equitable and sustainable development. The University is committed to take part in different activities related to modernising our institution. We also aim to contribute to achieve the European Education Area objectives as are addressed in our key policy themes.
The participation in the Erasmus programme will significantly assist the University’s goal for internationalisation:
Inclusive and internationalised education
The University’s mission is to offer high-quality and attractive education that has a strong link to research and proven experience. Our aim is to embed an international dimension in all our curricula. We strive to recruit talented students and staff from diverse backgrounds to enrich and strengthen the quality of the education. Our aim is to provide our graduates with opportunities for professional and personal development during their studies. Students will gain intercultural understanding, language skills and networks which will strengthen their transnational identity and prepare them for a globalised society. This will increase their employability to serve in the economy, politics and administration in various organisations globally.
The University actively and consciously encourages mobility of all students, in all our disciplines, at all levels, as well as traineeships. The goal is to increase the number of incoming and outgoing students to contribute to the development of our international learning environment. At least 15% of the students who graduate from the University will have taken part in a study or a work placement abroad. Our aim is also to increase the number of non-mobile students taking part in various internationalisation activities.
The University strives to offer students and staff an excellent and inclusive learning environment, which is the hallmark for modern university education. This is achieved by pedagogical development, internationalisation, student impact, good infrastructure, well-developed student support and the use of digitalisation. We want to academically engage all students within a safe, sustainable and collaborative setting based on participation, collaboration, sharing knowledge and care for the individual. An inclusive approach also characterises the University’s work for equality and equal opportunities, where students and staff with special needs and from underrepresented groups are given customised support. We promote the development of active student community and campus life that includes all students.
Pedagogical and scientific development is a natural part of the University’s activities as well as the career advancement of individual teachers. The teachers are encouraged to use a variety of pedagogical methods to enhance quality of education and to support student-centred learning. International exchange for faculty and staff, alongside involvement in international activities and networks, provide an excellent opportunity for continuous pedagogic and professional development, which is strongly encouraged by the University.
Collaboration in education and research
The University seeks to have selected partnerships and engage in various consortia, networks and associations based on mutual benefits. These collaborations will support the University in reaching the institutional-wide goals for internationalisation and contribute to the exploration of new and innovative forms of international activities.
The University emphasises on building strong links to the industry on a regional, national and international level, ensuring that our teaching, learning as well as research meet the ever changing needs of industry and society. Collaboration and innovation are supported by platforms for collaboration where higher education and society meet. The platforms will foster the use of research results and transfer of knowledge and competence between partners. The cooperation with the industry contributes to the development of innovative study programmes/projects and gives students opportunities for entrepreneurship and traineeships.
The University’s research is conducted to make a fundamental contribution to the international research community and global societal development, which is strengthened by strategic collaboration with other universities. International collaborative publications, i.e. publications with co-authors from a foreign university, is encouraged by the University. The goal is that at least 45% of publications constitute international co-publications.
Special efforts will be made by the University in order to raise the level of external funding since this strengthens the long-term durability in education and research, including internationalisation activities.
The University of Skövde is currently preparing itself according to the European Human Resources Strategy for Researchers. The aim with this certification is to increase the University’s attractiveness as a stakeholder for internationally competitive research.
We are continuously working with improving governance through a structured, transparent and effective organisation with adequate resources allocated.
Participation in the Erasmus programme
The Erasmus programme is implemental for the University of Skövde to achieve its internationalisation goals to increase the exchange of knowledge within and beyond Europe, to enhance the European dimension in education, to support excellence of the learning environment and innovative research in the region, and thus to support regional development. The Erasmus programme is an exclusive opportunity for students, teachers and researchers to establish long-term collaborations in education and research that in turn will undoubtedly support increased cooperation and collaboration in education and research. It will also provide the foundation for joint grant applications to attract resources for new study programmes and research activities.
Part 2: Actions we plan to take part in
Please reflect on the Erasmus actions you would like to take part in and explain how they will be implemented in practice at your institution. Please explain how your institution’s participation in these actions will contribute to achieving the objectives of your institutional strategy.
The University of Skövde encourages and supports students, faculties and departments to engage in various activities offered by the Programme. The International Office provides advice and guidance on developing proposals, based on the interest and needs of the departments, as well as support for managing projects. The University has for many years participated in various mobility programmes and international cooperation projects and the Support Services has well established structures and routines in place to carry out the activities in close cooperation with the academic staff.
Participation in Erasmus Key Action 1 (KA1) – Learning mobility is essential for the University as it will provide opportunities for its students, teachers, researchers and administrative staff to gain a global outlook and increase their professional, social and intercultural skills needed in an increasingly global environment. One of the University’s key objectives is to increase the mobility of students, mainly first and second cycle students for short-term study periods and traineeships, but also PhD students. In order to succeed with this the University intends to take the following measures:
- Ensure that there is a mobility window within each degree programme, which in some cases may require a changed programme structure.
- Review our partnerships and select partners that are both compatible with and complementary to the degree programmes we offer. Each degree programme should have at least two partners with compatible courses in English to facilitate the recognition and transfer of credits, which is already in place for some degree programmes.
- Improve the quality of the cooperation with our partners through close dialogues at academic and administrative levels.
- Continue to promote and encourage participation in mobility activities among all our students. Special efforts will be made towards underrepresented groups. This could be achieved by using incoming and outgoing students as ambassadors to a greater extent.
- Increase academic staff’s involvement in the promotion of student mobility.
- Constantly improve the support and services offered to students to facilitate participation in mobility activities, for example, by implementing the European Student Card Initiative.
- Implement new mobility activities offered within the Programme such as blended mobility. This will likely increase the participation from groups with fewer opportunities including students with family responsibilities or students enrolled in degree programmes where mobility opportunities are limited.
- Support our students in finding relevant, high quality placements in collaboration with our partners. Special focus will be given to Traineeships in digital skills.
- Develop joint master programmes with student mobility embedded as a standard feature.
- Develop more double degree opportunities for incoming students. Students taking their final year in a bachelor or master programme will have the possibility to receive a degree from the University of Skövde.
- Increase the opportunities for PhD students to participate in mobility by developing new partnership agreements and, where possible, include PhD level mobility in existing agreements.
- Continue to develop an attractive and well-constructed selection of courses and study programmes in English to recruit a diverse group of international students.
The University intends to participate in programme activities that aim to develop virtual mobility opportunities that will also allow non-mobile students to be involved in the international arena without leaving their home institution.
Teacher mobility is the backbone for building long-lasting relationships and the basis of sustainable student mobility. The University aims to increase outgoing as well as incoming teacher mobility through targeted opportunities rather than relying solely on individual initiatives. The outcomes will be utilized in a more systematic way for the development of the education for e.g. by curriculum development, development of new pedagogical methods and by adding an international and multicultural dimension to the learning environment. As the majority of the University’s teachers are also involved in research activities, teacher exchanges are usually combined with research discussions to reinforce the existing and establish new research collaborations. The administrative staff is also encouraged to participate in training activities abroad to share best practices, network and gain new ideas to bring into their roles.
Even though the University fully supports staff mobility for teaching and administrative staff, the University will need to take further steps in order to increase the participation in mobility activities by e.g. increase of incentives, continued promotion and added visibility.
While learning mobility has a great impact on an individual level and contributes to improve the quality of education and research, cooperation projects such as Partnership for Excellence – European Universities will have a more profound impact on an institutional and societal level. The University of Skövde recognizes the importance of developing strong, strategic partnerships with universities within and beyond Europe. By collaborating with universities who share the same vision and values as the University, we can achieve objectives which cannot be achieved alone and are therefore in a better position to meet the challenges facing society on a regional, national and global level.
The University’s objective to participate in Partnership for Excellence – European Universities is to generate a more integrated cooperation framework with universities that goes beyond our existing bilateral cooperation and could potentially involve education, research, management, industrial relations and internationalisation at all levels (students, scholars, early stage and experienced researchers, staff). An integration of the participating universities academic offer into e.g. open degrees and joint programmes will significantly increase student and staff mobility, physical and virtual, which will be embedded as a standard feature of the study programmes. Research collaboration may involve joint supervision of PhD thesis, joint research projects, co-authorship of papers, and submission of joint applications for obtaining research grants.
The University intends to participate in Partnership for Excellence – Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree applications together with a consortium of partner universities. The aim is to contribute to the development of excellent study programmes to attract the best-qualified students within and beyond Europe.
The University also aims to participate in Partnerships for Cooperation and exchanges of practices, particularly in the activity Strategic Partnerships. This will give the University an opportunity to develop and share innovative practices, peer learning and exchange of experiences.
As Key Action 2 activities can be extensive and requires a high level of commitment and participation at all levels of the organisation, we will therefore have to choose projects that are in line with our objectives.
Part 3: Our envisaged impact
What is the envisaged impact of your participation in the Erasmus+ Programme on your institution? Please reflect on targets, as well as qualitative and quantitative indicators in monitoring this impact (such as mobility targets for student/staff mobility, quality of the implementation, support for participants on mobility, increased involvement in cooperation projects (under the KA2 action), sustainability/long-term impact of projects etc.) You are encouraged to offer an indicative timeline for achieving the targets related to the Erasmus+ actions.
The participation in the Erasmus+ programme is expected to lead to an increase in the number of students and staff participating in mobility activities. At least 15% of the students who graduate from the University will have taken part in a study or a work placement abroad. The University also expects an increased participation from underrepresented study areas and groups through new flexible mobility opportunities such as blended mobility. An increased and relevant offer of courses and degree programmes in English will support a growth in the number of international students. Staff mobility will have become an integrated part of the teachers’ and administrative staff’s professional development and will contribute to the development of the learning environment in a more structured way. Staff mobility will also strengthen the international dimension in the education.
The University’s participation in cooperation projects such as Partnership for Excellence – European Universities is expected to reform the University and improve its structures and operations. The institutionalised cooperation will enhance the quality in our education and research as well as increase our attractiveness. By pooling the participating universities’ resources together great opportunities will be created for students, teaching staff, researchers, and industry. The activities will have an impact on the individual level as well as on society at large, by increased industry connection and through the dissemination of the activities’ results. The participation in Strategic Partnerships will have strengthened the University’s cooperation and networking with other universities and led to the implementation of new and innovative practices. The development of joint master degree programmes within the framework of Partnership for Excellence – Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees will increase the inflow of talented students from all over the world as well as increase the student and teacher mobility. We also expect an impact on the quality and attractiveness of all our master programmes.
The University’s mobility and cooperation targets can only be achieved through high quality and sustainable partnerships. The University will select well-suited partners that are both compatible with and complementary to the degree programmes and research activities we offer. The University has guidelines for the establishment and evaluation of international cooperation agreements. Before signing new Erasmus+ Inter Institutional Agreements for the implementation of this Programme, the University will carefully review all current and new partnerships.
The University’s five Schools and Support Services set up targets for their internationalisation activities in their 3-year activity plan. The activities may vary over time depending on the specific needs and priorities of each the Schools, but are in line with the objectives in the University’s internationalisation strategy and contribute to achieving the overall goals. The implementation of the activities and the effectiveness is being followed up by the University management through regular dialogue meetings and in the University’s Annual Report. The International Office generally coordinates the international activities. The Schools and the Support Services are responsible for the implementation. The International Office has a very close collaboration with the academic staff at the Schools and has regular meetings with international academic coordinators.
The implementation of incoming and outgoing mobility activities are followed up on regular basis through meetings with students and staff, Erasmus final reports, travel reports and student surveys, as well as through dialogue with programme coordinators for the degree programmes. The University constantly strives to improve and develop the processes and services to ensure that all students and staff have equal opportunities to participate in and carry out mobility activities with high quality. A good dialogue with partner universities is also essential to ensure that students receive accurate information regarding the courses, application process, accommodation etc.
Long-term impact of our participation in the Erasmus Programme:
- Contributed to creating truly multicultural learning and research environments
- Implementation of new approaches to education and training
- Increased attractiveness, which enhances our possibility to attract high quality students, staff and
- researchers nationally and internationally
- Establishment of strong and sustainable partnerships
- Improved internal structures and increased quality in education and research
- Incorporation of digital technology in administration and education