D. Erasmus Policy Statement
Please describe your institution's international (EU and non-EU) strategy. In your description please explain a) how you choose your partners, b) in which geographical area(s) and c) the most important objectives and target groups of your mobility activities (with regard to staff and students in first, second and third cycles, including study and training, and short cycles). If applicable, also explain how your institution participates in the development of double/multiple/joint degrees.
The internationalization strategy of “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu (LBUS) is to provide support for a sustainable development in study programs and research. Pursuant to the credo that innovative teaching content and methods result from cutting-edge research LBUS sees a very close connection between the two. Thus it is LBUS’s main goal for 2020 to strengthen its research and subsequently modernize teaching programs. Internationalization refers both to the integration of international dimensions in all activities and at all levels of the LBUS and to the active participation in defining external cooperation politics and structures among the accredited forums and the authorized institutions. The mission of LBUS is to provide students with a qualitative higher education that would correspond to the international requirements, as well as to educate modern reasoning personalities able to create and implant innovations in the areas of business, science, culture and technologies, and start their own business in an international environment.
a) LBUS has restructured its faculties in 2012 and gives decision power on degree program specific agreements to the faculties, fostering collaboration relations for research as well as teaching activities and actively participating in the quality assessment of partnerships. When it comes to university level, partnerships are chosen to cover one or more of the foci of LBUS – engineering, medicine, languages, humanities, theology, science, economics, business administration. LBUS considers quality in teaching and research, one of the most important criteria for a mutually beneficial partnership. LBUS also looks if the courses/study programs are offered in foreign languages.
b) LBUS has traditionally had strong European partnerships. Historically cultural and linguistic coverage shaped them resulting in networks with German speaking institutions, universities in francophone countries as well as countries from Central and Eastern Europe. It is the university’s objective to foster these partnerships and enlarge them with European universities with similar research interests. Sustainable partnerships need to be balanced thus the university aims to establish mutual beneficial partnerships covering all three educational cycles as well as staff mobility and research related actions.
Almost 80% of LBUS’ mobilities stem from Europe. Starting with 2008 LBUS took the strategic decision to enlarge its partnership network to Asia by joining Erasmus Mundus. This endeavor has been very successful leading to an increase of incoming staff and student mobilities in all three study cycles. It also triggered an increase in the number of courses provided in English language aswell as a general improvement in the study programs. The partnerships were then extended to China. LBUS’ aim is to increase the level of cooperation with Asian countries and start a similar partnership program with South American universities. Special focus will be laid on Argentina and Brazil in this context, being host of the Latin American Institute.
c) LBUS goal is to increase the general level of student and staff mobility in all cycles, with a special focus on incoming mobilities. The target ratio of mobile students is of 15% of mobile students compared to the yearly cohort. This is expected to be lower at Bachelor level, higher at a Master level (around 12%) and 100% at doctoral level where candidates are expected to complete a mobility before receiving their PhD. Strategically LBUS has decided to take teaching abroad periods into account in career advancement. Teachers are requested to have fulfilled at least one teaching assignment abroad before advancing to the next career level. Special focus will be given during the next six years to attract incoming students and staff through communication campaigns, a better internet presence and more activities in the partner networks.
One of the most important objectives of LBUS is to increase the mobility of students in all three cycles as well as teachers/staff mobility. Also our internationalization strategy encourages students and teachers to complete a mobility period. LBUS ensures the non-discriminating aspect, as race, religion, sex, disability – social and economic, among the beneficiaries selected for undertaking mobility.
Joint Degrees – is a long term strategic objective, the development of which shall be supported, thus contributing to the international visibility and enhancement of the educational quality at an institutional level. The internationalization of studies and development of Joint degree courses is a means to raise the attractiveness of LBUS as well as of the European Higher Education. The development of double/multiple/joint degrees has been a priority of LBUS since 2004, when it helped developing a Joint Master in Business Informatics. Several degree programs are available at LBUS both with partner institutions on a bilateral level, but also within Erasmus Mundus.
If applicable, please describe your institution's strategy for the organisation and implementation of international (EU and non-EU) cooperation projects in teaching and training in relation to projects implemented under the Programme.
LBUS aims to use inter-institutional partnership cooperation focusing on Key Action 1 and Key Action 2 for both its European and non-European partnerships. The organizational restructuring LBUS has undergone in 2012 – both on a faculty and on a central administration level – has led to a merging and change of teaching programs and restructuring of DIRCP. In the new structure the university strives to enhance accessibility for all learners and staff members to mobility programs. LBUS has used in the past inter-institutional partnership programs (Joint Degree Development Programmes, Intensive Programmes, Erasmus Mundus) to improve program and teaching quality as well as to foster internationalization. This strategic goal will be pursued also under the Program.
The development of summer courses into full programs, the reactivation of existing Joint Degree Programs as well as the introduction of competency-based degree programs represent objectives of LBUS. As such LBUS will enter into strategic partnerships and aim to engage in StrategicPartnership Projects funded by the Program in order to fulfill the areas highlighted in the university strategy.
In order to attain these goals projects on how to foster the employability of employees, innovation and entrepreneurship are possible topics. Of almost equal importance are criteria for pedagogical skills for the selection and advancement process for teaching staff as well as the employability IT support platforms for distance and e-Learning. LBUS will continue to pursue its effort to international cooperation and capacity building projects by extending the existing cooperation with Asian countries and extending it to selected South American and Australian universities.
Please explain the expected impact of your participation in the Programme on the modernisation of your institution (for each of the 5 priorities of the Modernisation Agenda*) in terms of the policy objectives you intend to achieve.
LBUS expects the five priorities of the Modernization Agenda to impact it as follows:
1) LBUS prepares education competent experts with labor market transferable skills. It does this both on site in Sibiu but also through its distance learning centers. Thus student groups which would not have the necessary access to a higher education are able to attain this type of education. Enlargement of mobility programs will foster internationalization for all, bring quality improvement to curricula and help creating more innovative and flexible learning environments. Starting from a transparent selection process, a clear career model and tenure track LBUS aims to attract high-potential candidates for research and teaching positions. Opportunities of international cooperation, professional and financial incentives aim to attain a high level of motivation for competent researchers and teachers.
2) After its organizational restructuring LBUS has started the restructuring of its study programs. In order to modernize curricula also in a labor market relevant way a committee composed of enterprise representatives, labor market institutions and academics has been established at the faculties to consult in the curricula change. Thus the design of the curricula is pursued in a way to attain employability for graduates. This process will especially benefit from the Program under the realm of Strategic Partnerships which will provide a holistic cooperation framework, including research and mobility.
ICT development and the opportunities it offers in streamlining administration services are of special interest to LBUS. Also technological advances supporting the provision of high-level education are especially important to LBUS as it sees in it a strategic opportunity to leverage its teaching activities to even more diverse groups of students – not only on local level but also internationally (for example in Asian partner universities). The inclusion of ICT project and of non-EU partnerships in the Program is thus expected to benefit LBUS greatly.
3) In coordination with the second priority LBUS aims to include where possible mobility requirements in new/modernized curricula. Capacity building projects are considered interesting here by LBUS.
4) The university aims to apply for funding where it can learn how to build up knowledge triangles and also sustainably implement them. LBUS will especially benefit here from learning how to facilitate knowledge transfer from research to application and include cutting edge research into teaching. The university has already strong partnerships with local institutions and business and the Program will help to improve their quality.
5) Increasing efficiency through the use of ICT to provide streamlined services will free up funds to be used in growth enhancing areas within the institution. Thus as far as possible LBUS will aim to learn from policy projects.