Erasmus Policy



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 areas
c)    the most important objectives and target groups of 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.

According to its strategy, the West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin (WPUT) aims to provide up-to-date knowledge and relevant training enabling its graduates to function successfully as competent and ethical professionals in the innovative, modern knowledge-based economy. This objective will be achieved by developing high quality interdisciplinary research, teaching and training focused on complementary approach to issues including engineering, technological, natural and economic aspects. WPUT acknowledges that widely accessible opportunities to gain international learning experience and competences should be build in the educational process, which is the major requisite for its graduates future employability on the dynamic international labour market. In the area of teaching and training the strategy focuses on the following key areas: 1) increasing credit mobility (study and placement periods), 2) increasing incoming credit and degree mobility, 3) continuous enhancing of the quality of academic mobility, 4) increasing access to internationalization at home for non-mobile students, 5) enhancing the participation in international cooperation projects with special emphasis on development of joint study programmes. These objectives apply to partners located both in participating and third countries.
In the view of the above, partner selection is a matter of careful consideration. It is based on compatible academic profiles, common research and teaching areas and interests and study programmes comparable in terms of learning outcomes. Establishing a new partnership with a HEI, its profile and course offer are analysed to ensure full academic recognition and consultations take place at faculty and central levels. Existing agreements are monitored and periodically reviewed to ensure active cooperation and identify areas in which cooperation could be deepened. Selecting partners for placement and training, the profile of the partner is checked beforehand to ensure the compatibility of the effects of the individual training programme with the learning outcomes envisaged for a given study area. In building partnerships, efforts are made to achieve a realistic balance between specific geographical locations, academic interests and financing opportunities.

The choice of geographical areas has been determined by historic and political developments to some extent. Agreements with many partners, especially non-UE (mainly Southern/Eastern Europe and Asia regions), were signed before 1989 and then regularly prolonged. Active cooperation developed before 1989 is the sound basis for present cooperation involving student and staff mobility as well as joint teaching/training and research projects with partner institutions. Due to new cooperation opportunities open after 1998, new partnerships with EU partners have been established and existing cooperation with the former communist and now EU partners (eastern Germany and Central Europe) have been strengthened by signing renewed inter-institutional agreements. Considering the geographic location and environmental /economic /social /historical issues, the cooperation with Germany and Baltic and Scandinavian countries is appreciated.

The most important objectives of WPUT’s mobility activities are increasing the outgoing mobility for study periods and placements, increasing  the incoming credit and degree mobility and increasing the number of exchanged teaching and training staff flows, seen as important factors enhancing of the quality of teaching and training. The target groups include student in all cycles with a slight emphasis on the 1st cycle often requiring a specific information and awareness campaign promoting the benefits and results of mobility activities. Staff mobility enhancing teaching skills and international competences is seen as an element of a wider human resources development process. A special emphasis is placed on encouraging young staff members to participate in international teaching flows, seen also as an opportunity to network and develop international cooperation projects. With regard to international training mobility a special target group are administrative staff members involved in providing service to mobile students and staff as well as supporting cooperation projects.

Development of joint programmes with built-in mobility paths is seen as a means of sustainable internationalization process. Currently, WPUT is a partner in two such programmes. European Civil Engineering Management Course (1st cycle) developed by a consortium of 4 HEIs including WPUT is currently implemented at 13 HEIs (12 EU and 1 non-EU). The other programme is MUNDUS European Master in advanced ship design EMSHIP. Drawing on the relevant experience,  WPUT intends to enter international partnerships aimed at the development of joint programmes ending, if possible, in double/multiply/joint degrees, which has been formulated as a strategic objective.

If applicable, please describe your institution’s strategy for the organization and implementation of international (EU and non-EU) cooperation projects in teaching and training in relation to projects implemented under the Programme.

Enhancing WPUT’s participation in international cooperation projects in teaching and training is one of the strategic objectives. A special emphasis is placed on developing joint programmes seen as a means of sustainable internationalization and modernization.

The strategy for organization and implementation of international cooperation projects includes establishing a structure supporting development of joint programmes (including complex counseling on accreditation/legal procedures), enhancing the quality of the existing support system for project development at initial stages (pre-application or pre-agreement stage), improving the existing system of financial support for implemented projects, introducing a motivation system for academic staff involved in projects as well as continuing the relevant information and promotion campaign.

With regard to establishing strategic partnerships, WPUT intends to analyse and exploit the opportunities to develop joint projects with the existing partners (both EU and non-EU) in identified priority areas, taking into consideration institutional capacity of all involved parties. Decisions concerning new partners will also be preceded by careful consideration in terms of matching interests and objectives.
At the central level coordination of organization and implementation of international educational projects (EU and non-EU) falls in the scope of responsibilities of the Vice-Rector for Educational Matters. The administrative unit providing relevant service includes quality assurance department and international cooperation department. The latter will coordinate and manage mobility projects, counsel formal aspects of international cooperation projects and initiatives at the initial stages, provide service for outgoing (credit mobility) and incoming students (credit and degree mobility) and staff (teaching and training flows). At the faculty level project organisation is supported by faculty coordinators appointed by the dean.  

Please explain the expected impact of your participation in the Programme on the modernization of your institution (for each of 5 priorities of the Modernisation Agenda) in terms of policy objectives you intend to achieve.

WPUT’s participation in the Programme is expected to have an impact on institutional modernization in the following areas referred to in the MA:

•    Mobility of students and staff and realising international cooperation projects linked with public result dissemination will provide indicators of the current level of internationalization, inform the public of the benefits of continuing education and academic mobility and contribute to positive perception of higher education as such. The visibility of WPUT will be increased, which may result in attracting more candidates, also from outside EU. This will in turn require modernization of WPUT's infrastructure. Due to its profile, WPUT will provide more highly qualified graduates in the areas seen as priority for social and economic well-being; many of them are expected to undertake jobs in the R&D sector (Priority 1)

•    Increasing the number of mobiles student and staff members and providing conditions for internationalization at home is expected to contribute to equipping graduates with skills and competences necessary for the dynamic labour market, which in turn will enhance their employability. Participation of staff members will contribute to overall professional development of human resources. Knowledge and expertise transferred as a result of individual mobility and international cooperation projects will be used while revising curricula to match them better with labour market demands (Priority 2)

•    Increasing the student mobility numbers and quality will require constant monitoring of curricula and recognition procedures in order to improve them further and remove any potential obstacles. Flexible curricula, including joint programmes with built-in mobility paths and transparent procedures will increase student mobility numbers, which addresses the EHEA objective of 20% mobile students set by 2020. Visible participation in international cooperation projects is expected to attract non-EU students and academics, which should further enhance the quality of teaching and training (Priority 3)

•    Student training mobility stimulating entrepreneurial skills and staff exchange for teaching and training purposes are expected to help build strategic partnerships with business partners; efforts will be made to invite business representatives to propose and evaluate the teaching content and realize teaching flows in the framework of staff mobility. Mobility activities and participation in international cooperation projects will facilitate transfer of knowledge and innovation, which should contribute to brain gain and stimulating the regional economy; the vital issue in the West Pomerania with the current ca. 19% level of unemployment (Priority 4)

•    Increased number of international cooperation projects will require monitoring and revising the existing management and funding structures and available human resources in order to ensure effective project realisation and quality results (Priority 5).

Szczecin, 30 April 2013