Erasmus Policy Statement (Overall strategy)
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 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. (max. 5000 characters).
The University of Bialystok is located in the north-eastern part of Poland, in multicultural area where you can find not only Polish, but also Russian, Belorussian, German, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Tatar and Jewish heritage. Therefore the University is working on establishing the network of the eastern Borderland Universities Network to promote the development of our region of Europe. We also aim to promote the EU in non-member neighboring states - including our values, such as freedom, tolerance, equality, non-discrimination. We are focused on our partner universities located in the border regions of neighboring states. Our first task is to start complete cycles of study in foreign languages: European Studies in English and Russian (Master level - Faculty of Law); International Economic Relations in English (Bachelor and Master levels – Faculty of Economics and Management), Russian and English Philologies (Bachelor and Master levels – Faculty of Philology). The studies, which should start in October 2013, will be addressed mainly to students from countries outside the EU. Our goal is to create our University as a studies’ centre for students from outside the EU. The Erasmus for All Programme will be an important tool to achieve such goal. If the Programme extends to non-participating countries we wish to establish as much partnerships with Univesities from Eastern Europe as possible (especially Russia, Belarus, Ukraine). More degree programmes in foreign languages will be opened soon. We are the first Polish university, which has a Faculty functioning abroad. It is the Faculty of Economics and Informatics in Vilnius, Lithuania. We are planning to develop this Faculty, possibly by offering European studies. This follows our important direction towards East. Our other important goal is to help our compatriots living outside eastern border by offering higher education in their mother tongue. These students can be subsequently motivated to play the role of our bridge towards East.
The selection of partners under LLP Erasmus is based on individual contacts of the academic staff, who usually initiate cooperation and then propose the agreements to the coordinators. Some faculties choose partners through participation in networks of faculties (Faculty of Law, Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology). Outside the Programme our partners are selected in the similar way. New contacts are also established through participation in the educational fairs. According to the University’s Strategy, “an important task is related to giving our students possibility of obtaining knowledge in foreign HEIs and to opening our University for foreign students. The didactic offer in English will be offered at each Faculty”. Therefore in years 2014-2020 the University of Bialystok aims to increase the number of partner institutions under the Programme, especially from those EU countries, which are not or weakly represented (UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland). We understand it requires the highest quality offer for partners from these countries. We would like to have partners in all participating countries. We wish to increase the number of students and teachers taking part in the programme. Our goals are: 200 outgoing, 100 incoming students each year under Erasmus Programme. We plan to find more partners in new EU member state countries, because they are more interested in the exchange. We are also planning to pay bigger attention to multilateral projects such as Intensive Programmes, Tempus, Comenius and thematic networks. They will be connected with the special character of our multicultural and multinational region and with the scientific interests of teachers. Especially programs related to EU law and European studies are worth mentioning. We are also planning to increase number of staff mobility. Main activity will be connected with encouraging these faculties, which are now involved in programme in smaller scale (Biology and Chemistry, Mathematics and Informatics). The academic staff mobility will play important role in our strategy, since it helps to improve foreign languages efficiency and teaching qualifications, helps to introduce new teaching methods and facilitates the exchange of teaching experiences.
The establishment of double/multiple joint degrees is under our consideration, although our earlier attempts were not successful, mainly because of the difficulties arising from Polish law. We will continue the efforts to establish joint degrees.
University of Bialystok draws great attention to the employability of its students. Therefore we are trying to adjust our didactic offer to the labour market. Improving language competences of our students and staff is an important tool, which helps to gain experience abroad. We also constantly aspire to improve the quality of research. Through visibility and sustainable development the University strives to be an attractive place to study for polish and foreign students.
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 (max. 2000 characters)
The experience arising from the participation in the Programme is constantly applied at our University. Among many other initiatives, we organize summer schools of law for international students (Russian and American), schools of Polish language for foreigners. While organizing new courses for international students, also from non-participating countries, we pay big attention to ensure high quality in academic mobility activities. We will involve teachers for our LLP Erasmus partner institutions in teaching new courses. We are also planning to enable Erasmus students to take part in courses offered for students from non - EU countries. While being enrolled at our University, these students will be entitled to take the advantages of the Erasmus Programme by studying in our partner institutions. We guarantee full recognition of credits obtained abroad. The procedures which will be applied to them should be the same as to regular Polish students. We expect successful candidate to speak foreign language, to have good results in learning so far and to express strong motivation to study abroad.
Please explain the expected impact of your participation in the Programme on the modernization of your institution (for each of the 5 priorities of the Modernization Agenda) in terms of the policy objectives you intend to achieve. (max. 3000 characters)
As Europe needs to attract a broader cross-section of society into higher education, we will try to: increase the number of students at our University, including those coming from non-participating in Erasmus countries. Thanks to the international mobility studying at our University should be attractive for future students. We will be able to show them the advantages of the internationalized higher education in the search for jobs. Student placements will play important role. The possibility of international contacts through the Programme will attract young researchers to continue their research.
The quality of education will be achieved through: full recognition of studying abroad, wider offer of courses taught in foreign languages, developing language skills of teachers and students, organizing lectures of incoming researchers. Through the participation in the Programme teachers will have motivation to improve their teaching skills and to internationalize their research. It will enable more effective and personalized learning experiences and teaching methods (e-learning etc.). This will attract best students, academics and researchers from outside the EU (from our partner neighboring HEIs). We are developing new forms of cross-border cooperation (new degree programmes and courses in English or Russian will be opened). The recruitment process will be transparent and working conditions for teachers will be on high level. We plan to increase the student mobility by more than 20%.
Effective links between education, research and business are necessary for improving the continuum between basic and applied research and for transfer of the knowledge to the market and business. The efforts to improve these links will be continued at our institution by the Careers’ Office, which is helping our students to contact possible employers. The Office keeps permanent contact with local business. The Rector has established the Consultation Council, which is responsible for adjusting educational offer to the market needs. The University is taking part in two clusters: Business Environment Institution and Eastern Construction Cluster. They establish close links between University and entrepreneurs. The Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics is conducting the project “Modern and Effective Education in Cooperation with Business” which aims to connect researchers and business. Our Institution has the ambition to be one of the leaders in driving economic development in our region. Teaching professionals (courses for local administration, teachers and business) play important role in this strategy.
The University’s task is to organize more flexible governance and funding systems. This will be achieved by new system of grants and scholarships. Funding coming from the Programme will enable to raise the qualifications of the administrative staff. The financial procedures under the Programme, fully transparent, can be adopted in other fields of the University’s activity.