Universitatea Politehnica Timișoara

Erasmus Policy Statement


Politehnica University of Timisoara (UPT) is mainly focused on carrying out projects that support the institution’s development strategy, and help contributing to the edification of the European Education Area. The institution will continue to expand its cooperation with other HEIs in Europe and worldwide for the joint implementation of educational solutions that foster the adoption of best practices, as well as joint development of curricula, teaching and learning resources, policies and regulations that build the brand of European education, but at the same time increase the international visibility of the university. Participation in European and/or international projects and particularly in the Erasmus programme is a central aspect of the institution’s internationalisation and modernisation strategy. The prestige of UPT as a higher education institution is justified though the quality of the educational programmes as tested on the labour market over the time by more than 130000 graduates.

During the next decade, UPT is committed to educate and deliver graduates with high international knowledge and skills, capable to perform in a global economic competition and to answer the challenges of a dynamic labour market. They must be empowered with intercultural competences, which should help them to integrate naturally and rapidly in social groups with various cultural characteristics. This requires a dynamic participation in international alliances and partnerships for education and research purposes with foreign universities and companies. Working together, exchanging knowledge and results is the solution for a rapid progress, both for the university and for its partners. The Strategic Plan for Internationalisation of the University (www.upt.ro/international in Romanian, English version) outlines that internationalisation is a key process in fulfilling this goal and the active participation in the Erasmus programmes within all the key actions is the main way of achieving the objectives.

UPT is guided by the vision contained within the description of the European Education Area, where spending time abroad to study and learn should become the norm, where knowing two languages in addition to one’s mother tongue should be standard, everyone should be able to access high-quality education irrespective of socio-economic background and people should have a strong sense of their identity as European citizens. For these reasons, increasing the number of Erasmus participants, developing foreign languages skills and improving the attitude of active European citizen are natural targets for the Erasmus contribution of the institution. Making use of the strong digital resources, UPT will promote blended mobility and virtual cooperation, the new Erasmus trends that allow a substantial increase of the number of participants and participations.

UPT will be a welcoming host for a higher number of foreign Erasmus participants, offering them similar facilities and rights to those of own community members. Incoming mobilities will be organized to integrate participants in the local society, and to stimulate their civic engagement in extra-curricular activities. In this way, UPT will develop the new characteristic of the Erasmus programme and will benefit of the internationalization at home, because local students and staff will take advantage of the interaction with incoming participants.

In defining the internationalisation strategy for the next period, UPT considered the country specific recommendations for Romania, made by the EU Commission within the European Semester 2019: to improve the quality and inclusiveness of education, in particular for disadvantaged groups, including the education at university level. Improving soft skills, problem solving, teamwork and communication, digital competency by increasing the labour market relevance of higher education are expected. Offering to its graduates a degree in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) in an interdisciplinary and applied approach will be synchronised with a better alignment to the labour market. It will be focused on equal opportunities for students from various disadvantaged groups (low income families, students from rural areas, roma ethnics ...). Students with disabilities will be consistently supported to gain an independent living and to access employment with the same chance as all others. UPT strongly needs to exchange teaching and learning experience and methodology with higher institutions within Europe and worldwide to implement these objectives. The best framework for this experience is the Erasmus programme, which became a natural approach of being European during 25 years of UPT participation in its activities.

Through the participation in the Erasmus programme during the next seven years, UPT aims to develop projects linking the world of education with the world of work by the creation of new multidisciplinary curricula that promote entrepreneurship and develop relevant skills and competencies. At the same time, all members of the academic community must deepen their concern for our planet and its environment. An Erasmus mobility can offer - and has to offer - an exemplary lesson of being, working and acting environmentally friendly, from travelling, to ways of living, interacting with- and acting upon nature.

As most of the graduates are engineers, UPT intends to use participation in the Erasmus projects for creating programmes which address today’s and tomorrow’s needs of the industry and are deeply rooted in the daily practice of the companies, empowering graduates with the capability and courage to bring new ideas and interdisciplinary initiatives. UPT intends to take advantage of the new type of partnerships for excellence – those destined to European Universities and those for Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees – and be a visible and valuable presence in this kind of projects. Increasing the international visibility and strengthening the position in international academic rankings can be achieved by an active participation in partnerships for excellence. Aiming to a position in a European University Network, UPT uses the best academic and cooperation resources in those fields of study where the institution has recognised results (digital skills, clean/ green energy, artificial intelligence, robotics, energy efficient buildings, metallic structures) to become a member of a network and strengthen its position. This participation will be also a contribution to Europe’s future sustainable growth. Academic and administrative staff members will put their expertise in the service of the European education; they will seek for training opportunities within the Erasmus programme, to improve their competency for the institution benefits and for their personal satisfaction.

One of the university priorities aims to set long-lasting partnerships with stakeholders from the economic and social environment that could support education and validate it. The participation in the Programme would help identifying new ways and areas of involvement of business partners, adjusting courses to the needs of labour market and generate mutual transfer of knowledge to enhance the research potential and increase the level of innovation. Participation in partnerships for innovation will bring innovative solutions and practices in teaching and learning, in research and managing educational projects, as well as in knowledge transfer with the economic environment.

Another important area of UPT activity within the Erasmus programme is the implementation of projects with countries outside the EU to support changes to the organisation of work, processes, and procedures and strengthen areas of functioning that are significant for the development of the partner countries’ institutions. These would enhance the processes of modernisation and lay the foundations for the internationalisation, as well as enable more intense cooperation in the domains of teaching, research and mobility of students and staff.

Making the participation in the Erasmus programme an attractive opportunity, UPT aims to develop innovative solutions for preventing study dropout of students and attract new candidates at all educational levels. Besides the challenge of a strong learning or working experience, the Erasmus KA1 and KA2 activities will enable the institution to build frameworks of supportive strategies and resources for the transition to higher education of the under-represented groups and successful completion of their education. A study or training period abroad promotes the interactions between students and gives them the sentiment of being European colleagues, available to support other students in their mobility experience.

Playing an important role in the Romanian higher education area, especially in engineering fields, but also in architecture, communication sciences, management and administrative sciences, UPT is interested to contribute to a wide KA3 project, aiming to improve policy development and cooperation. Participation in a KA3 project and in all the other types of Erasmus projects provides an opportunity to establish measures that would improve the management of the institution and enhance its autonomy and accountability. By expanding the areas of activity and setting up new partnerships, the institution expects to increase the potential of administrative units to manage all type of resources.

The participation in the Erasmus programme is thus not an end in itself, but rather a means to achieving the university’s ends: preparing the graduates to work in a globalized environment, acting with individual and social responsibility in view of enhancing the international prestige of the university.
The UPT strategic vision on internationalisation looks to balance what is offered and what is supplied in the international area, across national borders, as well as inside the university. This principle is envisaged for the participation within the Erasmus programme too.
UPT is committed to be an active and valuable presence within all the three key actions of the Erasmus programme for the next seven years. The participation is a central aspect of the strategy for internationalization and modernisation of the university, as mentioned in the Strategic Plan for Internationalization of the University (www.upt.ro/international) and in the Strategic Development Plan of UPT (http://www.upt.ro/Strategic plans) and will be based on a specific needs analysis. Currently UPT has a wide offer of Erasmus mobility opportunities, over 300 inter-institutional agreements and almost 200 framework agreements with universities from European and non-European countries. The existing agreements will be carefully analysed inside the university and together with each partner. The renewed Erasmus inter-institutional agreements will reflect the preoccupation to cover the fields and levels of study offered by UPT, the possibility to share educational experience, the partner’s openness to exchanges and cooperation and level of expertise in the research area, the former mobility reciprocal exchanges. The expected balance offer/ reception will guide the decisions. This will better reflect UPT’s preoccupation for quality in Erasmus projects. Since learning mobility improves professional, social and intercultural competences of education beneficiaries, the university will develop partnerships with European and world-wide academic institutions. A new attitude outlines an adaptive approach to partnerships, depending upon the partner specificities and the time evolution of the relation. Universities and international companies within the EU are traditional partners, with which common academic projects will continue to be developed either for educational purposes, or to reach research targets. Strategic partnerships referring to structured and long-term cooperation with other HEIs, enterprises, research entities, local authorities and social partners will be maintained and diversified. The university will benefit of opportunities to exchange knowledge, experience and professional methodologies for teaching and learning, since they represent a reliable method to accelerate the labour market inclusion of future graduates.
UPT embraced the Bologna Process just from the very beginning, actively partaking in the modernization of higher education across Europe, while also cultivating ties with universities in other parts of the world. In developing the Erasmus programme participation, UPT takes advantage of the Bologna paradigm early implementation and the use of the ECTS system in all the academic fields of study.
UPT will enhance its participation within the KA1 component, because individual mobility for students and staff is an important mechanism for contributing to progressive higher education, innovative academic research, and the development of internal academic spirit. As the university has gradually become more international in its identity, the institution wants to contribute to the development of the European Higher Education Area in Eastern Europe.
Through learning and training mobilities for students, UPT plans to enrich future graduates’ profile, by increasing learning performance, enhancing employability and improving career prospects. Previous institutional experience and a competent approach of upcoming activities are expected to generate the following outcomes of student mobility: an increased sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, self-empowerment and self-esteem, improved foreign language competences, enhanced intercultural awareness, more active participation in society, better awareness of the European values, increased motivation for taking part in future (formal/non-formal) education or training after the mobility period abroad. The university plans an increase of the mobility stages for students, to attend a percentage of 7% mobile students at the end of the next period, based also on the great advantage of blended mobility. The virtual component of a mobility stage will avoid or at least diminish obstacles like job loss, family duties and poor financial resources. UPT is committed to make all efforts in encouraging students from disadvantaged backgrounds or with special needs to become Erasmus participants. UPT has an important percent of students from rural areas, as well as of employed students with families who will receive persuasive support for becoming mobile. A specific case is represented by siblings studying together at UPT and for whose families their participation in mobility programmes requires higher financial effort. Convenient offers will be prepared for them.
Equity and inclusion will govern Erasmus mobility, envisaging not only socially disadvantaged participants, but also under-represented faculties and fields of study. UPT is preoccupied to offer equal chances for an Erasmus mobility to students from all fields of study and from all the faculties, especially for those that achieve now a low number of students’ mobilities. A harmonized distribution in correlation with the number of students will be targeted.
Successful implementation of practical placement stages for current Erasmus students will be used to develop students’ and fresh graduates’ traineeships, aiming to acquire work-relevant experience as part of their professional education. Meeting labour-market requirements is a challenge for the future graduates, a source of work satisfaction and practical skills coaching and certification. UPT will foster the relevance and quality of placement mobility.
Staff mobility in universities or companies, aiming to teach or to be trained, will be used for personal progress of the academic staff and for institutional development. Teaching exchanges will bring real contributions to the internationalisation of the curriculum and will enhance compatibility between study programmes and courses at UPT and partner universities; this will enhance mutual recognition of study mobility results and degree qualifications.
The university is particularly interested to connect higher education with research and business for excellence and regional growth, thus using Erasmus KA1 and KA2 projects for this goal. The policy of promoting cooperation with research institutions, business and high-tech centres across borders expects to foster international cooperation, stimulating innovation, creative attitude and robust interaction, with the aim of improving graduates’ labour market inclusion, the quality of the education process at all levels and the institutional position in world academic rankings.
Young academic staff will continue to be a target group in future Erasmus mobility actions, for training and teaching assignments. Experienced members of the academic staff with recognized international presence will advise and initiate young colleagues in making arrangements for international mobility actions. The university pays particular attention in attracting young members in the teams of Erasmus projects in all the key actions.
Women will continue to be stimulated in valorising their skills for STEM professions, especially for engineering, by participating in many Erasmus actions- mobilities or KA2 projects. They will be encouraged to access leadership positions and roles in Erasmus activities and to use this experience within the university management structures.
Partnerships with non-EU institutions – companies and universities – will be considered in a new vision about internationalization: Asia, Africa, Latin America will be approached intensively, for attracting international students and for widening academic and scientific exchanges. Participating in educational or scientific partnerships with entities outside Europe will foster the visibility of our institution. The university will invite non-European academics to perform mobility stages within our university and will support bilateral exchanges of students and staff.
Making use of the geographical position on the continent, the university will enhance cooperation with universities and companies from East-European countries, from Russia and the former Soviet republics. Japan will continue to be an important partner in Erasmus projects, based on previous successful realizations and on the intention to apply as coordinator for an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Partnership with Japan. Previous beneficial exchanges and common academic and research interests with universities from faraway countries like Dominican Republic, Indonesia and Mauritius will motivate UPT to maintain and extend cooperation in KA1 projects and in KA2 projects.
UPT will improve the organizational conditions for managing Erasmus projects primarily at the institutional level, but also at faculty level. The Erasmus Office will coordinate the activity in the university including the administration of the inter-institutional agreements, promotion, selection and administration of the mobilities, monitoring the KA1 mobility projects, and the attributed KA2 projects (partnerships for cooperation and exchanges of practices, partnerships for excellence – European Universities- if approved, Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees- expected to apply for). The office has a set of dedicated web-pages within the Department of International Relations website (www.upt.ro/international in Romanian, DRI - English version). The Erasmus institutional coordinator is responsible with the strategy and policies regarding the Erasmus activity within the university, representation of the university on national and international level in specific Erasmus events and networks, coordination of the inter-institutional agreements at the university level, preparation of applications for mobility projects and the management of the financial resources within the university. A head of office coordinates executive activities, promotion activities and Erasmus+ information campaigns within UPT, counselling and support for participants, checking the mobility documents for accuracy and monitoring the flow of specific legal Erasmus documents. Officers for incoming/outgoing students and staff administrate each mobility from the very beginning to the post mobility phase, keeping regular contact with partner institutions and internally with faculties, academic departments and administrative services. Inter-institutional agreements are prepared and kept up to date by a nominated officer within the office. Larger Erasmus projects are monitored by a dedicated officer. At faculty levels, vice-deans in charge with students’ matters and educational process coordinate the Learning Agreement for Study/Training for each student as well as the recognition process after mobility. Departmental coordinators supervise the activity on each agreement in their field of study by tutoring and advising outgoing and incoming students and other staff members. Prestigious academic staff members participate in the initiation of new agreements. Other support services in UPT participate with specific tasks in the Erasmus activity (Financial, Human Resources, Social, Library, E-learning Centre, Sport bases). A valuable contribution for incoming and for outgoing students will be offered by ESN and by the local students’ leagues. At the UPT managerial level, vice-rectors in charge with international relations, with students’ matters and educational process are deeply implied in policy decisions regarding the Erasmus programme in the university. The UPT managerial board actively encourages all initiatives coming from individual staff members, from research teams or student organisations regarding the Erasmus programme. In order to improve the quality of the academic support for Erasmus students, the Erasmus office will organize periodically tutorial actions, courses and trainings for tutors. The university will improve the support for incoming students by regularly updating information on the specific web pages and by extending services and facilities offered during their mobility.
Assistance will be offered in the academic and administrative preparation of each mobility at all levels. The linguistic preparation will be extended both for outgoing and for incoming participants. The offered Romanian language course will be enriched with cultural and civilization topics, contributing to a mobility of good quality in the university.
The Erasmus activity within UPT is governed by specific regulations and quality procedures made public on the website. These documents refer to the operational way of running Erasmus projects, to the responsibilities of structures and persons at different levels and to the circuit of documents inside and outside the university (www.upt.ro/international/, Section ―Forms and Rules‖). Regulations exist for mobilities of incoming students/incoming staff/outgoing students/ outgoing staff, for complaints and appeal, for the circuit of Erasmus documents. They provide what actions are specific for each mobility phase, who is responsible for each step, which are the requirements and the rules of the activity, what does the participant have to do and what does the university representative/officer, which are the specific documents and interactions and their circuit, how the communication is organized inside and outside the university. The structures and officers implied in processing Erasmus documents that use personal data are committed to respect the European Data Protection Regulation.
Quality assurance plays a fundamental role in UPT, the commitment to a set of quality principles being a precondition for cooperating on different levels with other universities, partners, society in general. To align with the international requirements and performance standards, UPT adopted the following performance indicators for the internal quality self assessment: selectivity of the act of recruiting students, adequacy of human and material resources, professional achievement of graduates, visibility of research and technology transfer, financial results of research and technology transfer, degree of internationalization, reputation in the national and international environment.
Periodically, quality evaluations of the Erasmus activity in UPT are carried out by the internal authorities. Results are discussed with the Erasmus office and other implied actors; corrective and improvement measures are decided at the appropriate level. The annual Rector’s Report and faculties’ reports include a chapter about the Erasmus participation in KA1 and KA2 projects (http://www.upt.ro/Informatii_rapoarte_335_ro.html). The Erasmus Office, faculties and departments use own ways of measuring the quality of the mobility and other Erasmus projects in different stages of the activities: feedbacks, surveys, analyses, open dialogues. These quality monitoring tasks will be scheduled both during each academic year as well as at the end of each project. They are processed and analyzed by the initiators and corrective plans are decided with clear deadlines, actions and persons in charge with these interventions.
Previous Erasmus experience of UPT allows defining the envisaged impact on the institution in a realistic manner. UPT remarked that cooperation with foreign institutions (universities, companies, networks...) significantly evolved when cooperating with each other in multiple ways simultaneously: through research projects, Erasmus exchanges, summer schools, thematic networks, etc. UPT will develop stronger partnerships on multiple levels and domains of cooperation with strategic academic partners, representing members of the same expected European University, of common academic networks, of KA2 common partnerships. For this reason, the absolute number of inter-institutional agreements will not be a goal in itself, but the ―efficacy‖ of an agreement will be preferred, that is the effects and results of cooperation based on an agreement within and outside the Erasmus programme and the time stability of these results (in- and out- mobilities of students and staff, common course modules, common Erasmus and non-Erasmus projects, participation in calls for application for educational and research funds, jointly published articles).
The impact of signing and implementing efficient agreements upon the university strengthens the presence on international stages, makes the work easier and more efficient. Common mobility parameters will be well known by UPT and these partners (fields of expertise, best course compatibility choices, synchronization of the academic calendar, laboratory resources for research, capacity of doctoral school, etc.) and effort will be focused on new purposes. Staff members from both universities will know each other better and will be able to work better in projects and research and apply together for new funds. They will make use in common of technical base from each partner.
Systematic development of students’ mobility for study (the incoming component) both in number of participants and in number of study fields offered will force UPT to provide new/improved/updated study programmes and modules of courses taught in English, German or other foreign languages. The effect is expected to be in cascade, better academic offer will attract more credit seeking and degree seeking students and they will induce more international visibility. An ascendant trend of international students will induce further development of international study programmes. A constant attention to increase the number and the quality of outgoing students to achieve Erasmus study mobilities in partner universities will check the educational potential of the university, outlining the strengths and the weaknesses of the UPT education process. Practical placement Erasmus mobilities for students and fresh graduates in companies and academic laboratories will prove the practical skills of the participants, bringing feedback in the university on how to improve their professional competences and capacity of working in the economic environment. Graduates well prepared for the labour market will bring recognition from the business and economic partners towards the quality of education in UPT and interest to cooperate in applied research.
Teaching mobility of staff members is expected to bring essential effects upon the university: innovative and improved ways to teach to their students’ groups by providing attractive programmes, knowledge and practical skills adapted to the companies’ needs. Enlarging the academic network by meeting new people in their field of expertise will help teaching staff members to reinforce cooperation with partners from other countries at institutional level.
Erasmus training mobilities for academic and administrative staff will increase the capacity of operating at EU/international level involving also improved management skills and update in the internationalization strategy and policies; learning from colleagues in an international context will help UPT employees to optimize allocation of financial resources (Erasmus, EU and other than EU funds) to organise international projects. UPT will benefit of quality in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and follow up of EU/international projects.
UPT will learn how to stimulate and support persons from disadvantaged categories to benefit of equal life, work and educational opportunities as all the other people.
Erasmus international experiences of various categories of staff members will help create a more modern, dynamic, committed and professional environment inside the institution, determining the academic community to integrate good practices and new methods into daily activities, to plan professional development in relation to individual needs and organisational objectives. Respect and tolerance in academia, acceptance of argumentation as the only criterion of persuasion in disputes of ideas in general and in scientific ones in particular will be better applied as a consequence of staff mobilities of any type, as lessons learned within the Erasmus programme.
Exchanges with partner universities will bring improved processes of recognition and validation of competences gained during learning/training periods abroad. Participation in KA2 cooperation projects are expected to bring immediate results but also medium term and long term effects; the project outcomes will mean integrated use of ICTs and open educational resources in education and training in UPT and more valuable actions for the benefit of local communities and practices, for the involvement of young people and/or to address disadvantaged groups. This will make the university a pole of culture and civic implication in the regional, national and international area.
Quantitative measurable indicators include indicators to monitor progress in implementing the Erasmus programme:
- Awareness and participation of students: percentage for faculties (2.5% for bachelor level, 2% for master level);
- International student Erasmus mobility experience at the time of graduation: students with significant experience abroad (study mobility of min. 3 months or placement mobility for internships of min. 2 months) (all cycles): 5%;
- Internationality of academic staff: 10% percentage of academic staff with participation in the Erasmus programme (at least one of the following: a teaching mobility abroad; a training mobility abroad; leadership of Erasmus projects, membership in Erasmus project teams) with an annual growth rate of 2%.
- Internationality of administrative & support staff: 2% percentage of administrative & support staff with participation in the Erasmus programme (at least one of the following: a training mobility abroad; leadership of Erasmus projects, membership in Erasmus project teams), with an annual growth rate of 1%.
- International attractiveness at the level of students: percentage of Erasmus incoming students in various study years, study programmes and faculties, with an annual average growth rate of 1%.
- International attractiveness at the level of staff: percentage of international Erasmus incoming staff in different fields of study, with an annual average growth rate of 1%.
- Internationalization of the curriculum: percentage of courses (subjects/modules) with significant international elements as a consequence of the Erasmus implication (at least one of the following: taught in a foreign language; international methodology such as multinational team-work, collaborative on-line tasks, etc.; international content, case studies, textbooks (in their original language); at least 7% international students from the total number of students in the programme; significant participation of visiting international staff.
- Number of former participants in Erasmus mobility who become members of university ESN section (at least 2% from the annual number of student participants).
- Number of applications for KA2 Erasmus projects where UPT acts as coordinator: at least 1 per academic year, from each 1 Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Partnership with Japan during the calls 2021-2024.
- Number of applications for KA2 projects as partner institution: at least 10 per year, expecting 3 approved.
Ultima actualizare: 2021-05-05
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