- Offering students an opportunity to study at a university integrated in the world, producing graduates equipped with the skills and knowledge that match the needs of a globalizing world stand out as the main reference point of our University and its efforts to become a global brand in internationalization.
- Following a SWOT analysis, our University has created a set of goals and action plans designed to help reach its goals within the specified time limits including a list of bodies/units responsible for promoting and implementing internationalization process. Internationalization Action Plan (available in http://www.altinbas.edu.tr/en/internationalization/internationalization-action-plan) was created by the participation of all heads of academic and administrative units in a meeting besides being send to all units through official means for further dissemination.
- Our specific aims in implementing Erasmus Projects, what we would like to achieve as well as the relevance of our internationalization targets with the Erasmus Programme fit into our institutional internationalisation and modernisation strategy are listed below;
- In parallel with the objectives of Erasmus Program, to equip our students with key skills and competences matchings needs of the global world of work and to contribute to global society, our University aims to build and enhance international cooperation with all external stakeholders including higher education institutions and business world. These relations aim to foster our efforts to increase quality in education and research through transnational cooperation with all Programme and Partner-Country institutions. In this context, the Erasmus Projects, facilitating the partnerships all around the word not only with Universities but also all kinds of institutions, are deemed crucial.
- In line with the raising awareness of the European Higher Education Area, one of the strongest suits of our University, its ‘International Access’ forte comprises goals that are shaped around the objective of achieving a high ratio of preferability among international students and scholars. Mobility Programs and all kinds of cooperation are considered as a tool to increase the international visibility and help to reach the aim of increasing the International Student Number to 10% in every academic program and to reach 4500 in total and increase the international staff ratio to 5%. Specially to increase the staff ratio, the action plan includes inviting international academic/teaching staff for long-term/short-term teaching periods or at regular intervals for which Erasmus Staff mobilities could pave the way.
- In terms of education and research, our University pursues the following goals: applying to 10 a total of research projects with international partners or projects funded by international resources before 2023, achieving a 5% annual increase in the number of AU faculty taking part in International academic activities (panel, conference, seminar, abstract presentation, teaching) and to be accredited by international and national accreditation institutions as a steer for excellence in education and modernization of curriculums to align itself as a part of European Higher Education Area. For these goals mobilities are crucial in terms of forming an exchange of knowledge and good practices. Mobilities, fostering cooperation and communication between faculty members and through exchange of good ideas and practices foster these efforts in seeking excellence in education and research.
- Achieving higher ranks in Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings until 2023 as well as making a successful application for THE Young University Rankings to increase the international visibility, competitiveness and preferability of our University by high quality researchers and students from all around the world as a part of European Education Area. Given the spin-off effect on the performance indicators of the THE (Teaching, Research, Citations, International outlook, Industry income) Erasmus Projects deemed as an important tool.
- As learning mobility helps individuals increase their professional, social and intercultural skills and employability, it is the building block of the internationalisation and modernisation and the main tool for the further development of the European Education Area. In this context, in our internationalization strategy achieving a 15% annual increase in the number of AU students (current/fresh graduates) taking part in an International mobility (learning/training) and achieving a 10% annual decrease in the gap between the number of incoming and outgoing student/staff mobilities, to maintain continuity of mobilities are aimed. The action plan decided for this aim initiating information sessions on Erasmus opportunities for youth exchanges including voluntary service programme as well as other international funding opportunities, organizing Erasmus Staff Training Weeks in addition to seeking internal/external funding for exchange programmes that do not offer any funding, holding meet-n-greets and information/experience sharing meetings with faculty members in order to help develop international agreements, developing an incentive system to reward the academic/administrative staff members who have contributed to the development of international cooperation. Further efforts to be made to share the exchange experience of foreign exchange students who are currently attending our University and that of fulltime enrolled students who have taken part in an exchange programme and focusing more on the results of student satisfaction surveys conducted with Incoming Exchange Students.
- Altınbaş University (AU) aims to and has the capacity to participate in all Erasmus Key Actions namely; (KA1) Learning mobility, The mobility of higher education students and staff, Erasmus Key Action 2 (KA2) Cooperation among organisations and institutions, Partnerships for Cooperation and exchanges of practices , Partnerships for Excellence - Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees, Partnerships for Innovation as well as (KA3) Support to policy development and cooperation.
- AU is currently running the KA103 (Learning Mobility of Higher Education Institutions’ Staff and Students) and International Credit Mobility (KA107) Project with 5 countries. AU is the also the coordinator of a Mobility Consortium for Traineeship with 10 institutions (www.internship4all.org), a Strategic Partnership (KA205) and Jean Monnet Project, besides participation in Horizon 2020 Projects as partner.
- In International Affairs there are 3 main responsible units, International Office responsible for international student recruitment, International Academic Cooperation Office responsible for diversification of international academic cooperation’s and lastly Erasmus Office, with its four staff, directly working with the Rector, is responsible for the actions involving Mobility of students and staff. Besides the Academic Research and Projects Office and Strategic Planning and Quality Assurance Department working closely in the internationalization process of the University.
- General Institutional framework and function of the Office is indicated in “Erasmus Directive On The Learning Mobility Of Individuals” (available online http://www.altinbas.edu.tr/en/about-us/administration/regulations/directives/ andhttp://www.altinbas.edu.tr/en/erasmus-eng/erasmus-beyani). Erasmus Office is responsible for the co-ordination of the all the academic and administrative units with the help of Erasmus Academic Coordinators.
- For the mobilities, as means not only to achieve the project objectives and to empower individuals but also to make sure that the mobilities will pave the way to achieve the institutional internationalization objectives, the following appropriate steps are being/will be implemented in accordance with the phases of the mobility and type of mobility either actual or blended;
Before Call for Applications
- Especially for teaching and student study mobility, after discussing the terms of cooperation, Erasmus Inter-Institutional Agreements will be signed and the text of the Agreement (indicating the academic area of cooperation, criteria (if any), quotas, language of instruction, link to online course catalogue, grading systems, deadlines, contact persons and web sites for disability assistance, visa, accommodation, insurance) is being/will be published on appropriate online platforms (http://www.altinbas.edu.tr/en/erasmus-eng/partner-universities/erasmus-ka103-europe)
- For student study and traineeship mobility, minimum passing grades for B2 level according to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in Language Proficiency Tests implemented by the University as well as the other Language Certificates (along with their equivalency tables) that will be recognized will be determined by suggestion of the Foreign Languages School and approval of the Rector.
- As obliged by the National Agency, the rules for the allocation of grant firstly to academic units and then to students in accordance with their performance and calculation formula will be determined and approved by the Rector.
- For staff mobility, in line with the National Agency’s Guidelines, set of evaluation criteria is/will be determined in accordance with the institutional priorities, internationalization strategy and project priorities, including the quality of draft Learning Agreement, especially the objectives, added value (in the context of the modernisation and internationalisation strategies of the institutions involved), expected outcomes and impact as well as the planned dissemination activities. There is also a criterion, that is enquiring the substantial outcome (article, agreement for study or training, an international project any joint academic cooperation, transfer of a good practice, change in curriculum) of the previous mobility (if any) to promote staff to create and focus more on the outcome even before the mobility. In line with the internationalization action plan, the staff mobilities foreseeing actions aiming curriculum development is also being prioritize with a plus point.
- All documents, websites, handbooks will be updated in accordance with the Erasmus Program Guide and the National Agency’s Guidelines.
Call for Applications – Evaluation
-The call for applications will include all aspects above and the ones indicated on the National Agency’s Guidelines, including the opportunities for disabled participants and participants with fewer opportunities as further explained under the heading of “Implementation of the new principles” (pg.17)
-The call for applications will be published on all platforms available, including website, e-mails, social media, boards. Around 20 info sessions in Turkish and English both for student and staff will be held in all campuses also with the participation of former exchange students along with the experience sharing meetings organized by Erasmus Club, ESN Altınbaş.
- The evaluation and the final selection will be approved by a Committee assigned by the Rector. The results are being announced on the website publicly and through e-mails sent to all applicants.
- In case of participation in mobility projects as a coordinator with more than one beneficiary, like International Credit Mobility KA107 and Mobility Consortiums KA108, the above-mentioned criteria will be discussed also with partners as well as sharing all documents and good practices if any.
- To ensure that outgoing and incoming mobile participants are well prepared for the mobility (real, blended, virtual), an orientation program is being/will be organized; to inform students about the administrative procedures/documents (including the procedure of recognition of the credits which is regulated through a Directive) , to improve their intercultural communication skills with the help of seminars/workshops, to give advices about safety and emergency contacts, insurance and to provide a platform to share experience by inviting the former exchange students and current incoming students. All participants are also provided with handbooks and guidelines for the mobility in addition to the Erasmus Student Charter.
- As there are many elective language courses (in French, Italian, German, Arabic, Russian) in our University, outgoing students will be advised to take them as well as the additional English Courses (on academic writing and speaking skills) which will be implemented on demand. For staff, online free of charge English language course is available.
- For the incoming students, our online course catalogue, covering all aspects as advised in the ECTS User Guide including evaluation system of each course (either relative (Curve) or absolute evaluation system), available in ects.altinbas.edu.tr which is being updated at the end of every academic year to allow mobile students to make well-informed choices about the courses they will follow. Besides, the Erasmus Academic Coordinators appointed to all academic units, are also assisting the students as well as helping them to prepare their Learning Agreements. Grading systems, for undergraduate and graduate are available in Academic Directives as well as the Full Recognition Directive published online (http://www.altinbas.edu.tr/en/about-us/administration/regulations/directives/ andhttp://www.altinbas.edu.tr/en/erasmus-eng/erasmus-beyani), will be included in the Handbooks prepared for incoming students.
- Before all mobilities, but especially staff training and student training, for which an Erasmus Inter-Institutional Agreement is not a prerequisite, Learning Agreement will be signed. As it an attachment of the Grant Agreement, without a Learning Agreement signed by all relevant parties a Grant Agreement will not be signed without any exceptions.
- For the incoming mobile participants, active support for housing is being provided through the information (websites suggested housing options based on the experiences of our previous participants) provided in the Fact Sheet and Erasmus Office assists students efforts in finding an accommodation actively online before their arrival by checking the options they have through available means. If a student cannot find any accommodation, ESN Altınbaş actively involves in accommodation search process.
- For visa, participants coming from Program Countries are being informed about visa exemptions and for other partner countries, besides the information the relevant representation of Turkey in the relevant country. For residence permit all student applicants are being controlled and collected by Erasmus Office and the submitted to the public officials. In case of outgoing students, students are being directed to the correct authorities through the website of the Foreign Ministry and they are given one to one guidance if needed.
- All incoming students are also introduced to the Buddy Program of the ESN Altınbaş. Within this program, students are matched with a volunteer in the University while considering the campus and department before their arrival to facilitate their preparation and also orientation to their new institution and city after arrival.
- All incoming students are appointed with an academic advisor who are Erasmus Academic Department/Program Coordinators. As the Altınbaş University has around 25% International Students equal academic treatment to international full time or exchanges students is a norm. There is also a “Student Ombudsman Office” available responsible for all kinds of complaints and enquiries of all students, exchange students get constant support for any kind of enquiry from the Erasmus Office.
- Incoming mobile participants have access to every facility (Laboratory, Library …etc) of the University without any fee.
- Incoming mobile participants, are being integrated in to the wider student community and wider society mainly by the Erasmus Club, ESN Altınbaş and Health, Culture and Sports Office through in-campus activities (Lets Cook Together … ) facilitating intercultural communication in the university as a whole and through voluntary activities organized by various non-governmental institutions to create awareness about active citizenship for the advantage of disadvantaged, disabled people or importance of sports, gender equality.
- Incoming participants are invited to represent their culture in the International Day organized with the participation of all International Students coming from 80 different countries from all around the world. They are also invited to share their experience during the Info Sessions designed for prospective outgoing participants. Besides Erasmus Office is planning to organize an Erasmus Day, providing a stand for all incoming students to represent their Universities as well as a session to the volunteers who would like to make a presentation.
- Besides encouraging incoming mobile participants to make social media posts, videos are being taken to promote Erasmus Program to be broadcasted through institutional social media accounts.
- “Turkish for Foreigners” language courses (4 ECTS Credits) are being provided in 4 different levels without any additional fee during the semester, besides the language courses in German, French, Spanish and Arabic.
- Incoming mobile students are being provided with a transcript of records prepared by the Student Affairs Office upon the request of Erasmus Office at the end of the semester and the transcripts are being sent to both the students and the sending university through e-mail with an ECTS Grade Equivalency (to Altınbaş University Grading System) Table attached.
- For all the ECTS credits/courses attended by the outgoing mobile participants full and automatic recognition is guaranteed with the Full Recognition Directive of Altınbas University. (http://www.altinbas.edu.tr/tr/ogrenci-rehberi/ogrenci-isleri/yonetmelikler-ve-yonergeler) All credits are being counted towards a degree without any additional work or assessment. With the update of the Student Automation System, all of the credits will be traceable in the student’s degree and Diploma Supplement. As also indicated in the aforementioned Directive, it is the responsibility of the Erasmus Office to send information to the Student Affairs Office about the successfully completed traineeships to be recorded on the Diploma Supplement in the (6.1) Additional Information section.
- Outgoing mobile participants besides being invited to Erasmus Info Sessions and Erasmus Orientation Programs, are encouraged share their experience through a written feedback or visual photo/video to increase the impact. Through the social media account of Erasmus Office erasmusaltinbas, the experience of the students and staff are also being disseminated upon their consent. The staff are also requested to fill a separate feedback form, enquiring especially any good practices that can be transferred, which will be directly send to the head of the academic unit for consideration. As stated earlier, the planned dissemination activities are also evaluated as selection criteria to ensure greater impact. As relatively young university, we have newly founded an Official Alumni Office and in cooperation with this Office we will be building an alumni relation with former Erasmus Students.
- The performance system designed for the academic staff, takes participation in the Erasmus Staff Mobility into account as a plus point as well as signing an Erasmus Inter-Institutional Agreement. The anticipated outcomes of the mobilities, like international articles or international projects are also separately being given plus points in the relevant system. Though it is not yet a performance criterion for administrative staff further improvement is being planned.
- As participation in Erasmus Projects under the “Key Action (KA2) Cooperation among organisations and institutions” and “Key Action (KA3) Support to policy development and cooperation” are considered as useful tools for our internationalisation strategy. We will be focusing firstly on KA2 Strategic Partnerships supporting innovation and Sector Skills Alliances.
- Given the intensified efforts of our University to be accredited by international and national accreditation institutions, European Universities and Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees is considered a chance for further improvement as a long term (4-5 years) target. Participation as a partner to or application as a coordinator to these projects is anticipated to be actualized by the cooperation of Erasmus Office with International Academic Cooperation Office responsible mainly for diversification and fortification of our academic relations with our international partners to support the internationalization process of our University.
- Erasmus Office is responsible for creating awareness in all Erasmus Projects under the “Key Action (KA2) Cooperation among organisations and institutions” and “Key Action (KA3) Support to policy development and cooperation” by sharing the Call for Applications and dissemination meetings of the National Agency institutionally. Besides assisting with the access to Project Application System technically, Erasmus Office will be informing the prospective Coordinator about the relevant European policy priorities, geographical and subject area priorities, outcomes from previous projects and make sure that the institutional capacity is enough to participate. Coordinator will be informed about the Erasmus+ Project Results Platform and encouraged to update her/his project information throughout all the phases. For these projects, Erasmus Office and Scientific Research and Projects Office will be working closely to ensure full implementation of the rules a long with the Coordinator of the Project and ensure their wide-scale embedment at their own institution. Especially during the implementation phase of the mobility, staff of the Scientific Research and Projects Office will be actively helping with administrative procedure as well as final reporting. If the Coordinator is an academic personnel, her/his course load and/or administrative assignments will be reconsidered to provide the sufficient time to implement the project. The Information Technologies Department as well as the Public Relations Office will be assisting in project dissemination (on demand) to increase the impact from the very beginning of the project by building an individual web site for the project, visuals for dissemination, creating announcements on institutional website and/or social media accounts besides the presentations of the Coordinator on various occasions.
- As our University considers internationalization a substantially important instrument in terms of increasing the quality of research, education and all other administrative processes carried out and Erasmus Projects as one of the main tools of internationalization having a direct or indirect impact on all the aspects of internationalization.
- In our Internationalization Strategy, one of the first targets directly related to Erasmus Mobility Projects is to achieve a 15% annual increase in the number of outgoing students (current/fresh graduates) taking part in an international mobility (learning/training). Percentage increase in the number of AU students who have taken part in an International Mobility is the main indicator of this target. To reach this goal, the envisaged action plan is the following;
- the common international academic ventures, like international intensive schools/academies, 2+2 bachelor degree completion agreements,
- seeking internal/external funding (other than Erasmus) for exchange programmes that do not offer any funding, international
- creating awareness about other international mobility/exchange programs (Erasmus Youth Exchanges and European Voluntary Service, IAESTE, AISEC) and scholarship opportunities (Jean Monnet, Fulbright, British Council etc.)
- intensifying the efforts to encourage experience share of incoming exchange students and that of former outgoing students taken part in an exchange programme.
- holding information/experience sharing meetings with academic and administrative staff
- An incentive system will be created to reward the academic/administrative staff members who have contributed to the development of international cooperation.
- The second target directly related to Erasmus Projects is to achieve a 10% annual decrease in the gap between the number of incoming and outgoing student/staff mobilities. The action plan is the following;
- The results of student satisfaction surveys conducted with Incoming Exchange Students will be studied, and, based on the result of this study; a report on actions that must be taken each academic semester will be submitted to the President’s Office.
- (At least one academic/administrative unit) Organising an Erasmus Staff Training Week in addition to the Erasmus Training Week which is regularly held by the Erasmus Office.
- Efforts shall be made to ensure that international agreements (MoU, Student Exchange, and Erasmus) signed with partner universities become more noticeable by students and staff.
- Promotional events shall be held to raise student and staff awareness of International Exchange Agreements.
- Another target relate to Erasmus is achieving a 5% annual increase in the number of faculty taking part in International academic activities (panel, conference, seminar, abstract presentation, teaching). One of the action plans for this target is to hold a series of Erasmus Meetings with the participation of academic members who have previously taken part in an Erasmus exchange will share their Erasmus experience with potential applicants. The main indicator for this target is percentage increase in the number of international academic events attended. This is considered important, particularly because of the spin-off impact like modernization and internationalization of curriculum, joint academic initiatives like international research projects, articles -and combined with the student mobility- even joint modules, degrees with further digitalization participation in Massive Open Online Courses.
- Furthermore, another related target is applying to 10 a total of research projects international partners or projects funded by international resources before 2023. Percentage increase in the number of research projects funded by international partners or sources as the key performance indicator. As discussed earlier, Erasmus Staff mobility is considered as one of the main tools paving the way for international research projects.
- One other target is achieving higher ranks in Times Higher Education Impact Rankings until 2023 and application to Times Higher Education Young University Rankings as Erasmus Mobilities are considered as crucial tool given its spin-off effect on the performance indicators of THE rankings grouped in to 5, namely; Teaching (the learning environment), Research (volume, income and reputation), Citations (research influence), International outlook (staff, students and research) Industry income (knowledge transfer). (Key performance indicator: rankings).
- Erasmus Projects in general have many impacts in addition to the above mentioned ones; like assisting in finding new partners, increasing capacity to function internationally and to increase quality of general project management, increasing the quality of exchanges others than Erasmus, creating a professional environment inside the organisation ready to integrate good practices and new methods into daily activities, increasing the employment prospects of the graduates that are not yet included. In the context, the Internationalization Committee entrusted with the task of monitoring the Internationalization Strategy and improving, amending it by adding new targets and institutionalizing it as well as offering solutions to address issues that may arise during its implementation. One of the key responsibilities of Internationalization Committee is to evaluate the contribution of Internationalization into University objectives, conduct and impact assessment, identify instruments to help the University achieve its goals, and ensure these instruments like Erasmus Projects are used in the most efficient manner possible.