VAMK's Erasmus Policy statement (2014-2020)
Internationalization is defined to be one of the four strategic profiles at Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK). Our target is to internationalize our students and staff members as well as have intensive project cooperation with our partner universities. Through internationalization, VAMK wants to achieve high international standards in teaching and also in applied research if applicable. VAMK aims to enable its students to compete successfully in today’s global employment market.
VAMK will aim to maintain high quality in teaching in order to be an attractive place to study for its own and incoming mobility students. VAMK aims at high quality in the organization of student mobility by ensuring equal academic treatment and services to its own and incoming students. Each incoming student will be registered in VAMK for the period of study and be treated same as own students. Incoming students won't be charged any tuition fees and the transcript of records are issued for all incoming students. Study/placement periods under the Erasmus framework and also in the partner universities outside of Europe receive full academic recognition.
Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland are not only theoretically but also practically oriented and one of the main aims is to serve the needs of the local working life. There are several large international companies and the largest energy cluster in the whole Scandinavia in Vaasa region. VAMK listens carefully what kind of needs and objectives local companies have for internationalization and what kind of future employees they need. It is closely considered what can be done separately and together to help the implementation.
Vaasa University of Applied Sciences has a number of well-established Erasmus and other cooperation agreements. Our strategy isn’t mainly to increase the quantity of the agreements but to improve the quality of the cooperation. When considering new agreement, their curricula are compared, the fields of study and number of courses or modules provided in English or other foreign languages are compared. It is an advantage if the same university can create and offer new possibilities and options for internationalization, not only for mobility activities but also project cooperation, joint e-learning or joint- or double degree cooperation. It is evaluated whether the agreement will benefit both parties. Before renewal of existing agreement the statistics are checked (students/teacher exchange) as well as the qualitative facts: how well does the mobility procedure work, how fast the transcript of records and other documents are delivered. Student feedback is also taken into consideration as well as the feedback received from our departments.
From geographical point of view Europe and EU programs have had and will have its significant role in our international strategy. Anyhow the local working life has strongly emphasized other parts of the world as well. Those areas are especially China and other counties in Asia; Russia and South America. Thus we will not either only concentrate in activities within Europe. VAMK has already several partner universities especially in China and has had some activities in Russia and Southern America. In the near future the plan is to create stronger networks in those areas as well.
VAMK's objective is to increase the mobility of teachers as well as the mobility of students in all cycles we provide (1st and 2nd cycle). VAMK is committed to offer male and female students and staff, as well as disabled students and staff, equal opportunities to participate in LLP or other international activities. Our aim is to either remove or at least decrease the obstacles which may prevent students and staff members from participating in mobility activities. Students are equally encouraged to participate either in studies or training abroad whichever suits better for students curriculum and his/her own ambitions.
VAMK also participates in the development of joint/double degrees. Currently VAMK has two programmes in Europe and six outside of Europe. In the future we aim to increase the number of the joint degrees to more disciplines as well. Joint programmes are considered to be a deeper level of cooperation. When developing a new joint or double degree programme, curricula need to be compared carefully and the development is done with the trusted and well-known partners to ensure good quality.
Vaasa University of Applied Sciences aims to be in the project cooperation with trusted partner universities from EU and outside of EU. It is important that the objectives of projects VAMK participates will support also VAMK's overall strategy and its own targets. VAMK's aim is to have region's working life also involved with our projects and it is considered as an advantage if the project can at least partly be part of teaching and get the students involved as well. VAMK’s Research and Development Services offer services related to both research funding and also for supporting the project management. Departments are always strongly involved with project implementation.
Programme on the modernisation at VAMK
VAMK will educate internationally competent experts with skills needed in the labor markets in the future. Both full-time and part time study programmes are offered as well as continuing education and studies in open university of applied sciences. Education in VAMK is developed with regional needs in mind. Working life connections are maintained in the development of degree programmes, in research and product development projects and creating internship and thesis work possibilities. This provides the students with an opportunity to establish business life contacts which will promote their future professional careers. The City of Vaasa is one of the most international cities in Finland. The strong feature of its economic life is the significance of export operations. In addition, the service and commercial sectors in Vaasa have strong traditions
in operating in both national languages: Finnish and Swedish. Thus professional bilingual and multilingual VAMK graduates are highly appreciated which will attract even more new students from both Finland and abroad to complete their higher degrees at VAMK.
VAMK offers all of its degree students as well as for its staff members a possibility to get international experience. This can be realized either by participating a mobility (study/placement/ education, visiting lecture) period abroad. By welcoming incoming exchange students and teachers, internationalization at home is enabled also for the students who don’t want to complete part of their studies abroad. It is important that our staff members are able to understand cultural differences, to know other cultures, foreign working lives and different structures of higher education. This will enable creating a modern, interesting and also new kind of learning environment and atmosphere for students studying at VAMK. Through intensive staff mobility and cooperation between staff members from different universities in Europe or other part of the world we seek for even deeper cooperation (intensive programs, curriculum development, project cooperation, joint modules and
joint e-learning projects). The ECTS and Diploma Supplement are already in use at VAMK.
With active cooperation with local working life, other local higher education institutions and international cooperation VAMK has a possibility to also apply for external funding for projects whose aim should also be to make creative and innovative solutions. This will help both participating universities and companies to keep up in modernization procesprocess and in international competition.