The European Commission has awarded Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) an Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) for the period 2021-2027. The ECHE is required to participate in the mobility and project cooperation under the Erasmus+ programme.
VAMK's Erasmus Policy Statement (2021-2027)
Erasmus activities included in VAMK's Erasmus Policy Statement
Erasmus Key Action 1 (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 – European Universities
- Partnerships for Excellence - Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees
- Partnerships for Innovation
Erasmus Key Action 3 (KA3):
- Erasmus Key Action 3 (KA3) - Support to policy development and cooperation
Erasmus Policy statement (EPS): VAMK's Strategy
Internationalisation has played fundamental part of the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences’ (VAMK) strategy throughout its history. According to the new institutional strategy, our aim is to be the main partner in expertise for local working life, students and staff as well as for national and international partners. There are many international companies with a number of export business located in the region of Vaasa. Our city is also one of the most international cities in our country based to number of foreigners. Our target is to ensure that our students develop a global mindset, intercultural understanding and language skills, which are required by the local working life. This is enabled by sending students for mobility period but also by welcoming incoming exchange students and teachers. This way internationalisation at home is enabled also for the students who do not want to complete part of their studies or training abroad.
We also find it essential that our staff is internationally oriented as teachers are in the key role with educating students with required skills and expertise. Mobility of teaching and administrative staff is important for effective partnership relationship management, professional training, teaching delivery, programme development and support of cooperation projects. In this context, we aim to explore opportunities for different kind of cooperation with partners from both participating and non-participating countries.
VAMK is also aiming to increase number of the projects and project funding according to its strategy. This is also encouraged by the Ministry of Education in Finland as higher education institutions get part of their governmental financing based on the performance in external funding. Our vision and mission is to be ambitious with being interesting and creative cooperation partner and being the link between students and working life. We aim to promote knowhow and development based on the needs of the working life. We aim for exchange of information and experiences between the partners, hence mutually contributing to each other’s knowledge and practices like cross-fertilising of information. This may include, e.g. learning from different educational applications, methods and practices.
The objective of the ”Policies to promote internationalisation in Finnish higher education” is to strenghten the quality of Finnish higher education and to reach a position as a globally recognised frontrunner by 2025. VAMK want to do its part in following the recommendations and to be able to keep developing the quality of higher education in our country.
Based on these matters, participation in the Erasmus Programme will significantly contribute to VAMK’s aims to fulfil our objectives for the upcoming years and gives potential to influence positively on target groups. Erasmus programme has been in essential role for internationalisation of VAMK throughout its history. We value activities outside of Europe, but by participating in Erasmus programme, the majority of our international activities will be in Europe. Erasmus programme gives good structure and platform and provides good possibility for internationalisation by offering high-quality mobility for students and staff with clear, transparent and equal rules and requirements. By taking part in the programme, our students and staff will be involved with building European Education Area. Erasmus programme also provides good possibilities for different kind of project cooperation and development for innovative and creative solutions within different kind of networks. Participation in programme contributes in development of education and thinking models towards a more competitive Europe. Local enterprises have also possibility to be part in the Erasmus cooperation projects with us and by participating, we all can keep up in international competition and modernization process.
VAMK intends to take part in Erasmus Key Action 1 (KA1). All students at VAMK have the equal opportunity to include in their study programme a period of study or training abroad that provides full credit transfer. Students are informed about the possibilities, requirements and application procedure and process at the beginning of the studies and twice a year in the Info sessions as well as in the Study Portal. VAMK offers professional guidance in connection with the planning of a stay abroad and continues its efforts to establish a smooth process for credit transfers of studies completed at a partner university. For incoming students we provide high quality education in our programmes without tuition or other fees. Well-working supporting services ensure that students are well oriented to VAMK and treated equally with our own students. With the help of Student Union and local ESN we ensure that incoming students will be well integrated at our institution and with local students. The transcript of records is issued within 5 weeks after the mobility period to help them to get the credits easily recognized in the home institution.
Staff members are informed about the mobility possibilities in the Intranet and the issue is discussed yearly in the development discussions. This enables planning in advance and the mobility period can be acknowledged in the resources for next academic year. We aim to always provide and arrange mobility period abroad if both our institution and the staff member can get benefit from the mobility. The programme and teaching arrangements for incoming staff are planned in the department responsible for hosting the visitor. The aim is to provide good quality arrangements and programme to meet the objectives set by the participant and his/her home institution. We value if both incoming and outgoing mobilities lead to deeper and longer cooperation.
We also plan to take part in the Erasmus Key Action 2 (KA2) and Erasmus Key Action 3 (KA3). This requires finding suitable partners with same objectives and willingness to start cooperation. EU and non-EU projects are initiated and carried out by our educational departments as well as in our Design Center MUOVA. VAMK’s project coordinators as well as staff of MUOVA offer services related to both research funding and for supporting the project management. Departments are involved with project implementation. The objectives of projects shall always support VAMK’s strategy and our fields of expertise. The actions will be selected in line with organisation’s policies but also include new openings due to development purposes. Our target is get local companies to be part in the projects whenever applicable. We also aim to get students involved with the project and therefore give them possibility to get international experience in project work.
In all our international activities we recognize the importance of regular evaluation and monitoring, as well as benchmarking with partners and peers, in order to inform and influence our future practice, policy and strategy.
As indicated in our strategy, our aim is that our graduates have international experience. Thus we keep up providing possibility for internationalisation for our students by sending our students or welcoming incoming students for mobility period. In addition, this can be enabled by providing possibility for international virtual learning. The quantitative target is to increase the number of the credits from outgoing and incoming mobilities or virtual/blended learning with 10% by 2024 and with 20% by 2030. By the end of Erasmus period 2027 we aim to increase the number with 15%. Based on this we want to both to send and receive more mobility students and increase possibilities for virtual/blended mobilities.
We intend to continue sending staff members to take part in the Erasmus mobility. Instead of setting targets for the number of staff mobility, we want to concentrate on maintaining the good quality of mobilities and receiving new initiatives through the mobilities. One quantitative target is that by the end of the Erasmus period we have sent more newcomers for staff mobility than during the previous period. Taking part in Erasmus programme will help us significantly to achieve our quantitative goals in mobilities as majority of our activities are completed under Erasmus.
Based on the EU Surveys our performance in all mobilities (incoming, outgoing, students and staff) has mainly been good or very good but we realize there are some issues we can still improve. Our qualitative target is to achieve at least 80% level of satisfaction from different factors in EU Survey and reach or exceed the level gained by all HEIs in our country.
According to our strategy, our quantitative target is to increase the number of all external funding with 20% by 2024. Our institution’s quantitative aim during the next Erasmus period is to produce at least the same amount of projects under KA2 and KA3 as in previous period but preferably increase the number of the Erasmus funded projects by the end of the period.
The qualitative target is that our RDI activities have a significant role in the modernization of expertise for enterprises, society, staff and students by 2030. Qualitative indictors can be 1. Impact on society: socially important topics in projects targeting one area at time, due to change viscosity of the society, innovation value, (social) sustainable development, implementation of the new system, idea or innovation; 2. Impact on target group: needs of the target group, user-orientation, and involvement 3. Impact on organisation: new learning, exchange and networks, new training and other materials. 4. Impact on Satisfaction: how satisfied are people involved in the project.
All in all, Erasmus programme will be in the important role for achieving the quantitative and qualitative targets in our strategy.