Erasmus Policy Statement and Charter

Strategy for lnternational Educational Cooperation

The University of Vaasa works in partnership with academically established universities around the world, with European Union as its focus area, in order to develop excellence in research and education. The University has developed a partner policy defining the selection of international cooperation partners in education for the University.

The Faculties' education and research activities form the heart of cooperation with foreign universities. Regarding mobility and curriculum development the Faculties are encouraged to cooperate with other foreign universities in form of exchanging students, teachers and scholars. These activities are supplemented by university- or Faculty-level collaboration agreements that the University of Vaasa has concluded with a selected group of foreign universities, known as University of Vaasa Partners. The Faculties have also selected so called strategic partners with certain approved criteria, Collaboration with the strategic partners contain double degree agreements with the Faculties' international Master's programmes, as well as consistent student and teacher exchange along with possibilities to collaborate in curriculum development, summer schools and seminars. When evaluating these possible partnerships academic accreditation and ranking play an important role. According to the strategy of the University of Vaasa the international Master's programmes are built on our focus areas, namely energy, management, multilingualism and finance giving the double degrees a clear possibility to enhance cooperation in these important fields. The University aims to achieve longlasting and multidisciplinary partnerships with its partners in research and education.

Partner Selection Process

The University of Vaasa regularly receives several enquiries for partnership and the lnternational Office answers these enquires and evaluates together with the Faculties whether they are taken further to collaboration negotiations. The Head of lnternational Relations is in charge of the negotiations. According to Rector's decision Erasmus and Nordplus agreements are signed by the Head of lnternational Relations and the bilateral agreement by the Rector. When the possible partner universities are evaluated the following criteria are considered:

  • ls the university accredited nationally or by a specific accreditation (EPAS, EQUIS, AACSB, AMBA)?
  • How well the university performs in different rankings (QS World University Rankings, ARWU, THE World University Rankings and others)?
  • What is the geographical position of the university and is there a need for more partners in that particular country? Are there implications of students' interests towards the country and will the incoming students have interest to study in Finland?
  • Does the possible partner university have a specific strong corresponding academic field with which cooperation is wanted?
  • Are there English taught courses available (min. 20 ECTS/semester)?
  • Are there personal links between the Faculty and university level with the other university?
  • Is there support available for the exchange students in the receiving university?

Selection of Strategic Partners

In the selection of strategic partners (double degrees) the following criteria is applied:

  • Programme contents correspondence. Programme has to be given fully in English (with the exception of Humanities programmes in languages)
  • Geographical positioning and the visibility of different areas on the University level.
  • Faculty-level positioning:
    • Business Studies: Central-Europe, China, Russia.
    • Philosophy: Nordic Countries, Baltic Countries, German speaking countries
    • Technology: Eastern-Europe, Asia (China, Thailand, Korea)
  • Mobility outcomes (incoming and outgoing students, incoming student material, student feedbacks)
  • Existing contacts (academic and administrative contacts)
  • Length of the cooperation, earlier cooperation

Strategic partnerships are taken to the Faculty Council and double degree agreements are signed by the Deans. Mobility agreements concerning the double degrees are signed as described above.

Target Groups for Mobility Activities

Student mobility in general is aimed for the students in their first cycle where and entity of 10 ECTS of international competence is mandatory in their studies. Second cycle students are encouraged to participate to double degrees offered by the University. Focus in mobility is in studying but interest in training is increasing and the students are informed of short cycle possibilities. Teachers and other staff are encouraged to visit the University's strategic partners during their mobility periods in order to deepen the cooperation and maximise the learning outcome,

Our aim during the University's strategy period 2013-2016 is to procure significantly more project funding, especially EU funding and allocated donations to strengthen, especially, our focus areas energy, management, multilingualism and finance. Also the Ministry of Education and Culture urges the Finnish universities to double the amount of project funding and cooperation projects in teaching and training as they are a key factor in order to develop the University of Vaasa as a part of EHEA.

EU and non-EU projects are initiated and carried out by the Faculties and Levón Institute. The Levón Institute is an affiliated institution at the University of Vaasa, which transmits the University's knowhow. Many international projects are carried out each year in partnership with national and European partners in the fields of energy technology, business expertise and entrepreneurship, multilingualism and regional development. All projects are approved by the Deans of the Faculties and support to the projects is given by the Research and Innovation Services of the University Services.

We expect the impact of the European Union’s Modernisation and Internationalisation Agenda in Higher Education at the University of Vaasa to result in

  1. Increase the number of higher education graduates:

    Participation to the Erasmus for All programme offers a route to attract students to visit the University of Vaasa. For our students mobility gives extra motivation to study and graduate on time. This also acts as way to promote our international master's programmes for international students in the second level. The programme also supports University's recruitment efforts by enabling teacher and staff visits. lt also builds our image as a good cooperation partner in education and research.
  2. Improving the quality and relevance of higher education:

    lnternational cooperation betters the quality of education and offers the graduates intercultural competence which is needed in their future careers. Participation to different cuniculum develompent projects and double degrees offer the units insight to different ways to develop their education.
  3. More opportunities for students to acquire additional skills through mobility and encouragement for cross-border cooperation to boost higher education performance:

    The University of Vaasa can offer its sludents studies in more than 200 universities in our partner university network. This is enabled by the programme. Mobility gives students opportunities to develop themselves and their skills in many ways and learn to interact with people from other cultures, The programme also reinforces the Nordic cooperation which is very important to the University.
  4. Knowledge triangle work:

    The University of Vaasa along with the other HEI's in the region has for many years carried out cooperation with the City of Vaasa and the local companies for students' employment. The Erasmus for All programme can offer a much needed financial tool for support in this relation for the future. The programme also offers a possibility to establish agreements for placements with the help of strategic partners and creates more job opportunities for the graduates offering the companies much needed intercultural competence.
  5. Improving governance and funding to support excellence:

    2/3 of the Finnish universities funding comes from the Ministry of Education and Culture and is based on results. Student and teacher mobility are two of the criteria taken into account. ln this regard the programme offers a possibility to finance mobility and produce results. The programme also gives much needed opportunities for new development projects in teaching and training. The University has renewed its management system and sees benchmarking in this area extremely important. Programme funding for governance development benefits this aim.