Erasmus Policy Statement
University of Vaasa partner policy for international cooperation
The University of Vaasa works in partnership with academically established science universities around the world in order to develop excellence in research and education. This partner policy defines the selection of international cooperation partners in education for the University.
Strategy for international educational cooperation
The Schools' education and research activities form the heart of cooperation with foreign universities. Regarding mobility, curriculum development and other joint projects the Schools are encouraged to cooperate with other foreign universities in form of exchanging students, teachers, scholars and ideas and procedures. These activities are supplemented by university- or school-level collaboration agreements that the University of Vaasa has concluded with a selected group of foreign universities, known as University of Vaasa Partners.
Some of the Schools have also selected so called strategic partners with criteria presented in this document. Collaboration with these strategic partners contains double degree agreements with the University’s international Master’s programmes, as well as consistent and active student and teacher exchange along with possibilities to collaborate in curriculum development, summer schools and seminars as well as joint research activities and publications. When evaluating these possible partnerships academic accreditation and ranking play an important role alongside personal relations.
According to the strategy of the University of Vaasa the international Master’s programmes are built on our focus areas, namely management and change, energy and sustainable development, and finance and economic decision-making giving the double degrees a clear possibility to enhance cooperation in these important fields. The University aims to achieve long-lasting and multidisciplinary partnerships with its partners in research and education.
The University of Vaasa actively participates in a number of renowned international networks for research and education as well as mobility, including:
- MIB-EPAS Consortium
- EMPA Network (Politican Science, International Relations, Public Administration and Management)
- Nordic Nordplus networks: Nordlys, Norek, Nordtek, Norplus nätverk i statskunskap, Nordliks, Nordplus Network for media and Communication
- Erasmus programme
Programmes offered in English for exchange students
There is a large number of studies available in English, both on the Bachelor and Master level, for exchange students: 180 ECTS in business studies, 100 ECTS in communication, administrative sciences and languages, and 150 ECTS in technology.
The University of Vaasa also offers six English-taught international Master's programmes of 120 ECTS, in which some of the courses may be available to exchange students from a corresponding level.
The University of Vaasa has ca. 430 agreements worldwide in 43 countries with 190 universities and there are ca. 800 places available for students for exchange. The University of Vaasa has Erasmus, Nordplus and bilateral agreements. Freemover mobility is also optional.
Every year about 260 (around 1/3 of the annual intake) University of Vaasa students study or intern abroad for a minimum of three months. According to the latest statistics by the Finnish National Agency for Education, University of Vaasa was the third most active HEI in Finland when comparing the number of students participating in long-term mobility in relation to the intake. The amount of incoming students arriving to Vaasa corresponds well to the outgoing number and is about 200 annually.
Outgoing students have to complete at least 20 ECTS/semester during their exchange. As for the incoming students, it is up to the sending institution to monitor the amount of studies accomplished at the University of Vaasa. The destinations of outgoing and incoming students have been quite different for a longer period already and therefore the agreements have to cover mobility both ways.
Quality assurance of the mobility
The University monitors the quality of exchanges using feedback for incoming and outgoing students as well as for international tutors. The Vaasa student reports include a general academic grade for the institution and a general grade for the overall experience as well as written feedback.
Based on the feedback from Erasmus programme’s EUSurvey (feedback from the students coming to Finland) in 2017/18, 97 % of incoming exchange students were very satisfied with their mobility experience at University of Vaasa and 100 % teaching quality satisfaction (Finnish HEIs average was 89 %), and the 3rd best HEI in Finland with the administrative support arrangement for the outgoing students and in 2018/19, 100 % of outgoing students felt the selection procedure was fair and transparent (Finnish HEI’s average was 78%).
Partner selection process
The University of Vaasa regularly receives inquiries for partnership. Mobility services -unit answers these inquires and evaluates whether to take them further to collaboration negotiations. The head of Mobility services is in charge of the negotiations. Erasmus and Nordplus agreements are signed by the vice director of Education services -unit and the bilateral agreements by the rector. When possible partner universities are evaluated, the following criteria are considered:
- Is the university accredited nationally or by a specific accreditation (EPAS, EQUIS, AACSB, AMBA, EUR-ACE)?
- How well does the university perform in different rankings (QS World University Rankings, ARWU, THE World University Rankings, Eduniversal 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?
- Does the possible partner have degree education ranging from Bachelor to Doctoral?
- Are there English taught courses available (min. 20 ECTS/semester)?
- Are there personal links between the School and university level with the other university?
- Is there support available for the exchange students in the receiving university?
The partnership proposals are reviewed with the criteria and discussed by the vice director of Education services -unit and head of Mobility services -unit, sometimes relevant academics are consulted. New agreements are communicated to the students and information is regularly sent to the deans of the schools, the vice rector and the rector as well as to the council of research and education (and to the possible future sub-committee of internationalisation).
Agreements are signed for a certain time period after which the agreements are reviewed with the quantitative (number/forms of co-operation and mobility) and qualitative (quality of co-operation). Discussions on future as described above.
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.
- Geographical positioning and the visibility of different areas on the University level.
- School–level positioning:
- Business studies: Central-Europe, China, Russia
- Technology: Eastern-Europe, Asia (China, Thailand, Korea)
- Mobility outcomes (incoming and outgoing students, incoming student material, student feedback)
- Existing contacts (academic and administrative contacts)
- Length of the cooperation, earlier cooperation
Strategic partnerships are discussed with the programme managers and in the programme steering committees and taken to the School board. Double degree agreements are signed by the deans and mobility agreements concerning the double degrees are signed as described above.