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Erasmus Policy Statement

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The Institution agrees to publish this overall strategy (all three parts) on its website within one month after the signature of the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education by the European Commission.

Please describe your institution's international (EU and non-EU) strategy. In your description please explain a)how you choose your partners, b) in which geographical area(s) and c) the most important objectives and target groups of your mobility activities (with regard to staff and students in first, second and third cycles, including study and training, and short cycles). If applicable, also explain how your institution participates in the development of double/multiple/joint degrees.

The International Hellenic University is the youngest higher education institution in Greece and from its establishment has focused on attracting leading academics and outstanding students from South East Europe (SEE) and across the world.

The International Hellenic University is Greece's first state university where the teaching and student administration of all programmes is conducted exclusively in English. It was established by Law No. 3391 October 2005 and began offering second-cycle programmes in 2008. For the academic year 2012-2013, the total number of postgraduate programmes offered is 10 and this number is expected to increase further in coming years. The IHU strategic mission is threefold:

  • Provide research and education that meet the needs of the international community.
  • Enhance understanding of the economic, socio-political and technological issues facing the societies we serve, through teaching and research of the highest academic standard.
  • Create an international and diverse student and faculty community to foster greater understanding between cultures and nations.

It is important to note that the IHU offers only second-cycle, specialized degrees (at master level) with duration of one full year in full-time mode and two full years in part-time mode. The International Hellenic University has incorporated the principles of greater internationalisation in its Strategic Plan, being the only university in Greece that has English as its working language with students. The IHU puts the focus on the learning process, creating an academic environment and the necessary conditions to efficiently pursue its primary target of excellence in research and teaching. Among the aspects the International Hellenic University has incorporated successfully in its mode of operation are the following:

  • Internationalisation aspect
  • Introduction of transparent evaluation processes
  • Establishment of links between universities and civil society

In response to the increasingly globalized environment and the trend towards internationalisation in higher education, the IHU’s international strategy is to put emphasis on improving academic standards for the students and establishing open collaborative environments for teaching and research staff. As such, the stress is put on education that is internationally relevant and not confined to local conditions, with research partnerships and networks that reflect every aspect of a university's activity, from research collaboration to student exchanges and enterprise partnerships. Furthermore, the learning environment offered aspires to enable students to be better placed in the international job market and to become global citizens, helped in this by their direct experience of other cultures, nations and perspectives.

Consequently it acknowledges the increased significance of European and international academic mobility and that a broad range of networks and links with international institutions is essential to sustain scholarly exchange, research, constant curriculum modernization and increased employment opportunities for its graduates. The selection criteria of partners are based on the following guiding principles:

  • Academic excellence
  • Thematic and scientific relevance of the programmes
  • Regional integration and International diversity

The IHU has already been developing networks with institutions in the countries of SE Europe, the Black Sea region, the Mediterranean basin and Eastern Europe and aims to further enhance its links with these areas while strengthening academic exchange with the rest of Europe as currently the visiting faculty counts for almost 2/3 of the teaching staff and originates from 15 countries (academic year 2012-13). Furthermore the International Hellenic University is committed to a comprehensive equal opportunities policy for both its staff and students. Individuals are selected and treated on the basis of appropriate merits and abilities and are given equal opportunities within the University. In the previous period the IHU focused mainly on exchanges of students and staff, but as the institution is rapidly developing, it will expand the range of activities in the next period to include joint programmes of study, etc.

If applicable, please describe your institution's strategy for the organisation and implementation of international (EU and non-EU) cooperation projects in teaching and training in relation to projects implemented under the Programme.

First and foremost it is the IHU’s strategy to consolidate its relationship with Higher Educational Institutions in other countries through agreements and active cooperation in mobility activities. Within this framework, all Erasmus agreements are subject to prior ratification of an inter-institutional agreement, indicating the subject area, the number of student/staff places on the exchange and the appropriate level of the students (postgraduate, etc). These agreements establish the respective roles and responsibilities of the different parties, as well as their commitment to shared quality criteria. Higher Educational Institutions in other countries are invited to sign Erasmus bilateral agreements with the International Hellenic University in those fields of study where there is common ground and perspectives for sustainable long term cooperation.

When signing a bilateral agreement the University takes into consideration:

  • The quality of courses offered by the partner institution (compatibility of academic profiles, course characteristics, adequate standards for mobility activities, etc.)
  • The implementation of ECTS principles and mechanisms.
  • The level of good understanding among the Institutions.
  • Institutional commitment and geographical considerations

Please explain the expected impact of your participation in the Programme on the modernisation of your institution (for each of the 5 priorities of the Modernisation Agenda*) in terms of the policy objectives you intend to achieve.

IHU participation will enhance the attraction of bright minds from a broader geographical area and provide the resources to increase the number of international students in Greece while facilitating at the same time the development of an international learning environment. In regard to including disadvantaged and vulnerable social groups, the exchange of best practices from various Member States will provide the necessary expertise on an administrative level. IHU efforts set a priority on dismantling barriers still faced by women at higher levels in postgraduate education and research in the region of SE Europe as well as on providing financial support for students from lower income backgrounds who are otherwise unable to carry on their studies in EU countries. Both priorities result in an increase in the pool of available talent.

The intensification of staff and student exchange within the context of EU Higher Education will contribute to updated curricula enabling graduates to find quality employment in line with their studies. Furthermore, an increase in student placements in private enterprises with transnational reach of activities will equip students with the practical experience that will also increase their employability prospects and foster entrepreneurial aspirations or their doctoral research interests to be better aligned with the needs of the knowledge-intensive society.

In addition, the opportunities offered for the professional development of academic and university staff will increase the ability of the IHU to retain high quality staff.

Increased mobility raises awareness on issues such as quality assurance in higher education and considerations of practical relevance in the development of curricula. As the frontrunner in the internationalisation of Greek Higher Education, the IHU will act as a best practice case in attracting the best students, academics and researchers from outside Greece and by developing new forms of cross-border cooperation with the wider region while eliminating barriers to regional exchanges in the SEE region.

Activities to be undertaken will improve the capacity of the IHU to integrate research results and innovative practice and to exploit the potential for crossing the boundaries of research, business and education and stimulate an intensive interaction between civil society stakeholders. The IHU is part of the Innovation Zone of Thessaloniki, an important developing hub for innovation with the potential to drive economic development in the wider region currently suffering from sluggish growth.

As public investment in higher education in Greece is insufficient to fully support the development of a sustainable international research and education centre, the IHU has developed a plan to self-finance its development. The access to alternative supplementary financing for educational, research and capacity-building activities will accelerate its ability to achieve greater financial autonomy.