Erasmus Policy Statement 2014-2020
(Strategy for the Internationalisation of Education and Research Activities for the period 2014-2020)
The strategy of the University of Ruse (UR) for modernisation and internationalisation of the education and research activities in the period 2014-2020 is entirely in line with the agenda of EC for modernisation and internationalisation of higher education, as well as with the priorities of the Europe Strategy 2020 for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The UR accepts as its principal mission to continue to strengthen actively its position as an important national, regional and international institution for higher education and research by improving continuously the quality of training professionals and researchers in response to the European needs; to maintain an open, dynamic and adaptive education and research system through mobility, cross-border and transnational cooperation; to establish sustainable relations with business within the knowledge triangle aiming to stimulate excellence and regional development.
The UR follows four strategic goals for modernisation and internationalisation of higher education:
-Enhancement of the quality and attractiveness of higher education through strengthening the international dimension of the curricula and syllabi in all cycles and forms of education, transfer of know-how and international best practices in teaching and research, encouragement of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit among mobile students and teachers;
-Enlargement of the network of international partnerships and widening of its geographical scope through intensifying reciprocal mobility in Europe and to/from the rest of the world in all its forms;
-Improvement of the quality management system of the University through utilising opportunities for education and research project implementation within different programme schemes in partnership with education and research institutions and business organisations from Europe and the rest of the world;
-Continuous promotion of the opportunities offered by the EC Programme for education, training, youth and sport using correctly its visual identity symbols;
In pursuance of the first strategic goal, the UR envisages the realisation of the following important activities: keeping the bachelor, master and PhD degree programmes on offer in correspondence to the European labour market needs and the required qualifications and core transferable competences; maintaining the transparency and visibility of achievements through constant monitoring and measuring of quality of education and research; increasing the number of degree programmes offered in English language including those in distance learning mode in order to attract students from participating countries and the rest of the world.
In pursuance of the second strategic goal, the UR engages to strengthen and develop the established partnership links with universities and business organisations participating in the Programme, trying to stimulate their efficiency and to avoid "latent" agreements. In parallel with this, the University will continue to conclude new agreements for student and staff mobility with participating countries and countries from the rest of the world. The main principles that the University commits to follow in mobility activities, are: offering a wide geographical range of mobility destinations; increasing mobility in all tree cycles of the higher education; increasing the placement mobilities; stimulating and increasing the staff mobility for teaching and training; ensuring equal possibilities for mobility especially for physically and socially disadvantaged people.
Some new forms of mobility that the UR commits to develop in the period 2014-2020 are mobility designed for staff from enterprises and degree mobility. For the realisation of degree mobility the university will use its experience from the implementation of joint bachelor and master degree programmes with international partners. One exemplary initiative of this kind is the establishment of the Bulgarian-Romanian Inter-university Europe Centre (BRIE) in 2001 with the support of the German Rectors' Conference. BRIE is the first Bulgarian and South-Eastern European cross-border educational structure in which successful education in master degree programmes in English language ending with mutually recognised diplomas has been carried out for more than 10 years. The third semester of these programmes is conducted in German universities making use of the Erasmus scheme.
On the grounds of this beneficial experience as well as in view of the leading position of UR in the cross-border Bulgarian-Romanian region along the Danube River and its active participation in the realisation of the Danube Strategy, the University intends to increase the number of degree mobilities through creation of more integrated master degree programmes with countries from the Danube Region using its long-term membership in the Danube Rectors' Conference and other similar opportunities.
Increasing the share of the project financing was a strategic goal of UR in the previous period and is kept for the new period also. Through the implementation of education and research projects in partnership with both participating and nonparticipating universities, the University uses the opportunities for enriching its equipment and information resources, for improving its teaching and research potential and for strengthening its international position.
The University has a rich experience and leading position in the implementation of projects within different programmes - LLP, 7th Framework, etc, in consortia with a wide range of partner organisations. During the new programme period the University will search for added value and enhancement of its positive experience in project implementation. In its efforts the UR will rely both on well-established and new strategic partnerships with education and research institutions, local authorities, business partners, etc, thus aiming at continuous modernisation of its teaching and research potential and improving the quality of the education and research.
The main priority in the process of project application will be the forming of knowledge alliances in cooperation with business aiming at stimulating the creativity and entrepreneurship among the students and their preparation for successful job search. Another priority will be the implementation of projects in cooperation with business organisations giving possibilities for continuing education, qualification and career development of their staff members.
Through the experience gained from the implementation of projects within Tempus and Erasmus Mundus programmes, and as a result of the participation in the Tuning European Educational Structures Project, the University has the expertise to provide support for the modernisation and internationalisation of higher education in partner countries by executing joint projects with them.
Through the participation in the Programme, the implementation of projects and full use of mobility opportunities, the UR will turn its activity towards complete modernisation and internationalisation of the higher education it offers.
Striving to increase the number of graduating students, the University will continue to offer degree programmes in the three cycles (bachelor, master and PhD), including programmes in English, with contents relevant to the labour market needs. It will increase the number of distance learning programmes, including programmes in English and utilise more opportunities for integrated degrees with foreign universities. Awarding joint diplomas will widen the spectrum of target groups of the higher education degrees and continuing education courses offered by UR among all age population groups from Bulgaria and abroad. In that way the UR will maintain a geographically open, flexible and adaptive system for education services, using all contemporary methods and means to make them popular among the target groups and to attract people searching for education. As a result, it will contribute to achieving the goal in Europe 2020 Strategy to reach 40 % graduation level (36 % for Bulgaria).
Participation in the Programme will give the University the opportunity for mutual transfer of best educational practices, know-how and innovations in teaching and research, as well as for qualification of the university human resources through mobility and project implementation. The UR will be able to improve its quality management system and its sub-systems: study process, research, internal normative base and competitiveness. Corner-stone of the activity for attaining high quality will be the achieving relevance of the education offered to the requirements of the labour market and the economy based on knowledge and key competences.
Through active participation in the Programme, the UR will develop the existing partnerships, will generate new ones and will use all forms of cross-border and transnational cooperation to stimulate exchange, to perform integrated education and to attract project financing. These activities will widen the scope of possibilities for the students for gaining additional knowledge and skills. One beneficial factor for achieving this goal is that the UR is situated in the Bulgarian-Romanian region on the Danube River and in the Danube macro region. The natural synergy within the same territory will result in a high added value for the performance of the university and its partners from the European education and research area.
The participation in the Programme will allow the University to improve its teaching capacities and research infrastructure and achieve close links with business. This way the UR will contribute to attaining the goals of the agenda for modernisation and will support the overall national and European policy for effective management of the education in search of excellence.