2021-27 UCLouvain Erasmus Policy Statement
International experience is a major focus of the university’s new strategic plan (2020-24) and affects all of the university’s missions: teaching, research and serving society.
UCLouvain sees its new Erasmus Policy Statement as an opportunity to clarify its institutional strategy in terms of international mobility and interuniversity cooperation.
UCLouvain’s Erasmus Policy focuses on three main areas:
1. Providing all UCLouvain students the opportunity to acquire international experience.
International experience is fundamental to shaping the next generation of European citizens. The university must be a place to discover other cultures and other ways of seeing the world and to learn how to communicate and collaborate effectively – without preconceived judgments – in an international and multicultural context. International experience is understood here in a broad sense. It includes study abroad as well as interactions in Belgium with students and professors who come from abroad (‘internationalisation@home’).
Lines of action:
- Diversifying opportunities for international experience by ensuring the quality of international experiences. This diversification will be created via mobility types – short- and long-term mobility, distance or blended mobility, degree mobility (joint and dual degrees) and non-degree mobility (exchange programme) – and via mobility activities: curricular and extracurricular international activities, courses or professional internships. Finally, these mobilities will be completed and reinforced by ‘internationalisation@home’ international experiences when our campuses host international students and professors and other non-academic actors with whom UCLouvain networks.
- Integrating international experience into student courses (‘embedded mobility’) and making students conscious of the skills they acquire through such experiences. This includes an expanded use of international and intercultural learning outcomes in learning standards and the development with partner universities of joint course programmes in which international experience is integral.
- Making the international experience accessible to all so that socio-economic status, a disability, or a particular situation (e.g. student entrepreneurs, high-level athletes, etc.) is not a barrier to participation in activities that impart international experience, whether they take place face-to-face or virtually. This includes greater visibility of inclusion-enhancing measures for both incoming and outgoing mobility.
- Strengthening the quality and efficiency of student mobility management, particularly through the digitisation of administrative processes (‘Erasmus without Paper’)
- Expanding student support. For outgoing mobility, this includes intensifying language training to give each and every one of our students the tools to communicate in one or more foreign languages, and developing new travel preparation initiatives. For incoming mobility, this includes reinforcing reception and integration activities for international students.
2. Providing all staff members the opportunity to develop their expertise and complement it with international experience.
Whether in research, teaching or administration, benefiting from the experiences of peers and sharing one’s own experiences are powerful drivers for finding solutions and, more broadly, increasing the quality of one’s work.
Lines of action:
- Including staff mobility in personnel policy by developing an institutional framework for promoting, managing, supporting and recognising mobility for all categories of staff.
- Strengthening mobility opportunities for PhD students in order to expand their research collaboration networks.
- Supporting professor exchanges that aim to build joint teaching and educational activities (joint courses, co-degrees) to complement expertise.
- Strengthening the mobility of administrative and technical staff by instilling a culture of exchanging practices and continuous improvement.
3. Participating actively in consolidating the European Higher Education Area and in building the European Education Area.
UCLouvain plays an active role in many interuniversity, especially European, networks. UCLouvain is a founding member of both the Coimbra Group and the CESAER European network; currently holds the presidency of The Guild network; and is part of the Circle U. European university project. These investments demonstrate the will not only to strengthen interuniversity cooperation but also to communicate with European authorities in order to take advantage of the achievements of the Bologna process and build together the European Education Area.
Lines of action:
- Encouraging the development of interinstitutional projects that modernise higher education, particularly in terms of inclusion, digital education, continuing education and curriculum internationalisation.
- Encouraging initiatives for participation in higher education policy-making in order to play our full consultative role in defining the European Education Area and in developing synergies with the European Research Area.
- Participating actively in the education of future generations of European citizens, particularly through European studies but also by enabling students to combine their learning activities with experiences of civic engagement in Europe and the world.
- Energising collaborations both within regions of Europe, for example via the Circle U. Alliance, and between academic institutions in and outside Europe, including in a dynamic of capacity-building in collaboration with partner institutions in the South.
The Erasmus+ programme, through its actions and fundamental principles, is itself a valuable and flexible guide for UCLouvain’s lines of action for 2021-27.
UCLouvain will participate actively in all programme areas:
- ensuring proper dissemination of calls for proposals within the community and support for the submission of projects;
- ensuring high quality management of projects and individual mobilities;
- exchanging good practices within its networks and with its Circle U. partners.