The internationalisation strategy of the University of Opole 2022-2027
Internationalisation is one of the key challenges for higher education institutions. Actions based on a strategic approach to shaping the international policy of the university are an opportunity for continuous development and a measure of success in national, European and global dimensions. Cooperation in the international environment is a source of motivation and inspiration for students and staff on the path of personal development, and ultimately also a determinant of institutional development. The main task of this strategy is to indicate priority actions during its validity period, resulting from the diagnosis of the internationalisation of the UO, aimed at strengthening the position of the UO nationally and internationally and ensuring the conditions within the university for the free development of cooperation with the international environment. The international affairs policy, alongside the teaching, research and financial policies, is one of the four policies for the development of the University of Opole included in the Development Strategy of the University of Opole 2021-2027. This document develops and elaborates on the provisions of that strategy with regard to internationalisation. The assumptions for the implementation of projects within the Erasmus+ Programme are detailed in the Erasmus Policy Statement for 2021-2027. For the purposes of this strategy, international mobility is presented as a tool used to deepen and expand teaching and research activities and enhance the image of the UO.
It is worth emphasising here that the internationalisation of the university is not an end in itself. Nevertheless, the implementation of appropriate mechanisms for undertaken actions of an international nature leads to an increase in the level of research and the quality of education, which is the primary goal of any higher education institution. In order for this to happen, the internationalisation strategy should include all areas of the activity of the university. Hence, the document devotes a lot of attention to non-academic staff, i.e. in this case the staff supporting international activity, as well as the concept of 'internationalisation at home'.
PRIORITIES OF THE EU AND THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE
The UO's Internationalisation Strategy 2022-2027 is in line with the European Union's Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 and the Integrated Skills Strategy 2030 of the Ministry of Education and Science. The latter sets out, inter alia, the following areas of impact:
· basic, transversal and vocational skills of children, youth and adults;
· skills development in formal education - management personnel;
· skills development in formal education - teaching personnel.
Directions of action defined within these areas coincide with the tasks identified in this strategy. They include: strengthening inter-university cooperation at the national and international level (including learning mobility), supporting the skills of foreigners, developing the domestic and foreign offer and improving the quality of internships and traineeships for managerial and teaching staff in formal education, popularising domestic and international mobility of managerial and teaching staff, strengthening the in-service training offer with regard to the development of foreign language skills of teaching staff, developing the skills of planning educational projects, managing national and international projects and their financial resources, disseminating national and international good practices in teaching and educational work.
The EU Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 includes 5 objectives:
· a more competitive and smarter Europe;
· a greener, low-carbon Europe;
· a more connected Europe;
· a more social and inclusive Europe;
· Europe closer to its citizens.
This strategy takes into account the priorities of the European Commission in the area of internationalisation in the form of, inter alia, increasing the importance of research and innovation and the use of modern technologies, strengthening the potential of the UO for a modern economy, digitalisation, social inclusion, and sustainable development.
FORTHEM and FIT FORTHEM as parts of the institutional transformation of the University of Opole
Since 2019, the University of Opole has been a member of the FORTHEM alliance, a prestigious network of European Universities launched as a pilot project by the European Commission. Together with universities from Mainz, Dijon, València, Jyväskylä, Palermo and Rīga, and from 2021 onwards also Sibiu and Agder the UO co-creates a permanent, multilateral, and European cooperation environment. An extension of the work of the alliance is the ongoing research project FIT FORTHEM, funded under the Horizon 2020 programme. Joining the alliance created many opportunities, but it also made it necessary to take numerous steps towards the organisational transformation of the University of Opole as a result of internationalisation.
New opportunities for cooperation within the alliance provide a chance for more academic and non-academic staff to get involved in internationalisation. One of the initiatives of the alliance is the implementation of innovative mobilities aimed at students, research and teaching staff, and administrative personnel, which will result in the implementation of innovative academic projects, the creation of attractive international degree programmes, and the exchange of teaching and administrative practices. Furthermore, it has been planned to strengthen and systematise contacts with the university's external environment in order to create a sustainable cooperation framework with the social, economic and regional actors of all FORTHEM partner universities. This will result in the implementation of innovative civic projects and the creation of opportunities for attractive internships and traineeships in these regions.
In the field of scientific cooperation, the alliance has so far established seven FORTHEM laboratories for education, research and innovation in subjects that reflect common areas of specialisation and are of key social relevance. Outputs produced by the teams operating within the labs will include new online teaching materials for the FORTHEM Digital Academy, new intensive courses, joint scientific publications and final reports on civic engagement projects. The FIT FORTHEM project, on the other hand, will develop recommendations for the internationalisation of research at the FORTHEM alliance level, based on the research scopes in which alliance scientists have the highest research potential (strongholds). These actions will be helpful in building consortia and in applying for funding from the EU budget. They include building common platforms for pooling resources and researchers with the same research interests, as well as providing access to expert databases and a joint virtual office where researchers could consult proposals for the internationalisation of their research.
Membership in the Alliance reinforced the need for the UO to join international university associations, and the need for the UO to be positioned in international rankings, and to make efforts to obtain institutional and programme certifications and international accreditations. Simultaneously to these actions, and in response to the EU priorities, the work on the Gender Equality Plan, Open Science Policy, and Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) has been planned in order to obtain the HR Excellence in Research Award. The institutional transformation of the UO in the area of internationalisation with the support of FORTHEM and FIT FORTHEM is planned to last the year 2030.
DIAGNOSIS OF INTERNATIONALISATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OPOLE
The definition of the strategic goals and operational objectives of this strategy, as well as the scope of proposed actions aimed at the growth and effective use of internationalisation of the University of Opole, was preceded by a SWOT analysis, which in turn made it possible to diagnose the current level of internationalisation of the university. As a result of the information collected from institutes, faculties and administrative units serving internal and external customers in the area of internationalisation, two tables were created defining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, respectively, in the area of internationalisation of teaching and science at the University of Opole. A considerable amount of this material (particularly in the area of opportunities) has been included in the form of tasks assigned to the individual objectives in the section below.
The overall analysis of the material collected from all units repeatedly indicates aspects that were classified as strengths by representatives of some faculties or institutes, and as weaknesses by other units. Such a regularity can be seen, inter alia, in relation to the language competence of academic teachers, researchers and non-academic staff of the UO. There is no doubt that each faculty and institute has teaching and research staff that are substantively prepared to operate in an international environment. The required knowledge of foreign literature, the creation of publications and conference presentations means that each unit has a base group of academic teachers and researchers who are fluent in English to the extent that they could effectively conduct both teaching for foreign students and international research. At the same time, in spite of the long-standing cooperation of independent and highly qualified UO researchers with researchers of partner universities and foreign entities (including cooperation in research teams, comparative studies and projects whose results are part of the European and global scientific output), a number of opinions point to the involvement of a small number of the same people in such projects and the difficulty of recruiting new academics who are motivated and competent in this area. It is worth noting that the proper use of an extensive international network requires a partnership building strategy based on pro-quality criteria. This also applies to international scientific cooperation, which requires the development of an appropriate strategy involving the co-ordination of research directions in order, inter alia, to minimise the observed fragmentation of the ongoing research. This, in turn, requires a greater understanding on the part of the UO staff of the need to conduct research not only nationally but also internationally. Undoubtedly, a lack of tradition and culture of building international and interdisciplinary teams can be observed here.
Staff deficits also apply to the area of teaching, where there is a persistent shortage of members of staff undertaking teaching in English, which results in a high circulation of courses taught by the employees and a danger of a lack of continuity and consistency of teaching in the degree programmes At the same time, the overburdening of staff in the sphere of research and administrative and organisational activities can have a negative impact on the development of projects in the international teaching space. On the other hand, the attempt to solve this problem by assigning teaching responsibilities to research active staff is a threat to their scientific development. Attracting foreigners as part of the research and teaching staff and, first of all, recognising the international activity of the staff and a system of motivation rewarding this type of activity seems to be crucial for greater involvement of the staff in international cooperation.
As far as non-academic staff is concerned, it should be emphasised that there are already teams operating within the structure of the UO (under the Office of Research and Project Management and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs) involved respectively in handling international mobility and foreign students undertaking full-cycle studies at the University of Opole. In the case of these units, fluency not only in English but also in other foreign languages is the norm and is highly valued when recruiting staff for these teams. Within the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, there is an information and consultation desk called the Welcome Centre for foreign students and research and teaching staff. A high level of satisfaction of Erasmus+ outgoing students with the handling of their mobility is also observed, as supported by an internal evaluation. However, in spite of increasing English proficiency among administrative staff in units other than those set up exclusively to serve foreign students and staff, the language barrier negatively affects the quality of foreign customer service, which determines remedial action in this respect. This barrier also results in limited accessibility to standardised information, documentation, rules and regulations, procedures in English relevant to both current and prospective students and employees of the university, as well as to external institutions interested in establishing cooperation of an international nature.
The University of Opole ranks high among universities in Poland in terms of the number of foreign students compared to the total number of students. Foreign students account for almost 10 per cent of all the UO students. Noteworthy is also the high diversity of foreign students in terms of their countries of origin. They represent more than 50 countries situated on five continents Students from Ukraine, Nigeria, Belarus, China, Cameroon and Kazakhstan account respectively for the largest percentage. It has been noted that such a wide diversity determines the introduction of a strategic selection of international recruitment destinations. The participation of the UO representatives in strategically selected international education fairs, as well as cooperation with recruitment agencies, may be helpful in this respect. Lecturers point out that the diversity of class groups in English-language programmes, which international exchange students join, determines an increase in activity and the levelling of language competence through group interaction. At the same time, it creates major challenges in groups with strongly varying levels of language proficiency and learning habits. The challenges of understanding the needs arising from cultural differences by both academic and non-academic staff are equally important. In terms of serving foreign candidates, such a high degree of diversity requires the implementation of a separate enrolment pathway for foreign candidates. A major challenge is the delay in obtaining visas, as well as the high proportion of candidates who do not obtain visas, which generates delays in the timely commencement of studies and creates challenges with respect to planning class groups and determining the allocation of teaching assignments. A number of units signal that the increasing number of foreign students require adaptation to the changing reality in terms of both substantive and technical staff support and accessibility to modern infrastructure, services, IT and ICT tools in the area of education and international cooperation.
International study programmes
Currently, the University of Opole offers 9 study programmes in English, of which 3 are offered at the bachelor's level and the remaining 6 at the master's level. Particularly noteworthy is the Europa Master programme, unique in the field of European studies, which makes it possible to obtain Master's degrees from three universities: the University of Opole, the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and the University of Burgundy in Dijon. This tripartite agreement with partner universities from Germany and France was the starting point for the creation of the Alliance of European Universities FORTHEM. Despite the significant achievements in recent years in increasing the offer of international study programmes - the educational offer in English available at the UO should still be defined as limited to selected disciplines. It also applies to the development of multi-degree and interdisciplinary study programmes with practical education, not leaving out international indications for graduate qualifications. Furthermore, the development of a third-cycle degree offer in English could be an important step in the internationalisation of the Doctoral School. By internationalising this form of education, students would have the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to conduct research at the European/international level, and the UO might gain an opportunity for an influx of talented students from abroad. A particular challenge is the internationalisation of experimental programmes, the appeal of which is inevitably linked to continuous expenditure on the purchase of equipment, apparatus and laboratory facilities. This, in turn, is linked to the possibility of carrying out international research with partners from renowned centres. The development and popularisation of English-language study programmes are an opportunity for internationalisation also from the perspective of broadening the range of courses offered to short-term students coming to the UO mainly under the Erasmus+ programme. In recent years, there has been a continued high level of interest in carrying out exchanges under this programme among students and staff, prompting not only further work on the mobility recognition process for these two groups, but also a coordinated use of this scale for the promotion of faculties/university and the achievement of image and strategic goals. With regard to staff mobility, the potential for converting Erasmus+ mobility into further teaching and research cooperation with foreign partners still appears to be unexploited. The involvement of staff in the organisation of and participation in international scientific conferences, symposia, exhibitions and plein-air workshops has been juxtaposed with the low number of visiting foreign scientists at the UO within the framework of guest lectures and specialised training.
Although the University of Opole is not one of the leading research centres in Poland, many academics are members of national and international scientific associations, which, among other things, contributes to the international recognition of the UO. The scientific achievements of many staff members are based on publications in English in journals with international reach and high impact factors (IF). The experience of some staff members in writing and reviewing grant applications in English, in leading research teams with foreign researchers, and in running English-language journals and reviewing for them makes the scientific potential of the university in the international arena significant. Formal and legal difficulties in employing foreign specialist researchers and the signalled insufficient level of research funding, especially of research in experimental sciences, are limiting factors in the scientific development of the university. More intensive efforts to obtain national and external funding for international projects (including, in particular, consortium projects as leader or partner) are an opportunity to partially address these deficits, but without internal financial support programmes, it seems impossible to meet this need. It applies both to the early stages of project development and research network building, and to ensuring continuity in the implementation of tasks in projects (including teaching ones) after their completion. In addition, there is a signalled need for measures to be taken to effectively promote the scientific achievements, the university’s research offer and potential, as well as current research results.
The potential of the UO for international cooperation is also revealed in the functioning of the European Centre of Palaeontology at the University of Opole and in having its own palaeontological station. The fact that the UO has the only UNESCO Chair in Law in Poland is undoubtedly a great asset. In addition, the rather small size of Opole, a compact city, is conducive to rapid acclimatisation. Both short-term and regular foreign students have repeatedly confirmed it. The efficient transport links to major urban centres in Poland and abroad are also worth noting. One of the threats defined here is high competition in attracting candidates for study from larger and more attractive academic centres in the neighbouring voivodeships. The competition from neighbouring voivodeship universities with greater reputation and international recognition also applies to the research sphere. It poses a threat in the form of an outflow of recognised researchers to other academic centres in search of more attractive research opportunities, higher salaries and better facilities. A great asset of the university is an exam centre at the Faculty of Philology, which makes it possible to take certified examinations certifying knowledge of Polish and English as foreign languages. However, the UO does not have an internal system for teaching and financing Polish language courses, which, given the high demand from both students and outsiders, could significantly enrich the university's offer.
Definition of objectives
Summing up: much of the information provided in the analyses compiled by the faculties, institutes and administrative units points to the same deficits in the areas of teaching, research and administration. This applies for example to the language barrier or staff shortages, which in each of these areas limit the university's potential for international cooperation. Such an observation calls for defining the objectives and tasks in this strategy in cross-cutting terms, focusing on two main strategic goals, which are: "Increasing the international visibility of the University of Opole" and "Developing the potential, infrastructure, communication and cooperation within the university to increase the quality of internationalisation".
Strategic goal 1: to increase international visibility of the University of Opole.
Scope of activities
1.1 Establish the credibility of the UO as an institutional research partner and an attractive place to study.
- endeavouring to join international associations of HEIs (e.g. European University Association)
- gaining international certificates and accreditations
- positioning the UO in national and international rankings of higher education institutions (preceded by critical analysis), including rankings that include internationalisation as a criterion for the overall assessment (e.g. Times Higher Education, QS World University Ranking, Perspektywy Ranking of Higher Education Institutions)
- participating in international educational fairs and other promotional events in order to present the UO's potential and compete more effectively for the most talented candidates
- creating a Gender Equality Plan at the UO, which is a formal requirement when applying for Horizon Europe grants
- creating an Open Science Policy at the UO as one of the priority policies of the European Commission.
- coherent international promotion and marketing aimed at both foreign partner institutions and candidates for study, including information materials of high language and visual quality concerning the offer of studying at the UO for short-term and full-cycle foreign students, developed in consultation with the faculties offering English-language study programmes and the Office of Marketing and Public Relations
- raising external funds for the implementation of projects aimed at enhancing the image of the UO (e.g. "Welcome to Poland" projects within the NAWA framework)
- implementing a model of cooperation with recruitment agencies based on transparent rules of cooperation in order to attract the best candidates for study
- analysis of the correlation between the most popular degree programmes chosen by foreigners and the country of origin of candidates at the UO and intensification of adequate marketing actions in this respect
- effective use of promotional channels (websites, social media) to inform about undertaken international actions
- implementation of programmes supporting student education (e.g. Solidarity with Belarus, Kalinowski programme, Banach programme)
- raising the awareness of students and staff carrying out mobilities within the Erasmus+ programme of their role in building the image of the UO abroad and, consequently, using these mobilities for the promotion of the UO (instructing and furnishing the scholarship holder with promotional and information materials)
- continuously improving the conditions for short-term mobilities of foreign undergraduate students in order to attract candidates for full-cycle Master's studies
- using high quality service as a promotional tool - the role of alumni and scholarship holders as ambassadors of the UO being a source of knowledge and inspiration for potential candidates
- improving the websites of faculties (primarily those providing international study programmes) in English and creating subpages of degree programmes in foreign languages
- creating a system of incentives for foreign candidates for study in the form of support programmes, i.e. scholarships, accommodation allowances
- monitoring and providing bilingual information in the USOS system on courses in terms of criteria based on the recommendations contained in the ECTS Users' Guide
- monitoring and improving the dual-language features of the admissions system
- aiming at the implementation of IT systems and tools friendly to foreigners
- digitalising student and staff service processes for international activity
- improving the current course catalogue for short-term students so that it is clear and therefore easy to use for students and partner universities
- creation of English-language procedures for service and support of students and staff with disabilities
- promoting the availability of the UO Psychological and Therapeutic Support Centre for foreign students and staff
- exploration and dissemination of information on the possibility of using medical and psychological care in English in Opole in order to ensure equal access to the above-mentioned care for foreign students
- implementation of the European Commission's EWP - Erasmus Without Paper initiative as part of a broader initiative aimed at introducing the use of the European Student Card
- continued technical support and maintenance of IT tools for the electronic exchange of data between universities at international level (Emrex, EWP network, e-learning)
1.3 Strengthen the image of the University of Opole as an open institution with a high potential for international cooperation.
- organisation of events favouring internationalisation, i.e. Erasmus+ Days, continuation of the organisation of the Central European International Week, Summer School, Summer School of Polish Language and Culture
- promotion of the UO activities among partners: newsletter "uni opole international" sent to partner universities to maintain existing partnerships (organisation of an international week, summer schools, organisation of international conferences, etc.)
- taking active steps to promote specialised equipment, laboratories and centres in the units as the potential for international cooperation, preceded by the development of a policy for making the resources and infrastructure of the UO accessible also in English
- revision/creation of documentation in the form of regulations/rules/procedures, etc., available in English for external institutions in order to establish international cooperation
- undertaking activities promoting the functioning of the European Centre of Palaeontology of the Opole University and the Palaeontological Station of the Opole University in Krasiejów as the potential for international cooperation
– taking action to promote the only UNESCO law chair in Poland specializing in the law of cultural goods; the UNESCO Chair logo as a strong trademark facilitating networking
- promotion of scientific achievements, research results, research potential, and scientific offer of the UO through:
1.4 Increase the visibility and citation rate of research.
- mobilising staff members, especially those who have not yet excelled in conducting international research, to publish in internationally recognised journals (leading in the field), with a particular focus on publishing in international teams, thereby increasing the prestige and weight of the publication
- expanding cooperation with foreign institutions, taking into account the specific nature and potential of the research conducted at the institutes, as an opportunity for high-quality publications of international importance
- cooperation with recognised and renowned institutions which, on the basis of agreements with publishers, publish in the Open Access mode-
increasing the importance of UO international journals through actions aimed at indexing by international databases
selected works with recognised foreign publishers
1.5 Build a partnership and cooperation with business, local government units and business support institutions.
- implementing international projects in the combined fields of education, research and business
- developing cooperation with the City Hall and the Marshal's Office in order to make use of the UO's experience in integrating foreigners on a municipal and regional scale and to internationalise the UO as an asset in promoting the city and the region (international students and staff can support new foreign investment)
- exploring opportunities for international institutional cooperation with local government, local companies, institutions and structures and creating a network of foreign contacts and organisational and financial support
- developing institutional tools for the integration of social sciences and humanities (SSH) with the representation of exact sciences, economic organisations, business entities in accordance with the idea of sustainable development
- making use of the Careers Service within the University Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer and the Academic Business Incubator within the Office of Research and Project Management to carry out the following tasks in the area of internationalisation:
conducting surveys among alumni and employers in order to discern the compatibility of the offered study programmes with the requirements of the international labour market; revising study curricula and adjusting them to the changing demand for a specific scope of knowledge and skills conducting surveys among alumni on their getting jobs in an international environment (i.e. abroad, in an international company/organisation, in an institution where knowledge of a foreign language is essential) inviting local employers (including those with operational foreign languages) to cooperate in organising student internships and traineeships for foreign students and to cooperate in projects developing the professional competences of these students (job prospects as an additional motivation for international candidates to undertake studies)
collecting offers for English-language traineeships for foreign students and graduates among companies in the region; faculty socio-economic councils - an activity-monitoring role)
- commercialising achievements in international research and publications in cooperation with the University Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer
- support for researchers interested in carrying out R&D projects and commercial initiatives in the search for foreign and national partners for projects, including the preparation of contracts, cooperation agreements
- carrying out commissioned research for international entities
- preparing offers for commissioned research in English
Initial scope of activities
2.1 Optimize internationalization management at the University of Opole.
- comparing processes and practices used at the University of Opole in the context of handling internationalisation with those used by leading institutions in this area in Poland and abroad (so-called benchmarking)
- drawing on the knowledge and experience of people/units already involved in internationalisation within own resources and replicating good practices in other units
- the UO's participation in projects aimed at learning about available models of internationalisation management, developing new ones on the basis of existing ones, sharing good practices in this area, using the knowledge of external experts experienced in this field
- creating pro-quality criteria for concluding bilateral agreements with foreign partners as well as criteria for teaching and research cooperation and for selecting international activities with research centres/universities/institutions
- designation of strategic cooperation partners on the basis of past experience in the implementation of joint projects and on the basis of analysis of the potential of cooperation with new partners
- assigning the reporting function on international activities to a single unit for centralised collection of data on international cooperation
- appointment of a person(s)/unit responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the implementation of the internationalisation policy by periodically assessing the progress of its implementation and reacting and adapting to the changing reality
- continuous monitoring of internationalisation expenditure and revenue in the UO's budget, as well as striving for a continuous growth in these two areas
- developing mechanisms for establishing international contacts and research teams (inter alia, staff mobility within the Erasmus+ programme, organisation or participation in international conferences and seminars with the potential of converting into further cooperation initiatives and ultimately the number of international projects and publications with co-authors from foreign universities)
2.2 Improve communication related to the service and degree of internationalisation.
- appointing a person/team of people to act as the first line of contact for customers from abroad in order to properly communicate the nature of potential cooperation to the relevant offices/coordinators for international cooperation at faculties/institutes (e.g. information about grant offers, consortia projects, information about international conferences, etc.)
- establishing a communication channel within the UO for information from outside related to internationalisation
- appointing coordinators for international cooperation at faculties/institutes to identify areas of activity for those concerned
- informing academic and non-academic staff about the internationalisation strategy and the resulting activities
2.3 Strengthen the potential of teaching and research staff at the University of Opole for international cooperation.
- attracting foreign lecturers and researchers under long-term employment contracts, as well as guest lectures and specialist trainings
- organising/subsidising courses and trainings in English for the UO teaching and research staff in order to develop their language skills and to certify them
- introducing a system of recognition of international activity to motivate staff to engage in internationalisation
- modification of the financial gratification system for instructors teaching in English to short-term students (also as an incentive for the UO staff to improve their language and teaching skills)
- developing an incentive programme for employees applying for grants of international importance (incentive system); an employee as an applicant becomes a beneficiary of scientific, artistic and research projects financed from external sources
2.4 Develop an institutional support system for international activity through the implementation of projects.
- periodical, adjusted to the current needs and competition rules verification of the effectiveness of the operation of processes included in the guidebook of the Office of Research and Project Management entitled "Principles of preparation, conduct and settlement of projects carried out by the University of Opole"
- developing internal criteria for the evaluation of project applications consistent with the objectives of the University's development and internationalisation strategies, as a form of strategic approach to the selection of projects carried out at the UO, including assessment of the suitability of applications in terms of the University's resources and feasibility potential
- supporting the staff by the Standardisation and Project Preparation Team and the Project Implementation and Settlement Team within the Office of Research and Project Management in the application and implementation of projects carried out at the UO; focusing on applying for external funding in international consortium projects both as a leader and a partner
- searching for the information on the possibilities of obtaining funding from external sources within the framework of current competition applications, including:
· analysis of the potential and demand for funding of specific types of projects among both UO staff and foreign partners
· exploring the information published by institutions such as: National Agency for Academic Exchange, Foundation for the Development of the Education System, European Education and Culture Executive Agency, National Science Centre
· information gained and transferred through contacts with foreign partners by means of a created and updated offer of cooperation potential in the area of science and research
- developing a system for informing scientists about other research groups at the UO with similar interests in order to share research directions and increase the interdisciplinarity of international research in line with the idea of ensuring the sustainable development of the academic community
- encouraging young academics to undertake long-term postdoctoral traineeships in renowned research centres
- creating an internal funding system to support the building of international research networks and seed funding - establishing the collaboration needed to develop grant proposals and joint international research at an early stage of the project
- distribution of a newsletter on the basis of information obtained regarding applications in individual competitions and the creation of a path for effective communication of this information in order to reach those potentially interested in applying (e.g. organisation of information meetings at the UO institutes regarding announced competitions)
- providing legal services in English
2.5 Increase the offer of study programmes for foreign students.
- increasing the number of degree programmes taught in English (including interdisciplinary and practical education) in relation to the total number of offered degree programmes at the UO - an offer in line with international trends and the expectations of candidates for study
- a strategic approach to the creation of international study programmes by, inter alia, noting the relationship between the most popular fields of study among foreigners and the country of origin of the candidate on a national scale
- enriching the offer of English courses for short-term students (including the Erasmus+ Programme) with basic and core courses within the available study curricula as a basis for launching further English-language study programmes
- maintaining variable courses taught in English as a compulsory component of study curricula for local students (also as an additional offer for short-term foreign students)
- organisation of the paid English Preparatory Course, which will enable adequate language preparation for candidates for international study programmes
- development of a doctoral programme in English and internationalisation of the UO Doctoral School, inter alia, by joining doctoral networks (e.g. Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions)
- development of double degree/multi-degree educational offers (within own resources and with funding from external sources)
2.6 Streamline the admission process for foreign candidates for studies.
- defining recruitment priorities (geographical areas, student profiles) taking into account environmental multiculturalism
- developing a separate enrolment route for foreign candidates
- launching a separate telephone line for study candidates
- providing personnel support for the International Student Affairs Team of the Office of Academic and Student Affairs during the admission period.
2.7 Improve the quality of education in the international environment.
- indicating the concept and objectives of education in a given degree programme in terms of internationalisation; determining the benefits both for the UO and for the student recipients achieved by internationalising the education process in a given degree programme
- recommending directions for faculty development and changes to curricula by the staff of faculties with international study programmes who are experts of international associations and bodies
- preparing study programmes on the basis of models taking into account international indications concerning the qualifications of graduates of a given study programme
- conducting periodic evaluations of the degree of internationalisation of education and activities intensifying the degree of internationalisation in a given study programme
- conducting regular internal and external system evaluation (internal audit - conducted by the Faculty Education Quality Assurance Team, external audit - conducted by the Polish Accreditation Committee) of international study programmes
- monitoring the language skills of the teaching staff, inter alia, by carrying out periodic assessment of the these skills as part of the periodic quality control of teaching
2.8 Enhance the recognition of international mobilities of students and staff.
- improving the system of recognition of student and staff mobilities completed abroad
- internationalisation of study curricula through the introduction of so-called mobility windows at the curriculum development stage
- internationalisation of Polish study curricula by increasing the number of internships abroad counted as compulsory internships in the course of studies
- developing a procedure for the recognition of individual courses completed remotely at a partner university as part of the FORTHEM Alliance virtual academy
2.9 Develop the UO infrastructure for international cooperation, including digital infrastructure combined with the use of new technologies.
- providing access to modern IT/ICT services, infrastructure and tools for students and staff in the area of international education and cooperation
- modernising the IT infrastructure of the UO library information system
- development of library resources (including electronic full-text databases containing scientific publications from many disciplines) in English
- promoting in foreign languages the offer of scientific databases of foreign publishers available both within and outside the UO network for the students and staff of the UO
- providing high quality research instruments and laboratory equipment necessary for the internationalisation of research and education in experimental fields of study
- modernising accommodation and welfare facilities for foreign students and staff
- reviewing the availability and providing a sufficient number of classrooms and offices at faculties where an increase in the number of foreign students is observed
- using e-learning platforms to open up to short-term foreign students
- providing training for academics in the use of modern technologies for international scientific communication
- using modern media (e.g. mobile applications in several languages) to facilitate locating and obtaining basic information about the faculties and specific units of the UO
2.10 Implement the "Internationalization at home" concept, enabling contact with the international community for students and staff members who do not participate in mobility.
- continuation of the "Introducing cultures" meetings, where students from a given country introduce their culture, traditions and local cuisine to all UO students and staff as well as the local community
- creating a platform for sharing knowledge, achievements and experiences of staff members involved in internationalisation on a daily basis with other staff members in order to raise their awareness of the development advantages and opportunities, but also the difficulties and challenges involved
- involving a larger number of administrative units in the reception of foreign staff coming to implement Erasmus+ trainings, in order to enable the exchange of experiences in the context of tasks of a similar nature
- revision of curricula of programmes in Polish by adding courses allowing contact with specialist English as a compulsory component of education from the beginning of the programme in order to build a habit of using a foreign language and foreign literature in the course of studies as something to be taken for granted
- dissemination of the results of mobilities realised within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme among the co-workers of the unit combined with an attempt to implement the observed solutions in an identical/similar work position
2.11 Implement the international campus concept.
- recruiting language-competent administrative staff by including the English language requirement in published job offers
- increasing the language competence of employed administrative staff in order to adapt the Rector's Office, Deans' Offices, front offices, halls of residence, accountancy department to provide information to foreign stakeholders and to serve foreign students and staff in English
- appointing a specific person or persons with their contact details on the website of the units indicated above in order to ensure efficient communication and service to foreigners
- systematically organising trainings for academic and non-academic staff on internationalisation and intercultural communication in order to foster a sense of equality and cultural sensitivity
- ensuring the standardisation of bilingual signage inside and outside the buildings, information, regulations and other documents in force at the university (especially at those faculties where English-language study programmes are offered)
- increasing environmental multiculturalism - ensuring the diversity of countries of origin of foreign students by, inter alia, implementing Erasmus+ mobility with regions of high recruitment potential (among EU Member States and third countries associated with the Erasmus+ Programme - European and third countries not associated with the Programme worldwide)
- formalising the activities of the Buddy Mentors organisation for short-term international students and considering the establishment of an identical organisation for full-cycle students
- organising integration events for foreign students with the involvement of local students
- creating a system of financing the Polish language courses for full-cycle foreign students in the course of their studies
- creating an internal system of teaching and verifying knowledge of Polish as a foreign language at the UO
providing students with activities outside mobility programmes, including:
participation in summer schools and in international student organisations,
supporting student cooperation by, inter alia, involving students in the
preparation of papers for international scientific conferences at home and
abroad (including student conferences); international research projects;
preparing and publishing research papers in English
In the context of handling internationalisation, the current structure of the UO follows a decentralised approach to managing internationalisation. The Office of Research and Project Management and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, which are directly involved in project management (including international projects) and student and staff support (including international students), are positioned in the areas of responsibility of the Vice-Rector for Research and the Vice-Rector for Academic and Student Affairs. The Vice-Rectors respectively supervise the work of the UO's research institutes - headed by Directors - and the faculties implementing teaching - headed by Deans. In view of the wide-ranging actions defined above, encompassing all faculties and institutes of the UO, as well as the majority of university-wide and administrative units, it is planned to ultimately create an operational plan detailing specific tasks and assigning units responsible for their implementation over a specific period of time. Advising on actions aimed at internationalising the university, as well as recommending strategic decisions and overseeing the implementation of this strategy require coordination at an institutional level. This prompts the need to appoint a person, and perhaps in future a separate unit, responsible for monitoring the progress of the implementation of the internationalisation strategy and for the systematic consultation of initiatives taken with the relevant legal representatives of the university.