Erasmus+ Policy Statement
Intercollege’s mission is to assist students in becoming educated individuals, in achieving their academic and career goals, assuming responsible roles in a changing world of international cooperation, European integration, and interdependence.
Our goal is to develop further as an international college, where local and international students, faculty and staff are valued for their cultural diversity. Currently 22% of the student body come from overseas, the medium of instruction is English yet students are encouraged to study other European languages. The curricula aim to instill the idea that in the modern era citizens must show respect for and understanding of other cultures, but also master the skills required to compete in the challenging global economy.
By our participation in the Erasmus program we have enhanced these goals and have offered opportunities to our students and staff to meet and get acquainted with colleagues from other countries, to enrich their academic experience and appreciate the broader European economic and sociocultural space within which they live and work. At the same time we expect that visiting students and staff will have the opportunity to become acquainted with professional and educational practices in an island at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Ultimately the value chain of the Erasmus program will be enriched.
Partners are primarily selected based on the different programs/degrees they offer, individual courses and the language of instruction. We look into fields of studies that our students are eligible to study; partner HEIs that offer courses similar to ours so such courses can count towards the course requirements of our degrees, but also HEIs that offer unique individual courses that can complement our programs and yet our students would probably not have the chance to study home are a priority. With regards to the language of instruction we aim at fostering partnerships with HEIs that offer a selection of their courses in English, so our students can easily benefit from. Of course this is not a necessity as a number of our inter-institutional agreements are with HEIs which do not necessarily offer courses in English.
Geographically we aim at having partnerships from all Erasmus Programme participating countries, so that we can offer a balanced representation of Europe to our students and staff. With just 19 inter-institutional agreements this has not been achieved so far, but it is a goal for the future.
The primary target groups for our mobility activities are students for placements. Being a rather small college with most of our student body in two-year diploma, some following an academic and some following a vocational truck, placements of our students in enterprises became a natural priority. In the few years we have had the Erasmus extended charter we managed to increase our student placements from one to twelve students. We have built strong relationships with enterprises that absorb our students in the summer months. The objective is to increase the number of agreements for placements and the student mobilities for placements. Besides student placement mobilities, we aim at increasing the number of student mobilities for studies, and faculty and staff mobilities, especially training mobilities for faculty and staff that would enrich and widen their horizons in their respective fields.
As far as the development of cooperation with partner Universities, we have reached an agreement with a partner HEI for its students registered in its Bachelor Plus degree in European Tourism Management to spend one year in Cyprus, one semester taking courses at our Limassol campus, and another semester monitoring their students’ placements in hotels in our city. This agreement will go in effect in 2014. Our student exchange program with Akita University in Japan is another proof of our international strategy. Also, franchised programs with Middlesex University (UK) add to the global image of the college, while more such agreements are sought to enhance the international image we strive to build and transform Intercollege from a regional college, to a college with a strong international identity.
Intercollege has a long experience and involvement with EU projects that support and promote EU cooperation in a number of areas including teaching and training. The establishment of the EU office at the Nicosia Campus that deals exclusively with EU affairs is part of the college’s strategy for becoming a leading EU institution with a strong international profile.
The Erasmus+ Office in the Limassol Campus and the EU Office in the Nicosia Campus work closely together to manage existing projects and involve faculty, staff and students in new ones. The Erasmus+ Office in particular handles all communication for new project opportunities -usually received through the National Agency- and promotes them to prospective members of the faculty and staff. The EU Office manages the projects under the Leonardo programme, but also brings the Nicosia faculty in touch with the Erasmus+ Office.
Overall, Intercollege is committed to increase the institution’s presence in various international cooperation projects, and this is reflected through its international agenda.
Intercollege’s participation in the Erasmus+ program has assisted significantly in its modernization. At the fundamental level of student and staff mobilities it broadened the horizons of our students and staff by offering them opportunities to get acquainted with other cultures and other lifestyles. Our graduates are more aware of the type of graduates and researchers Europe needs, and this has not only occurred through the mobilities of our students and staff abroad, but also through the exposure of the whole institution to incoming students and staff. Further to that, a number of our existing programs have evolved to incorporate courses that reflect the current European and global needs. Most degrees include courses in virtual/electronic aspects for each field, while a new diploma in web design has been introduced in 2011.
In regards to the modernization agenda’s second priority and the improving quality, Intercollege has managed to become a pole of education and a regional center offering high quality programs. Intercollege has activated quality assurance mechanisms in place so that the structure, content and delivery of our programs are of the highest quality, while at the same time they reflect the current European perspectives in education and follow the current labor market needs.
The Erasmus+ program with its emphasis on transnational mobility of staff and students has also given Intercollege the opportunity to establish European links with other academic and vocational institutions as well as other organizations and enterprises in Europe. Adding this European dimension has been a crucial part of the College’s development in these increasingly competitive times where international links are a key to institutional development.
With regard to research, a number of faculty have been involved in research linked to Europe’s priorities like female entrepreneurship, electronic communication, medical imaging and sustainable tourism. Furthermore, Intercollege has been involved in an EU-financed project, offering training to local government officers in the fields of resource management and overall administration.
Finally, some of the requirements of the Erasmus+ program management regarding fairness and transparency in governance and funding have been adopted in other aspects of the college’s governance, and both staff and students participate in various committees while transparency became an essential element at all levels of College life.