Erasmus Charter for Higher Education 2014-2020 Policy Statement (Overall strategy)
In times of international dependencies and responsibilities, internationalization of higher education becomes increasingly important. It is essential to have an international vision, mobility, and exchanges for teachers, researchers, administrative staff, and students, or simply put: to have an international presence. Internationalization at Mid Sweden University includes all activities with the goal to make the university international. Students educated at Mid Sweden University should have knowledge and skills that make it possible for them to work in an international environment, in an international organization, regardless of whether it is located in Sundsvall, Östersund, Härnösand, or somewhere else in the world. The staff, i.e. lecturers, researchers and administrators, need to have enough knowledge and skills to give an international education and service to both national and international students. The staff should participate in international cooperation and networks to ensure an international standard in education and research. Mid Sweden University has a local and regional distinctive character that gives the university a unique profile in the international environment. This is why Mid Sweden University has decided to integrate internationalization into all activities. It should be obvious and visible on many levels, internally and externally, offensive, and active.
Mid Sweden University aims at developing and maintaining strategic international partnerships. These can be a broad cooperation or very specific for certain areas. This is due to a firm belief that fewer but broader cooperation will strengthen all activities that can be found in the line of internationalization. Some of our disciplines are not possible to be found in a broader context and hence, we also have one-to-one discipline cooperation. The main geographic area is Europe and another chosen area is currently Asia and China in particular. We also have agreements in North America and I Australia. The university intends to support the extension of Erasmus exchanges to new subject as well as geographical areas. Mid Sweden University has started a process to select new partners or sign agreements which contains several steps; The question, “What is the reason for signing a new agreement?” Is it because a certain discipline has few or not very fruitful agreements, is it because we lack agreements in a certain country, is it due to an increased demands from students to go to a certain country, or is it the result of two researchers who has found one another? The answer can be one or more of these alternatives and if the reason is good or strong enough we will look into how we can start a cooperation for as many fields of study and as many levels as possible. The idea is to have fewer but very well matched agreements when possible. However, in some disciplines, a broad perspective cannot be used. Mid Sweden University believes that a strategic partner university might be a university very similar to Mid Sweden University, but it might just as well be a university less involved in research or more prestigious than we are. The important part is that there is mutual interest and a firm belief that the cooperation ill be meaningful and fruitful for both parties. In the case of existing agreements, we try our best to develop it as broad as possible. We try to monitor and evaluate all existing cooperation in order to achieve the best potential and benefits within the agreement.
Mobility and exchanges for teachers, researchers, and administrative staff and students are important and the university welcomes visiting academic staff and the contribution they make to the study programs and the curriculum development. Lecturers are continuously asked to participate in international activities and they are vital persons in sustainable cooperation with partner universities. For staff within administration, Mid Sweden University has a long tradition of encouraging for example student secretaries to visit partner universities and lately also make use of the opportunities of staff shadowing/training. All students are encouraged to participate in any activity of internationalization,, such as: internationalization at home, exchange studies, intensive programs, internships, or completing a degree project or part of a PhD program in an international environment. All these possibilities are open to the students in different ways throughout the length of their educational program.
Mid Sweden University has a positive attitude towards the development of the double/multiple/joint degrees, and currently, there are groups working on possible double as well as joint degrees with a small number of partner universities.