2014 – 2020 ERASMUS POLICY STATEMENT
BAU’s strategic approach to international development is a multifaceted endeavour. First, BAU has engaged in establishing a physical presence in multiple international locations (known as BAU abroad). To date, there are campuses and academic centres on four continents, focused on Europe and North America. Within these academic centres a variety of services are provided, ranging from direct enrolment for particular programs to support for semester and short term study abroad opportunities for students, as well as administrative support for BAU faculty wishing to conduct research outside of Turkey. Many of the centres also implement cultural programs designed to familiarize residents of the host states with Turkish culture, history and language.
Second, BAU is actively engaged with establishing and maintaining partnerships with institutions from around the world which can provide international opportunities for students, faculty and staff, alike. One important aspect of this is BAU’s participation in the European Union’s Erasmus program. BAU has more than 100 Erasmus agreements with European institutions, the majority of them focusing on student mobility. BAU also engages institutions, non-governmental organizations, and governments in formal agreements which provide international opportunities for study abroad, faculty mobility and collaborative work. In both cases the strategy for identifying and developing partnerships is part of BAU’s overall strategic partnering plan. This plan focuses on identifying and cultivating partnerships in regions and countries that are of particular geographic interest to BAU, and that can provide a range of opportunities for the multiple stakeholders in the BAU community. In terms of geography, BAU seeks partnerships with institutions in the neighboring regions of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, as well as regions further afield such as North America and East Asia that are of particular relevance in the 21st Century.
Third, BAU has international development goals which are manifold. The first is to have at least half of all students graduating from BAU experience a mobility opportunity, whether during an academic semester, year or for a special short program. A second goal is to increase the number of CO-OP opportunities for students going abroad to study. BAU is a member of the World Associate of Cooperative Education (WACE) and sponsors an active internship program, placing hundreds of students a semester in companies to work in environments related to their fields of study. Recently branching out to international placements has proven quite successful and BAU is interested in expanding such opportunities. A third developmental goal is to increase the numbers of non-Turkish faculty teaching at BAU, so as to increase the exposure to different pedagogical styles and cultural perspectives. A fourth goal is to develop, in particular, cooperation with institutions located in the same cities as BAU Abroad academic centres. By partnering with such institutions, the idea is to both reinforce the educational opportunity at the local level (which also reifies exposure to different teaching methodologies) and to build further cooperation between the two institutions. A fifth developmental target is to design and implement courses for incoming exchange students which offer the opportunity to learn more about Turkish culture, society and life. BAU has implemented such courses at its BAU Abroad centres, and expects to do the same for Istanbul, as well. Finally, with respect to mobility opportunities, BAU seeks to expand both the number of students being sent abroad (for both Erasmus and comprehensive agreements) and to target underrepresented programs within the BAU community, providing better opportunities for those students to take part in such mobility opportunities. Two ways in which BAU looks to accomplish this specifically are: 1. to establish dual degree programs with partner institutions which will encourage the transfer of students between two universities; and 2. to provide more and better information to BAU students interested in studying abroad. At BAU, the former is particularly important as one such under represented group who is taking advantage of dual degree opportunities are students in the Vocational Education program, who would otherwise have limited opportunities to earn four-year degrees.. The latter has been implemented through the creation of multiple information sessions per academic semester and the establishment of a BAU Abroad study abroad office, which acts as an information clearinghouse and supports BAU students in their applications for mobility opportunities.
The University looks for partnerships possessing one, or a combination, of three factors;
1. A range across the academic spectrum which can provide exchange opportunities for students at a variety of academic levels.
2. compatibility and commonality with BAU’s academic areas.
3. Institutions which can support the University in achieving its developmental goals, in particular partnerships which provide opportunities for faculty to develop their research programs.
Some partnerships are established to meet particular interests (such as a focus on a particular area of academic interest), while others can be wide-ranging and inclusive of many academic areas and developmental opportunities.
Participation in the Programme for BAU will significantly impact the development and modernization of the University through achievement of the following policy objectives:
1. Expanded opportunities for educational participation by typically under-represented groups. BAU will continue its extensive history of offering scholarship opportunities to students for university attendance, as well as a history of recruiting students from such groups as the physically disabled, the geographically isolated, and the economically disadvantaged.
2. Improving the relevance and quality of higher education. BAU is a leader in Turkey in reaching out to the business community in developing relevant and up-to-date curriculum for students, as well as for providing opportunities for members of the BAU community to meet with business leaders. From vocational education to CO-OP opportunities (student work integrated internships) to inviting business leaders and experts to the University to each modular - “Branded” – courses or seminars, BAU will continue to strive to provide students with an educational background which is immediately relevant to their academic fields of interest.
3. Increasing academic quality through mobility opportunities. Through a variety of methods, BAU has sought to increase participation of faculty, staff, and in particular, students in mobility opportunities. From shifting the credit system to ECTS configuration to establishing a study abroad office as an information centre to providing independent scholarship opportunities for study abroad, BAU actively promotes external learning experiences. Future plans included embedding group mobility opportunities in select classes, increasing the number of online (virtual) classes, and sharing academic content with partner institutions and the community at large through publications, information sharing websites, and public events.
4. Strengthening knowledge alliances. BAU is already well known for industry relations. In particular industry ties to the Vocational Education program and the CO-OP program are well known. BAU will continue to develop opportunities for students, researchers, and the business community to interact in ways which are productive academically, financially viable, and socially responsible. BAU will soon be developing an entrepreneurship program, a business mentoring program and updated course curricula focusing on problem-based learning in real world environments.
5. Governance and Funding. BAU will continue to sponsor seminars on the funding of higher education, and to work with both the Turkish government and European-based organizations to develop relevant policies, guidelines and evaluations for achieving better academic performance both institutionally and within society. In particular, through continued consultation with the Turkish Higher Educational Counsel, BAU expects to contribute to the continued academic development of Turkish higher education.