Erasmus Policy Statement (EPS) 2021-2027
Declaration on Erasmus+ University policy of Necmettin Erbakan University (NEU):
The Erasmus Policy Statement given below sets out Necmettin Erbakan University’s strategy as a University being awarded the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education for the Erasmus+ program 2021-2027.
NEU’s application to ECHE 2021 – 2027 is clearly a reflection and a summary of its vision declaring NEU’a aspiration to become a pioneer university at international level. In order to fulfil this vision, there are some key issues regarding internationalization given as:
i) attain excellence in research, education and public service for society, humanity and nature by nurturing creative and critical thinking, innovation and leadership within a framework of universal values,
ii) support and increase all activities that allow our students to have meaningful international experiences by the time they graduate, improve services and programs that support international undergraduate and graduate students on campus and after graduation,
iii) increasing international mobility of the staff,
iv) increasing the number of institutional collaborations with international universities, research centers, research networks, and the industry
v) ensuring the comparability of academic and administrative procedures with international practices and their sustainability.
By considering these issues, the University has been continuously expanding the number of its international partners in addition to its visibility and admissibility in the international arena. With Turkey’s increasing involvement in the Erasmus Programme, NEU has had a chance to expand its international mobility opportunities. By doing so, partnerships have been instigated not only at the departmental level, mainly initiated by the efforts of individual faculty members and the request of students, but also at the institutional level through agreements instigated at the Faculty-School-Institute level comprising multiple subject matters and programmes. Increasing mobility has caused a raise in the number of our Erasmus agreements. Moreover, persistent growth in the number of students and academic staff participating in Erasmus mobility brings us closer to the goal of building a European Education Area. Despite NEU’s main policy to develop partnerships with institutions from all over the world, its priority is universities in Europe. NEU also aims to increase its relations in the Middle East, North African and South East Asian countries.
Mobility activities are primarily thought to encourage the participation of students in both study and traineeship programmes. There is no doubt that these activities offer great opportunities for students with an international perspective. On the other hand, students without much experience abroad, get a chance to test their social skills as well their academic performance compared to other international competitors. Traineeship activities increase the employability of students and play a significant role towards the first steps for their future jobs. One of the most important support provided is an opportunity for master and doctorate students to conduct various types of research for their theses and articles. A second one is the chance to meet professionals in their research fields. All these opportunities are important for the academic staff as well for students. Hence, the mobility of academic staff is also a priority for NEU.
NEU strategically aims to make its campuses multinational in term of human resources by internationalizing the curricula, enriching the social life of its community, on the local, national or international level. NEU believes that the process should be embraced by institutional leadership, faculty, students, and all academic/administrative service and support units.
1. Internationally Experienced Students and Staff: NEU has been implementing the student and staff mobility programme under KA131 (previously 103) for many years and has been increasing its capacity each year. Hereby, we sent out students for their studies and internship, and staff for teaching and training. We further received applications from international students to come to NEU to study or to do their internship. We received many lecturers to teach in various departments.
2. International Experience in Cooperation: to enhance mobility at NEU we have been carrying out a consortium with 12 universities and 4 public institutions. Thus we were and are able to send out more students for internships and staff for training. We were granted a second consortium in 2019 and applied for another one this year. We are partners of two consortia and will be added to another one this year. Thus, this has a positive impact not only students and staff but also on the institutional level since it enables NEU to widen its network and strategic partnerships. Last year, we also started a KA 171 project with Uzbekistan and applied for new KA 171 projects with countries in Northern Africa and Asia. NEU further carried out projects under KA 2, the programme for cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. As several Projects have been conducted since 2015, NEU aims to continue these activities for mutual benefits.
3. High Impact Research Funded by International Sources: increasing international components in education and research activities as well the number of institutional and industrial collaborations, research centers and research networks are highlighted as key components in the process of NEU’s internationalization and modernization. In this context, NEU aims to expand its list of cooperation with HEI’s and local and international enterprises to achieve all objectives of the Modernization Agenda. Staff members who have actively participated in different international projects and have established international networks, are expected to increase research oriented alliances significantly from their experiences. Developing alliances afterwards into single units that will help with the planning and coordination of all kind of cooperational projects is another step towards internationalization and modernization. The International Relations Office provides support to these units if necessary.
The participation under the Erasmus programme supports NEU in selected goals and measures of its internationalization strategy; for example, bundling activities with selected strategic partners such as mobility, research, short-term programmes and future joint degree programmes that we plan to realize in the near future. It also increases the exchange numbers, especially of students, enables and expands the acquisition of intercultural competence and foreign language skills; contributes to the continuous improvement of the success of studies at the NEU; promotes the academic multilingualism of teachers and students as well as in the further development of institutional framework conditions, such as bilingualism of services and adequate instruments for quality assurance. All this is done by means of central and decentralized responsibility in administration and departments. In an effort to move in line with the philosophy of comprehensive internationalization strategy, NEU adapts an inclusive approach towards internationalization as further explained below.
Internationalization of Education: Since 2015, we have witnessed a steady increase of international students wishing to come to Konya and selecting Necmettin Erbakan University as their first choice for either undergraduate or postgraduate study. In order to accommodate as many international students as possible, we have gradually increased the number of available places and also significantly reduced tuition fees. So far, we have welcomed students from 92 countries and our international students represent approximately 5% of the overall student body.
Internationalization of Research: Necmettin Erbakan University prides itself on academic excellence. Since the inauguration, we have attracted scholars with international training and whose impactful research has been recognized both nationally and internationally. Their findings continue to inform policy and contribute to the national economy as well as to Turkey’s competitive position in the global context. In terms of research excellence, the Turkish Academic Network and Information Centre has acknowledged the volume and quality of both projects and publications produced by our academic community, by placing NEU in the top 25% of more than two hundred universities surveyed. Our determination to become a leading research university is also reflected in the fact that we host 14 scientific journals and NEU Press has strategic partnerships signed with some of the most prestigious publishing houses, including Wiley and Springer. In accordance with the Internationalization Strategy, we will continue to improve our track record of publications, as well as our visibility in the international arena by taking part in research databases.
Internationalization of Students: Necmettin Erbakan University places students at the very core of its mission and corresponding activities. Aware of the challenges posed by globalization, we aim to produce graduates and junior researchers capable of playing key roles in the increasingly interdependent world. We pride ourselves in educating individuals who will use their knowledge, critical thinking, and innovative perspectives to engage with all strata of society either at national or international level. Our students are our ambassadors and we want their experience to make NEU the preferred institution of higher learning for future generations.
Internationalization of Faculty & Administrative Staff: NEU believes that internationalization of faculty and staff members place a crucial role in the internationalization of the whole university, as they are one of the key parts of the university community. In order to further facilitate interaction between NEU and international academics, we plan to implement a robust agenda focusing on new funding opportunities, selection of consortia participants, and the grant-writing process.
International Services: Internationalization of the whole university also consists of internationalization of services provided by the university to its community. In order to provide better support services to international students, faculty members and staff, a new unit, called the Internationalization Office was founded under NEU’s General Coordination Office of Foreign Relations in 2020. Its main responsibilities are to provide better and improved services to the international community (i.e. –pre-arrival support, orientation, intercultural communication training, bureaucratic services, etc.) and work towards integration of international community and local community.
We estimate that the impact of the European Union’s Modernization and Internationalization Agenda in Higher Education will be seen at Necmettin Erbakan University in each of the four priorities.
This statement proofs that NEU has performed and will perform all mentioned activities above by adhering to the principles given below:
1. Non-discrimination, transparency and the inclusion of students and staff from all backgrounds:
As Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi stated “Whoever you are, come again”. There is no doubt that NEU is acting with this thought. Diversities that increase the value of an institution are important as they contribute to innovation, cooperation and reform. Therefore, NEU not only promotes cooperation and mobility with European countries, but also African and Asian countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan. Along with these countries, we are planning to increase our cooperation with several South East Asian countries under the KA171 project. While doing so, it acts carefully in issues defined as its principles. In fact, these principles are some of the most important policies of our International Office and our institution in general. Hence, exchange students and staff are treated no less favorably than locals, and their regulations and procedures relating to education and research activities are transparent and fair.
2. Undertaking the necessary steps to implement digital mobility management in line with the technical standards of the European Student Card Initiative:
The digitalization agenda of the European Union led to new implementations of the Erasmus programme. We are one of the first universities that utilized the dashboard program which enables the partners make bilateral agreements easier than before. With the European Student Card Initiative, it is aimed to ensure a more transparent and easy process of mobility. The Erasmus+ Mobile App will provide the support required within this context because it allows incoming and outgoing students an easy access to many aspects of the exchange procedures. The European Student Card Initiative will enable NEU to exchange student information more quickly and provide students with the necessary information related to their courses and services provided at the receiving institutions. Thereby both real and blended mobility will be facilitated, and students will be provided with a greater choice and at the same time with greater access to activities in Europe. This initiative along with the Erasmus Without Paper project will also benefit the institutions because it will reduce the administrative burden at HEIs.
3. The promotion of environmentally friendly practices:
The negative impact of human activity on the natural environment is excessive. As a consequence, the earth is facing ecological change that leads to different problems in the atmosphere and for the human being itself. Environmental problems are transnational by their nature. Thus, it is essential that the new generations become aware of the problems of other countries and of the actions taken. Recognizing this, NEU feels it important to raise the awareness of locals as well exchange students and staff by emphasizing this issue at every turn. Many projects have been carried out in this context at our institution. In one of such projects, local and international students met with citizens to discuss about the importance of nature. Another example is the planting project all around the city including national and internationals. Both projects promote the interaction with adults giving them new perspectives. Though not efficient enough, consumption and food waste education are also two main issues in which NEU is developing itself. In this way we aim to provide a healthier and greener environment.
4. The promotion of civic engagement and active citizenship amongst outgoing and incoming students before, during and after the mobility:
Becoming an active citizen should involve not only increasing one’s understanding of others and one’s role in the society/community, but also developing self-perception, self-reflexivity, and self-criticality. Active citizenship education should embrace the development of values, attitudes, skills, knowledge, and critical understanding. Furthermore, in addition to the model of Competences for Democratic Culture, it should promote civic engagement and active participation in community activities at all levels: local, national and international.
To summarize, active citizenship – as the ultimate outcome of active citizenship education (both formal and informal) – cannot be viewed as simply social, civic or political participation; it should incorporate an interior process of personal growth that involves the development of democratic values; an appreciation of cultural diversity, human rights and responsibilities; attitudes of mutual respect and open-mindedness; openness to dialogue and to change; empathy; co-operation skills; knowledge of related issues; and critical thinking. Therefore, active citizenship education should be conceptualized as a lifelong learning process.