Internationalisation Strategy 2016-2020
Increasing globalisation, the growing number of migrants, and demographic change are posing new challenges to universities in Germany. Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences is conscious of its social responsibility and is actively facing up to these challenges with a new internationalisation strategy for the years 2016 to 2020.
Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences sees internationalisation as an inclusive and institutional process, which, as an across-the-board task involves all departments and members of the university and requires openness and participation from all. Transnational scientific activity supports the acquisition of knowledge by all members of the university. Together with partners from other countries and cultures, teachers, staff members and students develop, generate and try out new ways of thinking and acting, and broaden their international and intercultural skills.
Since it was founded in 1991, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences has advocated an internationalisation that supplements its regional identity and roots in a lasting way. And so, for example, it is the leading university from a group of over 100 German-speaking university partners in the German Jordanian University (GJU), a transnational educational cooperation project at federal level. In close cooperation with the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service and the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research), the university will in future continue to push the GJU partnership ahead by providing intensive support. Further strategic partner countries include China, with which the university maintains a large number of close cooperations in different disciplines, and Spain. Particularly worthy of mention in this connection is the joint English-language Master’s programme in Water Engineering (joint degree) with the University of La Coruña. Another cooperation that currently is developing from an active1 to a strategic2 partnership is that with the Universidad de Holguin in Cuba, which is demonstrated by the development of a centre of excellence on site.
International activities also take place in Magdeburg and Stendal too. For its excellent support for foreign students, in 2012 the university received an award from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). In 2015 it was recognised for its nationwide leading role and great commitment to the academic integration of refugees with the Integration Prize awarded by the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The European Commission has also honoured Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences for its initiative to “integrate political refugees with academic backgrounds or ambitions” as an “inspiring practice”3.
In its mission statement, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences describes itself as a lively, constantly evolving, quality university. To maintain and develop the quality of teaching, studies and research within and through the internationalisation process, the university has developed this new internationalisation strategy for 2016-2020. It builds on the recommendations of the “Internationalisation of Universities” audit by the German Rectors’ Conference, the ECHE Code4 in the Erasmus Charter, and the university development plan for 2015-2024, and has four central guiding themes.
Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences aims
- to enable its students and young scientists to acquire intercultural skills and be competitive in the international environment,
- to acquire qualified international full-time and exchange students, academics and non-academic personnel and retain them over the long-term at the university and within the region,
- to establish and network itself as an attractive place to teach, learn and research in the international higher education landscape and to be involved within it in support of an international knowledge society and intercultural social community,
- to advocate for a widespread culture of welcome in society, to promote diversity and a decisive commitment against any kind of discrimination and racism, and to this end to enshrine internationality and internationalisation in the university culture as well as structurally in all departments of the university.
Based on these themes, the university has established four core aims in its internationalisation strategy for the years 2016-2020.
Aim I - Increasing the international mobility of members of the university
The university seeks to send more students and both academic and non-academic personnel abroad. In order to meet the requirements for professional and successful foreign placements, the university intends to develop its language and further training programmes as well as its curricular and extracurricular “internationalisation at home” programmes.
Aim II - Increasing the number of international full-time and exchange students at the university (incoming students)
The university wishes to attract more international full-time and exchange students for recognised programmes of study or study placements. It aspires to increase the proportion of foreign exchange and full-time students to 10% of the total number of students at the university.
Aim III - Increasing the number of members of the university with an international background and international experience as well as international visitors to the university (academic and non-academic personnel)
The university hopes to acquire more members with an international background and international experience plus international visitors for teaching, research and work placements and to this end to intensify its efforts with regard to relevant grants and programmes. It seeks and encourages a cosmopolitan intake of international members and visitors, and works to ensure personal support, mentoring and integration in Magdeburg and Stendal.
Aim IV - Establishing and developing active and strategic partnerships
The university aspires to intensify and systematise its international cooperations. In this connection its focus is on sustainable and interdisciplinary international projects and on the establishment and development of active and strategic partnerships.
In some cases the four stated core aims have subordinate aims assigned to them. These and the associated measures that are to be implemented over the medium term (until the end of 2018) and over the long term (by the end of 2020) to achieve these aims are detailed in a separate catalogue of measures that forms part of this internationalisation strategy.
This internationalisation strategy, including the associated catalogue of measures, was agreed at the suggestion of the Rector’s Office on 13.07.2016 by the academic senate of Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences.
1) The university defines an “active partnership“ as a partnership that is able to demonstrate at least one instance of mobility/exchange per year in the last three consecutive years between the institutions concerned. Active partnerships are often based on individual relationships and only concern one university department.
2) The university defines a “strategic partnership“ as a partnership that extends across one or more departments and/or comprises different levels and areas of action within the cooperation. A strategic partnership pursues overarching aims:
- the creation of synergies through the interdisciplinary, specialist exchange between partners,
- the strengthening of synergies through the interdisciplinarity within the university itself,
- the impact on the improvement of quality in research and teaching.
3) Europäische Kommission (Hrsg.) (2015): Homepage der Europäischen Kommission: Recognition of skills, access to higher education and the integration of researchers von europa.eu (o.O.) http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/higher-education/doc/inspiring-practices-refugees-skills-recognition_en.pdf
4) Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal (Hrsg.) (2013): ECHE der Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal https://www.hs-magdeburg.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Einrichtungen/International/