ESOGU Policy Statement




Some of the main factors steering the actions taken by ESOGU in all fields of higher education to provide an environment of internationally recognized education and research can be specified as Bologna Declaration, European and other International Programs and institutional accreditation. In line with the European Union’s modernization and internationalization objectives for higher education, ESOGU also has always acknowledged the significance of student and staff mobility, European and international cooperation in education and research. As a result of increasing demand in higher education in an information society, ESOGU specifies the objective of encouraging inter-institutional cooperation and mobility among its institutional missions. Thus, ESOGU recognizes that one of the main factors behind the success in education is getting internationalized by providing new opportunities and contributing in personal development via international cooperation. Mobility programs in this regard, are of great importance in terms of exchanging ideas, and opportunities, sharing knowledge, removing prejudice and discrimination, gaining new experiences in other educational environments and being more qualified and compatible in professional life. Against this backdrop, ESOGU has applied a well-structured methodology which is specified in its 2013-2017 Strategic Plan.  First, suitability of the academic profile constitutes the key in this methodology. In particular, faculty/departmental coordinators, first, evaluate the conformity of courses and their grading system between the institutions in order to ensure the full recognition for satisfactorily completed activities of study mobility. This conformity is fundamental for teaching staff mobility as well, since it provides a common/similar academic platform for mutually beneficial academic exchange between institutions. Parallel to this, the language of instruction of prospective partners is of great importance to secure the quality of mobility both for students and staffs. Drawing on this methodology, ESOGU has established 111 agreements under Erasmus Program with 18 different European countries and 5 institutional cooperation agreements with 4 countries. However, the number of European and other international cooperation agreements is planned to be increased in accordance with the strategic objectives. Another significant point is that ESOGU has attached specific importance to the diversity and balance in geographical position of partner institutions and subject area of agreements. In other words, it is believed that a more-balanced approach bolsters equality and fairness for all potential participants from different disciplines. On the other hand, it is equally important that cooperating with HEIs from different parts of the world enriches academic qualifications of our institution by providing new avenues in academic research. Such diversity, also, promotes the development of integrated, transnational teaching activities as well as inter-cultural dialogue between HEIs. Lastly, all participants –both students and staffs- are subject to equal application criteria and are treated equally regardless of their gender, race, religion, origin, disability, age and status. The disadvantaged groups are also encouraged to attend mobility programs by providing the visibility of mobility activities and facilitating the mobility procedure for these participants. Due to the percentage of first cycle students in ESOGU, they have the biggest quota within the total number of mobility participants. However, second and third cycle students are supported to attend the programs both for courses and/or thesis study which enables them to benefit from different research opportunities. 

Considering the importance of training and practical experience for vocational education, short cycle programs are also especially encouraged to attend training mobility and have the opportunity of observing and experiencing different implementations and innovative practices in other countries. Teaching mobility as an important opportunity of sharing information and gaining academic experience is open to all academic staff while non-academic staff is especially encouraged to attend training mobility for professional development. Lastly, establishment of double/multiple/joint degree with HEIs abroad has been set as one of the fundamental priorities in its latest Strategic Plan.

ESOGU has specified certain priorities to ensure mutually beneficial and well-functioning cooperation projects (EU and non-EU) in teaching and training. As in case of the methodological framework established to promote mobilities under Erasmus/LLP Program, ESOGU has put exclusive focus on sustainable and balanced outcomes for all parties and has developed a strategic framework to be applied in the organization and implementation of international cooperation projects. At the outset, the aim of the project and possible outcomes for all parties are clearly identified by the related units (IRO, Project Development Office and academic/technical staffs being expert on the content of projects). This provides a clear-pathway for the future development of projects in a more efficient way by providing specific criteria to be applied in the organization and implementation processes. After all parties agree on the aims and framework of projects, the focus is put on developing a very specific road map to achieve the expected outcomes. Again, related units of all parties engage in an intense communication during this process and exchange views in relation to their past and present experiences. In particular, they look into how/whether possible projects between the institutions provide a sustainable cooperation meeting the demands of both sides. They clearly define the specific roles, plan, time-schedule, allocation of the budget and quality standards in order to allocate and utilize resources in an efficient manner. ESOGU also strives for building a bridge between future and existing cooperation projects to integrate all projects into its internationalization strategy in a coherent way. To be more tangible, experiences and outcomes achieved through Erasmus/LLP have been utilized in other projects or vice-versa. In brief, such a spill-over effect and outcomes among different projects provides ESOGU with a comprehensive framework to maximize its internationalization agenda.

Drawing on the Strategic Plan of ESOGU and the Modernization Agenda, the expected impacts of our participation in the Programme can be listed as follows. First of all, our participation in the Program would enhance the attainment levels of students and staffs to international programmes in line with the strategic objectives of ESOGU such as giving publicity to the University thus increasing the number of students for each cycle; increasing the number of international cooperation and encouraging students/staffs for attending international mobility by providing visibility and support for all prospective participants and a full recognition of mobility activities. Programme would also help ESOGU move beyond traditional education strategies and benefit from structural transformations abroad. In this regard, ESOGU aims at integrating new methods and technologies into its structure with the support of the Programme. This objective has been already manifested in the recent institutional restructurings at ESOGU such as emphasizing international cooperation; offering new programmes via e-learning system; renewing organizational structure with specialized units, such as Life Long Learning Centre; improving educational infrastructure such as computer laboratories and libraries (more online databases, books, e-books and journals); monitoring  quality assurance (internal/external) mechanisms to ensure the requirements of the Quality Assurance in European Higher Education Area. 

Previous experiences show that international cooperation in general and Erasmus/LLP Programme in particular has already added new dimensions to the mobility and cross-border cooperation at ESOGU with a contribution to the students and staffs in improving language skills and academic qualifications and interacting with other cultures. In a similar vein, the incoming staffs and students have bolstered the quality and enrichment of ESOGU. In such a context, participation in the Programme would truly maximize these gains by providing an important source of funding and international network. The Programme would also facilitate effective links between education, research and business by providing students with the opportunity to conduct their internships at enterprises across Europe and their research in different HEIs and research centres with up to date technological and intellectual properties. ESOGU has also fostered the University’s relations with local and national business and industrial organizations and has initiated several projects with them by benefiting from the outcomes of mobilities. The Programme would offer a platform for all parties, including academics, students and business, to engage in a mutually beneficial relationship by discarding inequality, discrimination and disability. Considering the limited financial means of HEIs, Programme, in this respect, would also help ESOGU maximize its resources to be invested in its internationalization and modernization agenda.