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Sabancı University (SU) is internationally recognized as one of the most innovative, entrepreneurial, and research-oriented universities in Turkey. The primary mission of the University is to resolve selected global and regional issues and raise individuals towards this goal. In its Strategic Plan (SP) 2018-2023, SU sets out its ambition and goals to be a leading university in education and research with transformative impact on society. The SP (www.sabanciuniv.edu/en/strategic-objectives) is overseen by the Executive Team, chaired by the President and comprising senior management of faculties and administrative units. SU explicitly mentions internationalisation as one of the enhancing strategies to achieve this goal. Erasmus+ programme has always held a significant role in our internationalisation and modernisation strategy. The strategies outlined below are in line with our participation in Erasmus+ programme:
-Increase mobility and enhance international experience by offering a culturally diverse learning environment
-Improve sustainability of scholarship mechanism for mobility
-Develop international partnerships to improve the quality and impact of research and education - Join university networks to strengthen international cooperation
-Establish joint graduate programmes with strategically chosen universities for mutually beneficial outcomes
-Attract talented graduate students - Expand research funding through international cooperation
-Adopt curriculum and extracurricular activities that lead to innovation, design, entrepreneurship, research, and to contribute to latest technological developments in line with the European Policy Priorities for Higher Education.
-Develop policies to instil multiculturalism among all employees and students
As part of our strategy, we aim to take part in all Erasmus+ actions under KA1, KA2, and KA3. SU has actively been involved in international and European Projects since 2004. As a young university, SU has had the advantage of having all systems, structures, and quality culture developed from the ground up with benchmarking the best practices and policies. As a result, internationalization has been one of basic tenets of the university, which resulted in the successful implementation of the ECTS system and partnerships reaching to 290 exchange agreements from 52 countries, an impressive record given the small size of the university.
The International Relations Office (IRO) of SU, in cooperation with the Erasmus+ Committee consisting of representatives from each faculty and the Internship Office (IO), coordinates Erasmus+ mobility activities. IRO directly reports to Vice President for Education who oversees the implementation of the strategic plan regarding “Internationalization” in the broader context of “Education”. Additionally, the faculties and research centers as well as the University Research Council promote the participation in international projects and provide additional funding to enable faculty members to participate in already existing networks or to establish new projects. Furthermore, The Project Offices of SU (Project Development Office, Project Management Office, and Technology Transfer Office) under the Research and Graduate Policies Directorate also work cooperatively to carry out planning, development, and management of projects, development of any industrial relations and projects, innovation, technology transfer, and intellectual property (IP) management.
Currently more than 25% of our graduates spent at least one semester abroad. As mobility of our students is crucial in attaining the necessary competences to flourish in the global workplace as socially responsible citizens, we aim to further increase this ratio with an emphasis on the quality of mobility experiences. With the active participation in KA1 projects, SU expects to welcome and send more students and enhance the exposure to different cultures and to instil European values. IRO commits itself to the promotion of these programmes and preparation of students and staff in order to help them to get the most out of their exchange experiences. Our Internship Office will also strengthen its efforts towards more international internships through our business networks and partners. The main ECTS requirements have been already met to ensure academic transparency and recognition and our internal auditing system in place will ensure quality regarding compliance with the Charter. A specific attention will be given to further increase the number of exchange agreements and thus offering our students a wider range of options maintaining the balance between incoming and outgoing students. Our agreements will be regularly assessed within the context of their contribution to international cooperation in education and research. We also plan to make action plans to strengthen the collaboration with strategically selected partner universities and organizations. Furthermore, we will also explore and promote alternative forms of international experiences, particularly those that involve flexible and online formats such as virtual and/or blended, customized, and short-term mobility formats.
SU has been involved in several Strategic Partnerships projects, which were the result of a bottom up approach from our faculty members. In addition, undergraduate research and civic engagement programs have had a prominent place at SU’s curricular and extracurricular training structure. For example, Civic Involvement Projects (CIP) is a compulsory course for all undergraduate students where students develop projects possibly in collaboration with NGOs to help the less privileged groups in Istanbul as well as in Turkey. Also all students take a compulsory project course in their first year to be exposed to basic methods of conducting research in their fields of choices. In addition, SU also has a Program for Undergraduate Research (PURE) program where volunteer students engage in various research projects that may last over several semesters. SU aims to expand its participation in KA2 actions to deepen international cooperation with strategically selected partner universities including expansion or joint development of such programs building upon its experience. Cooperation and exchanges of practices perfectly matches with SU’s goal of strengthening the quality and impact in research and education through international partnerships. This action will be considered as an important opportunity to develop an internationalized curriculum and innovative new practices on teaching and learning.
Innovation and entrepreneurship have been the keystones of SU since its establishment. SU has been ranked to be among the most entrepreneurial and innovative universities by the index of the Ministry of Science and Technology. With its sound academic and technology development foundations, SU strives to ensure that the knowledge generated in the university turns into social benefit through strong partnerships with the industry. SU has a strong entrepreneurship ecosystem for its students, faculty, and researchers. For example, INNOVENT A.S., a university owned company, and SU Start-up Company League (SUCOOL), a unit in the university, give training, business development mentorship, fund-finding support, and strategic consultancy to all university members to reach domestic and international success who have technology-R&D-innovation based value-added ideas. Thus, SU strategically aims to develop cooperation between university and industries focused in innovation leveraging its strong entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. Partnerships for Innovation projects will be an important tool to strengthen our innovation and entrepreneurship capacity reaching to global levels through international cooperation.
One of the primary strategic objectives of SU is to grow through its research centers and graduate studies. Therefore, to serve these objectives, SU has already established two joint dual-degree programs with international partners. SU aims to continue to establish joint graduate programmes with universities in areas where such cooperation will enhance strategic research collaboration. Therefore, SU considers Erasmus Mundus JMD programme as an important tool towards that objective. This program will also contribute towards our goal of attracting talented students and improving international experiences of our students.
SU also aims to join university and research networks to strengthen its global reach and impact while contributing to the competitiveness of European higher education system and strengthening European values and identity in Turkey. SU, as one of the first universities that recognizes the value of European identity and integration, has had a strong master’s program in European Studies since 2003. This program provides a comprehensive study of historical and contemporary developments in Europe, specifically of the European integration process, from a multi-disciplinary perspective. It is one of the most successful master programs at SU with over a hundred graduates thus far and affiliated faculty and researchers engaged in many EU national and privately funded research and teaching programs. Based on our strong ecosystem of European studies program, we hope to use European Universities action as the important strategic tool to reach excellence in terms of building strategic networks and further increase the quality and competitiveness of our programmes. This initiative will also contribute to our objectives of reaching research excellence with increased international mobility and cooperation. Different mobility options in this initiative provide more flexible and inclusive opportunities for our students and staff. SU will further deepen its international partnerships by working together to create new knowledge, work towards solving global and regional problems through research, and provide better education opportunities.
Education Reform Initiative (ERI) launched within the Istanbul Policy Center at SU aims to improve education policy and decision-making through research, advocacy, and training. As a "think & do-tank” ERI has defined its reform priorities and program areas in accordance with its commitment to the ideal of “quality education for all”. ERI shares constructive opinion and offers suggestions to improve education policies in Turkey. In scope of Erasmus KA3, ERI could benefit from the program in the field of inclusive education, professional and technical training, qualified education, comparative education policies, and exchange of good practices. Collaboration with civil society institutions in Europe and IPA countries in this program will contribute to the policy development and policy dialogue. KA3 projects can enable us to foster research and open dialogue to improve the quality of education and lead to inclusive education policies in line with the priorities of European Commission. Results of all Erasmus+ mobility and cooperation activities will be regularly shared and monitored in order to promote participation and ensure sustainability.
Based on its internationalisation strategic objectives, SU intends to achieve the following targets By 2026/2027:
- At least 10% of Mobility with flexible formats (blended, virtual, short, custom)
- At least 100% increase in the number of incoming students to maintain reciprocity
- At least 50% increase in the number of incoming students within KA1 projects with partner countries outside Europe
- 100% increase in outgoing staff mobility to ensure at least 40 staff participate in Erasmus+ mobility per academic year.
- Reaching at least 80% satisfaction rate in support systems for mobility programs and international students
- Increasing the ratio of graduating students with international mobility experience to 40%
- Increasing the ratio of graduate students to 35%
- Enhancing mobility partnerships with increased opportunities
- Fostering networks through University/faculty/program memberships
- Development of dual/joint master/PhD programmes with strategically selected European universities
- Increased participation in international projects to develop and maintain a curriculum for “globally-ready” graduates
- Improving employability rate of our alumni who participate in Erasmus+ programs.
- Monitoring and reporting annually and publicly on the programme activities and evaluating sustainability performance
- Management of inter-institutional agreements and online learning agreements by 1 December 2021
- Sending and receiving nominations and acceptances via EPW online platform by 1 February 2022
- Exchanging online transcripts of records related to student mobility by 1 May 2022
- Introduction and promotion of new program elements in KA1 to our student and staff by 1 December 2021