This strategy defines the overall framework and direction for the internationalisation activities at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark.
Internationalisation in education is a key focus area of the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). In the university’s vision it is stated that SDU wants to be ’the preferred university in Denmark for students, employees and collaboration partners in Denmark and abroad’. The Faculty of Engineering maintains this vision by continuous follow-ups on objectives within the field of internationalisation.
The Faculty of Engineering has a strong international profile which the faculty seeks to strengthen further. In the period of this strategy, focus on the international dimension of our engineering programmes will be increased.
The internationalisation activities at the Faculty of Engineering are based in the faculty’s International Committee. The International Committee is responsible for the development and the implementation of the faculty’s internationalisation strategy, cf. ’Additional Information on the International Committee’. This includes preparing and facilitating the implementation of action plans.
1 Vision for internationalisation at the Faculty of Engineering
- Graduate engineers must be able to master a global perspective
In the light of the increasing globalisation of the labour market and especially engineering workplaces, the ability to work across borders and in cross-cultural teams is of paramount importance for graduate engineers.
- The region must be prepared for the challenges of globalisation and the knowledge society
The faculty must contribute to regional competence development by educating highly qualified graduate engineers for the local, regional, national as well as the global labour market.
- The Faculty of Engineering must be recognised as being internationally oriented
The faculty must create a strong framework for student exchange and cooperation between universities to enhance the above visions.
2 Overarching priorities and objectives
As mentioned, internationalisation is of great importance to the Faculty of Engineering and the faculty wishes to maintain and strengthen its international profile, as appears from the priorities and objectives in the following sections.
In the field of education the overarching objectives of the Faculty of Engineering are to:
- Continue the integration of the international/global perspective in the bachelor of engineering and the bachelor of science in engineering programmes, e.g. with a requirement of increased focus on joint lecturing and projects between Danish and international students, which will strengthen the international profile of the students.
- Maintain the number of incoming exchange students and ensure a high quality in the exchange of students with European partners as well as overseas partners by quality assuring the partner portfolio.
- Increase the number of incoming degree seeking students mainly from the EU/EEA.
- Increase the number of students who choose to spend a semester abroad whether as internship or as a study period at a foreign partner university.
The Faculty of Engineering’s overarching objectives in internationalisation within the field of research are to:
- Increase the number of publications with foreign scientists.
- Ensure the highest quality in PhD students by recruitment abroad.
- Achieve an increase in the recruitment of reputed scientists to the Faculty of Engineering from across the world.
3 Subsidiary objectives
This section describes the subsidiary objectives and initiatives, which ensure that the overarching objectives are met in the fields of education and research.
3.1 Subsidiary objectives pertaining to the field of education
The following section lists the subsidiary objectives and the initiatives in the field of education which the Faculty of Engineering has launched or will launch.
3.1.1 Integration of the international/global perspective in the bachelor of engineering and bachelor of science in engineering programmes
In the future, the focus on the international dimension of engineering education will be increased through a renewal of The Engineering Education Model of the University of Southern Denmark. In connection with the revision the internationalisation of the programmes will be met with stricter requirements. Among other things, the number of courses with joint lecturing of Danish and international students as well as of ordinary students and exchange students will increase. In connection with this, there will be a greater need for quality assurance of exchange agreements with partner universities.
In its present version, The Engineering Education Model of the University of Southern Denmark states that the students at the Faculty of Engineering during their studies will complete at least two of the following activities:
- at least one semester project report is in English;
- at least one study activity is carried out in a team that includes international students (exchange or degree students);
- at least one course is carried out and assessed in English;
- the engineering internship is carried out abroad;
- at least one semester is taken at a foreign university;
- the final/bachelor project report is in English.
The Faculty of Engineering seeks to promote teaching staff mobility to attract relevant foreign guest lecturers to the faculty’s study programmes. In achieving this, genuine internationalisation of the study programmes is achieved and it allows for closer contact between scientific staff to ensure that international networks are solidly founded on contacts with scientists in the faculty’s departments. At the same time, the faculty encourages international study trips at the study programmes.
Moreover, the Faculty of Engineering wants to increase the number of own teachers on teaching staff mobility at partner universities.
Incoming as well as outgoing teaching staff mobility contributes to increasing the quality of the mobility for both incoming and outgoing exchange students. At the same time it opens the possibility of discovering common interests in the fields of education and research with possibilities for expanding collaboration.
Occasionally the Faculty of Engineering will also organise a theme based ‘International Week’. The themes will be related to internationalisation issues and both academic and administrative staff from our partner universities will be invited. International Week contributes to:
- exchange of knowledge and experience in relation to international tasks and challenges;
- stronger links to partner universities between scientific as well as administrative staff;
- a stronger profile of the Faculty of Engineering with partner universities through theme based activities and seminars;
- increased knowledge of relevant offers from partner universities to our own students, hence increased possibilities for sending own students on study periods abroad.
3.1.2 Increase the number of incoming exchange students
The Faculty of Engineering attaches great importance to incoming exchange students, as they, to a great extent, contribute to the creation of an international study environment at the faculty. As mentioned in the faculty’s vision for internationalisation, an international study environment is of great importance to the faculty’s degree seeking students. The faculty has an extensive portfolio of exchange agreements, which are regularly evaluated.
The exchange agreements are evaluated based on whether the students from our partner universities meet the quality requirements of the Faculty of Engineering concerning academic skills, language skills and commitment to the studies. It is of great importance that these requirements are met, because of the great emphasis on group work, where the students cooperate across cultural and language barriers. The evaluation will also consider the extent to which the partner appeals to our own outgoing students. The evaluation will influence the composition of the partner portfolio.
Furthermore, through exchanges at bachelor level there are opportunities for recruiting students to the faculty’s full degree master programmes offered in English. At the same time, the faculty will maintain the opportunity for admission on the special top-up programmes, which offer exchange students the possibility to complete a Danish bachelor of engineering degree in four semesters (cf. section 3.1.3).
The Faculty of Engineering seeks to improve the quality of the exchange with foreign partner universities by:
- offering more courses to international students, thus offering the students greater flexibility in the choice of courses;
- ensuring that all exchange courses are also offered as full degree courses, so that Danish and international students benefit from joint lectures;
- maintaining a policy of diversification of nationalities to retain a diverse, intercultural, and international study environment.
3.1.3 Increase the number of incoming full degree students
The Faculty of Engineering offers a range of English taught full degree study programmes, and as of 1 September 2012 the faculty offers:
- 6 bachelor of engineering or bachelor of science in engineering programmes;
- 6 bachelor of engineering programmes as top-up programmes (the last two years of the programmes are taught in English);
- 8 master of science in engineering programmes.
The Faculty of Engineering seeks to:
- maintain the number of English taught study programmes at the present level;
- achieve a 10 per cent increase per year in the number of enrolled degree seeking students in accordance with the objective of the University of Southern Denmark by means of:
- marketing activities in Europe through selected study fairs and visits to upper secondary schools and technical upper secondary schools in e.g. Iceland, Germany and the Baltic countries with a view to recruiting for the bachelor of engineering and bachelor of science in engineering programmes;
- marketing through existing contacts and networks in China;
- marketing and recruitment via a few selected collaboration partners in a few selected European countries;
- To some extent through representation by the collaboration partner at fairs and school visits;
- marketing through ambassadors or alumni;
- retention of applicants;
- scholarships for master students at Campus Sønderborg. Greatest possible benefit from the allocated scholarship funds.
Recent years have shown a great potential for recruiting students for the full degree programmes through an initial exchange period, to the master programmes as well as to the top-up programmes.
3.1.4 Increase the number of outgoing students on exchange or internships
In accordance with the overall objective of the University of Southern Denmark, the Faculty of Engineering seeks to achieve an annual increase of 10 per cent per year in the number of students completing a stay abroad for which the faculty awards credit. The faculty is committed to ensuring that students are sufficiently well informed about the possibilities they have for spending one or two semesters abroad during their studies. The faculty ensures easily accessible counselling through personal enquiries, the university website and through expansion of existing networks of contacts with companies abroad.
Special support for internships: Through internal funds administered by the Faculty of Engineering, the faculty will continue to provide reasonable economic conditions for students wishing to undertake internship abroad (primarily for overseas internships).
Special support for studies abroad: Via the best possible counselling, information and the possibilities provided by the Engineering Education Model of the University of Southern Denmark a continual increase in the number of students undertaking studies abroad is expected. As part of the quality assurance of our exchange agreements, the faculty seeks to find the best possible offers for own outgoing students among existing partners. Moreover, the faculty will focus on entering into agreements with renowned universities with an attractive portfolio of English taught courses.
Through internal funds administered by the Faculty of Engineering, the faculty will continue to provide reasonable economic conditions for students wishing to undertake studies abroad (primarily for overseas studies). Moreover, the Faculty of Engineering supports students as well as scientific staff to participate in Intensive Programmes under the Life Long Learning Programme and other study activities abroad of short duration. Participation in Intensive Programmes may function as appetizers for full-time studies abroad, thus paving the way for increased internationalisation.
3.2 Subsidiary objectives pertaining to the field of research
In relation to the internationalisation of research, the Faculty of Engineering adheres to the objectives defined in the university’s development contract, defined as a two percentage point increase per year on average over the last three years in the number of publications with foreign researchers compared to total publication.
Moreover, research must contribute to an increased level of internationalisation of education and of the research groups by attracting reputed scientists and talented PhD students to the Faculty of Engineering from across the world. International research collaboration will also contribute to increasing the number of student exchanges at master level, as some of the Faculty’s partners usually do not exchange students at master level unless such research collaboration exists. Furthermore, focus is on attracting reputed scientists to the various research fields at the faculty and on recruiting more PhD students from abroad.
4 Priorities in qualitative development
4.1 Quality development of international partner agreements
In connection with the expected balance in mobility it is necessary to ensure that we have agreements with partners who offer courses (incl. projects) that are attractive to our students, while at the same time ensuring that we receive the best students from the best partners.
In the next period, the faculty will focus on evaluation and quality assurance of exchange agreements with foreign partners to ensure that all students, Danish as well as international, benefit the most from working across nationalities and culture.
4.2 Sustain the high quality in service to incoming and outgoing students
A precondition for successful internationalisation at the Faculty of Engineering is that students and staff have access to the requisite services.
Through the international coordinators at the faculty the requisite counselling is available for students and staff. In addition, TECH – Communication and Internationalisation provides administrative support and counselling to students and staff.
4.3 Language skills development for staff and students
The increased number of English taught study programmes requires that a large part of the scientific and administrative staff have a very good command of English language. The Faculty of Engineering supports language skills development for scientific as well as administrative staff, if necessary tailored to the need of the individual, and the faculty will work towards language certification of all teachers at the full degree study programmes taught in English.
As a rule, partner universities are responsible for ensuring that their students meet the English language requirements. The Faculty of Engineering continually evaluates collaboration agreements based on students’ English language proficiency, among other things. In order to ensure satisfactory language skills, degree seeking students must pass a language proficiency test to be accepted.
5 Marketing and recruitment
The Faculty of Engineering focuses on the following marketing and recruitment activities:
- partner visits (visits to partner universities and foreign internship companies as well as participation in relevant conferences);
- recruitment of degree seeking students via study fairs and visits to educational institutions with a view to recruiting students to bachelor of engineering and bachelor of science in engineering programmes as well as to master of science in engineering programmes;
- recruitment and marketing via selected collaboration partners in a few selected European countries;
- Online marketing via Facebook, Google and other media and portals;
- Alumni and/or ambassadors.
Furthermore, the faculty’s English language website will remain instrumental in the marketing and recruitment efforts relating to the faculty’s study programmes and research activities.