Assistance and agreements for international mobility
The service will deal with the definition of agreements with universities in other countries for the international mobility of students, in particular for training periods abroad, but also, for example, for the award of joint or double degrees, appropriate for the achievement of the expected learning outcomes, as well as the organisation and management of international mobility of outgoing students and the reception of incoming students from other countries.
In recent years the University of Parma has undertaken important work aimed at increasing the number of courses with double or joint degrees, with a view to increasing and promoting international mobility. In this sense, the development policies of the educational offer have taken into specific consideration the relationship between the international development of the course catalogue itself, its sustainability and adequacy, and the territorial dimension and relations with other universities. It is precisely the international dimension of the course catalogue that is aimed not only at increasing the number of deserving international students, by diversifying their geographical origin, but also at increasing the number of graduates who have had training experience abroad, thus strengthening the international dimension of the training contexts, also through the teaching of foreign experts and the development of the students' language skills.
The University of Parma is part of a network of teacher and student exchanges which, through numerous agreements at EU and non-EU level, allows students to carry out periods of study abroad and/or internships, enabling them to gain educational and work experience abroad as part of mobility programmes, thus creating international career opportunities for its students and favourable environments for the development of research activities, through the funding of projects by local researchers and the attraction of scholars from all over the world.
Over the years, the numerous academic contacts that have developed have allowed the creation of a network of international collaborations that today includes partnerships with universities and research institutes all over the world, with consequent recognition of the University of Parma in the international academic scene.
The intense activity aimed at improving internationalisation has resulted in an increase in language training opportunities, the consolidation of exchange activities within the Erasmus+ Programme, the expansion of exchange opportunities within the OVERWORLD University Programme, in the implementation of double degree programmes with structured mobility, in the TeachinParma project co-financed by the CariParma Foundation for the support of Visiting Professors working within the PhD Schools, in the recruitment of Visiting Professors for teaching activities in First- and Second-level study courses.
In order to coordinate central and departmental activities, International Mobility Committees have been set up in each department since 2017. Internationalisation initiatives are accessible from the 'INTERNATIONAL' menu item on the University's homepage.
In order to encourage the growth and scientific and educational updating of the teaching staff, the University encourages participation in international mobility programmes, both under the Erasmus+ Programme and the OverWorld Programme, for a period of teaching and/or training abroad; it promotes initiatives useful for acquiring specific knowledge and know-how from good practices (creation of academic networks, research collaborations, participation in competitive calls) and for developing language skills relevant to professional development.
The realisation and implementation of internationalisation processes, on the basis of the directives issued by the University's governance, is overseen by the Internationalisation (Research, Internationalisation and Third Mission Area) Unit.
In accordance with the University Regulations, the Department of Engineering and Architecture (DIA) has recently set up a Commission for International Mobility (CMI) with the task of promoting and making effective the international mobility of students.
In order to encourage international student mobility and increase the number of students, the DIA's International Mobility Committee has identified a general action plan to support the activities of the individual degree course councils, which is structured on two levels: information and orientation and the raising of students' language skills.
At the beginning of each academic year, the CMI will organise a series of meetings with students in order to explain the possibilities of periods abroad within the Erasmus and Overworld Programmes and within the possibilities made available by the activities of individual professors/instructors. To complete the information activities, the CMI will also carry out orientation activities to direct students towards the most appropriate programme with reference to the level reached in their degree course and most in line with their individual aspirations; this activity will take place both at the aforementioned information meetings and on an individual level, by organising a reception time during which the teaching staff responsible for each degree courses, present on the Commission, will be available to students.
In order to raise students' language proficiency levels, a systematic awareness campaign will be carried out to ensure that students benefit from the initiatives planned by the University through the University's Language Learning Unit.
In addition, the CMI will develop a training proposal for all DIA degree courses for the recognition of ECTS credits to all those students who will obtain a recognition of the level of linguistic ability higher than B1 in the main vehicular languages of the European Union, with particular attention to English.
In parallel to the above-mentioned student actions, the CMI will monitor existing international exchange agreements and projects in order to identify the "most active" and strategic ones. In doing so, it will develop specific support and promotion actions to become effective tools for the international mobility of students. In particular, direct contacts will be made with the heads of the partner universities in order to find all the necessary information for an effective orientation programme and support in drawing up the learning agreements.
The CMI will also draw up a 'development plan' for international agreements, aimed at increasing both the number and quality of international training opportunities for students. Particular attention will be paid to agreements for double or joint degrees, to strengthen existing ones and to create new ones.
The CMI will use tutors provided by the University to monitor the agreements in place and to assist students.
The Second-cycle Degree Course in Architecture and city sustainability is included in the Erasmus and Overworld circuits; for the degree courses of the Department of Engineering and Architecture, as regards the Architecture sector, Prof. Carlo Gandolfi, Prof. Maria Melley and Prof. Silvia Rossetti are members of the International Mobility Committee.
The tasks of the Commission members include, in addition to the annual propaganda to disseminate knowledge of the Erasmus and Overworld projects, the selection of students who respond to the relevant calls for applications, the assistance of students in the phase of filling out the "learning agreement", the assistance of students throughout their mobility studies and the presentation of files relating to the recognition of foreign exams in the course councils. These practices are carried out for both outgoing students from our university and incoming students from foreign universities.
Selections for the award of the relevant mobility grants for outgoing students are made on the basis of criteria that vary for different departments.
For the Department of Engineering and Architecture, the criteria adopted are as follows:
- a) number of credits acquired in relation to those in the programme of study;
- b) the student's career;
- c) the training project (knowledge of the courses offered by the chosen location and an outline of the exams the candidate intends to take and/or work on the preparation of the thesis the candidate intends to write);
- d) level of knowledge of the language required by the host location;
- e) level of knowledge of English;
- f) motivation.
The international activities of the architecture sector for the year 2019-2020 have been totally directed towards the Erasmus programme, both in terms of study stays and internship activities.
In the first semester, 8 students left for foreign countries for the whole year and 2 for the first semester only for Erasmus experiences for study purposes. Among them, 8 are students of the Degree Course in Architecture, Regeneration and Sustainability and 2 belong to the Second-cycle Degree Course in Architecture and city sustainability. Two students were supposed to go for a semester in Overworld in China but had to drop out for obvious reasons. In contrast, revenues from foreign countries were higher overall: 14 students have come to our university, 3 of them through Erasmus programmes and 11 students through Overworld projects.
All foreign students were given the opportunity to take their courses in English.
During the months of the pandemic when classes were held on a non-attendance basis, many incoming students returned to their home countries and attended all the courses in our degree programmes. The same procedure was followed for our outbound mobility students, but in this case, except for a single case, all the students remained in their assigned foreign locations and completed their course.
For the 2020-2021 SMS mobility call, the Commission, as usual, has planned a special presentation meeting for interested students in January 2020 as well as a widespread awareness-raising action for students in each year of study. In the a.y. 2020/2021, 12 students will leave for the Erasmus programme, 8 of whom will spend the entire academic year (5 for the Second-cycle degree course in Architecture and city sustainability and 3 for the Degree course in Architecture, Regeneration and Sustainability) and 4 just for one semester (2 for the Second-cycle degree course in Architecture and city sustainability and 2 for the Degree course in Architecture, Regeneration and Sustainability).
Erasmus programming data for the second semester of the academic year are not yet available at the time of writing. 2020-2021 (supplementary call). The numbers of incoming students for both the Erasmus and Overworld programmes are still very uncertain.
The agreements currently in place for the Architecture degree courses are as follows:
Universitat Stuttgart (DE)
Universidad de Granada (ES)
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ES)
UCAM - Universidad Catolica San Antonio De Murcia (ES)
Universitat Politecnica De Valencia (ES)
Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture de Clermont- Ferrand (FR)
Institut National des Sciences Appliquees (INSA) de Strasbourg (FR)
University of Thessaly (GR)
Szent Istvan Egyetem (HU)
Universidade Dos Acocores (GR)
Institut National des Sciences Appliquees (INSA) de Strasbourg (FR)
University of Thessaly (GR) Szent Istvan Egyetem (HU)
Universidade Dos Acores (PT)
Universidade do Porto (PT)
University of Porto - Faculty of Engineering (PT)
Politechnika Bialostocka (PL) Politechnika Krakowska (PL)
More detailed information on the degree courses concerned, the available places and the duration of the mobility periods can be found on the dedicated website.
Two agreements with Altinbas University in Istanbul and ETSASS - Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de San Sebastian are also in the approval phase.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the cooperation protocol between the University of Parma and the Universite Internationale de Rabat (UIR), which, in addition to research activities, provides for the exchange of teachers and students for limited periods of time and the joint development of innovative training activities. Within the framework of the Protocol, the Second-cycle degree course in Architecture hosted four students in the academic year. 2017-2018, which became eight in the academic year. 2018- 2019. Since a.y. 2020-2021 the first year of the Second-cycle degree course in Architecture and city sustainability (English language section) will start, with the possibility of obtaining a double degree for students who complete their studies at the two universities.