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 awarding 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 course catalogue 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 an exchange network of professors/instructors and students that, through numerous agreements at EU and non-EU level, allows for study periods abroad and/or internship activities, enabling students to undertake training experiences abroad, both didactic and work-related, as part of mobility programmes, thus creating opportunities for international careers 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 for the creation of a network of international collaborations that today sees the presence of partnerships with Universities and Research Organisations from all over the world, resulting in the recognition of the University of Parma on 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 Doctoral Schools, in the recruitment of Visiting Professors for teaching activities in first- and second-level degree courses.
In order to coordinate central and departmental activities, International Mobility Committees were set up in each department in 2017. Internationalisation initiatives are accessible from the 'INTERNATIONAL' menu item on the University's homepage.
In order to foster the growth and scientific and didactic updating of the teaching staff, the university encourages participation in international mobility programmes, both under the Erasmus+ Programme and the OverWorld Programme, in order to carry out 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 for projects) 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 governance, is carried out by the Internationalisation Unit (Research, Internationalisation and Third Mission Management Area).
In accordance with the University Regulations, the Department of Engineering and Architecture (DEA) has recently set up an International Mobility Committee (IMC) with the task of promoting and making international student mobility effective.
In order to boost the international mobility of students and to increase their numbers, the DEA's International Mobility Committee has identified a general action plan to support the activities of the individual course committees, structured on two levels: one concerning information and guidance and one aimed at raising the students' level of language competence.
The IMC will organise a series of meetings with students at the beginning of each academic year in order to explain the possibilities of periods abroad within the Erasmus and Overworld Programmes and the possibilities made available by the activities of individual professors/instructors. To complete the information activity, the IMC will also carry out a guidance activity to direct students towards the most appropriate programme with reference to the level reached in their curriculum and most closely matching their individual aspirations; this activity will take place both at the aforementioned information meetings and on an individual level, by organising a timetable in which the professors/instructors responsible for the individual degree courses, who are on the Committee, will be available to students.
In order to raise students' language proficiency levels, a systematic awareness-raising campaign will be carried out so that students benefit from the initiatives planned by the University through the University's Organisational Unit for Language Learning.
In addition, the IMC will develop a training proposal for all DEA courses of study for the recognition of credits to all those students who will obtain recognition of a language proficiency level higher than B1 in the main vehicular languages of the European Union, with a focus on English.
In parallel with the above-mentioned actions aimed at students, the IMC 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 information necessary for an effective orientation programme and support in the drafting of learning agreements.
The IMC will also design a 'development plan' for international agreements, aimed at increasing both numerically and qualitatively the international course catalogue for students. Particular attention will be paid to agreements for double or joint degrees, to strengthen existing ones and to create new ones.
The IMC 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 Sustainable Cities is included in the Erasmus and Overworld circuit; for degree courses in the Department of Engineering and Architecture, with regard to the Architecture sector, Prof. Carlo Gandolfi, Prof. Maria Melley and Prof. Silvia Rossetti are members of the International Mobility Committee.
The tasks of the Committee members include, in addition to the annual promotion of information on the Erasmus and Overworld projects, the selection of students responding to the relevant calls for applications, assisting students in filling out the 'learning agreement', assisting students throughout their mobility studies and submitting applications for the recognition of foreign examinations to the study course councils. These practices are carried out for both outgoing students from our university and incoming students from foreign universities.
The selections for the allocation 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 ECTS credits acquired in relation to those in the programme of study:
b) the student's career:
c) training path (knowledge of the course catalogue at the chosen venue and a general indication of the examinations the candidate intends to take and/or work relating to the preparation of the thesis/dissertation the candidate intends to undertake);
d) level of knowledge of the language required by the host venue;
e) level of knowledge of English;
The architecture sector's international activities for the year 2019-2020 have been entirely devoted to the Erasmus programme, both in terms of study periods and internship activities.
In the first semester, eight students relocated to foreign countries for the entire year and two for the first semester alone, on the Erasmus programme. Of these, eight are students from the Degree Course in Architecture, Regeneration and Sustainability and two are from the Second-Cycle Degree Course in Architecture and Sustainable Cities. Two students were due to go to China on the Overworld programme, but had to drop out for obvious reasons. Incoming students from foreign countries, on the other hand, were higher overall: 14 students attended our university, three of them with Erasmus, 11 with Overworld.
All foreign students were given the opportunity to take courses in English.
During the months of the pandemic where classes were held remotely, many incoming students returned to their home countries and still attended all the courses on our degree programmes, thus completing their curriculum. The same approach was followed for our outbound students, but in this case, all but one of the students remained in their assigned foreign locations and completed their course.
For the 2020-2021 SMS Mobility Call, the Committee, as usual, has scheduled a special presentation meeting for interested students in January 2020 as well as widespread awareness-raising interventions for students in each year of study. In the A.Y. 2020-2021, 12 students left on the Erasmus programme, eight of whom for the entire academic year (five on the second-cycle degree in Architecture and Sustainable Cities and three for the degree in Architecture, Regeneration and Sustainability) and four for one semester only (two on the second-cycle degree in Architecture and Sustainable Cities and two on the degree in Architecture, Regeneration and Sustainability).
Erasmus programming data for the second semester of the academic year were not yet available at the time of writing. Still very uncertain, however, are the numbers of incoming students on both the Erasmus and Overworld programmes.
The agreements currently in place for degree courses in Architecture 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 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 places available 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 process.
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 professors/instructors and students for limited periods of time and the joint development of innovative training activities. As part of the Protocol, the second-cycle degree course in Architecture hosted four students in the A.Y. 2017-2018, who became eight from A.Y. 2018-2019. The A.Y. 2020-2021 saw the start of the first year of the second-cycle degree in Architecture and Sustainable Cities (English language section) with the possibility of a double degree for students who complete their studies at the two universities.