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 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 a network of professor/instructor and student exchanges that, through numerous agreements at EU and non-EU level, allows study periods abroad and/or internships, enabling students to gain training experience abroad, both teaching and work, 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 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 Division (Research, Internationalisation and Third Mission Management Area).
The Erasmus programme and an exchange agreement with the University of Florida (Gainesville) are active.
Within the Erasmus framework, there is an annual call for applications, which is also illustrated with an annual information meeting run by the International Exchange Office and with representatives from each of the Engineering Departments, followed by student tutoring activities with a view to the submission of applications in order to optimise the use of grants and the management of preferences expressed by students. The learning agreement is approved by the degree course with prior recognition of the training activities to be carried out abroad and by the host university. On returning to this university, the student requests recognition of the actual training activities carried out, having agreed on any variations with the tutor.
The University of Parma also participates in the Erasmus placement programme for internships abroad.
On a non-European level, there is an exchange agreement with the University of Florida, launched last year, which provides students with the opportunity both to prepare their dissertation and to take courses at this university.
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 degree course 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 courses of study, 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 Language Learning Division.
In addition, the IMC will develop a training proposal for all DEA degree courses for the recognition of ECTS 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 measures into 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 develop 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 degree course has a lecturer responsible for international Erasmus mobility who is in charge of assisting students with the compilation of the learning agreement, the instruction and submission of applications for recognition of foreign examinations in the course councils, and the selection of students responding to ERASMUS calls.
Erasmus programme manager: Prof.ssa Patrizia Bernardi, Prof.ssa Elena Romeo