ERASMUS POLICY STATEMENT
IZMIR BAKIRCAY UNIVERSITY
Erasmus Policy Statement
Izmir Bakircay University was founded in September 2016, and the preparatory actions to start education were initiated with the appointment of its rector in September 2017. With the completion of these preparations in a short time, the university started education in its initial academic year of 2018-2019.
The university is located in Izmir where is the third largest city ranking at the forefront among the best places to live in Turkey for students, academicians and investors in terms of social, economic and cultural life. We believe that international faculty and students visiting our university have an important role in building a multicultural and inclusive international campus life.
Our university is chosen as the first and only “unimpeded” state university in Izmir by the Higher Education Counsel of Turkey. The Unimpeded University title refers to the services planned and implemented for disabled students and staff within the campus. Regarding the mobility of students and staff, our priority is to provide an equal opportunity to each student and staff without discrimination, and to ensure participation of every academic unit in the exchange programs.
Aiming to become a world university, Izmir Bakircay University is structured as a project-oriented public university specifically in the fields of technology and science. University’s vision is to become a respectable techno-entrepreneurship university which maintains a sustainable international structure by encouraging entrepreneurship with the establishment of a techno park in the near future. In realizing this objective, a Scientific Research Projects Coordinatorship is established to support the university staff in the organization, application and implementation of international research projects with a focus on areas in medicine, entrepreneurship, social innovation, environment, culture and art. Moreover, International Relations and Exchange Programs Coordinatorship (from now on will be referred as “the Coordinatorship”) has been established to carry out the processes related to exchange programs. The Coordinatorship works under the vice-rector responsible for international relations. In every faculty and department, there are academic coordinators who carry out the procedures related to the Erasmus+ program. All of the decisions regarding the exchange program are taken by an independent commission and submitted to the University Senate for approval.
The Coordinatorship, and the academic coordinators work together to set up a program for outgoing students to prepare them both practically and academically for the mobility. The academic coordinators are responsible for mentoring and evaluation, during and after the mobility. Mentoring and support arrangements for incoming students are set up by the Coordinatorship.
Izmir Bakircay University’s internationalization strategy aims to focus on areas of education, research, exchange programs, international collaborations and social responsibility, and intends to raise the quality in education and research activities, achieve international academic standards, develop intercultural awareness, create a multicultural environment in the university, and establish international academic cooperation.
With the onset of education activities in our university in 2018, Bologna process has been launched as well. ECTS information packages were prepared in accordance with the ECTS credit system in all the academic units and this information is published in our course catalog on our main page. Diploma Supplement will be issued in both Turkish and English and given automatically and free of charge to every student upon graduation. An important objective is to improve the quality of and further enrich the programs offered in the university by examining the programs of international educational institutions, adopting new innovative teaching methods, and internationalizing the curricula in a way that will be compatible with the global economy and occupations. Therefore, a Quality and Accreditation Center was established in 2019 and preliminary steps have been taken for accreditation by the academic units in our university.
When we were awarded with our first Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) back in October 2019, there was only one program, Management Information Systems, that was taught in English in our university. Since then, the number of programs offered in English has increased to two with the addition of a new program named International Trade and Finance. We desire to increase the number of programs offered in English and to develop common degree programs in the future as a part of our internationalization strategy. Moreover, initially, we enabled 10% of the students from departments whose language of instruction is in Turkish to attend the foreign language preparatory school to help develop their foreign language skills, especially those students who want to participate in Erasmus+ mobility.
Since the acceptance of our university in the Erasmus + Program in October 2019, our university made 29 bilateral agreements that consist of 70 student mobility and 50 teaching staff mobility by April 2021. We established agreements with universities from Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Republic of North Macedonia, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Serbia. As a newly established young university which was rewarded with ECHE at its first application, we made bilateral agreements that belong to a diverse set of countries in a very short period of time. This demonstrates our motivation and commitment in becoming a part of the European Education Area (EEA). We prioritize adopting the core values and principles of the EEA within the scope of our internationalization and modernization strategy. We acknowledge that our participation in Erasmus+ activities will contribute immensely to our students, and academic and administrative staff in gaining new experiences from international cooperation, and in developing an educational and modernization approach at European standards. Moreover, they will contribute to the visibility of our university in the international arena. The number of agreements is expected to increase in the future. In order to increase the quality of these agreements, we prioritize informing students and staff correctly, conducting the selections fairly and transparently, and supporting them before, during and after mobility. Likewise, we aim to make it easier for incoming students and staff to adapt to the university and the city, and ensure that they have both academic and cultural quality time. As a means of measuring the quality of mobility, we are planning to conduct questionnaires to receive feedback from the incoming students and staff. With the aid of these questionnaires we will be able to make the necessary improvements in our implementation of the Erasmus+ actions.
From a sustainable modernization, digitalization in the execution of all academic and administrative processes is vital for our university. In this respect, we integrated an automation system to carry out all the Erasmus+ related activities thereby facilitating standardization of the processes, saving time and resources.
Although the Erasmus+ exchange processes have been interrupted by the global pandemic, we will continue from where we left off as the global roadmap to pursue international mobility will become clearer. The measures regarding the pandemic envisaged by the national and international public authorities and Turkish Council of Higher Education are implemented at the highest level in our university. As with many other universities in the world, this pandemic has also accelerated the modernization process of our university. In this regard, all our courses are now offered online. In addition, we have expedited the establishment of the Distance Education Center to be active by the start of the next academic year so that the courses within the KA103 and K131 mobility actions can also be offered with distant education.
Although Izmir Bakircay University is a newly established university, the commitment to seek cooperation at international level is of utmost importance in order to enhance the development of an extended international network, build strategic partnerships and knowledge alliances. To this end, we aim to extend Erasmus+ KA131 program activities to other actions of Erasmus+ program, including KA220, KA3 and Jean Monnet projects in the foreseeable future.