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Staff exchanges and teaching quality investment

Finland, Greece and Spain win Erasmus awards

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Three higher education institutions which receive funding through the Erasmus programme are named today as winners of the 2013 European Erasmus Awards.

The gold prize winner is JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, Finland, where 70% of the staff take part in Erasmus training abroad each year. The university regards staff exchanges as key to its efforts to improve teaching and learning quality. The Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Greece, and the Universitat Politècnica in Valencia, Spain, also receive awards (see below). 

This award recognises the work of the International Exchange Programmes Office. The winners hold high number of teaching staff who spend a mobility period at academic institutions in the European Union and the quality of the management of the programme.

The European Commission invited all 4500 higher education institutions holding an Erasmus University Charter to highlight success stories involving staff mobility and short intensive programmes such as international summer schools. Independent experts short-listed 20 of the best examples, from which the three winning institutions were chosen.

In addition to grants for students to study or train abroad, Erasmus has funded more than 300000 staff exchanges for teaching and training and more than 3200 intensive programmes since 1997. Together, these activities represent approximately 9% of the Erasmus budget. 

Jyväskylän ammattikorkeakoulu (JAMK University of Applied Sciences), Jyväskylä, Finland

Internationalisation is one of three strategic priorities for the JAMK University of Applied Sciences and its 8000 students. This includes a high level of mobility with over 70% of staff going abroad on a yearly basis. The staff exchanges are monitored through internal performance and national indicators to ensure quality and maximum impact.

The staff exchanges are a part of the university’s strategy for improving teaching and learning quality. So far, the impact has included the development of intensive programmes and partnerships resulting in joint online projects and double degrees.

A double degree involves a student following two different university degree courses in parallel, often at different institutions in different countries. The two degrees can be in the same subject area or in two different subjects.

Τεχνολογικό Εκπαιδευτικό Ίδρυμα Κρήτης (Technological Educational Institute of Crete), Heraklion, Greece

The Technological Educational Institute has over 15000 students who are taught in six cities throughout Crete. Since 2005, the Institute’s 22 intensive programmes have provided a platform for internationalisation by creating links with local industry as well as world-leading institutions such as the University of Oxford and Imperial College in the UK. This has led to an international dimension of the degree programmes and helped academics from across Europe get to know the Institute’s work and staff members.

Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain

The Universitat Politècnica de València is a 45-year-old technical university with 13 schools and faculties on three campuses. Last year its staff took part in in 190 mobility opportunities, making it the fifth largest sending institution among the 33 Erasmus participating countries. It attaches great importance to monitoring the quality of exchange programmes and ensure that lecturers’ experiences make the University more international, benefit students and enhance the University’s joint teaching and research projects. As a consequence it is offering more and more double degrees as well as Erasmus intensive programmes.

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