EPS - Erasmus Policy Statement - KATHO

KATHO, the Catholic University of Applied Sciences of South-West Flanders has as its baseline “Enjoy Lifelong Learning Worldwide”. Our core business is to ensure higher education for students at bachelor level(industrial sciences, agri-biotechnology, business studies, teacher training, nursing and midwifery, social sciences) with bridges to master degrees. It also entails the promotion of coherence between all stages of lifelong education and training systems, both formal and informal, based on the key competences for lifelong learning in a worldwide context.

KATHO is “open” to the world. We work closely together with the very export-oriented local andregional “enterprises” in the broadest sense. This includes businesses in the agro-industry, hospitals with an interregional role, training centres for primary and secondary schools attended by children and pupils from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, centres for social guidance and counselling including especially those with the emphasis on working with migrants. KATHO is keen on valorising these contacts through building bridges with stakeholders abroad.

All the study areas have their own centres of excellence with applied, practice-oriented research cells creating an innovative impetus for each of our specialisations. They are based mainly on the valorisation of knowledge developed in our dissertations. We focus especially on the added-value for our enterprises and partner institutes.

At the same time the stimulating learning environment -offered by staff and management alike both through open and distance, and inter-generational learning- focuses on value development and ethical reflection. We do this staying in line with a global, multicultural society in all openness andwith respect for everybody’s conviction. We also give continuous support and care to staff and students with functional disabilities.

KATHO is embedded in the Association KULeuven and together with its fellow members we actively participate in the promotion of qualitative Flemish Higher Education and in doing so also in the promotion of the European Higher Education Area. Think global, act local: KATHO plays a pivotal role in Higher Education in West-Flanders and in the Region Lille Métropole.

Objectives

KATHO is the nucleus of a series of circles: local, intracommunitary, interregional, transeuropean, intercontinental. Each circle has its importance for our students and staff, be it f or study periods, work placements, curriculum development, co-operation projects or networks.

Our main aim is to pursue our efforts in offering our students and staff possibilities to explore these circles and to find their way around in a global world. Therefore we foster interchange, co-operation and mobility between, not only partners in education, but especially between our university of applied sciences and companies, ngo’s and training centres within and across these circles.

In this way we consider ourselves to be good Europeans, encouraging an advanced knowledge society and sustainable economic development, promoting creativity, competitiveness, employability and the growth of an entrepreneurial spirit.

We especially want to focus on language learning and linguistic diversity and we want to support further development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices for Lifelong Learning.

Priorities

2007-2008
In the first year of the LLP, the main task is to locate the e nterprises, social partners, chambers of commerce and industry, hospitals, and service centres, in our KATHO Circles that have links abroad on the one hand, and who are willing to provide placements abroad for our students or to participate in staff exchange programmes on the other hand.
At the same time, a series of new curricular projects will be set up in our six study areas, with the emphasis on cooperation between KATHO and enterprises, both in the profit and the socio-profit sector. Next to that modernisation of curricula, creation of virtual campuses with special attention to double degrees and intercultural dialogue, as well as active European Citizenship (Jean Monnet) will be focussed on.

2008-2010
In the second phase, the LLP programme running smoothly, the new priorities put forward by Europe will be implemented in all our specialisations (currently 18). Furthermore we will set up new multilateral projects and join transdisciplinary thematic networks including the Archipelagos.

2010-2013
Our unit for Quality Assurance and our unit dealing with Diversity will be called upon to monitor the implementation of the objectives set out above; especially those concerning gender equality, combating racism and xenophobia, integration of students and staff with special needs, and the enhancement of social and economic cohesion.

Quality Assurance for academic mobility activities

Our mobility activities are mainly based on exchange projects within the context of Erasmus, Comenius, Grundtvig, Leonardo, Media, Culture, Youth and also Edulink, Asia-link, Alβan, Tempus,External Windows, EU/CAN,US, AUS, JA. Next to that we have the Belgian programmes like Erabel and Trialogue and there is also Development Aid.

For our own staff, an international professional development plan is set up, together with the HR Manager. Through this plan all members of staff are being coached in their international development, the underlying idea being that self-reflection generated by international cooperation refuels innovation and academic progress thus helping towards the international accreditation of our own courses.

International Staff Weeks are organised in most departments, this as part of our [email protected] project.

In view of the increase in the numbers of mobile students by the end of the LLP programme, a survey is being carried out in order to find out more about what hurdles students face when wanting to go abroad.

KATHO sets itself the task of assuring that (like in previous years with the IEKS project: International Experience for all KATHO Students and Staff), during their training and within the framework of the KATHO-Circles, all students come into contact with the international dimension of their future profession, be it via individual mobility through study or training abroad, by group mobility with own staff and staff from abroad, or via International Students and Staff Weeks. Including modules on cross-cultural communication, world perspectives, and socio-economic indicators the course called“Paloma” aims at harmonising the criteria for participating in these projects.

We also provide incoming students, with courses common for all departments. Several courses"Global issues of the 21 st century", " Europe, I presume?", “European Integration: Ode to Joy?” bringall our incoming students together once a week. It is important that students from very different specialisations can find some common ground and enjoy meeting and exchanging ideas.

Although hindered by the Flemish Decree on the use of foreign languages, we provide our incoming students in all our study-areas with tailor-made programmes adapted to their individual academic needs and in English. A comprehensive brochure of the courses on offer - applying the Tuning methodology where ever possible - is published every year.

Our own students are kept informed from the very beginning via the open campus days, and are counselled and screened before undertaking a study period abroad. Informal contacts between former Erasmus students and potential Erasmus-students are organised.

Incoming students are provided with individual tutoring and counselling by our own departmental coordinators for internationalisation.

Our Student Service units provide the students with accommodation, sporting facilities and outings to help them integrate and socialize with the local students.

The EILC courses in September and February offer an introduction to Flemish culture and to the Dutch language.

All students, incoming and outgoing are provided with LAs and ToRs. The recognition of ECTS grades is strictly implemented in all faculties.

Quality Assurance for student placements

We are aware of the importance of university-enterprise cooperation in education and training. We try to incorporate this aspect of studying into our activities through different models of cooperation.

We have a long tradition in transeuropean and intercontinental placements for our students mainly in Nursing and Midwifery and Teacher Training. At present we plan to expand this to all our study areas. In a first phase it will require a serious investment to arouse the interest of our existing local and regional partners to offer placement possibilities for our students and staff in their subsidiaries abroad.

In a second phase we will develop our own new network of companies, centres, hospitals for offering training abroad for our students.

Contracts with the companies, contracts between students, companies and departments of the College have to be drawn up. They have to include insurance aspects linked not only to academic mobility, but also and especially to training mobility per study area.

Monitoring will be provided by our own staff, creating in this way an extra link between enterprise and education, whilst at the same time ensuring the recognition of the training period abroad in the curriculum of the student.

The European Quality Charter for mobility will be our quality control indicator.

We are convinced that KATHO supports and makes the triangle – education, research and innovation– enjoyable for all. We do this through our commitment to worldwide and lifelong learning in order to prepare the students for a world with rapid changing socio-economic and demographic aspects, making them ready for the work place and continuous studying in intercultural environments.