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Please describe your institution's international (EU and non-EU) strategy. In your description please explain a) how you choose your partners, b) in which geographical area(s) and c) the most important objectives and target groups of your mobility activities (with regard to staff and students first, second and third cycles, including training, and short cycles). If applicable, also explain how your institution participates in the development of double/multiple/joint degrees.

In the 21st century, along with globalisation, which obscured borders and local traditions, technological changes resulted in great shifts in the lives of individuals and societies. Consequently, investigation of the new social dynamics with new methods as well as cross-disciplinary approaches became a prominent task for universities.

Foundation of Social Sciences University of Ankara (Ankara Sosyal Bilimler Üniversitesi- ASBU) falls into this fact. Amalgamating several disciplines of Social Sciences, ASBU fosters interdisciplinary research for a better understanding of socio-cultural and politico-economic relations.

ASBU is an ambitious, research-oriented, public university established in 2013. It is located in Ulus, an authentic and historical centre in the heart of Ankara. It offers undergraduate and graduate education under five faculties: Political Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, Foreign Languages, Theology, and Law. English is the medium of instruction in majority of the programmes. The English Language School, via contemporary teaching methods, ensures a high quality of language education.

With its young and enthusiastic researchers, institutes as well as close ties with public/private sectors and non-governmental organisations, ASBU is among top universities in Turkey.

While high quality research constitutes the main scope of academic work at ASBU, excellence in teaching and community service are also of equal importance. ASBU’s Social Innovation Centre and Sociopolis utilise rigorous socio-cultural research and carry out social responsibility projects for transforming its surrounding.

Acknowledging the role of internationalisation of higher education in assuring quality in research, teaching as well as university governance, ASBU has adopted internationalisation as one of the prominent components of its strategic plan. It strives for establishing fruitful partnerships with universities and organisations abroad. These partnerships include but are not limited to student and staff exchanges and research collaborations.

ASBU embraces an internationalisation strategy targeting both its students and staff and is based on six pillars: student and staff mobility programmes; joint degrees; international cross-sectoral cooperation and research; internationalisation of curricula; social responsibility projects; international student and staff recruitment.

ASBU believes that international mobility programmes provide students and staff with opportunities for personal and professional development. Through these exchange programmes, participants broaden their horizons, meet new methods of teaching and learning, and gain soft skills such as intercultural communication. Moreover, they help exchange of best practices between sending and receiving institutions. While incoming students and staff contribute to the creation of a multilingual and multicultural campus, outgoing participants bring new know-how that universities need for structural reform. In line with the university’s strategic plan for the period between 2018 and 2023, 10% of students and 5% of academic and administrative staff shall participate in a mobility programme. The ratio of international students to overall student population shall rise to 20%. Similarly, 20% of staff is expected to be international by the end of 2023.

As “quality in mobility” forms its focus, ASBU is selective in its partner build-up. It relies on the strong international ties of its academic cluster in establishing inter-institutional agreements. Both EU and non-EU institutions are under consideration. Universities and organisations particularly from Western and Eastern Europe, Middle East, Central Asia and North America, with which Turkey has close ties, are targeted. On the other hand, depending on their academic interests, the departments are encouraged to initiate partnership with universities and organisations from all around the world.

Academic and social conformity between two institutions is the main criteria in partner selection. For student mobility for studies and staff mobility for teaching, compatibility of curricula, similarity in research areas, language of instruction, rankings, facilities for students are taken into account. Reciprocity of mobility conditions is another fundamental principle. For student mobility for traineeship, organisations that provide a work environment and training programme, which enable achievement of required learning outcomes are chosen. ASBU aims to establish 7 agreements per department by the end of 2023.

ASBU recognises the importance of double/multiple/ joint degrees for the improvement of its own education quality and the European Higher Education Area. It considers these degrees as a result of full commitment to internationalisation. By 2023, one dual/joint diploma program shall be opened.

Please describe your institution's strategy for the organisation and implementation of international (EU and non-EU) cooperation projects within the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme. If not applicable, please explain:

ASBU has identified international (EU and non-EU) cooperation as one of the pillars of its internationalisation strategy. Three European projects, one European Voluntary Service, one Key Action 2 project in the field of adult education and one Horizon 2020 project are being run at ASBU as of March 2017. It considers international and cross-sectoral projects as important drivers of institutional change and development since they enable transfer of best practices as well as different research methods. ASBU believes that by creating synergy and building capacity, cross-border collaborations play a significant role in achieving excellence in research, teaching and community service. In this respect, the university aims to participate to not only the Higher Education sector of the Erasmus+ Programme and carry out Key Action (KA) 1: Mobility of Individuals projects with programme countries, but also is interested in KA2 and KA3 projects in all sectors and establishing fruitful cooperation with partner countries.

In terms of research, ASBU seeks to get involved in consortia founded by universities and other research institutions, all of which bring their expertise into the joint research project. It is also interested in strategic partnerships and knowledge alliances higher education institutions form with public, private and non-governmental actors in order to produce innovative intellectual outputs by employing new methods.

For ASBU, excellence in teaching requires internationalisation of curricula. This does not only stand for teaching and discussing social sciences in international contexts or with latest methods. It also includes offering innovative solutions to local problems by a careful evaluation of needs at home and experiences abroad. ASBU also recognises the role of international cooperation projects in this respect and aim to engage in joint curricula design.

Being a city university, ASBU acknowledges the role of higher education institutions in communicating their research findings with wider public, transferring these findings into practice and rendering its knowledge and experience for the use of its environment. For its aim of fostering socially responsible and global minded graduates, ASBU encourages its students to take part in international social responsibility and civic involvement projects such as European Voluntary Service. For this purpose, ASBU established a Social Innovation Centre that promotes social entrepreneurship through its social responsibility projects. Furthermore, it is building a Sociopolis (Social Research Park), which would serve as a ‘shared habitat’, encourage greater interaction among actors from different sectors (public, private and non-governmental) in order to advance knowledge.

ASBU targets to increase its engagement in European and international research projects and use attained experience for capacity building and improving its curricula design. By 2023, a minimum of 10 international research projects shall be carried out and 10% of ASBU students shall participate in international youth and exchange projects. The International Office works in close cooperation with faculty members as well as the Directorate for Strategy Development and the Projects Office to this end.

Please explain the expected impact of your participation in the Erasmus+ Programme on the modernisation of your institution. Please refer to each of the 5 priorities of the Agenda for the Modernisation of Europe's higher education system and explain the policy objectives you intend to pursue:

ASBU was founded to promote academic excellence, particularly in Social Sciences research. It is a quite newly established university. Thanks to its strong academic cluster and experienced administration, it has the advantage of following and implementing the most modern and the most effective research, teaching and governance methods. On the other hand, the university is well aware of the challenges of establishing a promising higher education institute. ASBU acknowledges the contribution of internationalisation in providing itself with both an international network of partners with different expertises as well as best practices and an opportunity for benchmarking. International cooperation programmes in general and the Erasmus+ Programme in particular are regarded in this respect.

ASBU believes that its participation in the Erasmus+ Programme will have the following impacts: firstly, its academic cluster will enlarge their research networks and engage in innovative, high quality research projects, thus, the university will find the opportunity to contribute to the European Research Area with its rigorous academic work. Secondly, the student mobility programmes as well as civic involvement projects will facilitate its objective of fostering highly skilled, global minded graduates. Its students will gain experience at international level during their studies and evolve into informed leaders, who also have concern for the common good. Student mobility programmes will also increase employability of its graduates, since students, through these eye-opening experiences, acquire both hands-on knowledge and soft skills such as intercultural adaptability, which are of crucial importance in today’s demanding labour market. Thirdly, in its endeavour to strengthen its place among top universities both in Turkey and in the region, ASBU relies on its staff. Hence, it regards staff mobility as an integrated part of its Human Resources management and a prominent tool for improving its staff’s professional knowledge and skills. The Erasmus+ Programme will facilitate professional and personal development of ASBU staff. Fourthly, the Programme will enable ASBU to welcome students and staff from Europe in particular and all around the world in general and thus, reach its goal of becoming a truly international campus, where English is the medium of instruction and communication. Last but not least, by getting more involved in and by establishing new partnerships under the Erasmus+ Programme, ASBU will learn from its European and non-EU counterparts’ experiences and mistakes. It will, hence, save its resources and embrace the most effective methods of research, teaching and governance.

With its strong emphasis on internationalisation through mobility programmes, international research and social responsibility projects as well as joint degrees, thus, with its active involvement in the Erasmus+ Programme, ASBU adopts the following objectives in line the five key priorities of the European modernisation agenda for higher education:

1. By actively participating in different sectors of the Erasmus+ Programme, to develop projects aiming at the modernisation of secondary education in Turkey in particular and in Europe in general; To share its know- how with secondary education institutions in design of curricular and extra-curricular activities; To contribute to the nation-wide policies whose purpose is to increase access to higher education.

2. By embracing the principle of excellence in research, teaching and community service, and by providing students with opportunities of professional and personal development, to foster critical, global-minded, highly skilled graduates;

3. In the field of higher education, to develop and participate in Key Action 2 projects which flourish high quality research by enabling knowledge and experience transfer across borders; To support the academic cluster in the administrative aspects of such projects’ implementation;

4. To establish fruitful partnerships with higher education institutions abroad (partnerships shall be based on the academic and social conformity among universities); Through the International Office and Erasmus Commission, to provide students and staff with full information on the available mobility programmes and ensure smooth implementation of mobilities; To fully comply with the Bologna process and ECTS user guide; To adopt non-discriminative and transparent selection processes; To ensure full recognition of credits earned abroad in Transcripts of Records (ToR) and diploma supplement;

5. Particularly through ASBU Sociopolis, to bring actors of public, private and non-governmental sectors together and carry out projects linking education, research and innovation;

6. To follow national and international grant schemes for research and teaching; To strengthen administrative units for better assisting faculty members running national and international projects.

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ASBU does not discriminate against any individual or group of individuals on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, language and religion.

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