Erasmus Policy Statement
In order to develop into a high-quality HEI, University College Aspira as one of its strategic goals emphasizes attracting students form all over the world, with special attention being paid to choosing the partner HEI. Considering the study programs of University College Aspira are interdisciplinary, the main criterion for choosing the partner HEI is the similarity of study programs, which cover the areas of kinesiology and economics, i.e. sports management. From its very beginning, University College Aspira is guided by the application of good practices of other renowned HEI, i.e. it conducts benchmarking based on which it improves the quality of its study program and identifies the potential partner HEI. Furthermore, apart from the said criterion, University College Aspira strives to sign agreements with partners that are long-time holders of the Erasmus University Charter, and that have extensive experience in mobility programs, both of students, as well as teaching and non-teaching staff. As for the geographic areas where partner institutions are located, so far University College Aspira considered, as mentioned before, the quality of the HEI and similarity of the study programs, more important than their geographical orientation. University College Aspira has signed cooperation agreements mostly with the HEI located in the European Union. Moreover, University College Aspira as its long-term strategic goal sees signing agreements with HEI from all over the world, such as the HEI with long-time experience in Erasmus mobility programs, and which positive experiences and practice Aspira plans to apply to its organization. Although University College Aspira has been in the Erasmus mobility system only since August 2012, it has so far sign a significant number of cooperation agreements with HEI from the nonparticipating countries, mostly from the region, which have shown a great interest for the study programs at University College Aspira due to their innovativeness and uniqueness in this part of Europe. University College Aspira considers the mobility programs of students, teaching and non-teaching staff in the first, second and third cycle, in all areas of study mobility and internship, as the most important objectives and target groups of its mobility activities, since currently Aspira implements the undergraduate and graduate study programme of Sports Management. By participating in the Erasmus mobility programs, University College Aspira achieves some of its strategic goals, such as associating with foreign institutions, compliance with the European educational achievements, systematic and organized development of the mobility of students, as well as teaching and non-teaching staff, with the purpose of increasing the competitiveness, participation in the international projects, making the multicultural environment, and increasing the opportunities for student employment. Participating in the Erasmus mobility programs enables Aspira to implement its priorities and goals: improving the quality of the existing program, developing new programs in cooperation with the foreign partners, improving career development of each individual, improving the knowledge of foreign languages, developing Department of International Cooperation, establishing summer school for foreign students, developing tolerance towards diversities. Through the exchange, students get to know different cultures; and the experience and knowledge they obtain during their internship provides them with greater competitiveness in the labour market. Teaching and non-teaching staff have the opportunity to become acquainted with the achievements of other institutions, which is the key to the advancement of their own institutions. Considering University College Aspira has not yet participated in the development of double/multiple/joint degrees, which will certainly be in the focus of the work of our HEI, we are unable to elaborate it. University College Aspira so far has not had experience with cooperation projects; however, in its Strategy Aspira introduces close and long-term cooperation with a number of participants in the world of academics and entrepreneurship, in order to achieve five priorities of the Modernisation Agenda. The priority when choosing projects will be given to those with a social dimension who represent a connection between the academic sector of knowledge and the practical sector of companies and organizations. In that sense University College Aspira sees its potential, as well as in the sense of cooperation with other HEI. Although in the achievement of the cooperation project University College Aspira will act as the HEI from a participating country, it will strive to give priority to those cooperation projects in which it cooperates with the HEI from the partner countries, in order to encourage their further development. Being led by five priorities of the Modernisation Agenda, Aspira strives to achieve the following goals: 1. Increasing attainment levels and strengthening the social dimension of higher education – in its operations Aspira emphasizes the promotion of academic behaviour and sportsmanship, and strictly forbids any form of discrimination. Moreover, Aspira encourages tolerance towards diversity on any basis, which enriches the members of this higher education community, especially the students, and makes them more competitive in Croatian, as well as the labour market in the EU. In cooperation with Paralympic Association, Aspira initiated a successful project of providing scholarship for one athletes with disability, and it has been opened towards foreign students. Furthermore, Aspira has been actively developing life-long learning programs, providing adults the opportunity to get education and acquire competences. 2. Improving the quality and relevance of higher education, including through cooperation between HEI and the labour market – within Department of International Cooperation, Aspira has been actively working on identifying potential partner organizations (academic and non-academic), and signing cooperation agreements, all in order to achieve implementation of good practices and offer highquality study programs, which result in more competitive graduate students. Aspira has so far signed a significant number of cooperation agreements with many Croatian and foreign HEI, sports clubs, federations, and associations. 3. Strengthening quality through mobility and cross-border cooperation – Aspira seeks transparency in the international exchange programs, as well as harmonization of academic and studying conditions with those in the European HEI. To this end, it has been actively working on providing all technical and organizational conditions for acknowledging competences acquired in the international exchange programs (the system of ECTS credits, Diploma Supplement, etc). 4. Knowledge Alliances – Within the Business Career Centre, which is aimed at quality preparation of students for the labour market, Aspira gets feedback on competences and knowledge relevant to the labour market for the employers, the partner organizations, which are then taken into consideration when revising the study programs, i.e. when drafting curricula for each course. Furthermore, in its professional study program, Aspira emphasizes the implementation of student internship through the entire period of studying. 5. Improving governance and funding – Aspira is a private HEI, and as such, it is self-funded, and it puts a lot of effort in returns on investment, whether in terms of developing strategies for increasing efficiency and transparency of business operations, cooperation with other institutions, etc. Aspira actively respects suggestions of different stakeholders in decision-making regarding the everyday operations.