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ACA – embarking on new projects this autumn

From November, the ACA Secretariat will start to work on the UniWellS – Supporting internationalisation of HE through professionalising services for mobile

academic staff – project, which strives to contribute to exactly what the title says – the establishment and further development of welcome and professional support services for incoming academics. The project is coordinated by ACA’s Slovak member organisation – SAIA n.o. involving also a close collaboration with NAWA – ACA’s Polish member, the Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, the University of Niš, Serbia, and Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Bulgaria, being funded under Erasmus + KA2 – Strategic Partnerships, in Slovakia.

The project, lasting 32 months, focuses on the Central-Eastern and South-Eastern European region and foresees:

  • an in-depth mapping and analysis to ensure the developed tools will be anchored in the specific HE institutional realities in the target region and reflect the specific needs of PhD students and academic staff;
  • a model welcome service framework proposing a flexible mix of services and activities to support this target group;
  • an online app to facilitate the use of the framework;
  • a comprehensive training programme supporting the implementation of measures proposed in the framework (with its content also available in an online form), which will be tested with HE managers and professional staff who would then be able to take over the initiative in developing and delivering services proposed by the model.

The project foresees also a number of dissemination activities.

The second project where ACA will be busy in the coming months focuses on Internationalisation in Higher Education for Society (IHES), which is also the title of the project. The project aims to tackle the situation where, even in the most advanced and internationalised HEIs, internationalisation is still inward oriented and not strongly focused on the wider community. HEIs are increasingly active, however, in social engagement (third mission) but these activities are usually viewed as competing for priority and relevance with excellence in research and internationalisation. IHES explicitly aims to change this and activate the internationalisation potential for social engagement.

ACA will produce the mapping report and online repository of current good practices based on desk research and surveying HEIs across Europe. It will be a basis for implementation and evaluation of series of pilot IHES activities in Catalonia and Olomouc. To ensure the impact widely beyond the consortium, guidelines will be generated to help non-IHES member HEIs to later identify best approaches for their specific situation, the relevant target groups, actors and specifications of different IHES approaches. To expand the transferability of the guidelines, a regional model for implementing IHES will be developed and, finally, to generate long-term effects, a network of “IHES enthusiasts” will be established by the end of the project cycle.

The coordinator of the project is Palacky University Olomouc and other partners are Global Impact Institute, Rovira i Virgili University, Lifelong Learning Platform and SGroup European Universities’ Network. The project is funded under Erasmus + KA2 – Strategic Partnerships, in Czech Republic.