A delegation from the Ukrainian Catholic University took part in the events within the framework of the International Erasmus+ Week in Ukraine (4-8 November 2019, Kyiv) organized by the National Erasmus+ office – Ukraine together with the Ministry of Education and Sciences of Ukraine with the support of EU Delegation to Ukraine and Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). The Week included events aimed for building capacity of the universities and organizations on how to write Erasmus+ project proposals and apply for Erasmus+ Call 2020 as well as for advising the current beneficiaries and winners on how to implement the projects successfully. In addition, events were extremely useful for the individuals interested in scholarships on short-term and long-term mobilities for education, teaching, trainings and traineeships.
On the second day of Erasmus+ Week (5 November 2019) that was dedicated to International Credit Mobility Projects implementation, Dr. Halyna Protsyk, Director of UCU International Academic Relations Office, gave a speech on Mobility Windows as a key element in academic mobility culture rooting. The UCU presentation was intended to share experience on the positive as well as the challenging aspects of implementing mobility windows in order to facilitate and ensure the smooth Erasmus+ mobility outcomes recognition at UCU. The presentation was a part of NEO cluster workshop “Experience on How to Implement ICM projects effectively by Ukrainian and European partners: practical guidelines and tips on ICM implementation, mobility outcomes recognition practices and mobility culture rooting”.
On November 7th, UCU Senior Vice Rector and Erasmus+ HERE team member Dr. Taras Dobko attended the VIII International Bologna Process Conference «European Integration of Ukraine’ Higher Education in the Context of Bologna Process: Student-centered Learning and Teaching, Evaluation as a part of QA in HE». The conference agenda resulted in recommendations prepared and competencies developed for implementation of new approaches to Teaching&Learning, Recognition in frame of the QA system development: Student-centered Teaching and Learning; Evaluation of learning outcomes and recognition of credit mobility outcomes; Design and approval, monitoring and periodic review of study programmes; Professional development of the academic staff.
The Erasmus+ “Youth” trophy became the highlight of UCU’s participation in the International Erasmus+ Week in Ukraine. The National Erasmus+ office – Ukraine honored UCU for its dedication and active engagement in the Youth Capacity-building Project which is aimed at fostering cooperation and exchanges between youth from different regions of the world. Ukraine has been participating in the Capacity Building of Youth Action Window for Eastern Partnership Countries since 2017. In 2019, 56 projects were selected for funding including 12 projects with involvement of Ukrainian partners. The Ukrainian Catholic University and 10 Ukrainian NGOs are among the winners, 4 out of them are project coordinators.
During 2019-2021 UCU and Institute of Leadership and Management together with partners from Armenia, Italy, Romania, Georgia and Spain will be actively involved in the Eastern Partnership Youth Window Project (Erasmus+ KA214) “ProMovEnt” (608595-EPP-1-2019-1-AM-EPPKA2-CBY-EP-PE P). “ProMovEnt” (PME) is aimed to empower youth female participation in social entrepreneurship on an equal footing with male youths by means of a customized and tested approach of Non-Formal Education to empower youth females (age 18-25) potential social entrepreneurs in rural areas as well as youth organizations and operators that work with the target on a regular basis as agents of entrepreneurial education. PME places a priority focus on exploring and adapting the entrepreneurial learning outcomes designed by the European Training Foundation (ETF) “Entrepreneurship Competence Framework” for transnational relevance across the different realities of the partnership (Eastern Partnership Countries and Europe), educational setting (non-formal learning) and target group (potential female youth social entrepreneurs in rural areas).
Participating in Erasmus+ Programme has been always an integral part of UCU strategic planning including Strategy 2020, Strategy 2025 and its Strategy of Internationalization. The University’s future is oriented towards developing international activities and academic cooperation and consequent integration into the European Higher Education Area.
The Ukrainian Catholic University is dedicated to participate in all the three Key Actions and works towards intensifying activities and mobilizing a greater number of the staff and students to take part in related projects:
KA1 – Learning Mobility
KA2 – Cooperation for Innovation and Good Practices
KA3 – Support to policy reforms in Higher Education
UCU is part of the Erasmus+ KA1, Learning mobility of individuals, including HE students, teaching and technical staff. The bilateral mobility programme with European universities aims to encourage the mobility of students, faculty and staff members providing financial support within inter-institutional agreements between institutions from Programme and Partner Countries (Erasmus+ KA107 programme). Erasmus+ is the central mobility grants programme for outgoing and incoming students of our institution.
Since 2015 UCU has signed and implemented more than 35 Interinstitutional Agreements. In 2019, UCU was ranked 4th (behind Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and Lviv Polytechnic National University) among all Ukrainian Universities applied with the highest number of exchange mobilities received by these projects. All students and employees of the Ukrainian Catholic University could try their chance in applying for the participation in Erasmus + Exchange Programs at the partner Universities in 15 EU Programme countries with the projects as part of Erasmus + International Credit Mobility.
New partners are invited, and the network of contacts is being enriched. Our strategy is to have HEIs from diverse parts of Europe in order to benefit from diverse experiences.
In the context of UCU incoming and outgoing mobility activities, the most important objectives are to prepare UCU students for the global labor market and living in the global world; improve student learning performance; enhance employability and improve student career prospects; increase the sense of student initiative and entrepreneurship; more active student participation and engaged service in society; improve competences, linked to faculty and staff professional profiles; increase capacity to trigger changes in terms of modernization and international opening; explain Ukraine and our pilgrimage to freedom and dignity to European partners; increase opportunities for professional and career development; greater engagement of prominent foreign professors and researchers, and increasing the number of foreign students at UCU.
UCU sees Erasmus+ mobility as a key component in developing quality in education and in linking education with research and innovation. Mobility not only prepares UCU students for future jobs through developing essential 21st century digital, entrepreneurial and basic skills. It also supports learning a comparative perspective on education, culture and the world, which is crucial to ensure inclusion, citizenship and democratic society in Ukraine. Erasmus+ programme provides ample opportunities for improving all aspects of international academic mobility at the University.
The Ukrainian Catholic University is participating in Erasmus+ Key Action 2 projects on a variety of topics as a Partner Institution. We have been successfully contributing to these multilateral educational projects under the Erasmus/TEMPUS umbrella since 2010, helping to develop international networks and contributing to innovation in a wide range of areas.
In 2019-2022, the Ukrainian Catholic University will be involved in the project “Academic Response to Hybrid Threats/WARN” (610133-EPP-1-2019-1-FI-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP). The project aims to renew the Ukrainian curricula in fields of business and administration, information and communication technologies, social and behavioural science, arts, education, journalism and information by introducing a unique content that builds awareness of hybrid threats and innovative gamified teaching methods that provide skills and competences to tackle complex threats proactively. The upgraded contents, based on newest EU partner curricula, together with new gamified teaching methods based on AI-inspired adversarial learning, will be used both in MSc degree education and in LLL to train “positive change agents” in diverse professional fields. The change agents will learn to adapt proactively to new complex, hybrid challenges, and disseminate their knowledge to the society. International community of educators and alumni (WARN network) will be created to guarantee the sustainable development of the educational content, teaching methods and dissemination after the project. The project will link to diverse stakeholders (universities, ministries, sate official, local authorities, companies in Estonia, Finland, France, Portugal and Ukraine) for developing the content and creating real life scenarios as teaching materials for both degree education and LLL intensive courses, and for training them to counter hybrid threats in practice.
Since 2018, UCU has been also participating in Erasmus+ KA2 Capacity building project “Journalism Education for Democracy in Ukraine: Developing Standards, Integrity and Professionalism” (DESTIN) 2018-2021. 598964-EPP-1-2018-1-UK-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP. The consortium led by Bath-Spa University (UK) unites 20 partners (4 EU and 10 UA HEIs, several professional associations, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and Hromadske Radio) eager to improve the Journalism standards in Ukraine by adjusting Bachelor and Master curricula to EU requirements and making journalism graduates more competitive on international labour market. Another important aim of the project is raising media literacy awareness of Ukrainian society. UCU counterpart – School of Journalism. The project’s objectives are: to audit (desk review) all current curriculum (20 degrees), with gap analyses and action plans; to train curriculum teams in the alignment of programmes and QA with EQF standards; to use European models of Journalism education to inform curriculum reform; to train academic and professional staff in principles and processes of peer review; to conduct peer review (including 10 site visits) of all new/revised programmes; to deliver and evaluate the first year of all new/revised BA and MA programmes; to produce National Guideline Statements for BA and MA Journalism education; to maximize public stakeholder engagement and participation in the work of the project; to deliver and evaluate Outreach Media-Literacy Courses for target groups.
A Tempus project granted in 2010: Development of best practice model Doctoral Schools for structured PhD programme implementation in Ukraine and Georgia (ASP2PHD). 511340-TEMPUS-1-2010-1- NL-TEMPUS-JPGR. University of Maastricht. The main aim of this project was to reform doctoral education in Ukraine and Georgia by establishing two national best practice model doctoral schools that could operate in real world university environments, efficiently and effectively administering a minimum of 5 structured PhD study programmes that each conform to EHEA principles and standards.
A Tempus project granted in 2011: Towards Trust in Quality Assurance Systems (TRUST). 516935-TEMPUS-1-2011-1-FITEMPUS-SMGR. University of Jyväskylä. This project aimed to provide a unified transparent framework for the quality assurance of the Ukrainian higher education system in line with the common European academic culture.
The research projects funded by the EU are an integral component of the research profile of the Ukrainian Catholic University and make an essential contribution to the University’s international visibility and networking. The UCU international competitiveness is continuously strengthened thanks to Erasmus+ Cooperation for Innovation and Good Practices Projects.
The Ukrainian Catholic University is also among those Ukrainian partners that are actively participating in KA3 – Support to policy reforms in Higher Education. Since 2017, UCU Senior Vice Rector Dr. Taras Dobko has been a member of the National Team of Higher Education Reform Experts (HERE team). The purpose of the National Team of Higher Education Reform Experts is to provide a pool of expertise in order to promote reforms and enhance progress in Higher Education in Ukraine and therefore participate in the development of policies and reforms in Higher Education in Ukraine.
We, at the Ukrainian Catholic University, are blessed by the partnerships that became possible thanks to UCU’s participation in the Erasmus + Programme. It helped UCU not only to build lasting and on-going collaboration with European and Ukrainian partners, but also to develop deep friendships, shared academic culture and ambitious vision of the common European future. It kindled our imagination and filled our community with new energies for building a university that aspires to serve its students, teachers, partners and society.
Text: Dr. Halyna Protsyk