Roles and Functions of an International Relations Office (IRO)

 

Dear partners,

Please go through the following table and provide a description of the structure, roles and functions of the International Relations Office at your Higher Education Institution. Feel free to add anything that occurs important to you and that is not listed below.

At the end of the table please also let us know the planned adaptations and developments which you would like to implement during the project lifetime.

 

Name of your Higher Education Institution:  STATE ENGINEERING UNIVERSITY OF ARMENIA

 

Description

Vision

Does your IRO have a vision? If yes, please state your vision:

The vision of SEUA IRO is directly coming out from the general

SEUA Vision Statement that has been declared in the SEUA

Strategic Plan (2011-2015). Namely, it states:     

The University aspires to become an institution, which is guided

by global prospective and moves toward internationalization and

European integration of its educational and research systems.

The whole activity of SEUA IRO is directed to the contribution

to this strategic goal through the reinforcement of the present

trends of internationalization in all its performance areas.

Mission

Does your IRO have a mission? If yes, please state your mission:

The mission of SEUA IRO as a wider objective is to be considered in line with the following two points of the basic mission statements of SEUA:  

·       to prepare students for life, career, life-long learning and professional progress in line with changing economic environment and emerging global information society,

·       to create a supportive environment for the comprehensive personal and intellectual development of each individual, new generation of law-abiding and responsible citizens.

Within these global mission statements the role of the University internationalization is considered as one of the key components, and to succeed in it the mission of SEUA IRO comes to essential contribution in interrelated areas, such as:

·         internationalization of the teaching/learning environment in line with the Bologna Process,

·         promoting international cooperation and academic mobility through partnership building with the leading higher education institutions and research organizations of EU and other countries 

·         strengthening international research and graduate training,

·         developing administrative and technical support to international relations of SEUA.

Strategy of the IRO

Does your IRO have a strategy?

The strategy of IRO is not formulated separately as an independent statement, since it derives from the SEUA Strategic Plan’s appropriate Goal aimed at the promotion of the University internationalization and establishment of external relations. It states that the University intends to develop and reinforce the present trends of internationalization in all its performance areas, broaden the network of international cooperation, maintaining also its traditionally leading role in many national developments with regard to the Bologna process and strengthening its international image.   

Legal status

What is the legal status of your IRO (e.g. centralized/integrated model OR decentralized/integrated model OR completely decentralized/no international office)?

The legal status of the SEUA IRO is the model of centralized/integrated office.

Organizational Structure of IRO

Where is your IRO assigned to (e.g. Rector, Vice-Rector for International Affairs)? Does your IRO have any divisions and/or subdivisions?

The SEUA IRO is functioning under the direct coordination of the SEUA Vice-Rector for International Collaboration and Development Programmes. It is organized as a separate administrative structural unit with the status of a department level. The SEUA IRO has no divisions and/or subdivisions inside.

Policy (e.g. providing input to internationalization strategy; international communication; international promotion)

What is the role of the IRO on policy level? Are there any policies related to the work of the IRO? If yes, in which field?

The policy of SEUA IRO takes shape from the general policy of the University internationalization, which serves the main strategic objectives of SEUA internationalization such as:

·      to expand and diversify international relations of the University; promote its overall involvement in the Bologna Process,

·      to improve the management of University’s external relations.

In this sense the specific role of SEUA IRO on policy level is concluded in the expanding the University’s external relations for the prioritized provision of internal needs, as well as in improving the quality of human resources through trainings, workshops and in strengthening the role of international networks and communications.

Incoming and Outgoing Student Mobility

Which mobility programs do you offer to students (e.g. exchange programs, double degrees, summer schools, research programs, international internships)?

To support Student Mobility the University in parallel with chance opportunities offers some regularized exchange programs such as Erasmus Mundus – Action 2, double degree programmes with the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA, Ren, France), Moscow State Technical University named after N.E. Bauman, Summer Schools organized within the frames of SEUA Tempus projects, as well as active participation in some international exchange programmes as DAAD, IREX, SCOPES, etc.). Some bilateral inter-institutional cooperation programmes with Italian, Czech, Norwegian and other partners are also used to support Student Mobility in SEUA. Despite of these the University is not satisfied with the numbers of students involved in mobility programmes, especially it concerns the incoming students.  

Incoming and Outgoing Staff Mobility

Which mobility programs do you offer to staff (e.g. Teaching assignments, faculty exchange, staff mobility)?

The possibilities of SEUA staff mobility are much wider in comparing with the possibilities of students mobility. The numbers of both incoming and outgoing staff members are permanently increasing from year to year. To support staff mobility the University offers different national and international institutional programmes such as Tempus, Erasmus Mundus – Action2, FP, DAAD, NATO Science, ANSEF, мнтц, etc. Many local level research programmes and projects, as well as some bilateral inter-institutional cooperation programmes are widely used to support staff mobility.  

International Funding Opportunities

Does your university provide any financial support for students and/or staff? If yes, what kind of support (e.g. scholarships, travel grants, research grants)?

The University, in parallel with the above mentioned international funding opportunities, each year in its annual Budget provides some special heading (sub-budget) to support fully or co-finance international mobility of SEUA staff by covering travel expenses and/or staying costs. Rarely it is done for students mobility, since they have their own institutional annual budget ruled by SEUA Student Council and other opportunities centralized on national level through different student organizations and programmes.          

Services

What services does the IRO provide (e.g. informing and advising students and staff; international cooperation agreements; summer schools, international networks, educational projects)?

The range of main services and activities run by SEUA IRO comes to the following:

·      periodical searching and applying to international programmes and funds promoting students’ and young professors’ mobility,

·      dissemination of obtained information about the announced international educational and research scholarships and grant programmes,

·      contribution in preparation of applications for participation in research and academic development grant programmes and projects,

·      establishing connections with various international institutions and educational centers, to provide initial discussions on partnership building,  

·      preparation of inter-university agreements, memorandums, as well as different reports concerned the international activities of the University,

·      informing and advising students and the teaching staff about different international projects, explaining the advantages and opportunities of international exchange programmes and scholarships.

·      supporting students and staff in the grant application process,

·      keeping informed about updates and changes taking place in international educational area,

·      organizing information days, taking part in preparation of trainings workshops and seminars within the ongoing international projects,

·      providing all documentary and other administrative formality support services for the University staff and students leaving for business trip,

·      maintenance of Web pages of SEUA concerned the international activity of the University,

·      gathering and evaluating needed materials to prepare the SEUA Annual Report’s part concerned the University internationalization in accordance with the requirements of strategic objectives       

·      etc.  

Internationalization@Home (I@H)

What programs do you offer to students and/or staff on campus and in the curriculum to provide an international experience at your university (e.g. Orientation and cultural programs, foreign language courses, internationalization of curricula – courses in English)?

To implement some elements of internationalization the University offers:

a)       for students: in all curricula of SEUA foreign language courses are included as obligatory ones, moreover for entering the third educational cycle (Researcher’s Programme) passing a foreign language check is required; unfortunately, the possibility of delivering curricula courses in foreign languages for native students is strictly limited by the RA Law on Language; for foreigners  SEUA has a line of full study programmes that are offered completely in English; due to a special Decision of SEUA  Academic Council some professional courses of any curriculum can be offered to native students in English or Russian, but this opportunity practically is not used; for students and staff different information days are periodically organizing by the SEUA IRO together with the representatives of education-oriented  international organizations’ Armenian offices such as Tempus, DAAD, IREX, British Council etc. to get them familiar with their opportunities.    

b)      for staff:  time to time organized foreign language courses as well as different information distribution events.  

Types of staff and required skills

(e.g. Director/Head; University/Graduate staff; Non-University level staff)

The staff list of SEUA IRO includes the positions of the Head of the Department; Main Specialist, Senior Specialist and Specialist of the Department. For all of these positions a higher education degree and the knowledge of foreign language/s (English, Russian) are obligatory. All staff positions of IRO are in the list

of SEUA full time staff.        

Task description of staff

Please provide a short overview of the task descriptions.

SEUA IRO, as all the other structural units of the University has its Statute approved by SEUA Academic Council. It contains a very detailed task description of all staff positions. They are conditioned by the above mentioned list of main services provided by IRO, as well as by the logically and practically well-grounded distribution of responsibilities and accountabilities among the different staff positions. Naturally, the main responsibility for the IRO all activities in front of the University top management is finally carrying the Head of Department. To translate and list the task descriptions here we have found not reasonable now.

 It can be done separately, if needed (the Armenian version can be presented any time).         

Financial structure of IRO

How your IRO is funded (e.g. funded by the university, funded by the state, self-funded)?

The SEUA IRO as all the other administrative units of the University is funded by the University due to the University budget, which is consists of state funded and self-earned income parts.      

 

 

Planned adaptations and developments

If you have got already some ideas about planned adaptations and/or changes concerning the structure, roles and functions of your International Relations Office, please write them down here.

All further adaptations and developments concerning the structure, roles and functions of SEUA IRO will result from the University’s internationalization general policy stated in SEUA Strategic Plan (2011-2015) and be continued in the next Plan. It comes to the following main strategic objectives:

  • to expand and diversify international relations of the University; promote its overall involvement in the Bologna Process,
  • to improve the management of University’s external relations. The strategies to be implemented for achieving these objectives would be formulated as follows.
  • Promote the present internationalization trends in the University’s key performance areas. Create and implement a coordinated activity plan in this direction aimed at supporting the achievement of the strategic goals of the University and enhancing its international prestige.   
  • Broaden the range of the University’s international activities. Ensure involvement of all the University campuses in international cooperation programs; increase the number of the faculty and doctoral students participating in international projects.  
  • Improve the planning of the University’s international activities and their information base. Establish a University service for supporting the development of international projects, search for granting sources and building international partnerships.
  • Revise and harmonize the present structure of the University’s external relations management including IRO with the goals and objectives of the SEUA Strategic Plan.
  • Create a unified information data base of the University’s external relations (contacts, partnerships).
  • Develop and introduce assessment criteria of efficiency of external relations. Implement periodical monitoring actions of ongoing initiatives and progress status of the University’s projects. These are the main ideas about the planned activities concerning the functional adaptations of SEUA internationalization policy that will be directed and managed mainly through its IRO. Regarding the presentation of a more detailed action plan aimed to change of structure, roles and functions of IRO we have to wait for the assessment of current Strategic Plan’s implementation results and the development of the new Plan.

We hope that the concluding outcomes of PICASA Project will essentially contribute to the better planning the further enhancement of SEUA general policy in the University internationalization and the role of IRO in this process.     

 

Date:   26.09.2014

 

Representative of the Higher Education Institution: 

Ruben Aghgashyan, SEUA Vice-rector for international Collaboration and Development Programs

Zara Grigoryan, Main specialist of SEUA IRO