Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek – HR OSIJEK01

Erasmus Policy Statement (Overall Strategy)

Original language [EN]

The University of Osijek inherits over three centuries’ long history of higher education in Osijek. Today it is one of seven Croatian universities and the only University in Eastern Croatia. Impact of the University on the development of Eastern Croatia is based on education of professors, teachers, engineers in technical and biotechnical sciences, as well as economists, lawyers, doctors, theologians and artists. In the past thirty six years there were 35 887 students graduating from the University, which is an extraordinary contribution to social and economic development of Eastern Croatia. During implementation of the Bologna process in higher education, and taking into account the fact That the Croatian higher education is based on European humanistic and democratic tradition, the University of Osijek focuses on involvement in the European higher education trends by preserving its uniqueness and identity. Following the fact that the University of Osijek is a significant factor in regional development, within long-term plans for its development it is crucial to meet current challenges and to respond to the needs of the region, both in society and in the academic community.

UNIOS assures academic atmosphere that welcomes students, teachers and staff irrelevant of their national origin, gender, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation or physical disability and fosters non-discriminatory policy in all its activities, as well as in European and international cooperation projects. Participation in European and international projects is considered as a main tool to achieve overall strategic objectives, which are determined as follows: assurance of high quality research and teaching, internationalization and promotion of student and staff, mobility, promotion of international ties with partner institutions, involvement in European trends (ERA, EHEA), contribution to social, cultural and economic life of the region and further infrastructure development. UNIOS defines its role in international and European projects either as a leader or partner, by overviewing firstly its objectives for participation, and then by assessing expected project results and outcomes.

All projects that UNIOS participates in shall be focused on its future development and on enhancement of UNIOS international profiling. In particular, each project that UNIOS participates in shall strengthen strategic partnerships and shall exhibit realistic benefits of its outcomes. Therefore, UNIOS selects projects to participate in on the basis of its strategic needs in specific disciplines and subject areas, its material and human resources and its capacities to form strong and sustainable partnership relations. As being a middle-sized regional university, UNIOS is primarily selects international projects that are realized with well-known partners in neighbouring countries and that are oriented towards broader regional benefits. The International Relations Office at the University level has a significant role in establishment, promotion and furtherance of ties at international level. International relations with institutions abroad usually relate to organization of joint study programs, exchange of professors and students, joint symposia, seminars, exchange of publications and information related to scientific and research activities. As of time being, UNIOS is proud of cooperation at bilateral level with universities in 18 European countries, in Turkey, USA and Russia. However, participation in European projects and programs is considered as crucial in developments of student and academic mobility, and as inevitable platform for achievement of significant international cooperation results. The Internationalization Is emphasized as the most important objective of all mobility activities, focusing on target groups of university students at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level. In addition, promotion of academic staff, mobility will support better visibility of UNIOS abroad and will assure international fleur of our region.

In the framework of multilateral cooperation, UNIOS actively participates in projects referring to cross-border cooperation in Alps Adriatic countries, organization of joint study programs and promotion of lifelong learning. UNIOS is also an active member of Cross-Border Cooperation initiatives that connects universities, cities and counties in Croatian cross border area. Participation in international projects have helped a lot in UNIOS efforts to promote European dimension in higher education, to reform curricula and advance academic and administrative services.

Considering the fact that the Republic of Croatia is becoming a member state of the European Union, and the fact that the new legislation continues the reform of higher education and science and the reorganization of Croatian universities, it is necessary to respond to current challenges and to determine the University’s development direction, by preserving its particularities and identity. UNIOS tends to step forward towards new competitive advantages in order to become a desirable place for studying and working. Its development is based on rich cultural and historical heritage in the regional and central European context. Within the University of Osijek’s strategy, the main guideline is highlighted in the fact that UNIOS aims to become modem, autonomous, research oriented, educational and innovation centre that enables reaching recognisability level within particular scientific fields and branches. It focuses on establishment of scientific centres of excellence and technology transfer, preparation of new study programs and profiling of experts according to labour market demands in the area of Eastern Croatia. Participation in the Programme and active involvement in project activities will support strengthening of international cooperation and establishment of interdisciplinary studies, promotion of higher education quality, lifelong learning, increase of scientific production and technology transfer, and in particular, it will ensure further realization of international mobility of students and staff, and facilitate better and more efficient interuniversity cooperation within teaching, scientific and professional activities, to assure academic atmosphere of multiculturalism and diversity.

By using all available capacities referring to human and material resources, UNIOS is dedicated to maintain its competitiveness by profiling itself into a modern and innovative institution of higher education and research. Within its overall development strategy, UNIOS complies with the Europe 2020 strategy and dedicates itself to modernisation reforms. In order to contribute to the goal of increasing the number of higher education graduates, UNIOS will offer new study programs adapted to labour market needs. Development of new study programs will be achieved within project cooperation under the Programme. Such cooperation will facilitate creation of new methods of teaching and learning, such as platforms for distance learning, part-lime learning and online teaching. Students enrolled in such new study programs will gain up-to-date knowledge and skills that will help them in succeeding on the constantly changing labour market. Participation in projects and individual mobilities within the Programme will contribute to enhancement of teaching and researcher training, as there will be opportunities provided for wide scope of professional and research activities aimed to advance staff skills. Within the Programme projects and individual international mobilities, students will acquire additional skills through study or training abroad. Their international experience is helping them to become highly qualified professionals that will be able to boost European prosperity and growth. UNIOS is actively involved in cross-border cooperation projects for advancement of teaching, research and professional services. In the past years, cross-border cooperation has provided significant results, being practically implemented in the industry and business sector, thus greatly contributing to economy growth and having broad social and regional benefits. Participation of the University of Osijek in the Programme is a key tool to assure the framework of future cross-border cooperation, and for other forms of cooperation that will surely contribute to visibility of UNIOS in Europe and that will offer a guideline for proactive international policies and establishment of efficient funding mechanisms. The participation in the Programme will be a significant support for overall University excellence and for utilization of its academic potentials.