Internationalisation strategy

Internationalisation strategy

A. FAU’s goals in research are

  1. increasing the percentage of internationally renowned top researchers and highly qualified young researchers from abroad
  2. using research priorities to improve FAU’s positioning and visibility as an institution
  3. expanding FAU’s international visibility and attractiveness to graduates

Research at FAU has been internationally orientated for a long time thanks to international networking and the outstanding quality of FAU researchers. FAU’s international attractiveness is reflected in the much higher-than-average number of Alexander von Humboldt Award winners and scholarship holders in the sciences and in engineering, as well as in the successful raising of third-party funds from the European Research Council.

The following institutions testify to FAU’s excellent, internationally competitive research environment and infrastructure: the Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’ (EAM); the Erlangen Graduate School in Advanced Optical Technologies (SAOT); the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL), founded in 2009; the Leading Edge Cluster ‘Medical Valley’ (EMN); the BMBF-funded International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (‘Fate, Freedom and Prognostication’); the Department of Islamic Religious Studies; the Nuremberg Campus of Technology (NCT) – Engineering for Smart Cities; Energie Campus Nürnberg (EnCN) and the Helmholtz Institute for Renewable Energies Erlangen-Nürnberg (2013), as well as the International Audio Laboratories (Audio Labs) in co-operation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS).

To strengthen ties with certain geographical regions which are of international significance, FAU has established offices for two international academic centres: the Bavaria California Technology Centre (BaCaTeC, since 2000) and the Bavarian University Centre for Latin America (BAYLAT, since 2010). In 2005, FAU sinologists, in co-operation with the Beijing Foreign Studies University, founded the Confucius Institute Nürnberg-Erlangen, which serves to intensify the connections between FAU and selected Chinese institutions. A further example of the University’s global orientation is the FAU Campus Busan, established in South Korea in 2010.

Given the international competition for highly qualified top researchers and the scarcity of resources, no university can compete equally well on an international level in all research areas. FAU thus faces the challenge of optimising the balance between a competitive research environment for all FAU researchers and prioritised investments for particularly outstanding focus areas. Such prioritisation is necessary in order to win internationally renowned researchers for areas deemed strategically important with adequately endowed professorships. These priority areas and research strengths will also be increasingly utilised in international marketing.

In order to win highly qualified graduates for FAU, the University must offer attractive conditions that fulfil the highest international standards. This includes excellent supervision, opportunities for additional academic qualifications and intensive support with regard to initial orientation and social integration especially for international graduates.

B. FAU’s goals in teaching are

  1. expanding the international accessibility of FAU degree programmes and imparting international and intercultural skills to all FAU students
  2. increasing the percentage of qualified students from abroad and improving the processes for their selection, admission, supervision and integration into studies and the campus community
  3. increasing the percentage and attractiveness of courses and programmes taught in English to attract a larger number of highly qualified graduates from abroad, especially in the strongest research areas

The educational mission of a strong research university in the 21st century must be orientated towards international research and work. Even regional organisations and employers increasingly require qualification profiles that include international and intercultural skills. In order to fulfil its own quality standards and its vision of a cosmopolitan university, FAU must adapt its degree programmes to global competition in research and careers. FAU intends to facilitate its students’ international mobility through mobility windows integrated into the curricula and an improved credit transfer practice, as well as to increase the number of foreign students and intensify their integration into the student community.

The expansion of competitive Master’s degree programmes taught in English is an important component of FAU’s international orientation in teaching. Particularly the quality and number of these degree programmes,supporting services and target group-specific marketing will be driven forward to attract a larger number of highly qualified foreign students for the existing degree programmes. Degree programmes taught in English are also of growing importance to domestic students as they offer access to international knowledge and a globalised working world. The spread of English as a common language of academia also makes the expansion of English-language modules for domestic Bachelor’s and Master’s students of all disciplines more important.

In addition to the expansion of English-language degree programmes, promotion and institutional support is also needed for binational degree programmes and programmes taught in other foreign languages. FAU thus aims to offer a diverse range of foreign-language courses and degree programmes.

At the same time, the degree programmes in German must prepare students, in different subject-specific ways, for the challenges of a globalised working world and an interculturally influenced society. Besides the internationalisation of the curricula, this also includes acquiring language skills and experiencing different national and ethnic backgrounds and cultural perspectives in everyday university life. The internationalisation of the student community thus also contributes to FAU’s diversity strategy, the central objective of which is appreciation of and support for the different circumstances and experiences of all University members. FAU sees potential in its diversity which increases the University’s attractiveness in the international context.

C. FAU’s goals in management and services are

  1. systematically incorporating internationalisation into measures for university quality assurance
  2. optimising processes and measures for the development and realisation of internationalisation targets in a dialogue between the Executive Board and the faculties
  3. strengthening administrative focus on the needs of international audiences and international developments.

FAU can enhance its international profile in particular through increased synergy between internationalisation measures in research and teaching. This requires a strategic understanding of internationalisation opportunities and risks that can only be developed through dialogue with the faculties. FAU thus intends to anchor internationalisation thematically and in terms of personnel at the faculty level, ideally through a vice dean responsible for internationalisation in each faculty.

The faculty representatives on the Commission for Internationalisation led by the Vice President for International Affairs will continue to develop FAU’s internationalisation strategy. To assess the success of internationalisation measures and to be able to intervene to make any necessary corrections, these measures must be monitored as part of the University’s quality assurance process. This means that internationalisation must be systematically included in university quality assurance measures, for example in teaching.

The diverse internationalisation efforts and successes of all faculties have made clear that supporting services are an important prerequisite for successful international student exchanges and a sustainable increase in highly qualified doctoral candidates, guest lecturers and newly appointed professors from abroad. These services can only be provided efficiently and effectively through co-operation between central and local units. Optimisation of synergies between different service providers at a central and local level are therefore a priority, as is the expansion of services that no longer cover the increased demand of the past years.

In this context, the establishment or development of International Offices at the faculties should also be driven forward. Furthermore, the University administration must be in the position to adapt to the increased percentage of non-German speaking users. This of course also includes the English translation of relevant forms, websites and information brochures, ensuring that FAU can do its diverse community of students, lecturers and researchers justice.