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 Erasmus+ Policy Statement (EPS)

ERASMUS+ UNIVERSITY CHARTER 2014-2020

The Erasmus Policy Statement is part of the application form Call 2014 for the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education 2014-2020, signed by the legal representative on May 2014.

All Programme activities will be implemented on the basis of written agreements with the relevant authorities of the partner institutions, in line with the fundamental principles of the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE). 

Erasmus Policy Statement (EPS)

1.a) Please describe clearly your institution's strategy, objectives and priorities for its Erasmus activities (mobility, multilateral projects and networks, etc.) and any other actions in the context of the Lifelong Learning Programme.

The information under this section should cover the following points:

- What is the institution's previous experience in international exchange and cooperation programmes?
- How does the participation in the Erasmus programme relate to the overall international strategy of the institution?
- What are the institution's priorities/objectives to be reached by participating in the Erasmus programme?
- What are the specific activities to be implemented in the framework of the Erasmus programme (e.g. exchange of students and staff, development of cooperation with higher education institutions or other types of institutions, participation in Erasmus multilateral projects/ networks)?

The foundation that established Bezmialem Vakif University (BVU) has a long history. It is founded in 1843 to offer free medical care for the poor, displaced or underprivileged regardless of their race, gender or religion. In the center of Istanbul, the foundation successfully served the purpose for decades and treated people in its hospitals covering majority of medical fields. Throughout the years, the system gained significant experience in cooperating with major international medical schools and hospitals, which included exchange of staff and offering training in various levels. BVU is established with this valuable international experience in hand and as part of its international strategy, the priority now is given to participate in the Erasmus activities such as mobility, multilateral projects and networks. Developing academic ties with higher education institutions, exchange of students (including internship) and academics as well as organizing training programs for administrative staff are within the objectives of the BVU. The majority of our academic staff is highly internationally oriented due to their training at reputable international universities, long-term stays abroad and their multidisciplinary and international projects.

We all believe that students should have an international experience before they graduate and better prepare themselves for their future career. Therefore, we aim to achieve internationalization by encouraging both students and university staff to join in the Erasmus mobility and enable them to continue their studies in an international class environment with Erasmus students. Erasmus students are an essential part of our internationalization strategy. For the next five years, we aim at at least 10% of our students and 10% of our staff will participate in international exchange and placement programs each year. We prioritize increasing the number of incoming students. Incoming students will benefit from high quality courses offered at BVU and become part of an international learning environment integrating with our students in classrooms and research labs.

1.b) What specific actions are planned to give visibility to Erasmus activities and what type of publicity will be given to the Erasmus University Charter and the EPS?

The EUC and EPS will be placed at the Erasmus Office and publicized at the BVU’s official web site as well as at faculty and department announcement boards and web pages. Both the EUC and EPS will be printed and a hard copy will be available and easily accessible. Coordinators will be requested to publicize Erasmus mobility and fundamental principles of the Erasmus mobility will be observed at every stage. Erasmus Office members will be available within working hours to guide students and staff.

1.c) What kind of arrangements, if any, does the Institution ensure to comply with non-discrimination objectives (e.g. actions related to gender equality, integration of disabled students and staff, enhancement of social and economic cohesion and combating of xenophobia and racism)?

BVU is traditionally committed to ensure that no one is discriminated in any way because of their race, gender, religion, physical appearance or disability. We have a zero tolerance policy on this issue. BVU administration closely observes that rules are applied. Small booklets are in the process of design that will be informing students and staff against discrimination.

2. Quality of academic mobility activities:

What kind of specific measures are implemented in the institution to ensure highest quality in academic mobility activities?
Details should be provided in particular on: recognition and credit systems, the provision of information on curricula, information and counseling of outgoing students, tutoring and integration of incoming students, provision of student services (in particular accommodation), preparatory and refresher language courses, facilitation and acknowledgement of staff mobility.

Centrally located Erasmus Office will be the first point of contact both for the outgoing and incoming students. The duties will include promotion of student and staff mobility as well as assisting incoming students in their integration with the academic system and student services. Outgoing students will be 
offered information sessions on the countries, and academic programs they are aiming to participate in. Meetings will be organized and returning students will be invited to share with outgoing students their Erasmus mobility experience. Credit system at BVU is designed in accordance with Bologna process. The full curriculum of the academic programs will be up to date and easily accessible. Recognition is very important for the BVU and successful courses along with the grades will automatically be recognized, transferred and appear in their transcript. Incoming students will be treated equal to home students with the same rights and privileges. They will have access to student services, student club activities, library and health services. A transcript will be issued timely containing accurate information. Incoming students will have an orientation session introducing university facilities, courses, etc., and a city tour will be organized in cooperation with BVU International Students club. A well-come party at the beginning of each term and a goodbye party at the end of the terms will also be organized. They will have a full support; a student body system will be developed and incoming students will have 24/7 access in case of emergency. Turkish language and society courses will be available for incoming students to help them 
better adjust and integrate themselves in the society. Staff mobility will be encouraged as well and official mechanisms will be developed to recognize their effort and desire to improve themselves at work by gaining international experience or delivering their experience at our partner institutions.

3. Quality of student placement activities:

What kind of specific measures are implemented to ensure high quality in student placements? Give details on how the work-programme and the placement agreements are prepared and implemented. Please describe the practical arrangements agreed between the parties. Please specify also the monitoring and evaluation of the placement(s) period as well as its recognition in the curriculum.

Majority of programs at BVU is in the fields of medical, pharmacy, dental and health sciences. These programs offer students (both outgoing and incoming) extensive opportunities for placement as part of their study. At the beginning, a section of BVU International Office will be designed to offer services for placement activities. Relevant academic institutions and companies will be carefully selected. Where possible, institutional agreements specific to each program will be signed. BVU students participating in placement activities within the agreement will be closely monitored to assure they receive maximum benefit during their placement. Our partners’ cooperation is essential in these programs and their progress reports will be guiding us in evaluation. Recognition of our students’ placement activity is very important for us. Placement will be part of the curriculum and will appear adequately in their official transcript and/or diploma supplement. Incoming students will have the same rights as BVU students and will be treated equally. They will have the same rights in terms of having access to our clinics, research labs, libraries and accommodation.