The University of Orléans, laureate of a European University project in 2020 (ATHENA alliance), is fully committed to the Erasmus+ programme.
The University of Orléans’ Erasmus+ Strategy – Charter 2021-2027
The internationalisation strategy of the Unievrsity of Orléans promotes its institutional, socio-economic and geographical characteristics: it is a middle-size institution (19285 students on 15 January 2020) comprising 11 bodies of great diversity; next to 3 large Colleges, there is also a National Higher Institute for Teaching and Education (INSPE), an Engineering School, several University Institutes of Technology, a University School of Physiotherapy and an Observatory of Sciences of the Universe. The training offer is nourished by a scientific activity covering all main fields of research, ranged within 26 laboratories and 5 doctoral schools; several research lines developed in Orléans benefit from great visibility both nationally and internationally.
The University of Orléans (UO) is located in the Centre-Val de Loire region, its main campus is 120km south of Paris. Its specificity is that it spreads all over the regional territory through 13 additional university site, which shows a strong integration within the local socio-economic fabric in which its international standing is deeply rooted.
The University’s strategy, presented within the Institutional Project 2018-2022, gives an important place to the internationalisation of training courses and of life on campus, one of the 4 development strategic lines identified for this period. The University’s participation to the Erasmus+ programme is the keystone on which rests the most part of the current and planned internationalisation activities.
Within the framework of its various training courses, the UO encourages its students to familiarise with a great diversity of European and non-European cultural contexts, which is a condition to develop their personal and professional skills as well as their sense of citizenship. Spending time with international students and teachers on the University’s campuses, integrating into another university system or into a different professional environment during a study trip or an internship abroad are all important steps that help young graduates to prepare either for further study in higher education or for an international professional career.
As stated in the UO’s Institutional Project, the Erasmus+ programme is the main way to obtain, for most students, a first international experience. During the 2021-2027 period, the University wishes to expend student, teacher and staff member participation to Erasmus+ actions even further within the framework of the key action 1, by implementing a growing number of arriving and leaving mobility, including with countries outside Europe (international credit mobility projects).
In doing so, the institution attaches great importance to the full inclusiveness of Erasmus+ mobility, both socially and geographically (i.e. across the 14 sites of the university), facilitating the participation of all categories of staff and of all students, including those in employment and/or with dependent children, with disabilities or chronic illnesses. The strategy implemented by the University explicitly plans to strengthen the success of students with disabilities, and the institution has also entered into an agreement with the Funds for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities into the Public Service (Fonds d'Insertion pour les Personnes Handicapées dans la Fonction Publique - FIPHFP). The recent creation of a work group responsible for gender equality and diversity also shows the importance attached to promoting real inclusion within the UO. The values of inclusion, non-discrimination and transparency also determine the UO’s commitment in the process of being granted the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) European award as soon as 2018. The actions led within the framework of all these policies are clearly in line with the priorities put forward by the Erasmus+ programme.
In order to improve the quality of the mobility experience even further, whether it is for arriving or for leaving, and to make it accessible for as many people as possible, the UO’s implementation strategy provides for an intensification and an increase in the density of the English courses offer, a constant support for the learning of other languages spoken in Europe (among other things, thanks to the creation of a Learning Centre open to all users of the university, scheduled for 2023-24), as well as the continuous development of its French Institute (awarded by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research) which offers for instance free French classes to arriving Erasmus+ students throughout their stay in France.
For the 2021-2027 period, the UO is committed to continuing its modernisation and homogenisation of the administrative processes that come with mobility actions, with a rigorous quality monitoring, and by completely crossing the road of digitalisation, in line with the university-wide environmental efforts and the new priorities of the Erasmus+ programme. Likewise, as is explained in the 2018-2022 Institutional Project, the University is firmly committed to educational innovation, with the support of a team of educational engineers gathered into a Learning Lab created in 2018. This system, which will be further expanded, supports the creation and implementation of hybrid courses, combining on-site and remote learning, which facilitates the implementation of a blended mobility course offer and thus the personalisation and internationalisation of students' training paths.
As an associate member of the European University Foundation, in order both to deepen its cooperation with international partners and to innovate on educational and administrative levels, the UO’s aim is to intensify even further its participation to key actions 2 (cooperation on innovation and exchange of best practice) of the Erasmus+ programme over the 2021-2027 period, building on existing strong links with universities in Europe, and beyond European borders in the case of capacity building projects.
Seizing the transformative and modernising potential of the initiative, the UO applied to the 1st call for the creation of “pilot” European universities with an alliance of 6 other institutions, which, with a good rating, is partially operational since 2019 thanks to a first funding granted by the French and German governments, while waiting for the result of the call for projects 2020.
By favouring international mobility on a larger scale, being aware of its social responsibility, modernising its practises in a concern for quality assurance, working to strengthen the cooperation with international partners beyond mobility projects, the UO aims to contribute to the quantitative and qualitative development of the European space for higher education over the 2021-2027. The various actions that it plans to carry out within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme will allow it to enlarge the access for its students and staff to physical, virtual and hybrid mobility; to further improve and harmonise the administrative practices implemented by the international relations players in the 11 bodies and 14 sites of the university, with rigorous quality assurance procedures; to contribute to educational innovation and to strengthen its cooperation links with institutional, economic and civil society partners, on a regional and European scale and beyond Europe's borders.