University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)Reims, France
Reviewed by Haut Conseil de l'évaluation de la recherche et de l'enseignement supérieur (HCERES)
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- University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)
The University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne was assessed by the French Evaluation Agency for Research and Higher Education – AERES (now HCERES) and this assessment procedure took place within the framework of the Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation project (CeQuInt). AERES convened an assessment panel which studied the self-evaluation report and undertook a site visit of the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne on the 11th of April 2014.
University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, URCA, has defined and documented in its strategic project a realistic and challenging Internationalisation Strategy. Internationalisation is one of the five main pillars of the university strategic vision, and is built regarding both local and national contexts. Internationalisation is implemented as a transverse dimension of the everyday life in the institution. International goals of the university are shared and supported by its highly committed internal and external stakeholders. Its objectives are declined in both quantitative and qualitative ways and embrace all parts of the university. They allow monitoring of the achievement of its internationalisation goals. The university leadership follows and assesses the internationalisation through the management dialogue with each faculty and through its set of indicators. Measures of improvement are identified and under implementation, and the university has to continue and deepen its improvement dynamic.
The aforementioned strategic project also presents institution-wide action plans with internationalisation aspects. These plans are relevant and fully in line with the internationalisation goals. The university undertakes the building of a new campus to improve the study environment, where internationalisation aspects and support to students really matter. University’s action plans also include support to staff to develop international projects.
Action plans are also completed by specific institution-wide instruments and resources offering to internationalisation initiative support to be developed. External stakeholders, as the City of Reims, or the region also take part in this development on a win-win basis.
The implementation of the internationalisation goals and activities is supported by an information system based on the annual Project of Performance (PAP) which describes the evolution in the university. The data collection is centralised within the Apogee database, but a new system is under development. There is also a newly developed set of indicators concerning international research, and online surveys to collect the students’ mobility experiences. Annual activity reports are produced by faculties and units, they will be included in the annual report of the university. Annual seminars with the strategic policy makers of the Presidency and various management teams across the university are used to review internationalisation activities. The internal procedure for international project includes a systematically assessment phase.
The institutional Quality Management System covers some internationalisation dimensions and activities and uses them in its enhancement activities. Stakeholders are regularly consulted, but their commitment does not go beyond recommendations in the building of the quality assurance and enhancement.
The responsibilities regarding the institution’s internationalisation are clearly defined and allocated. The internal organisation underlines the importance given to internationalisation with the creation of the position of Vice president for International relations, a strengthened international office, a unit for international projects in research and education, and the existence of several correspondents for international relations at faculty level and in laboratories, with roles clearly defined in their mission letters. Internal procedures put in place by the new organisation to manage and to support international activities are adopted and shared. They are designed as tools to achieve internationalisation goals, but need time to demonstrate their efficiency. The university should also pay special attention to the definition and assessment of international and intercultural learning outcomes. The university has developed an interesting system of internal call for projects to provide a dynamic internationalisation and the centralised organisation allows to react readily to external demands through the International Office.
To conclude, the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, URCA, has defined an ambitious internationalisation strategy which is implemented in the everyday work of the institution. The goals are shared by both internal and external stakeholders, who are highly involved in the implementation process. The action plans are completed by specific instruments and resources, and supported by different annual follow-up systems. The responsibilities regarding the institution’s internationalisation are clearly defined. As a development target, the university should pay more attention to the quality management of internationalisation, and to the reflection of the internationalisation goals in the definition and assessment of international and intercultural learning outcomes.
The panel therefore recommends that the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA) is awarded the Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation.