Monday, 19 July 2021

Passing on knowledge and skills for the process of internationalising institutions and enabling multipliers for international activities: the “SUCTI – Systemic University Change Towards Internationalisation” continuing education module for administrative staff of higher education institutions was held at Movetia’s initiative from 28 June to 1 July. The group of 17 participants was made up of staff responsible for international matters at the three types of higher education institution in the three language regions and tertiary-level Movetia employees.

Until a few years ago, the internationalisation of higher education institutions was synonymous with mobility for students and lecturers, and the question of how internationalisation could be brought closer to all those members of higher education institutions who do not take part in mobility schemes remained unanswered. The consequences of the pandemic make it even more clear how essential awareness of the global perspective has become for education and research. It is therefore all the more vital now to learn from good practices on the international higher-education stage and strengthen the exchange of knowledge. Developed from an Erasmus+ strategic partnership between 2017 and 2019, SUCTI’s approach is to pass on and exchange expertise on key aspects of internationalisation at higher education institutions from the inside. For that reason, SUCTI focuses on training courses for higher education staff who work in education.

Internationalisation at Home: training courses for administration staff of higher education institutions

The two co-directors of the SUCTI training course, Marina Casals Sala, Director of International Relations at the University of Rovira i Virgili in Spain, and Joanna Domagala, Coordinator of the Academy of Internationalisation in Poland and co-director of the follow-up project since 2019, were very impressed with the level of knowledge and experience displayed by the Swiss participants. With the goal of passing on the newly acquired knowledge of internationalisation, intercultural communication and different presentation techniques via workshops at their higher education institutions, the representatives of the Swiss higher education institutions involved were trained to become SUCTI agents of internationalisation using the highly innovative Train the Trainer method.

As a comprehensive concept that includes all international activities that do not involve mobility, the objective of Internationalisation at Home is to raise awareness of the topic of internationalisation within higher education institutions and bring about structural change. The internationalisation of curricula, the promotion of intercultural understanding and the international recruitment of employees and students are just a few examples of these efforts to explore new avenues. SUCTI is so successful because it has identified a group of people within the structure of higher education institutions who, despite coming into contact with internationalisation, are unable as a rule to build up essential knowledge on the subject: the higher education staff who work in administration.

Movetia is expanding its range of services with this further education course. In addition to promoting mobility and cooperation, international knowledge transfer and exchange on current international education topics will be boosted. Entirely in keeping with the principle of learning from the best, international ties will be established with internationalisation experts in order to facilitate the exchange of knowledge for Swiss education institutions to an even greater extent.

The first higher education institutions to benefit from this offer and from their participation were ZHAW, the Zurich University of Teacher Education, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Bern University of Applied Sciences, SUPSI and the Universities of Zurich and Geneva.