The technical and structural process support as well as the facilitation of workshop series was carried out by Ursula Hillbrand.
International mobility leads to the acquisition of key skills that enable the young generation to think in a globally networked and innovative way. These are of crucial importance in order to survive in European and global competition. Comprehensively trained university graduates with broad personal and intercultural skills are an indispensable prerequisite for securing Austria as a location for education, science and research. This is exactly where the further development of the HMS comes into play. In addition to improving the framework conditions for high-quality physical mobility, it is also about the internationalisation of teaching. Because mobility is not a unique selling point, but an integral part of an internationalised curriculum, which guarantees the opportunity to acquire the above-mentioned skills for everyone – including non-mobile students.
The aim of the “Mobility Forum” is to transform the University Mobility Strategy (HMS) from 2016 into a national “HMS_2.0 – Strategy for high-quality mobility and internationalisation of teaching at Austria’s higher education institutions” in the context of a broadly based participatory process (“Mobility Forum”) in the sense of promoting higher quality to further develop the transnational mobility of students, teachers and general staff, paying particular attention to the mobility of underrepresented groups and the internationalisation of teaching.
This corresponds to the requirements in system goal 7 of the overall Austrian university development plan and in the national strategy for the social dimension in higher education, action line 5 and goal 6 as well as in the government program 2017-2022, according to which mobility and internationalisation are to be promoted.
In addition, it is important to take into account current issues and developments at European level (e.g. European Universities; recognition, 3-stage study system, quality assurance, …) as well as in the global context. Particularly noteworthy here is the 2018 Paris Communiqué, in which the ministers for higher education commit themselves to innovation in learning and teaching, among other things, and plead for close cooperation in this regard within the European Higher Education Area.
The declared aim with regard to the working methods of the mobility forum is to strengthen the commitment to the HMS as a national strategy and to place it on an even broader basis within the Austrian higher education area. It is therefore important to discuss this strategy in a participatory process with the universities, technical colleges, private universities and now also with the universities of teacher education (these have not been taken into account due to a lack of departmental responsibility) and the opinions and recommendations of the university experts to be incorporated into the further development of the HMS. At the same time, the stakeholders are given the opportunity to introduce mobility-relevant aspects that are not yet taken into account in the HMS or existing topics can be deepened.
The principle of participation pursues the purpose of making the best possible use of the potential of Austrian higher education institutions, both at the management level and at the implementation level, for this important strategic step in Austrian higher education policy. The experts nominated by the university representatives will work out recommendations and measures in largely independent subject groups, with the respective chairperson being appointed by the BMBWF. A steering group of the BMBWF will support the entire process in terms of organization and content.
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