ERASMUS+ Study Exchanges and Traineeships. Handbook for School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators

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1 ERASMUS+ Study Exchanges and Traineeships Handbook for School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators March 2017 Version 5

2 Contents 1. Introduction 2. ERASMUS+ and the British Council Funding Cycle Operational Handbook 3. International Mobility Team 4. ERASMUS+ Inter-Institutional Agreements New Agreements Amending Existing Agreements Agreement Renewals 5. Promoting ERASMUS+ Study Exchanges and Traineeships 6. Outgoing ERASMUS+ Students Introduction Eligibility Approving Outgoing Study Exchanges Approving Outgoing Traineeships Monitoring the Progress of Outgoing Students Completing Outgoing Study Exchanges and Traineeships 7. Incoming ERASMUS+ Students Introduction Eligibility Approving Incoming Study Exchanges Monitoring the Progress of Incoming Students Completing Incoming Study Exchanges 2

3 1. Introduction Loughborough University has approximately 150 exchange links with partner universities across Europe and an ever increasing list of European businesses that regularly employ our students for work placements (known as traineeships under the ERASMUS+ programme). These exchange links allow Loughborough students to spend a part of their degree programme at an overseas institution for study or work. Incoming exchange students are also welcome to study at Loughborough as part of these arrangements. European exchanges take place under ERASMUS+, a European Commission programme that is administered in the United Kingdom (UK) by the British Council. As the process for the UK leaving the EU is likely to take about two years, it is not expected that there will be any immediate change to the UK university sector s participation in EU programmes. Loughborough University considers exchange opportunities to be of great value to students, and to the institution as a whole, and is dedicated to giving its students a high quality international educational experience. Opportunities to study or work abroad are considered to be key in preparing graduates for the global workplace. The Exchanges Team and the School/Department Exchange Co-ordinators work together to facilitate the effective operation of the ERASMUS+ programme. This handbook is, therefore, aimed at providing guidance for both new and existing School/Departmental Exchange Coordinators to help ensure that students gain the maximum benefit from the programme and that the University is compliant with the ERASMUS+ contractual requirements. The Exchanges Team is located within the Programme Quality and Teaching Partnerships Office in the Academic Registry, Rutland Building. Contact details are as follows: Julie Hibbert Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator Tel: +44 (0) Lindsay Hendricks Administrative Officer and Secretary to the International Mobility Team Tel: +44 (0) Trish Swift Administrative Assistant (ERASMUS+ Exchanges) Tel: +44 (0) Yasmin Burgess Administrative Assistant (International Exchanges) Tel: +44 (0) ERASMUS+ and the British Council ERASMUS+ is an EU programme for education, training, youth and sport which commenced in 2013/14 and is due to run until 2020/21. ERASMUS+ combines all the previous funding programmes in the sector, including the Lifelong Learning Programme. It encourages student mobility for study and work and promotes transnational co-operation projects involving universities in 33 countries across Europe. The participating countries are as follows: 3

4 Member States of the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. Non-EU Programme Countries: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey. Please note that Switzerland is not an eligible country and cannot participate in the ERASMUS+ programme Funding Cycle The Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator is responsible for co-ordinating the University s annual bid for funding, which is submitted to the British Council in February of each year. In preparation for this, the School/ Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators are typically contacted in the preceding December in order to confirm the number of funded student places that they would like for the following academic year. The Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator is usually informed of the outcome of the bid (ie the amount of funding to be allocated to the institution as a whole) by May, with the first instalment (ie 70%) of the funding paid to the University by July. The second instalment (ie 30%) is paid to the University towards the end of the funding year, however it is based on the number of projected mobilities included in an Interim Report, which is submitted by the Institutional Exchange Coordinator in March. This means that the British Council can adjust the total funding for the year if the Interim Report indicates that the University does not appear to be meeting its quantitative objectives at the interim reporting stage. All aspects of the funding process are managed and co-ordinated by the Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator, who keeps the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators informed of progress throughout the year. 2.2 Operational Handbook Each year, the British Council produces an Operational Handbook which is distributed to all Institutional Exchange Co-ordinators. The University must comply with the regulations contained with the Handbook, as failure to comply can result in the re-payment of the funding to the British Council. On receipt of the Operational Handbook (usually May/June), the Institutional Exchange Coordinator reviews it and makes any necessary changes to the University s processes and procedures in order to ensure compliance. The School/Department Exchange Co-ordinators are advised as soon as possible if they are affected by any of the changes, or if they need to make any revisions to the processes and procedures within their own Schools/Departments. 3. International Mobility Team All School/Department Exchange Co-ordinators are members of the University s International Mobility Team (IMT), which meets on a termly basis to discuss issues relating to student exchange schemes (ie ERASMUS+ and international) and study abroad opportunities. Membership of the IMT also includes the Academic Registrar (Chair), the LSU Global Development Officer, the Exchanges Team and a representation of the International Office. 4

5 The Terms of Reference are as follows: To co-ordinate initiatives which encourage outward and inward mobility of students and staff in line with University strategy. To ensure as far as is possible and desirable a balance between outward and inward mobility at School level. To support Schools in identifying resource to implement mobility strategies. To promote the benefits of student and staff mobility. To liaise with Learning and Teaching Committee in relation to any relevant academic aspects of mobility agreements, noting that Learning and Teaching Committee has lead responsibility for this issue. To monitor the non-academic aspects of mobility agreements and take action where appropriate. To ensure as far as is practicable that common, user-friendly University procedures are adopted for all mobility agreements. The IMT reports to the University s Learning and Teaching Committee, which is chaired by the Pro- Vice-Chancellor (Teaching). 4. ERASMUS+ Inter-institutional Agreements Study mobility must be covered by a valid inter-institutional exchange agreement between Loughborough University and the host university. However, student traineeships do not require an inter-institutional agreement between Loughborough University and the host organisation. School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators are advised to contact the Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator if they require an up-to-date list of the ERASMUS+ agreements for their respective Schools/Departments. 4.1 New Agreements A member of staff, who is considering the development of a new exchange agreement, is advised to contact the Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator in the first instance in order to request a proposal form. The form requests detailed information which allows the proposal to be fully scrutinised before it is approved by several individuals, culminating with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching). When submitting a formal proposal form, please ensure that, amongst other things, the following factors are taken into account: Strategic fit with the internationalisation priorities and plans of the School, and the benefits that the partnership will bring to the University. The quality and reputation of the partner institution, including academic standing and attractiveness to staff and students. The availability of modules which relate to the degree programme of outgoing students. Will the modules be taught in English or in the partner institution s national language? If the latter, 5

6 will there be sufficient numbers of students with the relevant language competence? Reciprocal student flow an even balance of outgoing and incoming mobility. Agreements with one-way mobility will not be considered, and they will not be put in place for one specific student. Do you have realistic expectations of student numbers? Arrangements for monitoring the progress of the outgoing students at the partner institution and ensuring that the teaching and assessment methods are of an appropriate quality. Clear and coherent transition of credit and grades in line with Loughborough s credit and grade transfer policy. 4.2 Amending Existing Agreements Any requests to revise existing agreements must be referred to the Institutional Exchange Coordinator, together with a brief justification for the proposed changes. The Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator will then liaise with the partner institution in order to facilitate the changes. 4.3 Agreement Renewals It is not anticipated that any of Loughborough s ERASMUS + agreements will need to be renewed, as the majority were agreed for the duration of the programme, ie until the end of 2020/21. The Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator has, however, identified a need for formalising the procedure for renewing international exchange agreements and, at the time of writing, is working on a proposal form to be implemented for this purpose. 5. Promoting ERASMUS+ Study Exchanges and Traineeships In accordance with Loughborough s ERASMUS+ Charter, the University has a responsibility to promote exchange opportunities to potential applicants. The Exchanges Team undertake the following activities: Organising exhibition stands at University Open Days, LSU International Days and ad hoc events. Assisting with School/Departmental promotional events and briefing sessions. Enlisting the help of the ERASMUS+ Student Ambassadors in promotional activities. Maintaining and developing the exchanges web pages. Producing flyers and general information leaflets. School/Department Exchange Co-ordinators might like to consider the following activities when promoting ERASMUS+ opportunities to potential applicants: Holding promotional events and briefing sessions, which either include a presentation by the Exchanges Team or utilise the centrally-produced presentation on exchange activities. Ensuring that colleagues on exhibition stands at University Open Days are fully briefed on exchange opportunities. 6

7 Asking returning students to give presentations about their ERASMUS+ experiences and/or to provide peer support to prospective outgoing students. Involving incoming students in the promotion of their home institutions to prospective outgoing students. Distributing flyers and promotional material provided by the Exchanges Team. It is important that School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators can provide students with information on: - countries/locations available to them; - availability of places at partner institutions; - language of tuition and support available via the ERASMUS+ Online Support Tool; - methods of assessment, including the mechanism for credit or grade transfer; - application procedure and deadlines. Additionally, School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators are encouraged to promote the benefits to students of undertaking ERASMUS+ study exchanges and traineeships in terms of developing and enhancing some of the skills and attributes which are identified in the University s Graduate Attributes Framework (see for further details). School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators are advised to refer any queries from students about insurance support to the Exchanges Team. 6. Outgoing ERASMUS+ Students 6.1 Introduction School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators are currently responsible for a number of key areas regarding outgoing ERASMUS+ exchange students: Promoting exchange opportunities to prospective outgoing students. Approving ERASMUS+ grant applications and learning agreements. Advising students on their applications to host universities, including module choice. Monitoring the progress of outgoing students during their mobility periods and providing pastoral care as appropriate. Managing the credit or grade transfer from the host university to Loughborough. There are two internal application deadlines for outgoing students: 15 JUNE for Semester One and full year exchanges; 15 NOVEMBER for Semester two exchanges. 6.2 Eligibility Subject to degree programme regulations, Loughborough students can undertake the following types of ERASMUS+ mobility period: 7

8 - study exchange; - traineeship; - combination of study exchange and traineeship. In order to be eligible for an ERASMUS+ mobility period, students must be enrolled in at least the second year of study and should be registered on one of the following types of modules: - study abroad module(s) within Part B, C or D of a programme; - a DPS/DIntS/DIS module (Part I sandwich year). Students will be asked to specify the relevant module code on their grant application form, therefore it is the responsibility of the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinator to ensure that a student s programme regulations permit them to register for a study abroad module or a Part I diploma before approving the application. Students must pass the previous part of their degree before participating in the ERASMUS+ programme. As the application deadline is prior to the release of the Summer exam results, a central check will be carried out to ensure that students have met these criteria before they are formally accepted. 6.3 Approving Outgoing Study Exchanges Once the Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator has received the outcome of the funding bid from the British Council (usually May), the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators will receive confirmation of the number of funded places that have been allocated to School/Department for the coming academic year. The Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator will then release the Nominations Spreadsheets in a shared workspace so that the School/Department Exchange Co-ordinators can enter the details of the students they are nominating for study exchanges in the coming academic year. Please note that you cannot exceed the maximum number of funded places which have been allocated to your School/Department, therefore it is important that School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators monitor this during the application process. Application Pack: As and when the Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator receives the outcome of the funding bid and has confirmation from the British Council as to whether or not there will be any changes to the proformas for the coming year, students are able to download the application pack from the exchanges web pages (see The application pack for outgoing study exchanges comprises the following: - student checklist (S0); - application form (S1); - grant agreement (S2); - learning agreement (S3). Forms S0, S1 and S3 are completed by the student, with the latter requiring the approval of the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinator (see below for further details). Form S2 is generated by the Exchanges Team on successful completion of forms S1 and S3. Learning Agreement (S3): As part of the application process, each student is required to complete the section of the learning agreement entitled BEFORE THE MOBILITY, which is clearly indicated on the form. This is an absolute requirement of the British Council and, even if it is provisional at that stage in the process, it must be approved and signed by the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinator at Loughborough and his/her counterpart at the partner institution. 8

9 Academic rigour and recognition is a key aspect of the ERASMUS+ programme, and this must be reflected in the learning agreement. Please try to ensure that students have completed all sections of the form as thoroughly as possible and that the learning agreement provides clear details of the taught modules (usually 30 ECTS credit per semester) to be undertaken at the partner institution If there are any exceptional changes to the student s learning agreement once he/she has arrived at the partner institution, the section entitled DURING THE MOBILITY must be completed. Once again, this will require the approval and signature the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinator at Loughborough and his/her counterpart at the partner institution. Please note, however, that this section must be finalised within one month of the start of the mobility period. 6.4 Approving Outgoing Traineeships Once the Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator has received the outcome of the funding bid from the British Council (usually May), the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators will receive confirmation of the number of funded places that have been allocated to School/Department for the coming academic year. The Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator will then release the Nominations Spreadsheets in a shared workspace so that the School/Department Exchange Co-ordinators can enter the details of the students they are nominating for traineeships in the coming academic year. If your role as a School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinator does not encompass traineeships, then it is recommended that you work closely with the respective Placement Officer in order to ensure that all eligible students have been nominated and are aware of the application process. Please note that you cannot exceed the maximum number of funded places which have been allocated to your School/Department, therefore it is important that School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators monitor this during the application process. Application Pack: As and when the Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator receives the outcome of the funding bid and has confirmation from the British Council as to whether or not there will be any changes to the proformas for the coming year, students can download the application pack from the exchanges web pages (see The application pack for outgoing study exchanges comprises the following: - student checklist (T0); - application form (T1); - grant agreement (T2); - learning agreement (T3). Forms T0, T1 and T3 are completed by the student, with the latter requiring the approval of the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinator (see below for further details). Form T2 is generated by the Exchanges Team on successful completion of forms T1 and T3. Learning Agreement (T3): As part of the application process, each student is required to complete the section of the learning agreement entitled BEFORE THE MOBILITY, which is clearly indicated on the form. This is an absolute requirement of the British Council and, even if it is provisional at that stage in the process, it must be approved and signed by the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinator at Loughborough and a representative of the host institution. Please try to ensure that students have completed all sections of the form as thoroughly as possible and that the learning agreement provides clear details the programme of work to be undertaken; the knowledge, skills and competences to be acquired; and how the traineeship will be evaluated. 9

10 If there are any exceptional changes to the student s learning agreement once he/she has arrived at the partner institution, the section entitled DURING THE MOBILITY must be completed. Once again, this will require the approval and signature the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinator at Loughborough and a representative of the host organisation. Please note, however, that this section must be finalised within one month of the start of the mobility period. 6.5 Monitoring the Progress of Outgoing Students The vast majority of students complete their study exchanges and traineeships and enjoy their experiences, however on occasion students wish to, or are required to, return to the UK before the planned end of their mobility periods. Students are advised to contact their School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators as soon as possible if they experience any problems or difficulties during their mobility periods. It is, however, incumbent on the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators to keep in regular contact with students throughout the mobility period and to ensure that the Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator is alerted as soon as possible to any issues which might impact negatively on the successful completion of the study exchange or traineeship. 6.6 Completing Outgoing Study Exchanges and Traineeships Students must gain full academic recognition for the work completed during their mobility periods, therefore it is the responsibility of the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators to ensure that they have a clear understanding of what will be required of them. The table below summarises how academic recognition is awarded at Loughborough. Semester or year abroad: credit-bearing exchange in Years 2 and 3 (or Year 4 of a Masters programme) If you take taught modules at the host University, the marks you are awarded will be transferred back to Loughborough, typically using a grade conversion table. This converted mark will appear on your Loughborough transcript, usually as a single module called Study Abroad Semester or similar. If you complete a research project at the host University, your project report/presentation may be directly assessed by Loughborough staff. In this case, no grade conversion is necessary. You will receive academic recognition for the work undertaken via the grade you receive for your project module. Year abroad: non-credit bearing sandwich year (DIntS/DPS/DIS as applicable) Academic recognition for the work undertaken during a sandwich year usually takes the form of a Diploma qualification which is awarded in addition to your Loughborough degree. There are three types of qualification: - Diploma in International Studies (DIntS) - Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) - Diploma in Industrial Studies (DIS). The requirements for a Diploma qualification will vary across the University, but full details will be given in the module specification for your respective School/Department. Please note that a student, who fails to complete the requirements of a credit bearing exchange or a sandwich year (ie DIntS/DPS/DIS), will be asked to re-pay the ERASMUS+ mobility grant unless 10

11 there are exceptional circumstances pertaining to the mobility period. If a student returns to the UK before the planned end of the mobility period and can provide evidence of exceptional circumstances, such as a doctor s note for illness, it is at the University s discretion as to whether he/she will be able to retain the grant. 7. Incoming ERASMUS+ Students 7.1 Introduction School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators are currently responsible for a number of key areas regarding incoming ERASMUS+ exchange students: Advising students on their applications to Loughborough, including module choice. Approving applications and learning agreements from eligible students. Ensuring that incoming exchange students receive an appropriate induction. Monitoring the progress of incoming students during their mobility periods and providing pastoral care as appropriate. Providing confirmation of the work completed to the home university by ensuring that transcripts and any other documentation are sent in a timely manner. There are two application deadlines for incoming students: 15 JUNE for Semester One and full year exchanges; 15 NOVEMBER for Semester two exchanges. 7.2 Eligibility Prospective incoming exchange students can only apply to Loughborough if their subject is covered by an inter-institutional agreement. School/Departmental Co-ordinators are typically the first point of contact for prospective incoming exchange students, therefore it is important that they are familiar with the number of semester places permitted under each of the agreements for their particular subject. Incoming students must participate in credit bearing exchanges which contribute towards a degree at their home university. The majority of incoming exchange students are undergraduate, although there has been an increase in the number of agreements which now permit the exchange of taught postgraduate students. Students should undertake at least 30 ECTS credits per semester unless approval to do otherwise has been granted by their home university. 7.3 Approving Incoming Study Exchanges It is the responsibility of the home university to ensure that incoming students meet the eligibility requirements of their own National Agency. However, Loughborough still needs to ensure that: Students are permitted to undertake a study exchange in accordance with the interinstitutional agreement. Students have met the academic requirements/module pre-requisites. Students are correctly registered for credit bearing Loughborough modules. 11

12 It is expected that the School/Exchange Co-ordinator take all these factors into consideration before approving applications, as this will ensure that they are processed in a timely and efficient manner. Application Pack: The application pack for incoming students comprises a checklist, application form and learning agreement, all of which can be downloaded from the exchanges web pages (see Also available is the Exchange Student Handbook, which provides pre-departure and arrival information for incoming students. School/ Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators are required to approve the application form and learning agreement prior to sending the documentation to the Exchanges Team. Module Choice: Incoming students have access to a Module Catalogue, which provides guidance on the modules available to them within each School/Department, however they often seek advice of an academic nature from the School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators. It is recognised that a learning agreement can only be provisionally approved if the chosen modules are subject to timetabling arrangements. If this occurs, the learning agreement must be approved as soon as possible after the student has arrived at Loughborough. If a student submits a learning agreement which includes a module taught by another School/Department, you must obtain the approval of the respective School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinator before the learning agreement is sent to the Exchanges Team for processing. 7.4 Monitoring the Progress of Incoming Students The vast majority of students complete their study exchanges and enjoy their experiences, however occasionally students wish to, or are obliged to, return to their home country before the planned end of their mobility periods. If you become aware that a student is not actively engaging with their Loughborough modules or has indicated that he/she wishes to leave the UK earlier than planned, please draw it to the attention of the Institutional Exchange Co-ordinator and your counterpart at the home university as soon as possible. Non-attendance is likely to have implications for the student s academic progression and ERASMUS+ mobility grant, therefore any issues must be resolved immediately. 7.5 Completing Incoming Study Exchanges Incoming students must gain full academic recognition for the work undertaken during their study exchanges, therefore School/Departmental Exchange Co-ordinators are responsible for sending their transcripts to the home university. This allows the home university to complete any credit transfers/grade conversions and make any final grant payments due to the student. Please note that transcripts provided to incoming students, who come to Loughborough for Semester One only, are provisional until the marks have been ratified by Programme Boards which are usually held at the end of Semester Two. 12

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