Internationalization @ Thomas More

Thomas More participates actively in international networks in accordance with its different study fields. This is an ideal forum for trustworthy partnerships. Sometimes partnerships are suggested by common partners or via project cooperation. Thomas More wants partnerships in all Erasmus+ participating countries. There is no equal spread across the European regions because of less mobility to East European countries, although we work closely together in projects.
Partnerships are becoming more global. There are Tempus projects with Russia and cooperation agreements with India, China and the United States, starting usually from an interest in a specific study field. Thomas More wants to broaden this cooperation to broad partnerships where several study fields of the university college participate actively. There is a lot of placement mobility to developing countries. With these placements we are striving towards a broader content-driven cooperation. The cooperation in and outside Europe is further growing in a qualitative manner towards strategic partnerships and capacity building.

Internationalization is common within Thomas More thanks to embedding, support, initiative and engagement of management, personnel and students in each study field. Thomas More creates a stimulating learning environment where students and personnel have opportunities to gain international/intercultural competencies. Each study field will maximize opportunities and remove obstacles. Thomas More formulated criteria for mobility and Internationalization at home, such as the 20% Bologna objectives. Moreover, international development opportunities are offered to students and personnel who cannot or will not make use of the mobility opportunities that are offered.

Internationalization is embedded in the curriculum by means of mobility windows and integration of international projects (by means of ECTS). Internationalization is integrated in personnel management as an element of recruitment, functioning and evaluation and by means of appreciation of international activities (projects, lessons in English) in the personnel’s task description.
Students and personnel are looking across the borders; they get a broader view on the world and are transcending their own boundaries thanks to their initiative, engagement and capacities. We are preparing our students professionally and personally for a cosmopolitan society. Thomas More supports initiatives in the field of development cooperation, professionalization and lifelong learning. By means of mobility and Internationalization at home our students and personnel are developing into citizens who are open to the world and are socially involved. Thomas More assumes its social responsibility by supporting personnel and students in their global citizenship focusing on activities with partners in the South.

All Thomas More courses are attractive for international students and partners. There is a broad offer of study, placement and projects for incoming students of our partner institutions. The Thomas More language policy wants to pay attention to the language needs of incoming and outgoing students (language initiation Dutch, supportive knowledge foreign languages) and personnel (knowledge of English). They are supported by the Thomas More services like student services and administrative services. Thomas More students can attend the courses for incoming students as an elective course. Thus there is a good mix of nationalities and opportunities to gain international/intercultural competencies. Our networks of partner institutions allow us to work towards complementarity. Thus we are offering a competence-driven curriculum that fits into the personal development trajectory of our students and also attracts potential foreign students. The study fields work in a multidisciplinary way for strategy, programs for incoming students and projects.

Thomas More has a tradition of excellent cooperation with companies/organizations, in knowledge alliances, at home and abroad. This cooperation is formalized according to the Erasmus placement principles, stressing continuous quality control and honored with an Erasmus grant. Placement is a fully recognized part of the curriculum.
Students are informed timely of possibilities of vertical mobility, with the possibility to continue their studies or obtain a master degree with our international partners.
Building on the results of the ISBI project (Integral Student Support for Internationalization) Thomas More is integrating integral support in all study fields, for incoming and outgoing students, before, during and after the mobility, with a special attention for continuous competence acquisition, sharing and validating international experiences.
There is an intensive cooperation with universities of the French-speaking community of Belgium, according to the principles of the European program. This cooperation sometimes takes the form of double degree. We are building on this experience, with our strategic partners, in order to create more double degrees with partners of the European program. Whether they are small or large, international Thomas More projects are always linking education, research and community services, with a clear focus on innovative and multidisciplinary education.

(International) research is situated in the domains of sustainable food production and safety, energy management, environment, ICT, biomedical technology, mother&child care, ageing, inclusive education, violence, poverty. These domains are always looking for synergy. International projects where students and lecturers are concerned, will, wherever possible, be connected to these research lines, so that continuous exchange of experience is possible, but also intensive learning opportunities for our own and our international students.
There is a continuous intensive cooperation and consultation with companies and organizations to optimize the connection between higher education and the labor market. Projects are combined with project based learning in placements at home or abroad for Flemish and international students. Regional companies and organizations are also offering interesting placements abroad to our students.

The Erasmus Charter for B GEEL07 and B MECHELE14 can be read here.