The aim of the project is also to raise awareness and shift the internal culture of our institutions towards internationalization, thus creating a systemic change in our institutions and in European Higher Education.
SUCTI Academia is built on SUCTI, which was is a three-year initiative (2016-2019) approved for funding under the European Commission’s Erasmus+ – KA2 Strategic Partnerships for higher education focusing on the internationalisation of administrative staff. The project was coordinated by the URV, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain). SUCTI has already shown that systemic change through trainings for administrative staff is a key to success of the international university and the impact of this change has been measured and assessed.
Shifting a culture is only possible through internationalizing all groups of higher education institutions can we truly talk about international universities. While many activities exist for internationalising students and the predecessor project SUCTI concentrated on the administrative staff, SUCTI Academia now aims at empowering the third pillar, the academic staff, by providing them with knowledge and skills related to their university’s internationalisation process.
Investments have been made in the internationalization of this group in an attempt to increase their impact on more international research and publications, more internationalized courses, more international programs. However, in order to perform those international tasks, the academics (scholars, researchers, teachers) need to have the right preparation, training, skills and knowledge to do it properly. Courses delivered at SUCTI partner universities also showed that there is a clear need among academics to get training on internationalisation.
Academic staff is expected to internationalize both the teaching as well as research in their academic work while it may happen that they not equipped with the right tools and skills to deliver it properly.
What is more, if they are convinced of the importance and added value of internationalisation they can become genuine change agents. In this way, they can make a key contribution to the overall objective of the project which is to transform the internal mind-set of universities and enable them to become truly internationalised institutions.