Buskerud and Vestfold University College (HBV) and Telemark University College (HiT) merged on January 1, 2016 into the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN). The international strategy of USN was approved by the university's board as of June 24, 2016. The strategy emphasizes the need for focus on the following areas:
1. USN’s education programs will have a clear international profile
The internationalization of education is important because the college’s students gain international experience during their studies and it educates graduates for an increasingly global employment market. All the study programs at USN will emphasise knowledge, experience and values in an international context.
2. USN will have a portfolio of agreements that contributes to active international cooperation
Professionally strong, international networks are a prerequisite for applying for project funding nationally and internationally. International cooperation agreements will strengthen USN’s participation in international cooperation projects in research and education. Employee participation in international networks is crucial in order to raise the quality of research and education.
3. USN will facilitate student mobility
Mobility enriches the professional value of students’ educations, increasing their understanding of the importance of cultural diversity and international cooperation, and contributing to them being well equipped for a global employment market.
4. International cooperation will strengthen USN’s role as an important actor in the regional knowledge network
USN is an important actor in the regional knowledge network in Buskerud-Telemark-Vestfold. Regional development is influenced by international processes and actors. USN’s international orientation will strengthen cooperation and the development of employment and business in the region.
Furthermore, USN participates and seeks further involvement in partnerships with non - European industries/ businesses/ HEIs, as well as in domestic, government - initiated programmes outs ide Europe.
USN has established partnerships in accordance with quality and relevance represented in the four main academic fields. Each faculty makes strategic priority areas, reflected in the institutional R&D strategy.
A main characteristic of USN’s strategic partnerships are that they opt for both student mobility and R&D cooperation.
USN has agreements for outgoing study abroad students only, and inter-institutional agreements including Erasmus+ partnerships. All agreements are in accordance with faculty and institutional policies.
USN train graduates for an international labour market and provide all students for an international study experience while at USN. Europe is one of our main priority areas in international collaboration, as this area holds Norway’s predominant trade partners and carries a mutual, long lasting - cultural and historical tradition.
USN is a member of the Oslo Region European Office in Brussels, where we contribute in advising and facilitating for EU cooperation in education, research and innovation.
USN recognizes the need for close cooperation with North American HEIs – which generally hold high academic standards. We thus participate in government-sponsored cooperation projects with North American institutions as part of a national strategy of closer cooperation with North American institutions. Global awareness and solidarity towards the developing countries is an important aspect of USN internationalization strategy.
USN is and has been heavily involved in a government-based quota programme – where USN receives degree-seeking students from designated partners in designated countries (primarily within second cycle (postgraduate programmes)) for a government-sponsored degree (two or three years).
USN has also participated in establishing multiple cooperation activities and projects in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia, Iraq, South Africa, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Malawi, Vietnam etc.
USN is fully committed to achieve the mobility goals set forth by the Bologna Process by 2020. Our most important target groups are students in the 1. and 2. cycles. USN’s ambition is that at least 20% of graduated students should have completed a semester abroad and that 20% of the student population in the 1. and 2. cycles should consist of international students. All 1. and 2. cycle programmes are facilitating a mobility window – in which at least one semester is particularly earmarked for mobility abroad. USN is also aiming to facilitate for 1. cycle mobility periods for international work placements in particular. USN is also increasing its number of English-taught modules and courses – applicable for both domestic and international students. This enables increased incoming mobility, and assures English-taught experiences for domestic students who choose not to study abroad.
USN is currently a partner in an Erasmus Mundus Joint Degree in Smart Systems Integration with Heriot- Watt University (United Kingdom) and Budapest Technical University (Hungary). USN offers a joint degree in Systems Engineering with Stevens Institute of Technology (USA).
We participate in the joint degree programme ITEPS (teacher education) with Dutch, Danish and Swedish universities, as well as being partners in the intra-Nordic “Nordplus” cooperation in education, technology and nursing.
USN is furthermore participating in European networks in health sciences (Florence) and business administration (Businet). Recently USN also became members of the esteemed IAMU network (International Association of Maritime Universities), and is in that particular sector developing a joint degree with Liverpool John Moores University (United Kingdom). In addition, our optometry department is offering a Nordic Master’s – in concert with universities and centres of excellence in Sweden and Denmark.