Our pathway to internationalisation

Our pathway to internationalisation

In this final post in our series spotlighting the 2015 EAIE Award winners, the Director of International Office at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Uwe Muuss, shares the university’s internationalisation story with us. Winner of the 2015 Institutional Award for Innovation in Internationalisation, Göttingen was recognised for its exceptional efforts to ensure internationalisation within the university as a whole

From its very foundation, the University of Göttingen was rooted in an international context and thus regards its recent internationalisation process as a logical development of its traditional international profile.

Regenerating our policies

In 2007, the University of Göttingen received funding from the German Excellence Initiative to implement a new internationalisation strategy. The University decided to regenerate its internationalisation policies, comprehensively revising them in order to internationalise the university as a whole. ‘Göttingen International’, a comprehensive International Office with two liaison offices in China and India was one of the four measures within the institutional strategy of the University.
Next to the structural expansion, the University launched the ‘Internationalisation 2012’ project in 2010 and defined 10 key internationalisation measures for providing research support to young academics, teaching staff, and administration. Most importantly, the eight non-university research institutions located in Göttingen were encouraged to participate.
Since 2008, the University of Göttingen has been continually working on the strategy, adopting it into the new framework including the strategic planning activities of the University as a whole and the faculties in particular. Internationalisation in strategic planning has taken on a new dimension through the appointment of faculty representatives to streamline communication and the internationalisation process. Furthermore, staff positions for internationalisation in mainly all administration areas (law, public relations, study affairs, research) have been implemented as well.
In 2013, the University of Göttingen published the ‘Internationalisation Strategy 2020’, which emphasised the importance of measures related to PhD and junior research staff as well as further strategic key regions and countries, among others.

Enhancing ongoing processes

In 2014, following the successful evaluation within the audit ‘Internationalisation of Universities’ run by the German Rectors’ Conference, the University established an International External Advisory Board on Internationalisation to advance and qualitatively enhance the ongoing processes of internationalisation. The Board consists of members of organisations such as the German Rectors Conference, German Academic Exchange Service, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, experts from abroad in the field of internationalisation, and from strategic partner universities, including a student representative.
The University of Göttingen also places great emphasis on the international working atmosphere. It strategically uses Erasmus+ staff mobility opportunities and staff training weeks to internationalise the administrative staff outside of the International Office. Moreover, the University runs an innovative U4-Leadership programme, a two-year training programme for top-level executives in university-management (from both academia and administration) together with its U4-partners.
Currently, the International Office consists of 40 staff members who come from 10 different countries. Three pillars have been established in order to reflect the current strategy of the University of Göttingen: International Relations (IR) with five regional desks; Education and Mobility Programmes; and the Incoming Office, which includes the International Students Office and Welcome Centre for international researchers.

New measures

Within the project ‘Campus 2020’ we work on new measures for internationalisation of the whole Göttingen Campus with all our partners. International aspects in research, teaching, young academics’ training, international staff recruitment, and the corresponding ‘welcome culture’ constitute key points of mutual development and joint measures. With this newly developed innovative cross-sectional structure integrating all aspects of administration and all faculties and departments, the University of Göttingen is well prepared for future challenges in internationalisation.
Recently, the University of Göttingen signed the Diversity Charter, sealing its commitment to equality in academia and further embracing internationalisation in education.