The history of LUMSA places it among the top private humanities universities in Italy. In recent years the changes in the university have not only involved a national vision but have also been directed towards policies and changes that are increasingly international. A greater appeal for foreign students and lecturers with degree courses not only in Italian but also in English is the strategy that has recently been directing the policies of the university in teaching and research.
a) In an internationalisation project the choice of the partner is fundamental. The guidelines for the choice of partners are: (1) the proven high quality of the partner university and an educational supply that has real affinities or complementariness with the teaching systems of LUMSA; (2) innovative teaching and languages offered in more than one language; (3) high quality services offered to students in mobility; (4) direct relations and contacts with lecturers and administrative staff to achieve a greater integration of students into the academic system; and (5) shared teaching and the possibility of conferring a double/multiple/joint qualification.
b) All European countries can be potential partners of LUMSA and agreements are not confined to neighbouring countries. The educational and linguistic needs of the students direct the choices and the strategies of LUMSA. In a decided way, emphasis is placed on exchanges by working first of all on the improvement of the linguistic level of the outgoing students (with the specific supply of intensive courses on the principal European languages) and of the ingoing students (with a suitable supply of courses on Italian for foreigners). The linguistic affinities of Italian with Latin languages, and in particular with Spanish, has facilitated the mobility of students and lecturers as regards universities in Spain, France and Belgium. The increase in the university of courses in English has fostered agreements with all the European countries as regards the mobility of lecturers and students, in particular with countries in the North of Europe and Eastern Europe. Encouraging the exchange of lecturers and students is one of the principal objectives of LUMSA: encountering other cultures, different teaching methodologies and new languages allows students to have new approaches and skills which are spendable in their immediate futures. As regards non-EU agreements, LUMSA intends to broaden and strengthen agreements as regards teaching and/or research that have already been begun in countries of the Mediterranean area such as the Lebanon, Morocco, etc., with the mobility of lecturers and students. Other countries with which the university wishes to interact are the countries of BRIC, of North America and of South America.
c) Within the framework of its general objectives, LUMSA has some more specific ones. Its strategic goals are: (1) to increase the mobility of students of the II cycle, above all in the second year of the second-level degree, for study and research connected with thesis of this degree; (2) to develop opportunities for professional training with placements in European and non-European countries; (3) to develop in the long term, for each of its second-level degrees, agreements for programs of harmonised teaching and the conferring of double/multiple qualifications. The actions engaged in to achieve these objectives are: through the ‘Lifelong Learning Program’ to assure every year a significant number of visiting professors, possibility within a framework of reciprocity, implementing their integration into the teaching supply and the research activity of departments; to foster training activity (training courses or workshops) engaged in within the university context by foreign or Italian companies with their headquarters abroad; to increase (this is already underway) placement activities for students of the second-level cycle and staff for professional training abroad through specific reciprocity agreements in the organisation of placements with partner universities, as well as through agreements with chambers of commerce, Italian institutions of national representation abroad, and individual European countries. As regards the III cycle (PhDs), LUMSA intends to explore the possibility of taking part in international consortia, however reserving to itself within this context the right to analyse and assess the new Italian legislation as regards doctorates which is still elaborated. While proceeding to achieve its objectives, LUMSA intends to subject itself to assessment programs for quality ranking.
The LUMSAUniversity strategy is addressed to create sustainable and balanced results for all partners in order to modernize and internationalize the university profile and activities. The partnerships are focus on different kind of stakeholders, depending on the project aim, as: - Mediterranean Region, as countries with an already developed network of cooperation; - Central and Eastern Europe countries, with already existing and fruitful cooperation agreements; - European Neighbourhood policy countries, as Lebanon, Morocco, etc whit already developed cooperation relations; - BRIC countries with successful agreements made to implement the cooperation relations; - Latin America, where LUMSA University cooperates since a long time.
LUMSA University cooperation strategy has experimented a fruitful participation to several cooperation network, where roles, objectives, results and outcomes are decided at the beginning of the cooperation, integrated in the partner structures for its own field of expertise and based on a specific needs analysis. Every cooperation project will lead to future development of the institution international profile and activities and the development of strategic partnership. LUMSA University uses to provide relevant support to staff and students participating in these activities, with concrete support measures that are foreseen at both institutional and departmental levels allowing participating staff and students adequate time to carry out their project work, allocating additional resources to support the project, providing administrative sustain and disseminating project results. The exploitation of the outcomes of the project will maximise their impact on individuals and partner institutions and the dissemination activities will be guarantee by the use of the Internet, presentations at meetings, brochures in order to raise awareness within the academic community and beyond.
The expected impact of the international policies that LUMSA intends to pursue in the medium-term is defined as follows in line with the five priorities of the ‘Modernisation Agenda’:
1. The university seeks to increase its appeal in the national and international field by developing strategies that are as cooperative as they are competitive, with especial attention being paid to the II cycle. An increase in enrolments for the second-level degrees and a higher level of success in the university careers of the students.
2. A targeted policy in the selection of partner universities, agreements structured for specific areas of teaching, the intensification of the mobility of incoming lecturers and temporary contracts for foreign lecturers (visiting professors) have as their aim a higher educational standard for students who take part in Erasmus mobility programs or internationalisation programs for individual study courses with the aim of making a degree increasing spendable and competitive in the world of work.
3. In seeking to increase notably the percentage of students in mobility, for the I cycle and for the II cycle, the university wants a greater number of students to enjoy the opportunity of studying abroad, fostering the acquisition of new methodologies and the establishment of teaching ‘learning agreements’ in line with the educational objectives of the course but not present in the educational supply of the University. LUMSA already has partnership agreements with foreign countries of a high qualitative level facilitating, through the new program, reciprocity and the reciprocal recognition of skills and qualifications.
4. The attention that is paid in the planning of LUMSA to the internationalisation of second-level degrees and to the development of placements activity, through suitable agreements and partnerships, envisages an increase in the possibility of students to engage in placements and research abroad for their degree theses (on the basis of reciprocity which involves equal opportunities for foreign students in Italy). Obtaining double qualifications greatly fosters enrolments in doctorates abroad for better opportunities to enter into the international labour market. Thanks to the agreements selected on the basis of quality and compatibility, didactic and research have the same importance and relevance.
5. With the settlement of the departments, Lumsa provides for more efficient administrative processes and greater autonomy of academic units which will implement the innovation inside the university. Funding structures will be diversified and an incentive scheme for academics staff rewards excellence in research and teaching, bilingual competence and achievement which will include the utilisation of the opportunities offered by the Program.