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Erasmus+ Policy statement 2021-2027

Diak’s strategy and expertise

Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak) is a nation-wide Finnish UAS specialising in the social services and health care education. DIAK has five campuses in different parts of Finland. With its 3000 students Diak is the largest provider of UAS-level education in social work and the main provider of higher education in sign language interpreting and the only provider of community interpreting in the main immigrant languages and diaconal work. Diak offers degree programs in Finnish, English and in Swedish. Diak’s education and RDI actions aim at promoting sustainable wellbeing in communities and service systems in the national, European and global contexts. The overall strategy of Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak) guides our international activities. Diak is an ethically responsible multidisciplinary university aiming to improve inclusion and welfare in society. Diak’s raison d’etre is Only when the world is good for all, Diak is no longer needed and thus promoting inclusion and diversity are core areas of Diak’s work.

In addition to inclusion and promoting health and wellbeing, Diak’s key expertise areas include community development, development of the social and health care service systems, as well as research and development of value-based social and health care practices, multi-faith religious literacy and religious dialogue. Diak’s pedagogy is rooted in flexible blended learning solutions on and off campus. E-learning facilities, support services and learning processes are highly developed and are in daily use both in national and international co-operation. Diak has also broad expertise on Eco-Social approach and its application in higher education.

As an educator and developer, Diak is a respected national and international expert in its key areas of social and health care, diaconia and sign language- and community interpreting. Along its core values, Diak is a bold developer that challenges itself and the society to change. Diak aims at fair, human and sustainable world. Diak encourages to open encounters of people and circumstances. Diak endorses diversity by promoting cultural and religious literacy and dialogue. Diak promotes ethics by searching for solutions for wicked social problems and by solving ethical questions related to digitalisation and technological innovations.

At Diak, education is developed by strengthening international knowledge creating networks and targeting the increase of flexible learning opportunities. Our objective is, in collaboration with our strategic international partners, to build new innovation ecosystems where education development and RDI are structurally interlinked and new innovations are co-created in collaboration of students, staff and working life partners from different sectors. Diak creates innovations in collaboration with its partners, based on ethically, socially, economically and environmentally sustainable principles.

Diak works with its partners to promote sustainable wellbeing of the most vulnerable groups in society within national, European, and global contexts by improving social and health care service systems, and by bringing focus to the service user’s perspective. Community development and co-creation approach are applied both in our education and RDI activities. Diak’s strengths include close contacts with nationwide and international professional networks, and this allows Diak to combine theory and practice in innovative ways, bringing research results from the grass roots level to the level of decision making.

International action plan

The overall objective of Diak’s international action plan is to mainstream internationalization as a crosscutting theme in all Diak’s actions and functions: education, RDI and support services, including administration. The international action plan bases on Diak’s strategy and builds on three objectives:

  1. All Diak graduates are able to act in international and intercultural environments and understand sustainable global development.
  2. Diak is international, attractive and diverse community, and encourages its students and staff for active encounters, co-creation and internationalization, including internationalisation at home.
  3. Diak’s education and RDI generate international added value on sustainable global wellbeing and promote the inclusion of the most vulnerable. Diak also promotes the availability of international skilled professionals in Finland as well as diversity in society

Diak develops and maintains long-term, sustainable international partnerships. Diak collaborates with numerous universities and professional organisations on several continents, focusing geographically on Europe, Africa and Asia. When searching for new international partnerships, organisations’ profile, possibilities for bilateral mobility, joint curriculum development, research and other development projects are evaluated. Our objective is, in collaboration with our international partners, to build new innovation ecosystems where education development and RDI are structurally interlinked and new innovations are co-created in collaboration of students, staff and working life partners from different sectors.

Student and staff mobility
Diak offers all students an opportunity to complete a part of their studies abroad, and reciprocally, Diak welcomes exchange students to study at Diak and to carry out work placements at our partner organisations in labour market. Questions of internationality and diversity form a natural part of education at Diak. Mobility opportunities, including physical, virtual and blended mobilities, are used actively for improving students’ professional and language skills, and for strengthening Diak’s and its partner organizations’ joint development work.

For Bachelor and Master level students research work in an international setting is encouraged. The curriculum and implementation plans enable and encourage internationalization. Monitoring and evaluation by students, partners and staff are used for developing the activities.

Each staff member at Diak are provided opportunities for internationalization. In staff mobility a special attention is paid on promoting the participation of all staff members, including academic, professional and administrative staff. Staff exchanges are strategically planned in order to support our education development and RDI work.

Diak’s education equips our students to meet international working life requirements, and therefore active international interaction of academics and professionals is one of the corner stones of our work. Diak welcomes international staff to visit and work at Diak, and actively promotes staff exchange opportunities for its international partners.

Erasmus Programme as an enabler of our internationalisation

Erasmus Programme is a key enabler of our internationalisation aspirations. The programme supports the implementation of all the above described strategic goals of our international work. The programme provides a broad offer of different types of funding instruments for RDI actions that we can apply for and exploit in collaboration with our current and future partners in Europe and globally.

The majority of student and staff mobility at Diak is enabled by the Erasmus Programme, and therefore the programme directly contributes to the attainment of the quantitative and qualitative objectives set for our student and staff mobilities.

With the support of Erasmus Programme, through mobilities of different forms, and joint RDI projects, we are able to contribute to the EEA objectives of ‘spending time abroad to study and learn should become the norm’, ‘everyone should be able to access high-quality education, irrespective of their socio-economic background’, ‘people should have a strong sense of their identity as a European, of Europe’s cultural heritage and its diversity’, and ‘knowing two languages in addition to one’s mother tongue should be standard’.

In international activities Diak promotes an integrated model where student and staff mobility, RDI projects and joint curriculum development are the tools for building and developing partnerships. Erasmus Programme, with its diverse key actions, is an indispensable instrument for enabling the implementation of this integrated model.

Furthermore, Erasmus Programme, including its all key actions, is the key enabler of the development of flexible, international learning opportunities, and thus directly increases our opportunities to contribute to the development of European Education Area.

Erasmus+ Charter for Higher Education 2021-2027