Erasmus Policy Statement

Fakulteta za zdravstvene in socialne vede Slovenj Gradec (Faculty of health and social sciences - FHSS) – FHSS was founded in May 2009 and started with the implementation of bachelor study programme Nursing in 2009/2010. The programme is modelled by Bologna declaration standards and offers students a profession of graduate nurse with a diploma they can use in all European countries. In October 2014 FHSS acquired the accreditation for a new master study programme Health science, consisting of three fields (Nursing, Physiotherapy and Public health). In October 2018 the former University college for health sciences Slovenj Gradec changed into the Faculty of health and social sciences Slovenj Gradec and got 4 new fields of the master study programme Health sciences accredited: Urgent health conditions, Care for the elderly, Long-term care and Mental health care.

Studies are practically oriented, and the students are from the beginning until the end of study in close contact with the clinical environment. FHSS invests a lot of energy into the quality of International cooperation with similar educational institutions, EU and non-EU. We cooperate with Finland, Croatia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria and we are open to new cooperation with other countries inside and outside the EU. The first priority therefore is to enable student mobility (especially clinical practice – work placement). With practical experience from different European countries – social and health institutions, our students will obtain greater competences and a wider look into their future profession. Also, the exchange of teaching and research staff is one of the main priorities of FHSS.

FHSS is aware of the fact that modernisation of higher education is necessary and will have a significant impact on our society’s development in the future. Since we are educating students for a profession, which is encountering extreme shortages in the work environment, we want more students to finish our study programme, which means we will keep increasing the number of graduates in the next year. But increasing the number of graduates isn’t our main objective. Those who graduate, have to be competent individuals, able to find employment on the local and international market. Students leaving our  institution not only have to be proficient in their own discipline, but have to show a high level of digital skills, which is a prerequisite in today’s society. We will invest into the digitalisation process and devise blended learning strategies. In order to reach high quality education, international cooperation is of utmost importance. Mobility programmes allow good practices to be carried from place to place. They also connect people from different backgrounds, bringing them together in following one goal. We expect student and staff mobilities to strengthen the sense of understanding and empathy in individuals, who need those two values in their line of work. We want our students to be able to take study courses abroad so they can gain new knowledge, new experience, broaden their language skills, acquire intercultural dialogue skills and gain respect for the principles of non-discrimination.

We have already achieved our first goal of establishing a 2nd cycle study programme, so now our goal is to expand it to the 3rd cycle study programme. With 3rd cycle studies in the field of health and social sciences, we will be able to nurture our own researchers and teaching staff, thus caring for the sustainable development of the faculty and the pedagogical process. New study programmes will be developed according to the actual needs of the environment, while current study programmes will be carried out with the highest amount of Quality and will include the most competent teaching staff from home and abroad. But we cannot imagine third cycle education without research and development projects, which need to be incorporated into the local environment and enable regional development. FHSS is on the list of the of research organisations within the Slovenian research agency and has a research institute in the field of health and social sciences. In accordance with our strategy we are joining research projects as partners and will continue to do so. We will strive to improve higher education management and to achieve fair funding in our local area.

The participation in the Erasmus+ programme strongly relates to FHSS’s mission of becoming a recognised Slovenian faculty known for its quality, whose graduates will be respected for their all-around knowledge and skills, as well as their holistic approach to patients. Knowledge and skills that the students gain at foreign institutions, will be the main contributor to achieving the broader objectives set out by the Lisbon strategy, more precisely to become a society based on creativity and innovation. Connecting FHSS to the international environment through Erasmus+ programme will be a special opportunity to improve the methods of research in Nursing care and Health sciences, which are very important for the well-being of all patients. FHSS will ensure a high quality exchange programme in all forms of education and training. With participating in the Erasmus+ programme FHSS will expand the cooperation and development on the international level.

As FHSS is growing and widening its research fields, we will now build on the already established Erasmus+ activities

Student mobility will remain one of our main focuses, with extra emphasis on work placements in the clinical environment. Since our school mission also mentions the fact that a basic feature of graduate and postgraduate study programs is practice based learning, which creates the right conditions for transferring knowledge from the academic institution to the clinical environment and thus improving employment opportunities of graduates, we will encourage more students to take part in student mobilities. With international mobilities they can in addition to all the aforementioned competences gain new knowledge, new experience, broaden their language skills, acquire new cultural competences and gain respect for the principles of non-discrimination. Which in turn, also in accordance with our mission, leads to better recognition of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences Slovenj Gradec.

We will continue our cooperation with similar educational institutions, broadening our net of international partners, which will provide our students and staff with more diversity in acquiring new knowledges.

Since we are a small institution, we apply a “bottom-up” approach in signing new cooperation agreements, depending heavily on our staff to suggest new partners. Which leads to our next objective, staff teaching and training mobilities. Because our strategy includes our study programmes being taught by the most competent teaching staff from home and abroad, we have to invest in their professional and personal growth. Both is enabled with the implementation of staff mobility. Staff mobility will also enable the exchange of good practices, learning of new skills, improving of language competences, learning cultural differences and tolerance, which will be transferred to their students. And while acquiring new partners for us is best achieved with a “bottom-up” approach, non-discriminatory, tolerant behaviour can be achieved with a “top-to-bottom” approach.

Developing a project within the Erasmus+ KA2 programme. With the inclusion of This would enable us to spread our research work and include the local environment into it.

Within the next six years we plan to maintain the number of outgoing student mobilities, with sending at least two students a year to clinical practice abroad. We also want to send two members of our teaching staff and one member of our administrative staff on mobilities per year.

To enable a balance of staff exchange we plan to host at least two foreign health care professionals at out institution.

We want to increase the number of incoming students, by taking a proactive stance and promoting our school through our outgoing staff and students. We hope that we can host at least one student mobility per year.

With the number of incoming teaching staff and students, we want to increase the number of partner institutions. In the last years we have broadened our net of partner institutions with primarily Balkan countries, so now we will try to sign new contracts with countries from central and west Europe. By 2027, when this programme period ends, we want to have a net of partner institutions spread over Europe, either for student and staff mobilities or for project cooperation.

FHSS organises every year, since its founding, a scientific conference with international participation. At these conferences we are noticing that many of our lecturers and students are using the competences acquired during their mobilities, to conduct research work. To encourage more of them to present their own ideas, to strengthen our school’s research activities and to pave the way to a 3rd cycle study programme we plan to prepare at least one KA2 project until 2025, with the Faculty of health and social sciences as the main beneficiary. Additionally, we will try to join one KA2 project as a project partner.

To ensure quality control, the success of each year’s activities will be presented in the yearly self-evaluation report and assessed by the senate’s committee.