The University of Toulon is implementing a proactive policy in terms of the mobility of its students and staff to and from European and non-European countries. UTLN invites on average around sixty high-level researchers, welcomes nearly 1,500 foreign students per year (in mobility from 90 different countries) including 300 first-time entrants, has set up European training courses, etc.
UTLN’s participation in Erasmus+ cooperation projects enables it to make effective use of the potential offered by education and culture, which guarantee job creation, economic growth and social cohesion, and to promote awareness of a European identity based on its cultural heritage and diversity.
Student and staff mobility strategy
The issue of the outgoing mobility of UTLN students is at the heart of the contract that the institution has signed with its supervisory ministry. The current governance scheme underlines the need to strengthen links with European and English-speaking countries in order to meet the growing demand from UTLN students for outgoing mobility to these destinations. Concerned about an even greater democratisation of this mobility and the recommendations converging towards an intensification of short mobility, UTLN is working towards the diversification of types of mobility in order to offer more mobility opportunities integrated into the study programmes. To this end, the institution has applied, as a partner, for a KA203 project aimed at creating an innovative training pathway for social entrepreneurship education combining formal and non-formal education. The institution is thus working to enhance the value of international mobility experiences (non-formal education) in the academic background (formal education), in order to accompany its students in volunteer experiences, youth exchanges, intercultural pedagogy training, internships, volunteer workcamps, etc. This project aims to complete a skills base that can be valorised in terms of ECTS and thus to integrate the dimension of field experience, recognising transversal competences or "soft skills" and promoting excellence in the development of competences in the wake of UTLN’s MisTraL project to transform bachelor’s degrees (NCU).
In recent years, after focusing on the implementation and development of outgoing mobility of its students, the University now also wishes to focus on the attractiveness of its courses in order to increase incoming mobility. As part of the “Bienvenue en France - Choose France” strategy, in 2019 UTLN received a total of €85k to improve the reception of international students. It has therefore committed itself in particular to strengthening its international student reception offices and to deploying its English-language training offer and proposes a modernisation of the “European class” courses in the 3rd year of the bachelor’s degree, in order to enhance the commitment of UTLN students and to promote exchanges in the interest of welcoming international students (duplication of lectures taught in English, linguistic reinforcement, collaborative projects dedicated to welcoming international students, increased support in their mobility project, support for teachers in partnership with the establishment’s Language Resource Centre). Buddy or peer mentoring and courses in French as a foreign language are also among the priorities among the measures to improve the reception of international students. At the same time, the University is also applying for the “Bienvenue en France” label to demonstrate its commitment to welcoming international students.
UTLN also encourages the international mobility of its staff, who in 2018 completed 3,500 days of missions abroad (teaching, research and administration), developing international know-how. The presence of UTLN in consortia enables it to offer itself promising cooperation opportunities, such as, for example, with the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, Erasmus Mundus MIR, Euro-Mediterranean Universities TETHYS, Interreg Marittimo, the Strategic Observatory of Mediterranean Worlds (OS2M), FAME (reducing the obstacles to international mobility for higher education apprentices), the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (USTH) or the consortium behind the Institute of Technology of Cambodia.
Geographic and thematic strategies
The University favours the development of cooperation with the Euro-Mediterranean countries : Maghreb and Southern European countries (Italy, Spain, Turkey and Greece), and to a lesser extent with the countries of the Mashreq and the Middle East. The importance of this orientation is natural due to the geographical location of the UTLN, which occupies an advantageous position on the shores of the Mediterranean. In some cases, this cooperation can also take on a university steering dimension, for example through its involvement in Erasmus+ “Capacity Building” projects such as the project “Academic Solutions for the Euro-Mediterranean Territory - Leader of Innovation and Technological Transfers of Excellence” (SATELIT), which brings together 22 partners from the North and South of the Mediterranean on the theme of research valorisation and technology transfer between institutions. This Euro-Mediterranean provision is also fully reflected in the implementation of the UTLN’s transversal axes (Sea, Environment and Sustainable Development axis and Mediterranean Exchanges and Societies axis).
In terms of North-South exchanges, the extension of the mobilities financed to countries outside Erasmus+ makes it possible to amplify the scholarship scheme set up to welcome certain students from the South into our courses. Implementation agreements signed with partner universities (Comoros and Mozambique) provide incoming mobility students with grants. This system has also been extended to Ukraine, where cooperation has resulted in the creation of two double degrees at the master’s level with the prestigious National University of Kiev.
In the marine thematic dimension, the “CMQ 4MED” project, supported by the governance of the UTLN, aims to support the digitisation of the naval industry sector and to create an ecosystem of training courses for the benefit of maritime economic development, employment and educational innovation in the Sud - Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. It also has an international responsibility within the framework of the Marseille commitments signed at the Summit of the Two Shores, notably by the European Union and its two investment and development banks. It will enable the creation of a Mediterranean network of training courses for seafaring professions which will support Mediterranean industry and companies in the post-“COVID-19” future of Western port cities.
In addition, the European Commission has selected the Erasmus Mundus “Marine and Maritime Intelligent Robotics” (MIR) Master’s project led by UTLN. This Master’s degree offers the opportunity to expand internationally around the skills of the Sud - PACA region in marine and maritime techniques and artificial intelligence.
UTLN also exports its know-how to Asia-Pacific. Its experience enables it to pilot the setting up of training courses abroad, such as, for example, delocalized diplomas or double diplomas. In nearly fifteen years of presence in Vietnam, UTLN has had the opportunity to set up ten delocalized diplomas (eleven as of September 2021), two double diplomas and an international research team.