The University of Macedonia: Strategic Objectives
Vision and Mission:
In a dynamic and rapidly evolving international environment, the University of Macedonia serves the local, national and regional society and economy by promoting science in the broader spectrum of economic and social sciences, information sciences and arts, pursuing excellence while also fostering social sensitivity and inclusion and diffusing education and culture.
The University’s vision is to become an Institute of Higher Education internationally distinguished for its fields of specialization,
- pursuing research and teaching excellence by constantly improving the services provided,
- endorsing a policy of openness through an international collaboration network with research and educational organizations.
For the achievement of this long-term vision and the support of its ongoing mission, during the period 2018-2022 the University of Macedonia will introduce and apply strategic planning processes for the University, Schools and Departments which will aim at achieving and maintaining a dynamic equilibrium between:
- Support of excellence in teaching and quality assurance of education for the entire population of students;
- Emphasis on research excellence and exploitation of its economic and social results within the framework of Europe’s regional smart specialization policy;
- Knowledge consolidation in current scientific fields and investigation into new fields with the aid of an interdisciplinary approach;
- Sustained personal development of the academic and administrative personnel and utilization of such development for the University’s benefit;
- Enrichment of the learning experience of students and their participation in social and cultural events of Thessaloniki;
- Making the University a regional innovation pole through collaborations with businesses, bodies and organizations of real economy, the wider public sector and civil society by showing respect for multiculturalism and diversity.
Given its location in the city of Thessaloniki, an ageless center of commerce and meeting point of people and cultures, the University of Macedonia is placed in an advantageous position to develop collaborations and economies of scope with other tertiary education institutions of the city and the wider region, with research centers and business operators, for example chambers, business associations, transnational business operators etc. This contributes to the planning and development of study programs on an undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level which will produce and disseminate knowledge, generate specialists and innovations in horizontal actions which are integrated in the regional development planning, such as combined transport, communication networks, cross-border networks, tourism and agri-food schemes etc.
Due to its proximity to the Balkan area and the South-Eastern Europe in general, the University is in a position to develop educational and research networks with higher education institutions of the neighboring countries, and in general to become the center of a cluster of universities that through strategic actions will contribute to cross-border cooperation and development.
In order for the previously mentioned strategic planning processes to be effective, it is essential to take into consideration the fact that universities are characterized by the functional autonomy of Schools and Departments. On that account, the Rector's authorities and the Senate should encourage the development of an open and strategically oriented attitude within Departments. The method that contributes to this objective is the approach of "strategic initiatives". After having taken into consideration the recommendations made by the Quality Assurance Unity, the Strategic Initiatives for the period 2018 - 2022 proposed by the Rector which are about to be approved by the Senate of the University of Macedonia can be found in the Strategic Action Plan 2018-2022 below.
The strategic initiatives, which will take place over a three-year period, aim at: firstly, activating all the university's personnel towards specialization and achieving the strategic objectives of the University, and secondly, enhancing the overall quality of education. Progress towards the achievement of strategic objectives is measured by corresponding indicators on an annual basis. Any mandatory corrective actions shall be adopted by the Rector, who may also recommend additions of new strategic initiatives to the Senate, or withdrawals of existing ones.
Strategic Action Plan of the University of Macedonia 2018-2022
In view of all the above, the University of Macedonia has set five Institution-level strategic objectives for the period 2018 - 2022, which are directly supported by strategic initiatives that contribute promptly and in a measurable manner towards the achievement of these objectives. The strategic objectives have been structured according to the external and internal focus of the University so as to contribute, on the one hand, to the university’s success in external environments, and on the other hand, to promoting the necessary internal changes.
With regard to the external focus, the respective strategic objectives are as follows:
- International collaborations with Institutes of Higher Education and research institutions in order to achieve research excellence.
- Collaboration with bodies and organizations of regional economy & society to make the University an innovation pole.
Through this ambitious combination, the University of Macedonia intends to leave its strategic imprint at both regional and international level. The Institution-level strategic initiatives supporting the above two objectives are the following:
- Establishment of an efficient mechanism for drawing up / implementing an action plan for the development of external partnerships. The Quality Assurance Unit will monitor this initiative based on the following indicators: (a) Number of new collaborations with Institutes of Higher Education and research institutions, (b) annual reference of the number of the University’s representatives to advisory structures of the Prefecture, the Municipality, sectoral bodies, etc.
- Establishment of a committee for the European Universities Initiative exploitation. The direct objective of this initiative is to make the University of Macedonia an Associate Member of one network within the programming period.
- Establishment of a Think Tank by the University’s Special Teaching Staff with experience in international research collaborations. This initiative leads to the creation of an informal structure and the corresponding indicator is the annual number of workshops organized and implemented by this structure.
- Creation of an Online Institutional Repository within the framework of an open-access policy regarding the publications of the academic community members (University of Macedonia affiliation). The indicators based on which this initiative will be monitored by the Quality Assurance Unit are the following:
(a) Annual number of registered publications;
(b) open access publications percentage (%) on the number of submitted publications
Number of open access publications in the Online Institutional Repository/ Total Number of publications in the Online Institutional Repository,
(c) percentage of the publications of the University of Macedonia which are included in Scopus and have been submitted in the Online Institutional Repository on the total number of publications of the University of Macedonia which are included in Scopus
Publications from Scopus to the Online Institutional Repository)/(Total number of publications in Scopus,
(d) percentage of the publications of the University of Macedonia which are included in Scopus and have been submitted in the Online Institutional Repository with open access on the total number of publications of the University of Macedonia which are included in Scopus.
Publications from Scopus to the Online Institutional Repository with open access)/(Total number of publications in Scopus,
With regard to the internal focus, the respective strategic objectives are as follows:
- Optimization of organization and functionality of the University.
- Ongoing improvement of undergraduate study programs.
- Preparation of new undergraduate and postgraduate study programs that have an impact on society.
By combining these three objectives, the University of Macedonia intends to reach those improvements in its internal environment in order to be enabled as an organization to meet the requirements of external strategic objectives. The Institution-level strategic initiatives supporting the above three objectives of internal focus are as follows:
- Enrichment and updating of existing efficiency and effectiveness indicators. The aim of the initiative is to bring the quality assurance system closer to the University's strategic planning process, and the report of proposed update of indicators by the Quality Assurance Unit constitutes a deliverable.
- Feasibility study concerning the development of the University's academic activities on scientific subjects of particular importance for the regional economy, society and culture. Given the complexity of the subject - which covers both undergraduate and postgraduate programs - as well as the need for in-depth research and discussion with internal and external stakeholders, the process will open up with a series of exploratory workshops. Indicator: annual number of seminars on topics such as logistics, energy, etc.
- Fostering of collaboration for the promotion of interdepartmental postgraduate programs. The initiative shall be monitored: (a) with a deliverable - Report on the overlapping of existing programs (b) with an indicator: number of new interdepartmental postgraduate programs.
- Expansion of premises. The progress of this far-reaching initiative is being monitored throughout the stages of implementation.
Operational strategies (detailed specification of the central strategy)
The institution-level strategies are detailed into operational ones and the University’s strategic initiatives are accompanied by operational ones so that the whole personnel can be involved in the strategic process implementation. The operational strategies are broken down into five pillars, covering all the quality assurance system parameters.
A) Teaching and Students
The first pillar covers the University’s daily activity and it comprises four strategic objectives:
- Ensuring academic quality in the educational process. A similar strategic initiative is the establishment of recognition and rewarding mechanisms for teaching excellence. The progress of the initiative is measured by two deliverables: (a) publication of the relevant decision, (b) at least one prize award.
- Enhancement of learning experience quality. This objective comprises six strategic initiatives:
(a) Creation of an updated alumni database. Indicator: the percentage (%) of registered alumni data since 2000.
(b) Strengthening of the Internship policy. Quality indicators of the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (HQA): D.1.4.15 (Average annual participation percentage in internship positions).
(c) Coordination of Summer Schools. Indicator: Annual number of Summer School participants
(d) Improvement and integration of students’ electronic service. Deliverable: Integration of existing platforms (student’s web-compus).
(e) Departmental collaboration for the provision of free elective courses. Indicators:
(e.1) Number of Departments offering the potential of free elective courses,
(e.2) total number of shared free elective courses.
(f) Student advocate. Deliverable: legal obligation for the establishment of an office.
- Fostering of internationalization - Increasing student mobility. In addition to the ongoing encouragement of students for the participation in student mobility programs, this particular objective also comprises the initiative of distinguished foreign researchers and professors attraction for the organization of lectures and seminars. Indicator: annual number of invited professors.
- Alignment of the institution’s language policy to the official European one. The corresponding strategic initiative is to increase the number of courses taught in English per Department. Indicator: percentage (%) of the number of courses per study program offered both in Greek and English.
The University’s efforts towards improvement research performance are subdivided into four strategic objectives:
- Performance improvement towards production and recognition of the research work. A corresponding initiative shall be the activation of the research award program, with a deliverable of at least two prize-awards during the programming period.
- Attraction of new researchers. This objective is supported by the corresponding initiative, the coordination of conferences for PhD candidates and the organization of summer schools. Indicator: annual number of conferences for PhD candidates and summer schools organized.
- Research funding increase. The relevant initiative concerns the funding of scientific conferences and seminars. Indicator: annual number of scientific Conferences/ Seminars funded.
- Enhancement of research methodology integrity. The relevant strategic initiative covers the creation of interdepartmental center for qualitative research methodology. Deliverables: (a) the establishment of such a center (b) planning of the corresponding program within the Training & Lifelong Learning Center. Indicator: the annual trainee number.
C) Human Recourses
The University of Macedonia considers that accomplishing the strategic objectives shall mean that all academic, administrative and technical staff will engage into an ongoing improvement process. This pillar is detailed into two strategic operative objectives:
- Enhancing and development of academic staff. The relevant initiative concerns the enhancement of academic staff mobility abroad. The initiative progress shall be monitored according to indicator D1.3.18. The average annual percentage of Erasmus outbound faculty.
- Fostering competences and skills of the administrative and technical personnel. Corresponding initiative: Model technology training of the staff, primarily within the University’s premises, as well as Training Programs in other fields outside university (e.g. National Center for Public Administration and Local Government). Indicator: Annual number of trained administrative and technical staff.
D) Innovation and impact on society
The link between the University of Macedonia with the scientific community and wider local community shall be specified in three objectives:
1. Implementation of Lifelong Training Programs. This particular objective shall be achieved based on the following two initiatives:
a. Identification of the educational needs of the local community and planning of new programs. The relevant report shall constitute a deliverable.
b. Designing of two-year Vocation Training Programs. Indicator: number of new programs designed.
2. Improvement of the University’s contribution and reputation in the local community, which shall be simultaneously accompanied by two initiatives:
a. Promotion of the role of the University’s publishing house: University of Macedonia Press. Indicator: annual number of events related to its publications.
b. Cultural events with open access for the local and wider society. Indicators: (b.1) annual number of events within the university’s premises (b.2) annual number of events in the city of Thessaloniki (b.3) annual number of national and international events.
3. Improvement of the University’s contribution and reputation within the academic community. Initiative: Electronic periodic publication of a semiannual bulletin on the University’s scientific performance. Indicator: annual number of electronic publications.
Resources, Services & Facilities
This pillar’s strategies comprise three objectives:
- Ensuring an excellent environment and high quality of facilities and services (including electronic ones). Initiative: Developing an optimization plan for the use of facilities. Deliverable: design and implementation of such optimization for the University’s booking system which can be controlled through technological means.
- Increase in external funding. Initiative: Establishment of a committee identification of sponsorships and donations. Deliverable: Establishment of the committee.
- Improvement in the allocation of resources. Initiative: Identification of resources for the support of socially vulnerable groups of students and support of research laboratories. Deliverable: Preparation of a plan for the optimal utilization of the University’s Property Development and Management Unit recourses and the resources of the Research Committee.