How can senior leaders better support their teams during the adoption and implementation of Erasmus Without Paper at your university? And what are the main factors determining the success of this initiative?
When adopting a significant initiative like the upcoming Erasmus Without Paper (EWP), it’s crucial that we examine the role of senior leadership in its adoption and acceptance.
Keep reading to explore this area and discover the four top ingredients that international offices need to successfully implement the EWP initiative at their institution.
As Valère Meus, EWP Project Coordinator, at the European University Foundation explains: “This digital change is, in fact, a cultural change. It will take time to make the most of the available technology, but through a flexible approach and comprehensive support for joining this network, we can achieve something which some people considered impossible.”
Top ingredients for a successful implementation of EWP
1. Strong executive sponsorship
One of the main elements influencing the successful implementation of any change is having a strong executive sponsorship, i.e. a senior leader who understands and believes in the positive benefits of the change, publicly endorses the initiative, and drives the change at the institution.
Good leadership is vital to any change process, but especially when it comes to introducing a new technology and procedures, such as EWP, within a university.
Ideally, the senior leader driving the change should be someone responsible for driving the internationalization strategy at the institution, who can explain the value of EWP and how it can contribute to achieving the institution’s internationalization goals.
This will also require a sound understanding of how the initiative will impact the institution’s departments and faculties involved in the student exchange process, not only the international office, but the admissions and finance teams, faculties, program directors, and teaching staff.
Strong leadership can also help to eliminate any potential conflicts and resistance to change which may arise from faculties and central teams.
2. Institutional commitment
International office staff may be hesitant about the move to EWP, especially if there is a lack of internal resources and knowledge on the subject.
Staff may struggle to find the IT expertise and support that is required for its successful implementation, on top of the scarcity of staff and time available to support the change at the institution.
That is why institutional commitment is so important for the implementation of EWP at your university.
With senior leadership that can articulate how EWP will impact the overall institutional goals, the international office will likely be able to secure the financial investment and internal resources needed for the initiative.
3. Available support for staff
Most university staff are not prepared for change and administrative teams may struggle with the implementation of new technologies, procedures, and initiatives, mainly due to fear and uncertainty of the unknown.
To overcome this fear, senior leaders must invest time and resources in training staff and offering multiple support mechanisms, such as ad hoc support and self-help resources to help them build their confidence and agility.
Furthermore, it’s essential that they understand the benefits of the new initiative to their daily operations and what will change once EWP has been implemented.
4. Technical expertise and resources
Finally, one of the main barriers to the adoption of EWP is the IT expertise required to connect the institution’s mobility management solution to the EWP network.
International office staff usually do not have a background in computer science nor experience in implementing new technology systems at a university, and therefore may struggle with the technical side of EWP.
Therefore, it’s crucial that international offices secure the IT support required to implement the EWP initiative.
For institutions with an in–house built solution, they will require help from their IT team to implement the connection with the EWP Network.
There is an abundance of guidance available designed specifically for IT teams in the Competence Center including useful resources, tutorial videos, presentations, and other tools and materials to support the transition to digital Erasmus+ management.
Many third-party mobility management providers already have integrations available that links their software to the EWP network.
It’s recommended that institutions who use a third-party tool should contact their provider to learn more about their involvement in EWP and how they can connect.
To learn more about the EWP initiative and how to implement it at your institution, download your free copy of the Erasmus Without Paper: How to Make it Happen white paper.
QS Unisolution: EWP technology partner
QS Unisolution is an official technology partner of the EWP project, which is funded by the European Union Foundation. Our MoveON solution is designed to support the changes introduced by the European Commission in Erasmus+ to help clients connect their mobilities with the Erasmus Network.
MoveON is equipped to exchange all data with the EWP Network so that staff can continue to manage all data in the MoveON solution, making administration easier, quicker, and more efficient. The solution also helps to manage workflows for Erasmus+ and gives users the ability to use the ready-made Erasmus-compliant templates such as the Learning Agreement and Grant Agreement.
For more information, please contact [email protected].