Master s degree programmes SAIL Institutes

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1 Master s degree programmes SAIL Institutes June 2006

2 Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities (QANU) Catharijnesingel 56 P.O.Box RA Utrecht Netherlands Phone: +31 (0) Telefax: +31 (0) Internet QANU Text and numerical material from this publication may be reproduced in print, by photocopying or by any other means with the permission of QANU if the source is mentioned. 2 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes

3 Contents Foreword 5 Part I: General Part 7 1. Introduction 9 2. The Committee s task and composition Working method Frame of reference Comparative overview of the SAIL Master s degree programmes 23 Part II: Programme reports Master s degree course Environmental Science, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Management Master s degree course Water Management, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Management Master s degree course Municipal Water and Infrastructure, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Management Master s degree course Water Science and Engineering, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Management Master s degree course Business Administration, Maastricht School of Management Master s degree course Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (MSc), International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation Master s degree course Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (Master), International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation Master s degree course Development Studies, Institute of Social Studies Master s degree course Urban Management and Development, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies 231 Appendices 255 Appendix A: Curricula vitea 257 Appendix B: Overview assessments Master s degree programmes SAIL institutes 261 Appendix C: QANU protocol for a university of professional education Master s degree programme 263 Appendix D: Abbreviations 267 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes 3

4 4 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes

5 FOREWORD This report is part of the quality assessment of university degree programmes in the Netherlands. The purpose of this report is to present a reliable picture of the results of the degree programmes submitted for this review, to give feedback to the internal quality assessment of the Institutes concerned, and to serve as the basis for accreditation of the degree programmes by the Netherlands Flemish Accreditation Organization (NVAO). QANU aims to ensure independent, unbiased, critically constructive assessments using identical quality criteria as far as possible, while taking specific circumstances into account. The Assessment Committee for the SAIL Master s degree programmes has fulfilled its tasks with great dedication. The Master s degree programmes were evaluated in a thorough and careful manner and within a well-considered frame of reference. We expect the judgments and recommendations will be taken into careful consideration by the course providers and the management of the Institutes concerned. We thank the Chairman and members of the Assessment Committee for their willingness to participate in this assessment and for the dedication with which they carried out this task. We also thank the staff of the Institutes for their carefully prepared documentation and for their co-operation during the assessments. Dr. Jan G.F. Veldhuis Chairman of the QANU-Board Mr. Chris J. Peels QANU-Director QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes 5

6 6 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes

7 PART I: GENERAL PART QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes 7

8 8 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes

9 1. Introduction The Assessment Committee SAIL (hereafter called: the Committee) presents an account of its observations and conclusions in this report. The report consists of a general part (I) and the reports on the Master s degree courses that the Committee has assessed (II). The general part briefly describes the task of the Committee, its composition and its working method. It also contains a description of the domain-specific frame of reference and provides a comparative overview of the Master s degree courses that were assessed. QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes 9

10 10 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes

11 2. The Committee s task and composition Task The task assigned to the Committee was to carry out an assessment of nine Master s degree programmes of the Dutch SAIL institutes conform the QANU Protocol (Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities). The Committee started its activities in November The Committee was formally installed by the director of QANU. SAIL institutes and Master s degree programmes SAIL, established in 1996, is the umbrella organisation of five specialised Dutch centres of higher education, all of which are geared towards capacity building, education, research and advisory services particularly in and for developing countries. The five institutes receive a subsidy from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. This subsidy is earmarked as a contribution by that Ministry to Dutch Official Development Aid (ODA). SAIL was set up to provide the collaborative framework within which the member institutes can pool resources and complement each other in terms of experience and skills in providing a broad range of services to their clients. The universally accepted view that knowledge plays a key role in successful sustainable development is the core philosophy of SAIL and its partners. The Dutch acronym SAIL stands for Council of Institutes for Postgraduate International Education in the Netherlands. The SAIL network comprises five institutes: UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE), Maastricht School of Management (MsM), International Institute for Geo- Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Institute of Social Studies (ISS) and Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS). The Committee assessed the following Master s degree programmes: UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE) 1. Environmental Science (MSc) CROHO Water Management (MSc) CROHO Municipal Water and Infrastructure (MSc) CROHO Water Science and Engineering (MSc) CROHO Maastricht School of Management (MsM) 5. Studies in Business Administration and Management (MBA) CROHO International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) 6. Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (MSc) CROHO Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (Master) CROHO Institute of Social Studies (ISS) 8. Development Studies (MA) CROHO Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) 9. Urban Management and Development (MA) CROHO QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes 11

12 Committee members The following experts were appointed as members of the Committee: Prof. (Cees) Karssen, emeritus Professor in Plant Physiology and former rector of Wageningen University: chairman of the Committee; Prof. (Niels) Röling, emeritus Professor in Communication and Innovation Studies, Wageningen University: expert on development relevance; Mr. (Jan) Nedermeijer, MSc, Head of Higher Education Department of ICLON, Leiden University: expert on educational affairs; Mr. (Nicolaas) Heerens, BSc and Master student of Development Economics and Educational Science, Wageningen University. The Committee also had a disciplinary expert for each institute: Prof. (Janos) Bogardi, Professor at the Institute for Environment and Human Security, United Nations University, Germany: expert for the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE); Mr. (Ed) Maan, MA, researcher at RAWOO (Netherlands Development Assistance Research Council): expert for the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS); Prof. (Leo) de Haan, Director of the Africa Study Centre: expert for the Institute of Social Studies (ISS); Prof. (Peter) Fisher, Professor in Geographic Information, City University of London, UK: expert for the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC); Prof. (Martyn) Jones, Dean and Professor in Management, Kent Business School, University of Kent, UK: expert for the Maastricht School of Management (MsM). Ms. I. Akerboom, MA, QANU staff member, was appointed secretary of the Committee. See Appendix A for the curricula vitae of the Committee members. 12 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes

13 3. Working method The first meeting of the Committee was held on November 25, During this meeting, the Committee agreed on a number of important issues such as the domain-specific framework of reference and the programmes of the site visits. The QANU Protocol had a prominent influence on its working methods. Preparation The Committee members received the self-evaluation reports (and appendices) and a selection of Master s theses from the institutes. Before each site visit the secretary of the Committee made preliminary analyses, compiled the members questions, and provided the members with additional information as necessary. Site visits In cooperation with the institutes and the Committee members, programmes for the site visits were made. The site visits took place between December 2005 and February The programmes for the site visits can be found in the appendix of each (sub)report. All visits started with a preparatory meeting, at which the Committee discussed the self-evaluation report(s) and the selection of recent theses produced by graduates of the degree course(s) to be assessed. The Committee also examined additional materials relating to the degree course(s) such as course materials. At each Institute the Committee spoke to a representative of the Institute s management team, members of programme committees (Opleidingscommissies), examination committees (Examencommissies) and members of the support staff. Separate interviews were held with staff members and students of each degree programme. The series of interviews always ended with a discussion with the Board of the Institute. The Committee then formulated its preliminary conclusions, which its chairman presented to the Institute at the end of the site visit. The Committee did not interview alumni. This was not possible because all students return home after graduation mostly to developing countries. All institutes had sufficient data from alumni surveys to provide information on their satisfaction, promotion opportunities, etc. All site visits were pleasant and inspiring. The interviews were held in an open atmosphere, and the Committee was able to verify the self-evaluation reports. Without exception we were provided with all the information requested. Decision rules In accordance with the NVAO s accreditation framework, the Committee used a scale of one to four for its assessments of the 21 facets: Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Good Excellent. The Committee s default assessment is satisfactory ; this means that the Committee did not observe anything notable or remarkable either in a positive or in a negative sense relating to that facet, or if any negative elements were present, they were clearly counterbalanced by positive elements. A facet was assessed as good if it had clear positive or remarkable elements and no negative elements. The score excellent was assigned in those cases where a degree course clearly presented an example of best practice. The Committee is aware that this approach (with satisfactory as the default assessment) may create the impression that it was not very impressed with the quality of the degree courses it assessed. It would like to stress that the main purpose of accreditation is to decide whether QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes 13

14 a degree course fulfils the criteria defined by the NVAO and not to establish how good a certain degree course is. For each of the six subjects the Committee assessed the scores for the facets. It used a scale of two in accordance with the NVAO accreditation framework: Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. Because of the relative weight of the various facets, it was possible that an unsatisfactory score for one facet could be counterbalanced by a good score for another facet in that subject. If this was the case, an indication was noted down. The Committee based its assessments on the self-evaluation reports, on other materials provided by the institutes and on the interviews conducted during the site visits. An overview of the assessments can be found in the Appendices (B). Materials The Committee examined a variety of materials during the site visits. The institutes provided: per programme the latest 25 Master s theses and where available the assessment forms; information material; study material (handbooks and syllabi, readers, study guides); examples of assignments, portfolios, research papers, trainee reports and examinations; thesis guidelines; examination guidelines; annual reports; module and programme evaluations; alumni surveys; minutes of programme committees and examination committees meetings. All institutes provided additional information upon request. Report In between site visits the secretary of the Committee prepared draft reports. They were first commented on by the chairman and the domain expert, and then by the other Committee members. The texts in reports on institutes with more than one degree programme have some overlap. This is most visible in the subjects Facilities and provisions and Quality assurance. The Committee decided to repeat these parts in each degree programme report because all programmes need their own report for accreditation. During the final meeting of the Committee, held on May 2, 2006, in Utrecht, all members discussed and agreed on the contents of the reports on the degree courses. Minor adjustments were made to facet scores after comparison with the scores in other reports. The Committee also finalised the general part of the report. After the comments put forward had been processed, the institutes received the parts of the report that applied to them. They were given the opportunity to identify possible misinterpretations and factual errors. The final versions of the degree course reports were produced in close co-operation between the chairman and the secretary of the Committee (June 2006). 14 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes

15 4. Frame of reference The domains of the Master s degree programmes of this assessment are diverse, ranging from engineering, urban development, socio-economics, politics of development, governance and sustainable development to business development and management. All programmes have a common focus on Development relevance (see paragraph Development relevance in this chapter). This framework of reference is based on the general frame of reference formulated in the QANU Protocol, input from the Committee members and from the SAIL institutes. It was accepted by the Committee during the initial meeting in November General objectives: level and orientation Level: In line with the international standards (e.g. the Dublin Descriptors all Master s graduates need: to possess a knowledge and understanding that are founded upon and extend and/or enhance that typically associated with the Bachelor s level; to be able to apply this knowledge and understanding and solve problems, in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their field of study; to have demonstrated their knowledge of current disciplinary theory and to be aware of the contemporary developments in their field of study; to have knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity for originality in developing and/or applying ideas, often within a research context; to have the ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity; to be able to formulate judgements with incomplete or limited information, including reflection on social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgements; to be able to critically assess their own results as well as those of others, and to reflect on social and ethical issues related to the application of their knowledge and understanding; to be able to communicate their conclusions, and the knowledge and rationale supporting these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously, both orally and in writing; to have the learning skills which allow them to continue to study in a manner that may be largely self-directed or autonomous. For the fields of knowledge to which these Master s objectives refer, the Committee has added the paragraph Fields of knowledge of the Master s programmes. Orientation: The degree programmes offered to the Committee for assessment are presented as scientific Master s degree programmes (MSc and MA) or professional Master s degree programmes (Master s). The Committee examined the objectives described above and concludes that they apply to graduates of both a scientific and a professional Master s degree programme. The professional Master s knowledge and skills are based on the professional profiles and/or professional competences drawn up by or in conjunction with the relevant professional field, while MSc/MA objectives are primarily based on requirements made by the academic discipline and international academic practice, although often in the framework of certain professional fields. A more detailed description of the differentiation between scientific and professional Master s programmes is given in the appendix (C). QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes 15

16 Development relevance Development relevance refers to the contribution of degree programmes to the needs of developing countries and Central and Eastern Europe, taking into account the context of globalisation and increasing international interdepence. Therefore, Master s graduates need to: have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the needs and problems of developing countries; have the ability to integrate knowledge and understanding to handle complexity of an interand multidisciplinary character and apply it to the problems in developing countries. A Master s programme that is committed to Development relevance has some features of this in all six Subjects. Subject 1. Programme objectives: Programme objectives reflect the mission of International Education: human resource development, institutional development in developing countries, and strengthening of civil society. Questions: Do the programme objectives refer to human resource development, institutional development in developing countries, and strengthening of civil society? Subject 2. Programme: The content of the degree programme and the educational concept (inter- and multidisciplinary problem focused, relation with research and institutional development projects) is geared towards the needs and problems of developing countries. The enrolment criteria and the composition of the student body reflect the mission. Questions: Is the majority of the students enrolled from developing countries? Do enrolment criteria allow for the diversity of the enrolling student population? Are the subjects covered by the programme relevant to the problems of developing countries? Is the teaching method problem-focused? Does the teaching take account of the inter- and multidisciplinary character of problems in developing countries? Subject 3. Staff input: The composition of the staff reflects the mission of International Education (nationalities and experience). Questions: What are the nationalities of the staff? Does the staff have personal experience with teaching or projects in developing countries? Subject 4. Facilities: The facilities are fitted to the demands of an international student body (grants, housing facilities, remedial courses, language, visa and travelling support, medical support, enculturation programmes). 16 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes

17 Questions: Are there particular services for foreign students: (help with the) provision of grants, support with visa applications, ticket service, the provision of housing, getting to know the Netherlands programmes/excursions, remedial courses for language skill deficiencies, medical support, multicultural dining facilities. Subject 5. Quality assurance: Assessment and evaluation criteria refer to the mission. The composition of assessment bodies reflects the mission. Questions: Do the quality assurance mechanisms evaluate whether enrolment, programme, staff, facilities and the programme-output comply with the development mission? Subject 6. Results/output: Graduates have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the needs and problems of developing countries. Graduates return to developing countries or are employed in international development agencies/organizations. Questions: Do thesis subjects relate to the problems of developing countries? Are graduates employed, either in academic work or at high level positions, in developing and transitional countries or in international development agencies and organizations? Fields of study In the next paragraphs the Committee describes each of the disciplines that is addressed in this Assessment. Water Management Water plays a vital role in sustaining life at all levels, particularly in relation to the supply of fresh water and the provision of public and environmental health, energy, food and safe habitats, in both natural and man-made environments. Fresh water is vital on land for the continuity and biodiversity of the ecosystem. Water in the atmosphere ensures that the temperature at the earth s surface is at appropriate levels for living organisms. Water is considered a strategic resource for social and economic development. Yet large numbers of people lack access to adequate drinking water and sanitation services. The growing population is increasingly at risk from floods and droughts. Such problems need to be addressed within a local and regional context that is often of a transboundary nature. On the other hand, the long-term effects of human activity on the climate have to be addressed on a global scale. The aquatic environment should be studied from three important perspectives: science that aims to understand the processes inherent in the physical environment and the consequences of proposed interventions in that environment; engineering that deals with technological solutions to manage the resource conditions in support of the human population and the ecosystem; management that is involved with the socio-economic aspects related to the sustainability of the environment as a consequence of human activity. QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes 17

18 The types of questions that should be posed include: Which processes are inherent in the aquatic environment and how are they related? Which policy and socio-economic measures are necessary or desirable to foster sustainable development and to improve living conditions? Which engineering and technological solutions can be carried out and what are their potential consequences? What are the effects of the various kinds of human activity on the aquatic environment (multi-stakeholder practices and integrated catchment management)? The relevant disciplines within the domain include the natural sciences (physics and the earth and life sciences), engineering and technology (civil engineering, agricultural engineering and informatics) and the social and behavioural sciences (policy, management and administration). Important recent developments in the field of study are related to understanding the role of water in environmental systems and the effect of human interventions in such systems leading to environmental degradation, global change and reduction in biodiversity. International benchmarks: A range of universities and research schools is engaged in fundamental research in this domain. National research organisations include WL-Delft Hydraulics, TNO Institutes, RIKZ (Rijkswaterstaat Rijksinstituut voor Kust en Zee) and RIZA (Rijksinstituut voor Integraal Zoetwaterbeheer en Afvalwaterbehandeling); international research organisations, for example the International Water Management Institute Sri Lanka and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the UK. These last two are more concerned with practical implementation and applied research. Given the wide impact on mankind in general of the way in which our water resources are managed, questions are increasingly being addressed internationally (e.g. by the Joint Research Centre of the European Community). The relevance to society at large is furthermore emphasised through fora such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the World Water Forum. Benchmarks for education are found at Wageningen University, University of Technology Delft, the Erasmus Mundus programme of the European Union, the Asian Institute of Technology and the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) in Delft. Urban Management Urban Management is an interdisciplinary field of study which has urban areas and urban societies as its main study subject. It provides a foundation for understanding the processes of urban growth, economic and social development within different political, cultural, economic and environmental contexts, as well as wider processes that influence urban development, such as globalisation. The complexity of urban development problems ask for an integrated interdisciplinary approach that applies scientific knowledge of different disciplines to relevant urban questions. In this respect, urban management for developing and transition countries draws on interdisciplinary development studies, as well as on disciplines like urban planning, civil engineering, architecture/housing, urban economics, public administration, urban sociology/anthropology and environmental science. Urban management differs from the closely related field of Urban Studies in its emphasis on the role of urban policies, management and urban governance institutions in achieving intended change. This implies a theory-linked-topractice approach in educational programmes. 18 QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes

19 The key areas and questions in Urban Management are: Public administration and urban governance: will inclusive, open, transparent and accountable decision-making to lead to sustainable urban policies? Land management, housing, and physical environment in the context of strong competition for and unequal distribution of space: Improving life quality implies a well-planned built environment where users participation, appropriate land use, infrastructure, basic public services and amenities form the basis for sustainable neighbourhood development. Urban economics: The urban productivity question is central, in view of the larger scale urban economic activities as well as income generation and employment of urban lower income groups. Urban social development: Social policies are seen in an integrated, holistic way in which the interaction between different aspects are highlighted, both at the individual and household level, through the livelihood approach, and at the city level, by linking politics, participation and organisation to the contents of social policies. The focus is on urban social development as an instrument for reducing urban poverty and social inequality. Urban environmental management: Overcrowding, unproductive travelling times on overloaded roads, air, soil, water and noise pollution and poor urban infrastructure and services negatively affect the health of inhabitants and the attractiveness of the city. The core for a Master s programme in Urban Management is to bring together the different disciplines and areas of competence, mentioned above (as a new coherent teaching domain). Interaction between beta and gamma sciences is a relatively new but necessary phenomena. International benchmarks: Specific urban studies for development are conducted and educated at various other universities, such as the Department of Development Sociology at Amsterdam Free University, The Department of Cultural Anthropology University of Leiden, the Geography Department of the University of Utrecht. Outside the Netherlands important institutions in this field are IIED (International Institute Environment and Development) with its Programme Human Settlements; The University of Birmingham; The London School of Economics; and the Technical University of Szczecin, Poland. The latter moved from in state controlled physical planning to urban management in a transitional economy. In developing countries small specialized institutions exist, such as in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Egypt. Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation deals with the concepts and methods for the collection, storage and processing of geo-spatial data, and ancillary tools and methods for the dissemination and use of these data and of services based on these data. The expertise within this discipline focuses on two types of problem areas: the management of space and resources, and the conceptual, technical, management and policy issues in geospatial data provision. A key feature of the first type is the use of geo-spatial data. Space, i.e. geographical space, is not static. Professionals in the field have to deal with dynamic spatial complexes consisting of ever changing constellations of interacting and interrelated spatial objects and phenomena. These complexes might be highly urbanized regions, rural development areas, ecological zones or whatever. The issue is that professionals have to understand the processes taking place in these complexes and then specify what spatial data are required to observe, monitor and manage the processes in a manner which will satisfy the society s development objectives for the specific locality. QANU / Assessment of Master s Degree Programmes SAIL Institutes 19

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