Haagse Hogeschool. Master International Communication Management

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1 Haagse Hogeschool Master International Communication Management Netherlands Quality Agency (NQA) Utrecht, May 2010

2 2/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

3 Management information This is the assessment report of the master of International Communication Management (MICM) degree programme offered by Haagse Hogeschool. In this report Netherlands Quality Agency (NQA) gives account of its findings, considerations and conclusions. The assessment was undertaken according to the NQA-Protocol 2010 for hbo master s degrees in compliance with Dutch education legislation. This report concerns: Institution Haagse Hogeschool Degree programme Master International Communication Management MICM Delivery mode(s) Fulltime and part-time Croho-number (ISAT) Site Den Haag Date(s) of site visit(s) 16 March 2010 Audit team Drs. Rutger-Jan Schoen (representative profession/discipline) Dr. Rik Riezebos (representative profession/discipline) Leonie Redder BPA (student member audit team) Drs. Roelien van Empel (NQA-auditor) Drs. János Betkó (junior NQA-auditor) Haagse Hogeschool/The Hague University for Applied Sciences (THU) submitted a file to NQA for the assessment of their existing professional master degree programme International Communication Management (MICM). This file was a critical reflection on the degree programme as required by the NQA Protocol-2010 hbo master s degrees. To assess the quality and the level of the existing programme NQA composed an audit team. This team complies with the NVAO s requirements *. This team studied the critical reflection and had a site visit to the institution. The audit team came to a well-considered assessment about the degree programme based on the critical reflection and the other information (oral and written). Summary Theme Aims and objectives The audit team finds that MICM s final qualifications correspond with the requirements set by the international professional field. The requirements are based on input from and discussion with the international professional field. The final qualifications adequately comply with the Dublin descriptors at master s level. As a result, the audit team assesses Aims and objectives as positive. Summary Theme Curriculum The professional orientation of the programme is up to standard and the curriculum of the programme covers all the programme s objectives. The programme is consistent and the study load is in order. The admission criteria and procedures are sufficient and the * NVAO - Netherlands Flemish Accreditation Organisation charged with execution of Dutch accreditation legislation. NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management 3/61

4 requirement for 60 EC for a master programme is met. The educational concept and the means of assessment comply with the learning objectives of MICM. The audit team assessed all standards positively and as a result finds the theme Curriculum positive. Summary Theme Staff All standards are assessed as satisfactory or good and as a result the theme Staff is positive. The audit team concluded that MICM s tutor-team is well able to link their programme to professional practice. The required staff-student ratio is met and staff is adequately qualified in their fields of expertise. Summary Theme Services The audit team considers material facilities to be well fitted for the programme. The tutoring and information provisions are assessed to be adequate to help students in their study and to correspond with the needs of students. As a result, the audit team assesses Services as positive. Summary Theme Internal Quality Assurance The audit team saw proof of systematic evaluations by MICM. An impressive number of improvements were made in the past years, based on various evaluations. All stakeholders are actively involved in the quality assurance system. All standards are assessed positively and therefore the theme Internal quality assurance system is positive. Summary Theme Results The achieved learning outcomes correspond with the aims of MICM. The percentage of students successfully completing the programme generally is in line with the aims set by the programme management. As a result, the audit team assesses Results as positive. The NQA audit team concludes that the quality and the level of the existing professional master s degree programme complies with the required quality. A substantiation of this conclusion is to be found in Chapter 2. 4/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

5 Contents 1 Basic data 7 2 Assessments and Conclusion Aims and objectives Curriculum Staff Services Internal quality assurance system Results 35 3 Annexes 39 Annex 1: Expertise of the Members of the Audit Team 41 Annex 2: Statement of Independence by the Members of the Audit Team 47 Annex 3 Programme for the Site Visit 53 Annex 4: Documents made available 55 Annex 5: Documents regarding the professional profile and domain objectives of the programme 56 Annex 6: Match between final qualifications and Dublin descriptors 60 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management 5/61

6 6/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

7 1 Basic data The basic data of the existing hbo-master degree programme MICM: 1. Name of the institution Haagse Hogeschool / The Hague University of Applied Sciences 2. Status of the institution Academy of Masters & Professional Courses / MICM programme is Niet Bekostigd (non-funded, commercial education). 3. name degree programme in Master International Communication Management MICM CROHO 4. Registration number in CROHO Orientation and level Hbo master 6. Amount of European Credits 60 EC 7. Specializations Communication 8. Site(s) The Hague 9. Code of conduct for support of non-eu students Haagse Hogeschool has signed the Dutch higher education "Code of Conduct for International Students". 10. Delivery mode(s) Full-time (one year) and part-time (two years) 11. Profile degree programme MICM is an English language professional master (practice-oriented / Applied Sciences) programme that takes the broad approach of communication ( integrated communication ), trying to establish a so-called helicopter view. To this end, the programme is built on three communication pillars: Corporate, Internal, and Marketing Communication. The programme integrates these three aspects; all modules approach communication from an international and intercultural perspective. 12. Intended professional environment 13. Position degree programme in organisation structure MICM prepares students for careers in communication management and consultancy positions for international organisations. MICM helps graduates to develop the skills to manage integrated communication in an international context, and/or to offer specialist advice at a consultancy agency. Based on the professional qualifications of the Dutch Association for Communication (Logeion), MICM s vision is that graduates first continue to work at a high level B (Junior Communication Consultant) with the newlyacquired MICM knowledge, judgement and learning skills and with some hands-on practical work experience they should transition relatively quickly into level C (Senior Communication Consultant). MICM is one of six English-language hbo masters offered at the Haagse Hogeschool, provided by the Academy (department) of Masters & Professional Courses (M&PC). NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management 7/61

8 14. Date previous assessment and accreditation decision NVAO 15. Relevant changes in degree programme since previous assessment Site visit: 28 June 2004 Previous NVAO - report: 23 September 2004 Initial accreditation: December 2004 * Split with Hogeschool Utrecht (no longer joint programme) * Now managed within the Haagse Hogeschool by Academy of Masters & Professional Courses, not by European Studies (academy HEBO) * Admissions criteria tightened (levels of English and previous work experience increased) * Complete curriculum overhaul with new modules * Study Trip no longer offered (as NVAO advised) * Enhanced balance between internal and external tutors (as NVAO advised) * Final qualifications defined (as NVAO advised) * Ongoing implementation of Quality control system (now within the context of the newly created Quality Handbook of Academy M&PC) 16. Structure degree programme Curriculum is divided into 5 phases (time periods): Phase 1: Communication & Management Skills Module for Trainings: Intercultural Communication, Business Writing, Consulting Skills Phase 2: Communication Research Module Corporate Communication Module Communication & Management Skills Module for Training: Media Training Phase 3: Culture & Communication Module Internal Communication Module Communication & Management Skills Module for Training: Project Management Phase 4: Specialisations Module Marketing Communication Module Communication & Management Skills Module for Training: Self-Management Skills Phase 5: Advice Report (final project/thesis) 8/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

9 2 Assessments and Conclusion The audit team comes to the following assessments and conclusions regarding the degree programme: Theme Conclusion Standards Assessments 1 Aims and objectives POSITIVE 1.1 Domain specific requirements 1.2 Level 1.3 Professional orientation (hbo) 2 Curriculum POSITIVE 2.1 Requirements for professional orientation (hbo) 2.2 Correspondence between the aims and objectives and the curriculum 2.3 Consistency of the curriculum Full-time Part-time 2.4 Study load 2.5 Admission requirements 2.6 Credits 2.7 Coherence of structure and contents 2.8 Learning assessment 3 Staff POSITIVE 3.1 Requirements for professional orientation (hbo) 3.2 Quantity of staff 3.3 Quality of staff 4 Services POSITIVE 4.1 Facilities 4.2 Tutoring 5 Internal quality assurance system POSITIVE 5.1 Periodical evaluations 5.2 Measures for improvement 5.3 Involvement 6 Results POSITIVE 6.1 Achieved learning outcomes 6.2 Study progress satisfactory good satisfactory good satisfactory good satisfactory satisfactory satisfactory complies satisfactory satisfactory good satisfactory satisfactory good satisfactory good good satisfactory satisfactory good The audit team concluded that the quality and the level of the existing professional master s programme of International Communication Management meet the required quality. Therefore the audit team recommends the NVAO to award accreditation. In the following sections the audit team describes its findings, considerations and conclusions concerning the themes and standards. Each section concludes with a summary. NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management 9/61

10 2.1 Aims and objectives Domain specific requirements (standard 1.1) The intended learning outcomes of the programme correspond with the requirements set by professional colleagues, both nationally and internationally and the relevant domain concerned (subject/discipline and/or professional practice). Findings The master programme in International Communication Management (MICM) is an English language professional programme that aims to prepare students for careers in communication management and for consultancy positions in international organisations. MICM aims are that students develop the skills to manage integrated communication in an international context or to offer specialist advice at a consultancy agency. Therefore, MICM aims to establish a helicopter view of communication management and to teach students to focus on specific areas of communication. Graduates need to be skilled in analyzing communication issues and the international, organisational and corporate cultures and strategies involved. The final qualifications are presented in annex 5 of this report. The international claims of MICM s aims are evident from comparison with other master programme s in Europe, such as the master programme of Public Relations (i.e. Lugano) and the master programme of Strategic Communication (Lancashire): the aims largely correspond. MICM had a survey before the initial accreditation in 2004, in order to map the national competition. MICM found that THU is the only institution in The Netherlands to offer a master s degree programme on a profile like Logeion s. The programme s aims were defined in collaboration with MICM s Advisory Board, external advisors and the lecturing team, in compliance with the standards and the professional profiles of professional associations in the communication field, combined in Logeion. The programme primarily builds on the bachelor degree in communication of The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THU). That programme qualifies bachelor students for the LOCO-requirements, LOCO being the Dutch national congress of communication programmes in higher professional education. LOCO-members include directors, managers and co-ordinators from all registered professional communication programmes in the Netherlands. At the 2005 Congress LOCO members agreed that graduates of hbo-bachelor programmes should be equipped to work at the Logeion B-level as described below. The current Logeion professional profiles (in: Beroepsniveauprofielen communication management, 2002) define professional levels in four categories: - Level A: Assistant communication employee - Level B: Communication employee/ Junior Communication consultant - Level C: Senior communication employee/ Senior Communication consultant - Level D: Communication manager. 10/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

11 MICM aims that students enter the programme at level B and that during the programme they gain the necessary skills and knowledge to work at a higher level. After graduation, whilst gaining further work experience and whilst consolidating their learning, graduates should eventually be able to work at level C. In the set up of the final qualifications for MICM, level C is therefore taken as a benchmark and consequently, MICM aims to develop the skills and competencies necessary for graduates to progress more quickly to more senior communications roles. The Logeion-qualifications that relate to the professional profiles for level C are structured in six categories: - Knowledge of Communication - Communication strategy - Relevant fields of expertise - Internal and external environment - Personal and professional skills - Realisation Level D can only be achieved with significant work experience and seniority and is not considered to be a realistic objective for the MICM programme. The final qualifications of MICM have largely remained unchanged since the start of the programme in At that time, MICM was offered jointly by THU and the Hogeschool Utrecht. MICM s External Advisory Board suggested some minor changes in , when the MICM-collaboration between THU and Hogeschool Utrecht was discontinued. The final qualifications were adapted accordingly: - The Advisory Board indicated that the relationship between communication and other disciplines, such as HRM, was too implicit. These links were made more explicit. - The Advisory Board pointed out that the focus on up-to-date knowledge of the area of expertise and of society needed strengthening. New media was also considered to be an area that needed more attention. This was corrected in the terms of the qualifications. - The Advisory Board indicated that cross-cultural differences and intercultural management need to be dealt with explicitly. This is reflected in the learning objectives for the module on Culture and Communication. An updated version of the final qualifications is expected in 2010, after the new Logeion professional profiles are released, also in MICM plans to conduct an employers-survey in in order fine-tune this planned revision of the programme s aims. Competitor Analysis The MICM-management considers the programme to cater for a niche in the market, due to a combination of aspects. E.g., it is practical, it covers Corporate, Internal and Marketing Communication, it recruits young professionals and it is in English: - Academic vs. Practical: Most communication masters are of an academic character or focus on a specific field of communication, such as the University of Amsterdam s Communication Science programme or the University of Twente s Applied Communication Science programme. As these programmes focus mainly NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management 11/61

12 on theoretical issues, they can not really be compared directly to MICM which has both theoretical and practical objectives. - Scope: Some master s programmes in Europe take a similar practice-oriented approach, such as the above mentioned master programmes. These programmes differ significantly of MICM in that they either focus on one specific field of communication or do not include the international perspective in their scope. - Target Group: Another factor which differentiates other Master programmes from MICM is the target group. E.g. the programmes Corporate Communications and Brand Management (offered by Rotterdam School of Management) are aimed at a more expensive segment and target professionals with relatively high levels of work experience. - English: MICM is in English and has an international approach to communication management in that it focuses e.g. on international corporations or NGOs. Considerations The Logeion standards offer a convincing set of qualifications for professionals in international communication management. Dutch bachelor-programmes in communication accept Logeion s standards. MICM s finals qualifications correspond with the expectations of the (international) professional field. The audit team was pleased to find that MICM will review their final qualifications when the revised Logeion standards are released later this year. Conclusion These considerations lead to the audit team s assessment satisfactory for standard 1.1. Master Level (standard 1.2) The intended learning outcomes of the programme correspond with the general, internationally accepted descriptions of a master s qualification. Findings International communication professionals work in a complex international and crosscultural setting, demanding that they can reflect and learn independently throughout their careers. This requires a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of communication issues and more sophisticates skills than is focused on in the Dutch bachelor programmes in communication (which are also partly designed on Logeionprofiles). MICM-graduates need to have more highly developed abilities to think critically and to reflect widely and intensely than bachelor-graduates. MICM takes the Dublin descriptors as the international standard to define the master level. The table in Annex 6 shows how each of the Dublin descriptors is addressed in the final qualifications. Considerations The audit team considers it evident that MICM s final qualifications comply adequately with the master s level as defined in the Dublin descriptors. 12/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

13 Conclusion These considerations lead to the audit team s assessment of good for standard 1.2. Professional orientation (standard 1.3) The intended learning outcomes are also based on the professional profiles and/or professional competencies drawn up by (or in collaboration with) the relevant professional field. A professional master (hbo-master) has the qualifications at the level of an independent and/or managerial professional in a profession or professional field, or the level required to function adequately in a multidisciplinary environment for which professional higher education is required or useful. Findings As described above, MICM s final qualifications are based on the professional profiles as defined by the Association for Communication - Logeion. These qualifications were reviewed, accepted and further specified by MICM s external Advisory Board. The members of the Advisory Board discussed the programme s aims. The audit team interviewed a member of the Board, studied the minutes of the Board and found that the Board accepts the professional profiles as representative for the needs of the professional field. Discussions at Euprera (European Public Relations & Research Association) indicate that Logeion s profiles are well received by professionals in other European countries. MICM was developed to comply with level C in Logeion s professional profiles. MICM aims at students with a relevant bachelor s degree, with working experience in Communication experience at A/B level (c.f. 2.5). Whilst studying at MICM they can develop their competencies on the scale of professional profiles towards level C. Graduates will continue their work at a high level B with their newly-acquired MICM knowledge, judgement- and learning skills and within a few years of practical work experience they should be able to transition into level C. The audit team saw signs that MICM reaches this aim, through information about the career paths of graduates. MICM trains students for management and consultancy in communication at a strategic level in an international environment. This qualification exceeds that of the aims of bachelor programmes, where students are not expected to develop this master level of reflection, knowledge and critical thinking to be able to offer independent, strategic advice. Graduates interviewed by the audit team confirmed that they made considerable progress in their year of studying at MICM and now function at level B/C. According to the graduates, their employers hold the same opinion, as was supported by one of the employers whom the audit team interviewed after the site visit. Considerations MICM s qualifications are based on the Logeion-profiles, defined by the international professional field and implemented in the programme in discussion with representatives of MICM s External Advisory Board. The graduates and employers interviewed by the audit NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management 13/61

14 team support the view of the management that the programme enables graduates to work at Logeion s C level, after gaining additional experience. The audit team is convinced that graduates will be communication professionals at master s level. Conclusion These considerations lead to the audit team s assessment of satisfactory for standard 1.3. Summary Theme Aims and objectives The audit team finds that MICM s final qualifications correspond with the requirements set by the international professional field. The requirements are based on input from and discussion with the international professional field. The final qualifications adequately comply with the Dublin descriptors at master s level. As a result, the audit team assesses Aims and objectives as positive. 2.2 Curriculum Requirements for professional orientation (standard 2.1) Students develop their knowledge through the study of professional literature, by the study of materials derived from the professional practice and by interaction with the professional field and/or (applied) research. The curriculum has verifiable links with current developments in the professional field/the discipline. The curriculum ensures the development of professional competences and has verifiable links with current professional practice. Findings MICM uses literature, study material, cases and training courses that provide a link with professional practice. The reading list is up to date and covers the main themes in international communication. Recent articles are used as supplementary literature. The reading list is part of student module evaluations and is reviewed annually in order to keep up with current developments in the discipline and in professional practice. The course manager decides on the reading list, advised by the teachers. The audit team found the reading list to be fitting for the discipline and the master level and adequately up-to-date. Use of relevant literature is a graded criterion in the assessment of written assignments. Several measures are taken to stimulate students to read extra literature. E.g. students must prove by referencing that they have read the literature required for this module and that they have searched for, and read, additional literature. A number of teachers practice professionally on a part-time basis and make suggestions for new themes based on real-life situations. As a result of such suggestions over the past two years, the curriculum became more emphasised on 14/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

15 subjects as internal branding, change management, corporate social responsibility and internet marketing. Classes and lectures deal with current examples from practice. A main task of the Advisory Board is to advise the programme management on new developments and current topics in international communications, both in the professional field and within the discipline. This may concern specific cases or a suggestion for introduction of a new theme into the curriculum. Decisions on adapting the curriculum according to new developments are taken by the course manager. A recent example is the introduction of the specialization Social Media. Students are instructed in research methods and approaches and conduct empirical or applied research in communications practice for their assignments. Students work with several real-life cases in all modules. They work with a client organisation in the second half of their studies (see below). Throughout their studies students analyze business cases and consider the implications for communication professionals operating in a business environment. In their final work, the Advisory Report, they also consider international implications, e.g. when considering the most appropriate research design and the feasible solutions. Modern case studies are highlighted in lectures by guest speakers. Each year, MICM invites some ten guest speakers, both in business communication and public communication. Students are trained in six professional skills, which they practice in a classroom situation. They are: - intercultural communication skills - consulting skills - business writing - media training - project management - self-management skills These skills are taught in a skills module that is spread out over the entire programme. Skill practice is part of all modules. Skills are an aspect in the structural evaluation cycle. For instance, project management and business writing were added when evaluations of both students and tutors indicated that these skills were not sufficiently addressed in the curriculum (2008). Research skills are addressed in a specific module (c.f. standard 2.2). Students must find their own client organisation as selection is seen as a task in itself, a mirror of the real world in communication business where consultants need to find their own clients. If necessary, MCIM supports individual students in this selection process. The current support that is given starts with an instructional document which includes the types of organisations that students should look for in a client (for example, it should have an international aspect and at least 50 employees). It is a framework and guideline. This document is given out two months before the programme starts. In case of doubt about their potential client, students can speak to MICM tutors and the Course Manager to ensure they meet the criteria, and receive other tips and ideas. NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management 15/61

16 In one-on-one coaching sessions, students receive specific assistance from the tutor about any occurring client issues. Foreign students can use a client organisation from their own country. Part-time students use their own organisation as client organisation. If necessary, a student may change to another client organisation, e.g. in case the client organisation proves to be unable to offer sufficiently adequate projects or sufficient support. MICM assists and tutors students in their contacts with their client. Students must complete projects for their clients in all three communication areas: Corporate Communication, Internal Communication and Marketing Communication. In preparation for this work, students are offered a two-day training on Consulting Skills at the beginning of the academic year, in which they are taught how to act as Communication consultants, such as business etiquette, getting the most out of meetings, what kind of questions can best be asked to get the most information. The thesis, which is a Communication Advisory Report, is a real advice for a student s client organisation (see also standard 2.7). For this thesis, students conduct empirical or practical research and apply the results to an issue in their client organisation. Considerations The audit team took into consideration that students learn their professional skills through interaction with the professional field, largely in close combination with the client organisations, for which they do their three projects and their final thesis, in the form of an advice. The audit team was pleased to find that students can change their client organisation during the study, specifically as this may address any difficulties that a student meets in dealing with a client organisation. From the interviews with alumni and the professional field, the audit team concluded that the number of guest lectures increased these past years, which is helpful for strengthening the link with the professional field. Conclusion These considerations lead to the audit team s assessment of satisfactory for standard 2.1. Correspondence between the aims and objectives and the curriculum (standard 2.2) The curriculum is an adequate realization of the intended learning outcomes of the programme and this regards the level, the orientation and the subject-/discipline-specific requirements. The intended learning outcomes are adequately transferred into the educational goals of the curriculum or parts thereof. The contents of the curriculum ensure the students achievement of the intended learning outcomes. Findings MICM consists of eight modules, including the final assignment that takes the form of an advisory report. One module consists of trainings in professional skills, see also standard 2.1. Three are communication management modules that are case or 16/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

17 simulation based. They are Corporate Communications, Internal Communications and Marketing Communications. The other four modules focus on the client organisation and consist of Communication Research, Culture and Communication, Communication Specializations and finally the Communication Advice, which is the final thesis for the students. The learning objectives of all modules are derived from the final qualifications. The audit team found an overview in the SER showing the connection between the final qualifications and the learning objectives of the modules. All final qualifications are covered in at least three modules. The matrix also describes at what point in the curriculum the difficulty level is increased (according to the Logeion profiles). As mentioned in facet 1.2, the final qualifications are related to the Dublin descriptors. The audit team found that attention should be given to theory and practice of integrated project cycle management and log frame planning, which are standard in project management in international consultancy and development organisations. Also, the audit team found that the marketing communication module could include a larger communication and advertising component. At the time of the site visit, this module did not so much focus on communication as on other aspects of marketing. All modules offer both a theoretical and a practical component, aiming at an adequate balance of theory and practice. The students that the audit team spoke with were content with this balance. Considerations The audit team found that the MICM curriculum is adequate in view of the intended learning outcomes. The topic of research is adequately dealt with, both concerning methods and skills, there is a large skills component and the main subjects for international communication management are covered. On the other hand, the audit team felt that more focus on strategic planning and policy development is needed to strengthen theory and skills in communication advice for graduates. In forming their assessment, the audit team considered that the management is already addressing this issue, by way of preparing to introduce a series of guest lectures on communications consultancy and for strengthening the strategic level in the modules. Conclusion These considerations lead to the audit team s assessment of satisfactory for standard 2.2. Consistency of the curriculum (standard 2.3) The contents of the curriculum are internally consistent. Findings The consistency of the programme is supported in three distinct learning lines: - Practical training courses in communication and management skills to develop the required core skills. NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management 17/61

18 - Domains of international communication management focusing on specific knowledge and understanding of key disciplines within the international communication management field. - Perspectives on international communication management provided through research, culture and communication and specialisation modules. All study components in these three lines are sequential: modules are offered once per year. The six training courses of the Trainings & Personal Development module are spread out over the year. The skills that students will need during the entire programme are taught first, e.g. Inter Cultural Communication Skills and Writing Skills. Other skills are taught later, like Project Management and Self-Management. The three Communication Management Modules, which are case, or simulation, based, are sequential. The audit team agrees with the position of the course management and the teaching staff that the build-up in the programme is logical, e.g. the module Corporate Communications is offered before Internal Communications, the latter being hard to understand without knowledge of the former. The client focussed modules are also sequential. Communication Research is a necessary first. Students final work is the thesis, in the form of an advisory report which must contain research elements. In their advisory reports students show that they can combine these three learning lines. Also, it must take international and intercultural issues into account and focus on one or more specific communication domains. Students must prove that they have monitored and understood trends and developments in their specific areas. In order to complete the advisory report, a student must first submit a research proposal. A student can only work on his thesis when the tutor has accepted that proposal. Part-time curriculum The part-time curriculum is less consistent than the full time curriculum. Part-time students join the full-time students in several modules, but their study load is spread out over two years. At times this conflicts with the sequentiality in the modules as parttime students take the modules in a different order. However, the part-time student whom the audit team interviewed did not feel this to be an obstacle to the consistency of the programme. Considerations The audit team concludes that the programme is built up logically and consistently. The level increases over the year, theory and practice are spread out over the year and the skills that are needed first in the programme are trained first. Given the fact that part-time students study the programme over two years, they cannot benefit from the sequentiality of the programme. According to the part time student whom the audit team interviewed, the programme management is available to help overcome any obstacles. 18/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

19 Conclusion These considerations lead to the audit team s assessment of good for standard 2.3 for the full-time programme. These considerations lead to the audit team s assessment of satisfactory for standard 2.3 for the part-time programme. Study load (standard 2.4) The curriculum can be successfully completed within the set time, as certain programmerelated factors that may be an impediment in view of study progress are eliminated where possible. Findings The full-time curriculum is months, with forty weeks of classes. In practice, students study over forty-two weeks per year as they finalize their Advisory Reports in July and August. Most full-time students are non-dutch. Full-time students have two days per week of 6 contact hours and 28 hours of self-tuition. cohort total NL Non-NL FT students FT students FT students 1 29 The part-time curriculum runs for 24 months, with eighty weeks of classes. Part-time students have one day weekly at THU of 6 contact hours and generally weekly need some 14 hours of self-tuition. The study load is expressed in study credits, in which 1 EC stands for 28 study load hours (SLH). The general principles in defining study load are: - All hours of a teaching session count as SHL - Ten pages of literature count for one SHL - A limited assignment of four pages counts for 14 SHL - A larger assignment of 5000 words counts for 70 SHL - Some meetings call for extra preparation time: this time is defined in SHL. According to the programme management and the students, the study is spread evenly over the year. In the module evaluations students are asked about the extent to which their true study load complies with the teacher s estimate, so that MICM can adapt the workload in the module for the next cohort if necessary. Students told the audit team that the programme is intensive, but not too much so and that they wouldn t have it any other way. Full-time students feel that it is not possible to have a part-time job next to the programme. For some students in earlier cohorts the relationship with their client organisations proved to be an obstacle for study progress. MICM found that changing priorities within client organisations or misalignment of student/client interests had led to delay in study progress for these students. To help overcome this problem, students are now allowed to change client organisation during the programme (c.f. standard 2.1). NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management 19/61

20 In former cohorts, study progress was slow in the months that students finalized their Advisory Reports. To address this matter, MICM introduced phased planning components so that students can have a clear sense of direction and a concrete plan before they start on the research and report writing. The main reasons for dropping out are personal problems, generally not related to MICM. The second most common reason for dropping out was a low level of English. This was addressed by more precise monitoring of the intake-requirements (c.f. standard 2.5). The audit team found that most tutors allow students who failed a module to continue with the rest of the programme, disregarding the sequential nature of the programme. The Programme Management and the tutors make such decisions based on the self responsibility of the participants, who are all mature masters students. In the summer months students work individually on their thesis, with little support from their tutors. According to programme management, in this phase of their study, master students should be able to work on their own (c.f. 4.2). Tutors told the audit team that in case a student would need help, they would available to this student, e.g. by telephone should the tutor be away on vacation. Considerations The audit team concludes that the programme can be successfully completed within the scheduled time. The programme is demanding, but students are content with that. The audit team accepts this, in view of the age and level of the students. Conclusion These considerations lead to the audit team s assessment of satisfactory for standard 2.4. Admission requirements (standard 2.5) The structure and contents of the intended curriculum are in line with the qualifications of the incoming students: - Master s programme (hbo-master): a bachelor s degree and possibly a selection (with a view on the contents of the discipline) Findings The admission procedures are listed on MICM s website, on the application form and in the MICM Student Guide. Applicants fill in the application form, which includes an overview of the subjects they studied, their work experience and their motivation to study MICM. They must answer four essay questions: about their motivation for this degree programme and their experience with corporate, internal and marketing communication. Based on this information, the programme management decides whether an applicant is suitable for MICM in that he or she can successfully complete the curriculum. The programme manager interviews suitable candidates by telephone, to verify that the applicant has a realistic view of MICM and has a sufficient level of English. This telephone interview is 20/61 NQA - audit Haagse Hogeschool, existing HBO-Master International Communication Management

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