International Master on Public Administration and the Coordination of Transition (IMPACT)

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1 International Master on Public Administration and the Coordination of Transition (IMPACT) Final Report Public Part

2 Project information Project acronym: Project title: Project number: Sub-programme or KA: Project website: IMPACT International Master on Public Administration and the Coordination of Transition LLP NL-ERASMUS-ECDSP Erasmus Curriculum Development Reporting period: From 01/10/2008 To 30/11/2011 Report version: 1 Date of preparation: 24/01/12 Beneficiary organisation: Radboud University Nijmegen Project coordinator: Astrid Souren PhD. Project coordinator organisation: Radboud University Nijmegen Project coordinator telephone number: (0) Project coordinator address: This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein Copyright Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency. The document may be freely copied and distributed provided that no modifications are made, that the source is acknowledged and that this copyright notice is included LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 3

3 Executive Summary European states are in the midst of an era of transition in systems of public administration. Member States are faced with significant developments: welfare state reform, a globalising economy, technological innovation, demographic change, urban regeneration, Europeanization and, in the case of CEE countries (well-represented in the consortium), the transition towards a different type of regime. As a consequence, they face hard challenges with respect to their systems of public administration. It calls for a new type of public official, who retains the best qualities of the Weberian model, but is also schooled to deal with complex and changing administrative systems; trained in areas beyond the traditional public administration curriculum and with a good working knowledge of international developments, especially in the European Union. The master programme IMPACT makes students familiar with different types of challenges and disciplinary perspectives. The programme spans two years and students spend at least one semester at each of the participating universities. This truly European design sets IMPACT apart from other English-language programmes in public administration. IMPACT not only takes a broader, pan-european perspective, but also adopts a dynamic approach by focusing on processes of transition and reform in contemporary public administration, rather than on a particular set of (European or national) institutions. Students participate in a curriculum that addresses the major challenges of modern public administration. They acquire theoretical and empirical knowledge on transition and reform, develop various skills, and engage in direct interaction with government representatives and professionals in the public sphere, through seminars, excursions and projects. All partners have a combination of expertise in higher education, academic research and applied research, which means that they can offer students a thorough and varied package of instruction. By virtue of its intensive methods, its focus on key issues of contemporary European public administration, its international design, and its close contacts with stakeholders, IMPACT aims to establish a life-long learning community of professionals in public administration that work closely together to improve the quality of their field LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 4

4 Table of Contents 1. PROJECT OBJECTIVES PROJECT APPROACH PROJECT OUTCOMES & RESULTS PARTNERSHIPS PLANS FOR THE FUTURE CONTRIBUTION TO EU POLICIES TARGET GROUPS LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 5

5 1. Project Objectives The main aim of the master programme is to allow students to acquire a thorough understanding of how public policies affect outcomes and citizens in a context of changing administrative systems. This will allow them to develop well-designed policies and systemic reforms that will enhance the effectiveness and legitimacy of national and European public policies and administrative systems. We have defined the following objectives: To contribute to the development of a pool of well-qualified, open-minded and internationally experienced people as future professionals in public administration; To develop an European master programme that integrates various European approaches to public administration, in particular Western European and Central- Eastern European approaches, as well as various disciplinary perspectives; To strengthen the European dimension of the programme, by bringing various institutions from different countries and cultures together and through an explicit focus on the consequences of European Integration for national systems of public administration; To develop an integrated programme leading to a mutually recognised multiple degree; To jointly implement this programme; To facilitate the mobility of staff and students among the different institutions; To encourage the cross-national exchange of ideas and information among staff and students; To strengthen networking between professionals in public administration at the European level by facilitating and establishing a lifelong learning community for professionals in public administration LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 6

6 2. Project Approach IMPACT provides students with a profound knowledge of basic dilemmas and current developments in public administration. The programme specifically aims to provide students with the information, knowledge and skills they need to strengthen the prospects for reforms, in a context where European countries are confronted with profound changes in the position of states and with complex policy challenges such as the management of transition; welfare state reform; technological change; and European integration. Through its emphasis on processes of transition and reform, it will contribute to healing the fragmentation of current public administration curricula, which tend to be focused on specific (national or European) sets of institutions. The curriculum is designed to cover the needs of new professionals in public administration with a European orientation. Through Research Integration Seminars, staff will involve students in current research. The philosophy of the programme is that lifelong learning is best encouraged by contributing to and participating in a vibrant professional community. The intensive two-year curriculum is designed to involve not just its current students and staff, but also alumni and external stakeholders. It will facilitate the mutual exchange of ideas about and experiences with public sector reforms. IMPACT will encourage the development of professional networks among alumni and stakeholders, who will be involved in the curriculum through projects, lectures and excursions. The programme will develop electronic communication tools that will serve as interactive instruments within the programme and act as a platform on which students and staff can present their work on best practices in public administration. The consortium has started out by setting up an infrastructure for the interaction between management, staff, students and stakeholders. Key activities involved the creation of clear management guidelines and interactive communication tools. This constituted the First Milestone. The Second Milestone consisted of key activities required to develop the programme: the design of the curriculum; the development of course content, formats for assignments; the collection of necessary materials; and transparent management guidelines. The validation of the programme constituted the Third Milestone. It consisted of the accreditation of the programme, as well as a pilot year. Accreditation ensures that the master programme meets the quality for European higher education and, by extension, that students qualify for financial support. The pilot year was the first empirical valdation of the programme, allowing the management and staff to assess how plans work in practice and to adjust and improve the programme where necessary. The first evaluations of the pilot year were very positive LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 7

7 The Fourth Milestone consisted of key activities designed to strengthen the overall effectiveness and quality of the programme. In addition to external accreditation, the programme needs strong internal quality control checks to make sure that it continues to meet its high standards. These are clear internal procedures for monitoring and quality assurance, as well as the installation of an advisory board. To help students with the practical aspects of spending at least a year abroad, the programme offers guidance and support on issues of accommodation and finance. Finally, the dissemination plan has ensured that the experiences of the programme are spread beyond the consortium for the benefit of students, stakeholders and ourselves. This has included, for instance, the organization of a successful event on the development of international joint programmes LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 8

8 3. Project Outcomes & Results The first half of the curriculum development has resulted in the creation of the IMPACT curriculum. Semester one Semester two Semester three Semester four Nijmegen Budapest Ljubljana By choice Culture shock seminar (1 ECTS) Culture shock seminar (1 ECTS) Culture shock seminar (1 ECTS) Electives (12 ECTS) Core course 1: Policy analysis (6 ECTS) Comprehensive Evaluation Comparative Public Administration Public Policy Analysis Core course 2: Policy Challenges (6 ECTS) Globalisation: Information and Social Risks and Changes and Knowledge Changes Challenges Challenges in PA Core course 3: Transitions in Government Institutional Organisational Master thesis (18 ECTS) (6 ECTS) changes: Political- changes: From Multi-Level Administrative Weberian Governance Answers to Government to E- Challenges governance Electives Electives Electives (6 ECTS) (6 ECTS) (6 ECTS) Research Research Research Integration Project Integration Project Integration Project Seminar Seminar Seminar (5 ECTS) (5 ECTS) (5 ECTS) LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 9

9 This, along with the coursebook and the admission/selection procedure, is one of the principal products of our work. In addition to this, the following dissemination tools have been created: 1. The programme website ( is online and, in an attractive manner, gives prospective students information about the programme. 2. The creation of a logo and brochure for the programme. The flyer is now available. The development of the programme has helped us to learn from one another about methods of teaching, which we have extensively discussed in the course of our meeting (e.g. in relation to the use of different types of assignments). Through the use of electronic communication tools, we have made the process of sharing information more efficient. Also, the experience gained by the partners in the management and development of this partnership is very valuable. While collaboration between the partners has been quite straightforward, the administrative and organisational difficulties posed by combining four different sets of regulation (Dutch, Hungarian, Slovenian and EU) has not. We have learned a lot from this complex process LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 10

10 4. Partnerships The consortium brings together three partners who all have well-organised and successful curricula in public administration, each of which brings particular strengths to the programme. The joint result combines several disciplinary perspectives and broad expertise on the central theme of transition. Radboud University Nijmegen s contribution is offered by its Department of Political Science and Public Administration, which harbours wide expertise on issues of multi-level governance and the relationships of the state with private organisations (businesses and civil society). Corvinus University Budapest s contribution is offered by its Center for Public Affairs Foundation, which has specific expertise on issues of public policy analysis and process, political economy and public finance, which focus on transition processes in CEE countries. The University of Ljubljana s contribution is provided through Faculty of Administration, which has specific expertise on E-Government and E-Governance, strategic management and quality management in public administration. Each of the participating universities has good facilities with regard to libraries, accommodation and technical support. Each is located in an attractive city with a high quality of life and good transport connections. The coordinating staff, aside from having excellent academic reputations and international networks, maintain close contacts with their respective national governments and administrations, a quality which will be used to enrich the curriculum LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 11

11 5. Plans for the Future For the future, we have the following plans: Expansion of opportunities for students Now that we have developed the core of the programme, it is possible to increase the opportunities available to students enrolled in the programme. Steps towards this are, for example, forging and deepening links with associated partners, expanding the number of courses on offer and creating more flexibility within the programme. The sustainability of the programme will be further improved by such steps. They build upon the experiences and achievements of the curriculum development phase, which has proved valuable not only with respect to its direct output (the programme), but also as a catalyst for learning to deal with the specific issues of international joint programmes. Apply for accreditation for the overall programme Each partner has received national accreditation for their parts of the IMPACT programme. In the future, the partners will strive to jointly apply for European accreditation of the joint programme by the European Association for Public Administration Accreditation (EAPAA). However, given the innovative nature of joint international programmes, the guidelines for such an accreditation are still being developed. We have actively engaged with this discussion, e.g. through the dissemination event. Further improve the infrastructure for student support To help students with the practical aspects of spending at least a year abroad, the programme offers guidance and support on issues of accommodation and finance. In the future, we hope to make this even more effective by introducing a system of individual tutoring that allows staff to monitor individual progress and offer more tailored support if needed. Common guidelines and best practices will be developed and translated towards tailored support structures at each of the participating universities. These can build upon existing support structures for international students, but we will also examine the need for specific arrangements for the participants in IMPACT LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 12

12 6. Contribution to EU policies IMPACT addresses the key issues of contemporary public administration: the management of transition; welfare state reform; urban regeneration; technological change; and European integration. These represent both opportunities and threats to European governments. Increasingly, they are considered not only as national, but also as European problems. It is therefore important to invest in professionals who are not exclusively focused at the subnational, national or European level, but who have the knowledge and experience to establish connections and exchange knowledge where necessary. Students are acquainted with the state of the art of the knowledge (theoretical and empirical) on these issues and will be made familiar with different perspectives on how to approach them. This not only contributes to the quality of European public administration, but also strengthens the mutual exchange between academic research and professional practice. The long-term impact will be to contribute to a European professional community in the field of public administration, one that does not exclusively focus on national or European issues, but bridges the various administrative layers and facilitates crossnational learning. This will contribute to more effective policies and administrative practices. The indirect benefits of this are great, as the programme contributes to sound public administration and stronger links within the European multi-governance system. Set against potential savings in the costs of inefficient or ineffective administration, and of coordination between administrative levels, the investment in this international master programme has been a bargain. The programme adds to the number and quality of truly international joint programmes, increasing the opportunity for master students to get immersed in an international training experience and familiarise themselves with international eduction procatices and cultural diversity. Finally, the creation of a fully integrated teaching programme hits various regulatory obstacles, having to accommodate the rules and procedures of three universities, three countries, and the European Union itself. This has required an immense investment of time and energy, drawing upon the consortium s creativity and endurance. This effort, which we are tempted to describe as Herculean, contributes directly to the European Union s objective to encourage the internationalisation of higher education. As noted previously, we have invested in the dissemination of these experiences LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 13

13 7. Target Groups The target group of this programme are students with a bachelor or national master degree in Public Administration, with an interest in developing their knowledge and experience at the international level. These can be both students who come straight from another university programme and those who already have a number of years working experience. Their main needs are related to developing knowledge, skills and networks. Key insights from past and contemporary research in public administration need to be passed on to future professionals. Yet it is important not simply to have theoretical knowledge of administrative processes, but also to know how to acquire local knowledge. Professionals in public administration must be able to understand the needs and perspectives of citizens and distant professional counterparts. Many problems in public administration are due to fragmentation and ignorance of what is happening elsewhere. An awareness of diversity and multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural perspectives is crucial to making the entire system work effectively. This is why there is also investment in networking across national boundaries and across administrative levels, allowing the future professionals to build up contacts that encourage learning and facilitate the exchange of knowledge. In addition, developing and implementing the programme has enhanced knowledge and understanding of the diversity of educational systems and practices amongst teachers and administrative staff at the respective universities. Another target group of the programme consists of organisations in public administration, who will not only benefit from high-quality graduates, but who will also be involved in the curriculum itself as stakeholders of the programme (e.g. through excursions, guest lectures and events) LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 14

14 LLP NL-ERASMUS-EMCDSP 15

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