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Basic information about the JMC Project

Objectives of the JMC Project

The Jean Monnet Chair Project on “Economic Policies of the EU” (in continuation Project) is aimed at engaging the target public, which mostly consists of domestic and foreign SEB LU students, but also others, including academia and media, about recent developments in EU economic policies in order to improve understanding of contemporary issues in EU economic integration and stimulate contributions of the target public and the project team to EU related research and public debate.

The first objective of the Project is to significantly improve the quality of existing courses in EU economic policies and international finance, which also include EU macro finance topics. Before the Project was launched, UL was running these courses for its Bologna students for several years. The courses were offered at UL members SEB LU and Faculty of Social Sciences, and as modular courses in Kosovo and Montenegro. Some of these courses were elective, however, each year close to 300 students participated in them, resulting in a relatively wide coverage of the population. The main tasks of the Project with respect to quality improvement are to initiate a continuous circle of curriculum upgrades for the courses in order to include contemporary issues and challenges to EU economic policies and to improve and integrate research, two-way communication and discussion of these issues with the target public into the courses and the wider public debate. Quality improvement also requires a feedback loop that allows the success of these changes to be checked ex post.

The second objective of the Project is to raise the profile of the courses, mentioned above, among foreign and domestic students as well as students from other fields than social sciences and students with special status. The main task with respect to this objective is to inform better and in a systematic way all incoming students about advantages of improved knowledge of contemporary issues and research skills related to EU economic integration, both for the advancement of their professional careers as well as their personal lives.

The third objective of the Project is to contribute to better pedagogic, academic and media coverage of new challenges and recent developments in the field of European integration. This implies giving more emphasis in teaching, in-class and out-of-class student work to new topics, as well as focusing research activities of the project team and of the students participating in these courses to contemporary issues in EU economic integration processes. The Project also implies increased involvement of the Project team in the academic debate on these subjects as well as in a dialogue with media and interested public in general.

Methodology of the JMC Project

The objectives, described above, will be achieved through several channels.

First, by providing sufficient flexibility in the course curriculum (i.e. 20-30 percent of lectures or seminars each year) to allow continuous development of new and upgrading of existing course topics in EU economic policies in Slovene and English language tracks by the project team, with a view of covering up-to-date issues.

Second, by improving significantly teaching methods through organization of computer seminars, student research seminars, simulations of EU budget negotiations and integration of high quality guest lecturers into the courses. Computer seminars will give students an overview of relevant information resources for intensive EU research. Research seminars will enable them to search actively for answers to contemporary EU economic policies issues and also to discuss and critically assess outputs presented by their peers. These discussions will be moderated in class by the Project team with the aim of pursuing the highest standards of academic discourse. Research seminars will also serve as a testbed for inclusion of new course topics into the mainstream lectures for the following year. In-class work (simulation of EU budget negotiations) will serve as a role-playing example aimed at acquainting students with the working of EU institutions. Guest lectures will allow students to have direct contact with practitioners of European integration.

Third, by random sample external evaluation of student outputs for quality control and by allowing students to critically assess and make suggestions about the course at the end of the semester. Recommendations from both sources will be taken into account in the next cycle of course upgrades.

Fourth, by promoting actively the courses among students during the so called “orientation week”, prior to the start of each semester. 3-cycle Bologna programmes adopted by UL members and Slovenian and English language tracks will allow enrolment of multidisciplinary and international students. Physical infrastructure at SEB LU headquarters (easy access ramps and elevators) also enables students with physical disabilities to attend courses. Special courses will be offered to part time students (adult education) who cannot participate in regular courses due to their employment status and work schedule.

And fifth, by dissemination of the Project team's academic research in workshops, roundtables, conferences and scientific publications, and through participation in the general public debate. The Project team will continue to cooperate with the Slovenian government on new topics related to EU integration as well as with other stakeholders, including EU institutions, think-tanks, research institutes, interested public and individuals. A special seminar for journalists is envisaged to promote understanding of EU integration processes.

Expected impact of the JMC Project

The proposed activities under this Project will have an impact on three groups of stakeholders: (1) students, (2) academic professionals, (3) other stakeholders, including media and the interested public.

Students will be the prime target group. Teaching activities will involve some 200-250 students per year enrolled into courses offered by UL (mostly at SEB LU, but also at the Faculty of Social Sciences). These will be primarily students from Slovenia, but a significant number of students will come also from other EU member states and non-EU countries (full time and Erasmus exchange students). In addition, some 70 non-EU students per year, enrolled at programmes in Kosovo and Montenegro, will also be involved in module courses of EU economic policies. Participation at courses will allow students to fully comprehend the depth and complexity of European economic integration and to prepare them for their professional careers, both in the private and public sectors, at national and international (including EU) level. As an outcome of the Project, students will also obtain a very good understanding of the decision making processes, institutional and legal characteristics of the EU. Students will acquire information and skills for independent research of contemporary EU topics. Significantly improved teaching methods should stimulate students’ interest and promote their active participation. Considering all this, students will be very well positioned to continue studies of European economic integration at field specific programmes offered by other EU academic institutions. The Project will also systematically transfer information and knowledge about EU economic policies to students from South Eastern Europe. Some of these students could assume important positions in the administration and business community of their respective countries in the future, and thus actively participate in their countries’ EU accession process.

Academic professionals will be reached through regular academic discourse, including publications by the Project team, presentation of research at seminars, workshops and conferences. Such events will enable active interaction and two-way communication of ideas about contemporary issues in EU economic integration between the Project team and the international research community. This will serve to improve the research output of the Project team and to integrate key research findings into both, the courses (impact on students) and the public debate (impact on interested public and media).

Other stakeholders, including the interested public, will be affected through involvement of the Project team in the public debate and cooperation with national and EU institutions, think-tanks, research institutions, and media on EU related topics.

Duration of the JMC Project

Between September 2012 and August 2015

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