CIVICA, an alliance of 10 renowned European universities, of which CEU is a part, has launched this academic year’s joint and multicampus courses, continuing the alliance’s work towards a true European campus. The courses are one of CIVICA’s many transnational experiences enabling students to pursue academic paths beyond any one institutional or national context.
This year’s suite of joint course offerings for master’s students includes a brand-new course, “Policy Evaluation: Praxis and Politics” taught by CEU’s Thilo Bodenstein with Diane Stone and Gaia Taffoni from the European University Institute (EUI) and Ann Revillard from Sciences Po. The course focuses on the fundamentals of qualitative evaluations for public policy and covers the political preconditions for the implementation of evaluations.
“The cooperation with EUI and Sciences Po allows for an enormous diversity of course participants,” said Bodenstein. “We expect students from very different study programs and disciplines. From the CEU side, the Department of Public Policy, will be involved, from the EUI side, the School of Transnational Governance will participate, and from Sciences Po, the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policy.” He added: “This enables a broad approach to the topic of evaluation. The students also gain insights into the respective institutions involved and have the opportunity to expand their networks.”
Bodenstein highlighted the importance of including a range of scientific disciplines when carrying out policy evaluation – from public policy and political science to sociology and gender studies - noting that monitoring by evaluators takes place across numerous fields and will continue to gain importance in the future. Discussion topics include the history of evaluation research, key methodological and analytical procedures, as well as ethics of evaluation and processes for evaluation use.
Two returning CIVICA joint courses will be taught by CEU faculty. The first is “Diving into the Digital Public Space” (beginning in January) with Marton Karsai (CEU) and Jean Philippe Cointet (Sciences Po médialab), which covers the use of data science methods to investigate a research question related to social and political dynamics at large. The second is “Gendering Illiberalism” (beginning in September) taught by CEU’s Andrea Peto with Alina Dragolea from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA), which unpacks the buzzword “illiberalism” and critically investigates the loopholes in the related literature. For the first time, this year, the “Gendering Illiberalism” course will include an exchange visit for students to go to SNSPA in Bucharest, with participants’ travel funded by CIVICA.
“The field trip provides an opportunity for students to work together on common projects and to develop their academic writing skills,” said Peto. “These intensive three days of personal meetings in Bucharest will help not only to bring the much-needed comparative perspective in gendering illiberalism, but also to foster academic and personal ties.” The students will also have the chance to engage online with leading scholars in the field, such as Marlene Laruelle, Matthijs Bogaards, Zuzana Madarova, Heidemarie Winkel and Oana Baluta. Participants will conduct a small research project covering one gendered aspect of the illiberal turn in a global context.
Also opening for enrollment is the third edition of CIVICA’s flagship multicampus course, “The Future of Europe”, taught jointly by a team of faculty from universities across the alliance (including Bocconi University, CEU, Hertie School, Sciences Po, and Stockholm School of Economics), which critically explores European policy challenges. In addition to a series of live online lectures grouped into four modules, students will work in transnational teams to complete a concluding assignment developing policy solutions to EU-relevant policy problems.
Mariyana Angelova, Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics at CEU, who teaches the module on “Democracy, Governance, and Populism in the EU” as part of the course, said: “Last year, from my module, the related project policy issue was about whether social media increases affective polarization intensifying ‘us versus them’ divisions among people. Students in this course came up with recommendations they would propose to policy officials to overcome this problem. This practical exercise is one of the benefits of 'The Future of Europe' course.”
The capstone project includes the development of a policy paper and a one-page policy brief, “which can be seen as an elevator pitch aimed at EU politicians,” said Angelova. Skills for this type of policy writing are taught by Thu Nguyen from Hertie School during the “Policy Paper Training Camp” component of the course.
Small teams of students from different universities work on finding a creative solution to a concrete ongoing problem. Excellent projects automatically participate in the Boroli Prize Competition, which awards three prizes of 4,200 euros each, split evenly among the team members, to the teams with the best three capstone projects submitted in the course. More than 240 master’s students across the CIVICA alliance have benefitted from this cross-border interdisciplinary experience over the past two years.
Students from all CIVICA alliance universities can view the list and content of upcoming courses on my.CIVICA.eu.