International Bachelor’s programme in Communication and Media – Erasmus University Rotterdam

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Reviewed by NVAO

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Erasmus University Rotterdam

Executive summary

With regard to the internationalisation features of the programme, the programme management regards the bachelor programme International Business Administration of Rotterdam School of Management of Erasmus University Rotterdam as an example and as a benchmark. This bachelor programme is one of the first programmes of this university, if not the first, to have acquired the distinctive quality feature Internationalisation of NVAO.

The panel has observed the programme management to have a clear vision on internationalisation. The programme management focuses on preparing the students for an international career in an international business setting, requiring the students to be able to collaborate with people from other countries and from other cultural backgrounds. This vision is shared by the major stakeholder groups (lecturers, students and alumni) with whom the panel has met. The panel would invite the programme management to enrich the internationalisation vision to include other perspectives than the Anglo-Saxon and European ones on which the vision primarily rests and to add deeper, cultural and philosophical dimensions. The programme’s international and intercultural objectives are in line with the vision on internationalisation and are appropriate operationalisations of this vision. For each of the objectives target figures have been set. The panel is pleased to understand the programme management will compare these objectives more systematically with other, similar programmes in the Netherlands and abroad. These objectives are included in the programme’s quality assurance system which is up to standard. The panel has studied the projects the programme management intends to implement in the coming years and is confident these projects will lead to further improvements regarding the international and intercultural dimensions of the programme.

The panel considers the intended learning outcomes to reflect the programme’s internationalisation vision clearly and convincingly. According to the learning outcomes, the students are to master the international and intercultural dimensions of the media and communication subject matter and are to be able to communicate and collaborate with people from other nationalities and other cultural backgrounds. The panel considers the assessment methods which are used to test the students’ achievements on the international and intercultural learning goals to be satisfactory. The written examinations or individual assignments are appropriate to assess the knowledge-oriented international learning goals, whereas the intercultural learning goals are adequately tested by means of group assignments including process-oriented evaluations and self-reflection reports. The panel considers the results the graduates have achieved to be very much up to standard. The graduates perform well, measured by their rates of admission to international master’s programmes in the Netherlands and abroad. Some of the graduates are admitted to prestigious institutes.

From the list of courses, the panel concludes the number of courses with an international or intercultural orientation to be significant. Therefore, the panel finds the curriculum to be an appropriate reflection of the international and intercultural learning outcomes. The panel, however, considers coverage of Europe and North America (and possibly perspectives that originate in these areas) to be rather dominant and coverage of other parts of the world (Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East) to be somewhat lacking and, therefore, recommends the programme management to try and include more coverage of the wider world, including distinctive research programmes and theories associated with those regions. The teaching methods, on the other hand, foster the active participation of the students in class and promote their international and intercultural awareness and skills. The small-group tutorials allow for the intense international and intercultural interaction between the lecturers and the students and among the students, since the groups are composed of students with different nationalities and students are supervised by both tutors from the Netherlands and tutors from abroad. Also, the IBCoMpanion study guidance programme is a stimulus for the international and intercultural awareness of the students. Finally, the small internationally and culturally diverse groups of students working on group assignments foster the communication and collaboration between students from different countries and with different cultural backgrounds.

The panel has observed the teaching staff to be very much internationally composed. This applies, very strongly, to the junior staff and, to a somewhat lesser extent, to the senior staff. The panel welcomes the appointment of a third, non-Dutch full professor, as planned by the programme management. Of the lecturers, 50% are Dutch, 18% are from European countries and 32% are from countries outside of Europe. The international research qualities of the lecturers are up to standard, as these lecturers participate in important international organisations in the media and communication disciplines. Also, the lecturers are experienced regarding teaching international and interculturally diverse student groups and, definitely, meet the requirements of this international programme. The panel assesses the command of the English language by the lecturers to be good. The lecturers are offered relevant services and receive appropriate support, concerning the international and intercultural features of the programme.

The panel considers the composition of the student population to be very international on the one hand and to be balanced in terms of nationalities on the other hand. The students have ample opportunity to meet students from other countries and other cultures. The students gain international and intercultural experience, as is evident from the course contents, the topics addressed in the classes and the skills the students are trained in. The percentage of students going abroad in the course of the curriculum is very high. Therefore, many of the students will have a real-life international and intercultural experience in the programme. The panel has verified the programme management to provide adequate information, guidance, counseling and housing services as well as diploma supplements to the students.

The panel advises NVAO to re-accredit the International Bachelor’s programme in Communication and Media of Erasmus University Rotterdam, having assessed this programme to be good in terms of the NVAO Assessment Framework (22 November 2011). In addition, the panel advises NVAO to award the distinctive quality feature Internationalisation to the programme, having assessed the programme to be good with regard to the NVAO Frameworks for the Assessment of Internationalisation (14 November 2011). As a consequence, the panel advises NVAO to propose to the European Consortium of Accreditation in higher education (ECA) to award this programme the corresponding European Certificate of Internationalisation.