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A Facilitation Vehicle to Promote Master Programme Development - IMPACT

C. Niklasson, P. Jansson, P. Lundgren

Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden,

{claesn, patrikj, per.lundgren}

Development of higher education depends on many things. Academic leadership and availability of resources are two decisive ingredients in the facilitation of improvements, as are external demands and the critical devotion and engagement of the individual members of faculty and staff. In the following we describe the constitution of a support structure implemented at Chalmers University of Technology when transforming the last years of the engineering education into Master's programmes.

Since 2004 Chalmers Bachelor students have been following the first cycle of the Bologna model of higher education and in 2007 the first students entered the second cycle, organised in international Master programmes. When Chalmers decided to develop 44 new international Master programmes the project IMPACT was established with financing from the Chalmers foundation (2007-2009) for the support of this extensive process. The core objectives of the project were to establish internationally competitive and attractive programmes for national as well as international students and to make graduates competitive on an international job market.

Eleven main project goals were initially developed in a bottom up procedure with input from faculty. Some 100 different pedagogic projects have received support in a completely transparent and open application procedure; approximately 90 % of the resources were used in actual development work or training of faculty in English. The focus was not restricted to how to speak English in front of students or to translate existing education material correctly, but aimed at generally augmenting communication in the support of learning.

IMPACT is documented and evaluated in several ways: through sub-project applications and reports (23 in 2007, 52 in 2008, 39 expected in 2009) available in a web portal, yearly questionnaires to the departments, two annual workshops with project stakeholders, and group interviews with all the sub-projects 2008. IMPACT has enabled teachers to engage in pedagogical development beyond regular curriculum development, strengthening the full range of Chalmers programmes. Enrolment is steadily increasing and the admitted students produce good results.

Although the access to funding through the Chalmers foundation is unique, the principle that faculty identifies the most imminent needs for development in an externally driven scenario of change, and that the common traits of those identifications guide the distribution of resources, is something this project serves as a general example of.

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