The Programme Council for the Master's Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies, Tuesday 6th June
Attendees included Sunniva Engh (IAKH), Tora Skodvin (ISV), Anne Julie Semb (ISV), Siri Marie Aamodt (IAKH), Nina Maureen Cadorin (student political science track), Sverke Runde Saxegaard (student political science track), Torkel Brekke (PRIO), Malin Folgerø Stensland (secretary, ISV). Members not in attendance included Hanne Hagtvedt Vik (IAKH).
Approval of meeting agenda
No objections were made to the meeting agenda.
Item 1/17 – Information
Anne Julie informed about the Department of Political Science’s proposal to discontinue the Master's Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies as a study programme and the decision by the Faculty Council to maintain the programme. The main reasons for the proposal are major cuts in the budget of the Department of Political Science and the need to reduce the volume in teaching. ISV suggested to discontinue PECOS, not to end the teaching in peace and conflict. Furthermore, the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History offers a programme in English from autumn 2017, Modern International and Transnational History (MITRA), that overlaps with PECOS. As the Faculty Board decided not to support the proposal from ISV the Department is looking into ways to make the programme more efficient. This might affect how the method’s classes are taught and there might be less mandatory and more elective courses.
Item 2/17 – Information
Sunniva informed about the Department of Political Science and the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History’s plans for a joint working group to assess the functionality of the current programme structure. The working group has had one preparatory meeting. The main goals are a more interdisciplinary profile, teaching that is more coordinated and to take a look at the research method course.
It was decided that the students chose two representatives for the working group, one from each track and one must be a second year student. They will be appointed before the next meeting in the Programme Council.
The Programme Council should be aware that the Faculty of Social Sciences should be contacted as soon as possible regarding changes in the programme structure. The deadlines are to be held and it is important to keep each other informed so we are sure to meet the deadlines and the required criteria for change.
Item 3/17 – Resolution for new learning outcomes
The learning outcomes for the Master's Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies have been revised at the preparatory meeting of the working group.
What do we want with the interdiciplinarity of the programme? What is it that we want the students to have learned when they finalize the programme? These are some of the underlying questions for the revision. In the revised learning outcomes, learning outcomes for the courses are taken out. The learning outcomes are on a higher level than the courses alone, bridging the history and political science track. It is now possible to change the learning outcomes for the courses, without changing the overriding goals of the programme. The students, who are the target group, find the new learning outcomes more focused and more on target.
Due to faculty deadlines, the learning outcomes will most likely not be published before the spring semester 2018, or late in the autumn semester 2017.
Resolution: The Programme Council approved the revised learning outcomes.
Item 4/17 – Information about semester start
With help from the students we have landed a programme for the semester start arrangements in the fall to welcome new students. It includes an exciting lecture, motivating the students for the programme and giving them a taste of what to expect. The students will hold presentations, we will have lunch together, and there will be a work shop on computers were the students learn to navigate in the UiO system. The meeting is followed by social arrangements by the students already enrolled in the programme.
The students will have a follow-up meeting in week 34. We will also make sure to have a social arrangement around November. This is a time known as “the autumn breakdown” for incoming students.
Students are asked to inform ISV and IAKH of social and academic initiatives as the departments can help to promote and assist in other ways. It is possible to apply for money for arrangements from IAKH. It was suggested by the students that the PECOS Peace Forum arrangements could be held more often as smaller events, such as lunch venues to meet and greet. The working group for the programme will discuss this further and the Student Council will look at the possibility to appoint an event responsible.
Item 5/17 – Evaluation of PECOS4021 - Research Methods
The evaluation report for PECOS4021 - Research Methods was discussed. The report included suggestions for small changes such as curriculum and how the lectures are structured. The first lecture will now work as a bridging lecture that creates correct expectations about the aims of the course and stimulates reflection about methodological challenges across the disciplines.
In the extension of this item the Programme Council discussed that the students should be strongly encouraged by the lecturers to form study groups. The working group will put this on the agenda and look at ways that the students could form interdisciplinary study groups, be given tasks, and report back to the lecturers. Suggestions for this kind of activity in between lectures are welcome.
Resolution: The Programme Council approves the proposed changes.
Item 6/17 – Evaluation of PECOS-courses
According to the system for evaluation at the Faculty of Social Sciences, all courses are subject to evaluation midway in the course. Lecturers carry this out, and there is no need to report the results. A periodical evaluation is a more thorough evaluation, undertaken the first and second time a course is taught, and then every sixth year.
From the fall 2017 PECOS-courses will be evaluated through online evaluation forms every time they are taught. Feedback from students is important and their voices should be heard every time a course is taught. This will give documentation on how the courses are going, and be of relevance now that there is a process of change on the programme. The administration will help with the preparation and distribution of the evaluation form.
Resolution: The PECOS-courses are evaluated through an online evaluation form every time they are taught as of fall 2017.
Item 7/17 – Meeting dates autumn 2017
September 13th, 10.15-12 am. in room 824, Eilert Sundt’s House(Cancelled)
- November 15th, 12.15-14 pm. in room 824, Eilert Sundt’s House.
Any other business
The Department of Economics has included the following tests in their admission criteria to their Master’s Programme: GRE Revised General Test (GRE) and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). If it is possible, and apt, to include an analytical test to be admitted to PECOS is something that the working group will look into.