CHANGES IN PORTUGUESE POST-GRADUATE EDUCATION: THE CASE OF THE INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM WITH US UNIVERSITIES
Academic boundaries are becoming increasingly “porous” as universities amplify their strategies for international collaborations to increase their resources, position and status. Portugal, since 2006, has pursued a collaborative strategy to induce changes in major institutions of higher education. Through the International Partnerships Program with three top USA universities in the rankings (MIT, CMU and UTA) the government promoted a long-term strategy responding to the challenges of globalization, global competitiveness and entrepreneurial permeability by institutions of higher education. This communication explores strategies and activities that encouraged postgraduate education, and placed it in a new perspective within international tendencies and perspectives. To this end, we review the literature and explore data collected in a survey applied to the Principal Investigators of researchers projects under the Programme (n = 48). This was complemented with a number of semi-directive interviews to those actors (n = 38). We look at multidimensional processes structured in different levels of educational process: macro (decision making), medium (curriculum) and micro (teaching and learning processes). We highlight the elements of educational innovation that promoted national university collaborations, curriculum designs developed in articulation with scientific projects, interdisciplinary approaches and strategies for active learning, and the use of teacher and student international mobility as formative experiences. Lastly, we examine the implications of new entrepreneurial learning experiences. It is unquestionable that these processes accelerate discussions and institutional changes in terms of employability and quality of Portuguese postgraduate education. But at the same time, this raises questions about the influence of the programs and the teaching methodologies “imported” from the USA universities.