INNOVATIVE EUROPEAN CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT FOR POSTGRADUATE STUDIES IN ADVANCED WATER TREATMENT AND DESALINATION ENGINEERING
There is by now (almost) no doubt that to establish joint collaborative experiences on curriculum design and the establishment of joint degrees in particular is one of the major challenges of the forecasted European Higher Education Area. In particular to work for a joint degree puts on the table existing differences both on academic conception of courses and on established procedures for administrative matters. In fact, Feel Europe!! This could be a possible synthetic way of expressing one of the major characteristics asked for to the newly developed study programmes at European Level. Integration of parts of the curriculum to be offered by leading institutions (therefore taking advantage of acquired expertise) as well as offering the possibility of realising the different cultural experiences both from academic and social points of view.
To overcome these differences is not an easy task. It is the author’s opinion that an actual barrier that avoids having a large number of experiences is the lack of knowledge on how to tackle such an interdisciplinary project or, even not knowing what are the problems that the consortium will need to face with. This communication’s aim is to present what the authors experienced as the road taken in order to establish an international joint degree. It is intended to be a guideline both for the kind of problems that arise on such projects and suggestions for strategies that will help to face them.
The road presented arises from an international experience in new Curriculum Development from the perspective of the new challenges for Higher Education in Europe, and with an interdisciplinary approach to content design. One of the factors stressed in the communication is the need for collaborative work among academic and administrative staff. To run an international joint degree implies different procedures than the ones actually running on standard national degrees.
Different faces of the overall process are presented, highlighting the strategies to follow and the important points to take into account that may be possible source of problems: (a) Curriculum Structure, (b) Curriculum definition management (c) Academic, Administrative Procedures and legal aspects.
On a broad sense, the idea is to expose on a clear way the implications of this kind of ventures trying to identify the cornerstones of the process in order to assure as much as possible the success of the experience. The sections that follow are organised in such a way that constitute a first step towards a practical guide of the different aspects to be considered. It is a fact that the actual lack of homogeneity among different national legislations and national degrees structure across Europe constitute a continuous source for difficulties and barriers that are to be solved. This situation constitutes an extra reason for a clear as possible guided road to the establishment of an international joint degree.