Public administration and public policy degree programmes in Europe: the road from Bologna pages:81-105
Under influence of the Bologna process, the Catholic University of Leuven (K.U.Leuven) reinforced its efforts in developing a culture of quality in its educational programs. This article deals with the development and the content of the concept of quality ‘Guided Independent Learning’ (GIL) and its operationalization in two master programs that the Public Management Institute organizes at the K.U.Leuven: the Master of European Politics and Policies (MEPP), and the Master in Public Management and Public Policy (MPMP). An all-comprehensive educational concept requires an all-comprehensive strategy for quality assurance. Of this strategy, this article describes and analyzes both internal and external mechanisms for quality protection as two communicating barrels.
According to the authors, the development of a university-wide didactical framework has been instrumental for improving the quality assurance processes of the two master programs. Triggered by the BaMa reforms, the diffusion of the GIL concept served a strategic momentum to assess the implicitly existing quality standards and elevate them to a more explicit level. Especially for the MPMP program, which prepared itself to operate at the initial master’s level, the opportunity was taken to reconceptualize its curriculum in conformity with the GIL norms.
The article finishes on a critical note. Despite its beneficial consequences, the top-down quality improvement measurements also involve some critical challenges: time investment and the translation of the generally-formulated pedagogical terminology into a specific public administration/public management setting.