Degree and professional qualification to be awarded
Bachelor of Educology, Teacher
Programme registration date, order No.
2001-05-24, Nr. 877
Head of the GroupGillian Lesley Scott Hilton MembersBrian Robinson Lex Stomp Maria Assunção Flores Christopher Bezzina Daiva Lepaite
The Bachelor programme of Educology study field in Philosophy and Social Sciences is organised at Siauliai University, at the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Humanities. Other services (career centre, department of International Relations, and departments of Education, Psychology, Foreign Languages, informatics...) also participate in the programme. It is also in articulation with social partners (Siauliai schools and gymnasiums, non governmental organizations, Siauliai Art Gallery, Ethics Teachers’ Associations...) as far as the Cooperative studies (in terms of material available for students) and pedagogical practice are concerned.
The study programme Philosophy and Social Science (Bachelor of Educology, Teacher) has not been subject to external assessment before. The self-assessment of the programme (in 2006) led to its restructuring now being called Philosophy and Civic Education (students registered in September 2007 are now studying under the restructured programme).
We were asked to assess the programme 61207S101 (Philosophy and Social Sciences) which was approved in 1999 (with first enrolment in 2000) and its duration was 4 years. The self-assessment group indicated that the title of the program “Philosophy and Social Science” is not a very correct one as it has to be re-translated in the English version as the program “Philosophy and Public Science”.
In 2001 it became a 5-year programme due to wide range of specialities involved in the programme (see page 5, English version) and therefore the need to expand the credits (from 160 to 200). The fifth year was intended for education studies and the writing up of the bachelor thesis. However, in 2006, the programme was organised in 4 years again because of the “better integration of philosophy, political and pedagogical studies” (see page 5 English version). The cooperation with Vytautas Magnus University in the field of socio-cultural studies and the creation of the programme entitled Sociocultural Anthropology led to the need to restructure the programme in order to avoid duplication/overlapping of the two programmes. Philosophy and Social Sciences was reformed in 2006 into Bachelor programme Philosophy and Civic Education (61207S146) and this program enrols students since September 1, 2007. The self-assessment is based on the review of the undertaken reforms, improvements and teaching experiences.
The programme aims to provide students with “broad university bachelor education and training them to work in schools” and to carry on studies at the master level. The programme combines competences within the philosophical, educational, political and other social sciences (see page 6 English version), for example, pragmatic and applied philosophy, and problems related to active integration of philosophy, education and anthropology; educational topics related to cooperative studies (service learning and learning by serving communities), intercultural learning, education philosophy, traditional metaphysical topics, civic education and political participation, political sciences namely European Union and the analysis of Constitutions and Civic education, etc.
To sum up, the programme presents a broad spectrum of fields and a wide range of topics in a broad bachelor education and at the same time ensuring the particularity of studies in comparison with similar programmes in other universities (see page 6 English version).
The Bachelor Study programme Philosophy and Social Sciences was created to meet the demands for teachers in Siauliai region and Northern Lithuania in “versatile education in philosophy and social sciences” able to teach at the same time “philosophy, ethics, political science, civic education” and able to “organise debate classes, prepare and implement projects and ensure active relations with social partners” (see page 7 English version). Raising and improving the qualification of teachers in these fields were also key features in the design if such programme (see page 8 English version). Scientific ambitions and demand for creativity within the department of Philosophy were also identified as reasons behind the creation of this particular programme (see page 7 English version). In order to enlarge the spectrum of possibilities for the graduates in this programme the improvements were implemented taking into account the issues such as active cultural and civic life, helping communities shaping their public opinion, representing their interests, developing social experimenting in civic and educational projects. This was done by paying more attention to educational subjects and civic studies. The number of credits for the teaching practice increased (10 instead of 5) as well. Most bachelors of Philosophy and Social Sciences enter Master degree programmes, others working in mass media, schools and projects (see page 8 English version).
The report is long and well-developed and it also gives details on the history of the programme and its restructuring in 2006 (sometimes there is some repetition). In general, a deep description of the programme, its aims and objectives, content and structure is also given.
2.Aims and goals of the study programme
The aim of the programme is to educate teachers of Ethics, Philosophy and Political Science for basic schools and gymnasiums who are socially responsible and closed related to social and cultural reality and able to cooperate with social partners and communities (see page 9 English version). To meet this aim fields such as philosophy, ethics, political sciences, the domain of Education were integrated in the programme. As recognised in the self-assessment report, in 1998-1999 the weaknesses were situated in this particular domain. Attention was paid to this issue in order to integrate competence in philosophy and education. Some of the teaching staff in Philosophy has defended PhD thesis in the field of Education Science and this staff development strategy was clearly observed during the visit. It is important to highlight these efforts and potential of the teaching staff in paying attention to the issues of education in teacher education programmes.
The self-assessment report emphasises the success and the results of the programme in terms of its practical focus and the strong foundations provided in the fields of philosophy, education, and social and cultural anthropology among which there is good compatibility (see page 9). The link between anthropology and education is viewed as an “original niche” avoiding repetition of other programmes of philosophy which is considered to be useful for students seeking scientific professional careers and for teachers. It is also prompt by the participation of staff in various projects. As far as the section on the aims and objectives of the programme Philosophy and Social Sciences are concerned, the report is very detailed and it gives an overview of the kinds of knowledge and competencies students are to develop. It stresses the important areas of the programme which is related to the relationship which is established with social partners and communities and not only with schools. It is said that this is achieved through extending practices of Cooperative Learning, expanding experience of pedagogical practices, cooperating with ethics teachers of Siauliai region, active participation of staff of the Department and students in self-governing bodies of the University and active participation in social, cultural, art activities and clubs (see page 10 English version). Students graduating from this programme can follow different professional paths, but they can also become teachers. Students graduating in the programme traditionally continue master programmes: Intercultural Education and Mediation (SU), Cultural Studies (VU), Philosophy (VU, Social Anthropology (VDU), Media Philosophy (KTU), International Relations (VU, TSMI), Political Sciences (KU). Some students also carry on their studies on a doctoral level.
Philosophy, Education and Anthropology are the three domains in which students may work. The self-assessment report describes the various kinds of specific and transferable competences which are developed in the programme. During our meeting with the students we could also discuss this and a clear overview of the scope of the programme was given in terms of developed competences and job prospects.
The aims and objectives of the programme are given in detail and they point to a broad view integrating different subjects and different abilities and knowledge. The report also highlight that a number of former graduates are currently doing doctoral programmes. It also points to the monitoring process of the Bachelor programme study by a supervising group (see page 14 English version) by talking to students about lectures and seminars, the cooperation with social parts and their success and the drawbacks.
3.Analysis of the Study Programme
The programme comprises fields of Philosophy, Ethics, Education, Political Sciences and other Social Studies (Social Anthropology, Sociology, History).The report mentions the alternatively elective study subjects which are taught to no less than 8 student groups. In the case there are less than 8 students consultation classes are put into place. The alternatives of study fields make it possible for students to choose their specialisation (e.g. more attention and time to Philosophy and political sciences or Civic Education).
The term paper occurred at 6th term in 4-year programme. The topics for the paper are Philosophy, Political Sciences and Civic Education given by the Department of Philosophy or any other lecturer teaching Philosophy and Social Sciences programme. The report mentions that the paper would cover not only the topics mentioned above but also education issues. Students should demonstrate “general abilities, such as: critical thinking and attitude, foreign languages knowledge, the abilities to find, comprehend, analyze and compare information, to relate philosophic and educational problems, the ability to work with scientific supervisor, to make decisions and to show responsibility, tolerance and accountability” (see page 18 English version). Method of cooperative studies has been applied in various subjects; however the program developers need to consider presentation of evidence of this application. This method seems have not been used across the whole programme, therefore training and involvement of all teaching staff has to be considered in order to balance application of teaching and learning methods in the programme.
Students getting a positive mark are allowed to develop the bachelor work which “must cover, on the one hand, philosophic, ethic, political problems, and, on the other hand, pedagogical, didactical and other educational problems of schools, colleges, non-governmental organizations, mass media etc”. (see page 19 English version). Students should comply with “The methodology of Philosophy and Social Studies specialty’s students’ written papers’ planning “ (Siauliai: Siauliu University, 2007). Although these formal requirements are met in the place, but the quality of the final thesis has to be considered and significantly improved in order to demonstrate developed critical thinking and research competence.
3.2 Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Students are taught “theoretical aspects, perform practical works and exercises, given in the student programme; they are given the self-study exercises; the study methods are explained. Also, basing on the MOODLE system, the work procedure is shown and the reading list is given.
As far as teaching methods are concerned, the report presents different types of methods, the application of which is balanced in the programme. However, the students indicated that some of subjects have to include more interactive teaching and learning methods.
The report also stresses three forms of practical tasks: classroom practice, practice of Cooperative Studies (partial practice of the subject) and continuous pedagogical practice (see page 21): 1) Practical tasks in the classroom individually or in cooperation with other students; 2)Practice of Cooperative Studies (according to the method of Cooperative Studies or Service Learning method). Part of this practice occurred in classroom, students receive individual and team tasks (research, project, communication, representation or voluntary tasks). „In cooperation with ŠU Career Centre students work several hours a day for 2-3 months in some communities, NGOs, companies and organisations“. In total, 30 organisations are involved in this practice. Practices of Cooperative Studies are not didactical, they are rather project practices, and therefore no special course on didactics is needed for this practice.“ (see page 22 English version). Modules are taught such as Philosophy and Social Sciences: Propaganda Theory, Social Anthropology, Analysis of Lithuanian Parties, Religion Science, Political Anthropology, and Applied Ethics (see page 22 English version). Apart from that students attend the module of Project Management of ŠU Leadership programme. Cooperative Studies allows students to perform civic, voluntary and at the same subject practice in different communities (see page 22 English version). 5 credits are attributed to this practice of Cooperative Studies organised in modules during the semestercombining „activities of work, remote and independent studies, serving in communities as well as reflexive activities (writing reflective diaries and registers, essay writing).“ (see page 22 English version).
3)Pedagogical practice in educational institutions: Subjects included in Cooperative study methods are “also included in practice” (see page 23 English version). The teaching practice and cooperative studies are conducted and guided by the teachers, during which students develop knowledge, abilities and professional competence which are tested and improved in the field of Education, non-governmental communities and other organisations. This is done individually (by one student in a term way (see page 24 English version)), therefore here should be considered more team work.
Students get information in the didactic classes about requirements, principles of didactics, structural features of Philosophy and Ethics lessons, analysing general syllabus, students’ books, other lesson planning, etc. As mentioned in the report, official Instruction precedes the pedagogical practice in which the Head of University practice, the lecturer of the subject practice, Education Studies specialist (responsible for out-of-class activities), and psychologist (responsible for pedagogical practice) are involved (page 24 English version).
During pedagogical practice students must: i) attend the lessons of specialists; ii) conduct 10 Ethics, Philosophy or Civil Education lessons, iii) perform pedagogical tasks: to conduct two class events, iv) perform psychological tasks, and v) prepare the extended plans of ten conducted lessons. This occurs in gymnasiums and comprehensive schools in Siauliai or other regions of Lithuania. The report mentions that students can choose the school they want to as long as there are qualified teachers teaching there (see page 24 English version). The report also stresses the importance of students choosing schools in other regions to get to know the information about Ethics and Philosophy teaching. The idea is to motivate students to enter the teaching profession.
As far as competencies and abilities acquired during pedagogical practice, there are a) didactic abilities (e.g. applying the principles of philosophical didactics. To apply the principles of modern philosophical pedagogy. To analyze the programmes, conceptions, textbooks, other didactic texts, etc); b)individual organisational abilities (to prepare for and conduct the lessons of ethics, philosophy and civil education); c)social communication abilities (e.g. To organize and initiate various civil initiatives. To consult school-board, the organizations of teachers, schoolchildren councils, and other nonprofessional organizations functioning at school) and d) intelectual abilities (e.g.The ability to interpret philosophical, sociological texts and those of political science. To prepare ethical codes, school regulations. To prepare local surveys and researches at school. The ability to organize and conduct philosophical discussions). Students observe and analyse lessons, but they also develop practical abilities (planning lessons and events, conduct them, analyse their cooperation with the participants of the educational process and their experience during practice) (see page 25 English version). There is not much information on assessment in the report and the evidence (e.g portfolio strategy) has to be considered as a key issue in improving the assessment system.
The existence of the cooperative and practical (project) work as well as pedagogical practice is worth stressing and it may complement the more theoretical dimension of the programme.
On the one hand, the students have practice according to the cooperative study method, on the other hand, this method has to be considered as the didactical component during the teaching practice at schools.
As far as distance learning is concerned, Moodle system is used to enhance independent learning and to promote ICT communication skills. This is administered by Distance Education Study Centre of Šiauliai University. Moreover, module of Information Management is compulsory to all students at the university. Also other modules are integarted into this course such as Propaganda Theories, Social Anthropology, Analysis of Lithuanian Parties, Religion Science, Political Anthropology, Applied Ethics (method of Cooperative Studies), Feminism Studies, Project Management, etc. This should be stressed as a positive feature of the course and the platform for staff development.
Another important issue of the programme is the existence of Problem-based and Research methods, the former being used in Cooperative learning and solution of problematic situations as well essays, the latter related to research techniques developed namely in the context of Cooperative learning and pedagogical practice. Research methods are also used for the writing of the paper and bachelor thesis. Experimenting, observation, exploratory conversation, work with scientific literature and so on is also part of the programme. However, application of these research methods is not explicit in the final thesis. The structure and content itself of the final works must demonstrate proper justification and implementation of the above mentioned research methods. Overall, the research paper and the final thesis in the philosophy and education based programme should demonstrate a strong research component and above all a critical analysis of findings discussed against the literature used. The topics researched need to be more concise and the use of triangulation in research methods ensured.
It is important to say that national and international research projects are identified in the report which involved staff of the Philosophy department (see pages 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 English version). It is worth noting that some of them are 3-year international projects. The creation of a Master degree on Intercultural Education and Mediation was the result of one of the projects (EU projects) (see page 29 English version). Lecturers make visits abroad within Erasmus programme (see page 33 English version).Students are also encouraged to participate in Erasmus programme and a considerable number of them go abroad over (70%) involving 20 countries in total.
It is also possible for students to have an Individual Study Plan (ISP) which “includes all compulsory study subject modules of the chosen programme, the number of alternative modules and elective study subject modules. The compulsory programme is controlled by the Department of Studies, and the elective study subject modules are added to the Individual Study Plan by the Deanery workers” (see page 33 English version). Group and team work are also referred to in the report as being part of the programme. Along with distance learning, reproductive methods, and practical work, students perform tasks in groups or teams (see page 26 English version). This is particularly relevant for the development of transferable competence (social cooperation, leadership, sharing responsibilities). This is developed mainly in the context of Cooperative learning.
As far as the assessment system is concerned, “accumulative evaluation scheme” is used (see page 27 English version) which allows students to “correct learning mistakes, helps to perceive clearer what still must be understood, which abilities to develop seeking better final evaluation“ (page 27 English version). This is especially used in Cooperative learning. The report mentions reflection and transparency. It is also said that this is not valid for other aspects of the programme (e.g. evaluating thesis). The procedures for the defence of the final bachelor work is clearly explained on page 34 which imply a number of phases ranging from the selection of the theme to the publicly defence (see page 34 English version).
3.3 Variation in the Number of Students
The admission to the study programme implies secondary education and it complies with the university regulations (see page 34 English version). Students may integrate full or part-time studies.
The number of students has not changed greatly over the recent years, but consistently for the enrolment situation (annually the enrolment is being reduced 30%). As mentioned in the report, “during the last five years 32 students of full-time studies were deleted from the list. Most of the students of full-time studies (14) were expelled at 2002-2004. In the part-time studies 42 students were deleted from the list. The most of them (16) were expelled at 2002-2003. Usually, the students are expelled at their own request: go to work abroad for a long period of time, get a job and change the full-time studies into the part-time studies. The students are also expelled for unfulfilled academic requests” (see page 37 English version). The report should provide more information on what has been done to overcome this issue.
Attention to “students’ poor progress” is discussed and tried to deal with that (see page 37 English). Again, the report should provide more evidence on that and what procedures are in place to support students who are struggling.
Issues of enrolment and the time of the year it takes place in the case of part-time students (which takes place before the full-time students’ enrolment) is also mentioned and it seems that there is confusion on that leading to “lack of motivation and information” having two enrolment periods per year was the solution to form full groups of the part-time studies (see page 37 English version.
In terms of support, students may participate in a variety of structures at University, in clubs, sport, etc. Consultation is also available at the Department, especially, for cooperative learning activities, during pedagogical practice and choosing the topic for paper and writing the final bachelor thesis. They have the possibility to live in hostels (70% of requested are satisfied). The hostels have been renovated and there are computer rooms. 65% of full-time students with high grades who study in in places completely financed by the state are granted scholarships (see page 38). Students can also get loans according to the resolutions of Government of the Republic of Lithuania and Lithuanian State Science and Studies Foundation. The Career Centre of the University provides information on employment possibilities, organises “Career Days”, Cooperative Studies and cooperation of students and teachers with communities, NGOs, companies and organisations, helps to prepare documents (curriculum vitae and motivation letter).
3.4 Teaching Staff
An interdisciplinary team of teachers/researchers and teachers/practicians work in the programme. For one year teachers are hired not by competion but for tenure of five years teachers are appointed by a public competition (see page 38 English version). Academic staff of the taught subject is compiled according to the trend of scientific activities research and pedagogical activities. The majority of them does scientific research, publishes the results of their scientific activities in scientific journals in Lithuanian and abroad. The distribution of the teachers working in the programme according to scientific degrees and positions is as follows: prof. dr. – 1, assoc. prof. dr. – 18, lect. Dr. – 2, lect. – 5, assist. – 14.
It is important to say that national and international research projects are identified in the report which involved staff (see pages 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 English version). The creation of a Master degree on Intercultural Education and Mediation was the result of one of the projects (EU projects) (see page 29 English version).A number of publications are also identified. A special feature regards the effort to work combining studies in Philosophy and Educology. (see page 32 English version). Lecturers also go abroad within Erasmus programme (see page 33 English version).
Although there are enough highly qualified specialists, Šiauliai University „still does not have deep traditions of philosophy studies, therefore this is the reason why students are trained not under the study field of Philosophy, but under the educology trend, which has a long-year experience in SU“ (see page 40 English version). A number of staff are doing research within doctoral studies or write independent research work (see page 40 English version).
3.5 Advantages and Disadvantages of the Programme
The self assessment report states several strong points, of which the following may be highlighted:
-It is the only programme of this type in Lithuania which seeks to combine the disciplines of philosophy and social sciences with educology and in this way to ensure broad Bachelor university education and practical social skills; -
-broad interdisciplinary orientation with wide applicability of specialists in North Lithuania region, where the wide range of the demand for different teachers and social activists -
-training of high qualification students is ensured by the variety of study methods used by the teachers; Cooperative Studies, Distance studies with possibilities of Moodle system, traditional pedagogical practice, empirical intercultural learning under the ERASMUS programme, team work, wide integration into social, art and local movements as well as into social activities of students;
-the team of the teachers of the department is arranged by balancingthe work of specialists of different science areas: philosophers, educologists, representatives of political sciences;
-broad, reflective and pragmatically-centred Bachelor studies Philosophy and Social Sciences ensure successful later studies in various Master programmes, which well reflects the interaction of educology, social sciences and philosophy.
-Students‘ participation in scientific researches, projects, social activities, students’ scientific conferences, write and publish essays;
-sufficient and constantly supplemented material resources. They are based on the resources of Šiauliai University library which has been working for sixty years (former Šiauliai Pedagogical Institute),
-wide-scale participation of Philosophy and Social Sciences students under the international exchange programme ERASMUS;
-young and perspective team of teachers, most of whom have graduated form Philosophy and Social Sciences, later from target Master programmes of Philosophy, Anthropology and Educology, and are currently doctoral students, they write dissertations for the Department of philosophy and for speciality Philosophy and Social Sciences (later on Philosophy and Civic Education) on relevant topics.
The self assessment report also states some weaknesses or drawbacks that need to be addressed (some of which were identified when the programme was reformed and transformed into Philosophy and Civic Education)
-the indefiniteness of the term “Social Sciences” in Lithuania and the fact that modern education policy of Lithuania pays more attention to civic education and considers it an important task, but not to the training of specialists of wide education, but of little defined “social Sciences (during the programme restructuring there was an attempt to deal with that by increasing the number of practices up to 10 credits, devoted more time not for political, but to educational explanation of civic spirit and didactics);
-lack of methodical material, readers, lecture conspectus prepared in the Department for teaching of subjects;
-lectures of not all the subjects are taught by teachers possessing a scientific degree; -need to improve the conditions of independent learning and of living in hostels;
-small number of scholars-leaders in the field of political sciences, a little better situation is in the field of philosophy sciences, and the best situation is in the field of educology sciences in terms of leaders who are able to gather the scholars into schools. : The report mentions the efforts made during the restructuring process to overcome some of the disadvantages. After thesis defence discussions on the pragmatics, aims and necessary changes of the Department activities take place. Keeping best practice was a key issue in the restructuring process which also meets the requirements of the existing regulations.. Admission results and entering master programmes and doctoral studies of the graduates demonstrate important achievements. Expanding the resources both equipment and books (and access to database) of the study programme is also a response to the drawbacks identified in the report (see pages 42 and 43 English version). During our visit some of these features were discussed and clarified with the teaching staff.
Resources of ŠU Faculty of Humanities are used by both students and lecturers. The faculty has two buildings: a big main building and a small subsidiary building. The main building is of 4 storeys (some premises in the basement are also adapted to teaching process. The small subsidiary building is located in the yard of the faculty, it is a one-storey building. There are in total 27 equipped classrooms for teaching: the biggest classroom is of 70 places, the smallest is of 10 places. Some classrooms are equipped with modern stationary video and/or audio equipment. The conditions of the Faculty premises, inventory and technical equipment, the order and cleanness is ensured by the head of the building, cleaners, woodworker, plumber, and other utility staff; computers are managed by the informatics engineer. During the renovation of the building an inclined drive was installed since there are disabled learners. At the beginning of 2005 all windows of the building were renovated. There are two computer classrooms in the Faculty with 20 computer work places; 4 computerised work places are in the reading hall of the Faculty of Humanities. 41 more computer is in the departments, centres of research and culture, in the Dean’s Office. Altogether the Faculty has 65 stationary, 3 portable computers, 4 multimedia sets, 1 video camera, 4 TV sets, 3 video players, 11 copy machines, 5 overhead projectors, 27 computers (5 for bibliographical search and 22 for individual work) are in the central premises of ŠU library. Computers of the Faculty of Humanities are connected to the University computer network, almost every computer is connected to the internet. In the www server of the University there is the internet page (www.su.lt), where all information about the University is provided, as well as the information on the study programme Philosophy and Social Sciences. E-mail and the Internet are available to all the students. All students of the Faculty of Humanities in the 1st and 2nd semesters have compulsory courses of information electronical technologies (Computer Science). Internet connection is in student hostels as well. Many students have their own computers. Students also use the library of Šiauliai University. There are almost 200 work places in the main premises of the library (70 places in the reading hall, 80 places in the common library, etc.). There is an interlibrary delivery room in the library, where students and teachers have a possibility to order the publications free of charge not only from other libraries of Lithuania, but also from the libraries of foreign countries. The library information system has been created; it is connected to the computer network of Lithuanian universities. The library provides conditions for teachers and students to access different databases (the subscribed and of trial period), provide various other services: copying, binding, printing from electronic storage devices, etc. During the years 2002-2006 only the library received 2319 copies of 956 publications on the field of philosophy and social sciences: 2311 books, 8 CDs (1955 in the Lithuanian language, 364 in foreign languages). In the Faculty of Humanities there is one of ŠU library reading rooms of information type.There are 1445 books in the reading room, over twenty periodical publications are ordered. There are 20 work places and 4 computers in the reading room of the Faculty. The reading room is small and cannot optimally satisfy students’ needs. Therefore the students actively use the reading halls of ŠU central library, Regional Public Library and subscription libraries. When having practices of Cooperative Studies and cooperating with schools and NGOs, students use the resources of these institutions for term papers and final Bachelor thesis.during our visit it was possible to see the new premisses of the library which will allow to better respond to students‘ needs.
The study programme Philosophy and Social Sciences does not exist in other universities, but a similar educological programme of Philosophy is developed in Vilnius Pedagogical University.
There is a cooperation with VDU Department of Philosophy, VU Faculty of philosophy and Centre of Religion research, where graduates of Philosophy and Social Sciences study in master and doctoral programmes, and also with VDU Centre of Social Anthropology, with KU Department of Political Sciences, whose teachers teach students of the Department, with VU TSPMI (study in master programme) and with VU Department of Philosophy of Education. Both students and lectureres seek to cooperate and excahneg with other universities particularly under the Socrates/Erasmus exchange programmes. Šiauliai University has signed over 70 contracts with institutions of higher education of foreign countries; 60 of them - under Socrates/Erasmus programme. Lecturers are also invited under Fulbright programme. Scholars from abroad also are invited to give leactures at the Faculty.
There are several examples of international projects in the report. Effects on these in the growing of the Department and curriculum and professional development of lecturers need to be taken into account. There are some references to that in the report, namely the inclusion of service learning in the programme.
Information from external partners (schools, editorial offices, research centres, other institutions, associations of philosophy and ethics teachers, NGOs) and from graduates on the content and quality of studies, their application in labour market, about successes and failures of ALUMINI in master and doctoral programmes has been collected. The Department of Philosophy communicates with all students of Philosophy and Social Sciences programme, who work at schools or study in master or doctoral programmes.
62 percent of 2004 graduates of Philosophy and Social Sciences study programme entered master‘s study programmes offered at universities of Lithuania (VU, VDU, ŠU, VMRU). 29 per cent of graduates of the study programme Philosophy and Social Sciences went abroad to study and work (University of Greenwich, London, UK, Ireland).
Students state that after finishing the programme they acquired a very broad block of knowledge and competences. Our meeting with the students was insightful in this regard.This is related to a wide employment profile: managerial work, translations, relations with clients/society, journalism, editors, teachers, representatives of municipalities of Lithuanian cities. 29 per cent of the best students who graduated in 2004 were employed as assistants in the Department of philosophy, in the Centre of Cultural Anthropology, as Junior Scientific staff and in ŠU Group of project Management as senior project managers, they work as managers and coordinators of projects executed by ŠU.
The number of graduates employed in different fields in Lithuania and abroad is 95 per cent. Such results in the labour market were determined by target training of students for labour market: development of different general/transferable skills, specific skills and discipline-specific knowledge, Meta-skills, learning to learn, i.e. foreign languages, career planning, time management, team work, discussions, oratorical skills, critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills etc.
The participation in Erasmus/Socrates programme, while studying at universities of foreign countries (in Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark) was also highlighted. 34 percent of 2004 year graduates used such possibilities.24 per cent of the graduates in 2004 who graduated form the second level studies enter doctoral programmes at Lithuanian universities (ŠU, VDU), Educology, sociology, and philosophy. This was a positive issue discussed with students, the vast majority of them has been abroad within the Erasmus exchange programme.
54 per cent of the graduates from the programme Philosophy and Social Sciences of the year 2006 entered master and doctoral study programmes offered at universities of Lithuania (VU, VDU, ŠU, VMRU, KU, KTU). After graduating from the study programme Philosophy and Social Sciences 11 per cent of the graduates went to study and work abroad (England, Finland, Ireland).
The graduates in 2006 improved their intercultural competences and foreign language skills while studying in the programme Philosophy and Social Sciences during participation in Erasmus/Socrates programme, while studying at universities of foreign countries (in Finland, Switzerland). Altogether 8 percent of 2006 year graduates used such possibilities.
49 per cent of the graduates from the programme Philosophy and Social Sciences in 2007 entered master and doctoral study programmes offered at universities of Lithuania (VU, ŠU, VMRU). After graduating from the study programme Philosophy and Social Sciences 15 per cent of the graduates went to study and work abroad (England, Denmark, Ireland). (see pages 47-50).
All in all, there is a highlevel of satisfaction with the programme and the students take advantage of the opprtunities to study or work abroad. Some of them carry on studies at Master and PhD level at SU and other universities.
7.Internal Assurance of Study Quality
An internal discussion at department level about all the modules are carried out and they are assessed and reassessed in the Study Programme Committee of Humanities, which consists of representatives of different fields of science. All amendments to the study programme are approved at the Faculty Council, major amendments are approved at the Senate of ŠU. During approval procedures of the amendments students may express their opinion as well, since Student Agency has 10 % positions in the Faculty Council and in the Senate.
There are also Study programme quality control groups to guarantee the quality of studies which include heads of profile departments, teachers, graduates of the programme, employers.
The Department and its head are responsible for the compliance of the study programme to the field of studies and for constant improvement of its quality. Every year the modification of programmes is discussed at the department and is approved at the Faculty Council (in accordance to existing Ministry regulations).
Internal control of study quality is ensured by anonymous questioning of students and graduates asking them to assess the quality of separate courses and of the whole bachelor’s study programme Philosophy and Social Sciences.
According to the self-assessment report, findings have shown that students of final years of studies positively evaluate the bachelor‘s study programme Philosophy and Social Sciences and skills acquired during the studies.
8.General Assessment of the Programme within the Study Field
There is a number of positive features in the programme: -the report is well structured and explicit; -there is a wide range of partners involved (e.g schools, media and NGO’s, etc) -a good variety of teaching and assessment methods (e.g reflective journals, presentations, project work, and cumulative assessment scheme) is included; -formal and informal feedback systems are in place; -use of Moodle to prepare blended and eventually distance learning; -good Erasmus take up; -open-minded, free thinking teaching staff, who develop their students to be the same and change their lives by their personal development throughout the course; -individual staff development is occurring within the Department according to needs; -preparing students for a wide range of careers.
Recommendations would be the following: -the report lacks evidence and is too long; -teaching practice needs to be earlier and more frequent to help students progress; -more integration of theory with pedagogy is needed (and evidence on that provided); -quality assurance needs to be formal and supported by the university structure. At present it is left to individuals and departments to ensure feedback loops are met -all staff needs to be developed to employ active learning methods. Continuing professional development for staff needs to be developed in a more structured and institutional way; -the level of the final thesis needs to be improved (e.g. using qualitative methodology, justification of choice of methods, inclusion of the explicit discussion chapter) (See the overall report) At present the theses do not meet European standards. -in a case of changing the programme employers and social partners should consulted. The university should seriously consider if it wishes to change the degree to the new programme proposed.
9.Proposal for accreditation
Study programme on Philosophy and Social Sciences is given conditional accreditation.
Head of the GroupGillian Lesley Scott Hilton MembersBrian Robinson Lex Stomp Maria Assunção Flores Christopher Bezzina Daiva Lepaite
The Institute of History and Philosophy of Educology for Developing Democracies in the World (The Institute), an Initiative of Educology Research Associates/USA (ERA/USA)