Project Description

Notification about the donor

The European Union awarded the TSU Institute for European Studies the grant under Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Project action titled as “Establishing Interdisciplinary Bachelor’s Programme in European Studies at Tbilisi State University”/ EUStBA 2020-2022


Based on the results of the feasibility study as well as inquiries among the extended groups of stakeholders, the project aims at establishing an interdisciplinary BA programme in European Studies in Georgian language at the Institute for European Studies of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. The objectives are as follows:Firstly, it will accomplish the three cycle of education in European Studies at TSU because at the moment we have operationalized only two cycles – MA and Doctoral levels. (Here it should be mentioned that TSU’s Institute for European Studies is the only entity in Eastern partnership (EaP) region that owns and successfully operates accredited interdisciplinary MA and Doctoral programmes in European Studies in English language). Secondly, it will ensure that as a result of giving education on BA level, IES will be able to recruit more highly qualified candidates on MA and Doctoral programmes. This is because the first cycle education on BA level will prepare the candidates for the Master’s and Doctoral education better and instead of starting from a scratch every time on MA level, the admitted students and researchers will be prepared to engage in the advanced learning and research process from the very beginning. Thirdly, operationalizing BA programme in Georgian language will de-eliticise the EU studies education in Georgia.Fourthly, BA programme will create job opportunities for young PhD researchers /graduates to disseminate their knowledge in EU studies through teaching and supervision. Finally, it will facilitate a dialogue with local policy-makers and other stakeholders using professional terms and concepts on EU in native language. The project will be implemented through extensive involvement of experts and stakeholders at 8 workshops and 4 conferences.The indicator of successful implementation of the project will be accreditation of the BA programme as well as admission of the first cohort of BA students.

The EU funded Erasmus+ Jean Monnet project “Establishment of the interdisciplinary undergraduate/Bachelor’s programme in European Studies /EUStBA at TSU” was unique with its ‘cross-fertilization’ effect, because it enhanced the awareness-raising on European Union, its values, EU Law and Policies across the faculties of the university. Both the elaborative as well as the implementation phases of the project had been directed at the development and the refinement of the new undergraduate programme as an ultimate objective. The adventure had been undertaken in a special framework of the workshops and conferences that ensured the lively discussions among the large groups of stakeholders. The international experts from various prominent higher education institutions of Europe, with whom IES-TSU established the sound partnerships, facilitated the process.  

The support of the EU under the ‘EUStBA’ became a game-changer in terms of enabling the meaningful participation of the large circle of stakeholders during the different phases of project implementation. Once we had set in train the project of completing our efforts in the building of the European Studies education at all three cycles of education, the initiatives in this field rapidly came to be viewed within the framework of the institutional development and self-sustainability strategy. This action facilitated not only establishment and accreditation of the new Undergraduate programme in European Studies (named after Jean Monnet), but also created a synergy with other previous actions of EU at IES-TSU: we witnessed the upgrade of the TSU Institute for European Studies across the range of vast spectrum of issues, which ended up in the second mandatory re-accreditation of Master’s programme in European Studies (established by EU in 2007) and successful finalisation and of the long negotiations on two double degree programmes (1. With Vilnius University, Lithuania - Double Degree MA in European Studies and European Law. 2. With Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Latvia- Double Degree MA in European Studies, Strategic Communication and Governance. The first cohort of students shad been already sent to Vilnius and Valmiera).

All of these efforts had been reflected into the sequence of the logical and needs-based events as a result of which the following deliverables were successfully accomplished: a. The interdisciplinary curriculum of the new undergraduate programme in European Studies had been elaborated. It includes the programme aims, values, correlation of the objectives with the learning outcomes, programme structure and content, curriculum map, organisation of the effectiveness of the teaching and learning methods, adequacy of the criteria envisaged under the student assessment schemes, admission preconditions, a quality assurance system and opportunities for the institutional self-improvement, the framework for the professional development of the academic and administrative staff involved in the implementation of the programme, tentative budget and the self-sustainability mechanisms, shortcomings and risks, etc. b. The detailed syllabi for all the courses, which were integrated into the new curriculum, had been developed. c. The governmental accreditation of the programme had been accomplished. d. Some of the most important outcomes of the international workshops and conferences had been transformed into the academic publication, thus enabling the results to be accessible for wider circle of stakeholders.

Description of the implemented activities

The experienced staff of the Institute for European Studies of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University played its decisive role in crafting out the successful outcome: the administrative and academic personnel with a vast institutional memory had been enthusiastic to engage in discussions, to participate in collaborative efforts and to accept criticism positively. While the programme development was a constant and a daily non-stop routine during the two and a half years period for the project coordinator, it could not have been a successful endeavor without the input of the stakeholders provided during the high-level workshops and international conferences. These high-level events became a very valuable platform for the discussions and reflections on the particularities of interdisciplinary European Studies education at undergraduate level.  This was a thought-provoking process, but at the same time very challenging as well, because establishment of the Bachelor’s programme had a context of accomplishment of all three cycles of European Studies education at IES in TSU, which had to encounter a holistic approach.

During the development phase of the Erasmus+ project, the IES team perceived the workshops and international conferences as some specific tools for spilling over the relevant context on the EU and European Studies education, for setting the standards for future programme and for sharing the best experiences about the mechanisms of bringing the positive repercussions to the broad objective, which is the knowledge-based society. This had been accomplished by elaborating the curriculum, which could deliver both the strong disciplinary knowledge as well as the most relevant content on the acute EU issues from the interdisciplinary perspective to the prospective undergraduate students. Later on it had been transformed into the key format for the structured dialogue aimed at finding the best solutions to the dynamically emerging issues related to programme accreditation.

The most demanding phase of the ‘EUStBA’ project implementation was the ‘paper -work’, which is the process of preparation of the new undergraduate programme for the accreditation; It required a daily commitment of the Project Coordinator for more than two years period. By encountering the changing educational context of the EU as well as the demands of the authors of the specialization courses  (those covering European and EU issues) to build a solid module of the so-called disciplinary courses/‘scaffolding courses’ (for example to teach first ‘the Principles of Economics’ as a precondition for the course on the ‘Economics of European Integration’, etc.), - it took considerable time and efforts to accomplish the following tasks: 1. To develop the strategy and the first draft concept of the programme for the discussion with various stakeholders, 2. To outline the structure of the curriculum with clear proportions of mandatory and elective courses while at the same time fitting it into the requirements of the national legislative framework, 3. To fill in the special accreditation application forms of hundreds of pages, integrating in it the feedback coming from stakeholders as well as interpreting the results of the research including the case studies and the comparative analyses of similar international experiences, 4. To transform the analyses of the surveys with focus groups into the special annexed forms of ‘evidences’ which had been attached to the accreditation documents, etc.

During the second phase of the project implementation, we started to deepen the content of the new Bachelorʹs programme and produced the academic publication on ʹEffective Teaching and  Learning Methods in European Studies Education".     
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