Location

Solitude

Event Website

http://www.cpe.vt.edu/cuenr/index.html

Start Date

26-3-2010 1:30 PM

End Date

26-3-2010 2:00 PM

Description

In 2007, the first FOPER masters program on Integrated Forest Policy and Economics was offered jointly by the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Forestry and the University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Forestry and accredited by not only Bosnia‐Herzegovina and Serbia, but also Albania, Croatia and Macedonia. Twenty‐four students from these countries enrolled in the program and to date nineteen of them have successfully defended their master’s thesis. This innovative program was the first time that students from the former Yugoslavian countries came together in a joint educational setting. It was also the first time that faculty from the different universities collaborated in offering a single curriculum. This MSc program is part of a larger capacity building project in Southeast Europe focused on increasing research and education in both forest policy and economics, areas of weakness in recent decades and essential for current policy and practice. It is also in compliance with the new educational policy in Europe called ‘the Bologna Process’. In 2010, the second offering of the FOPER MSc program will begin in Sarajevo and continue in Belgrade as before. In addition to the common curriculum of study, the students will be integrated into multi‐country research projects that are lead by a collaborative group of faculty and researchers from the SEE region, Europe and potentially elsewhere for their thesis research. What is distinctive about this program is the effort to integrate the teaching of policy and economics. These topics are often separated – in theory and disciplinary organization as well as in teaching— leading students, researchers and policy makers to consider each as a separately functioning aspect of society. Nothing could be farther from actual practice and in the context of rapid political, economic and social transition in the SEE countries, this artificial divide is untenable when effective new policies and institutions are being created. From this disciplinary, pedagogical and practical commitment comes also a social and political commitment to address problems of relevance to the region, to prepare students for a social and political environment that is much different than their professors and families experienced, and to create a functioning science‐policy community that is capable of addressing the challenging issues of the times. This paper will address the origin and design of this new program, but will focus on the impact of this educational and research experience on the students, faculties and universities as well as prospects for the future in terms of education, research, management and policy. As part of a larger donor funded capacity building project, the FOPER MSc program precipitated numerous innovations in teaching method and style, modes of research organization, and recognition of the value of social science in natural resource and environmental policy making processes. In addition, new educational and research capacities resulted from this collaborative effort which can support the incorporation of a wider network of teachers and a more international body of students. These kinds of programs can offer an opportunity for US universities to cooperate with European partner programs so as to greatly expand the opportunities for students.

Comments

Citation: Shannon, M.A., M. A-Sarajevo, N. Petovic. 2010. Integrated forest policy and economics: an international masters program in southeast Europe. UENR Biennial Conference, Session International Graduate Education, Paper Number 2. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/International/2/.

 
Mar 26th, 1:30 PM Mar 26th, 2:00 PM

Integrated Forest Policy and Economics, An International Masters Program in Southeast Europe

Solitude

In 2007, the first FOPER masters program on Integrated Forest Policy and Economics was offered jointly by the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Forestry and the University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Forestry and accredited by not only Bosnia‐Herzegovina and Serbia, but also Albania, Croatia and Macedonia. Twenty‐four students from these countries enrolled in the program and to date nineteen of them have successfully defended their master’s thesis. This innovative program was the first time that students from the former Yugoslavian countries came together in a joint educational setting. It was also the first time that faculty from the different universities collaborated in offering a single curriculum. This MSc program is part of a larger capacity building project in Southeast Europe focused on increasing research and education in both forest policy and economics, areas of weakness in recent decades and essential for current policy and practice. It is also in compliance with the new educational policy in Europe called ‘the Bologna Process’. In 2010, the second offering of the FOPER MSc program will begin in Sarajevo and continue in Belgrade as before. In addition to the common curriculum of study, the students will be integrated into multi‐country research projects that are lead by a collaborative group of faculty and researchers from the SEE region, Europe and potentially elsewhere for their thesis research. What is distinctive about this program is the effort to integrate the teaching of policy and economics. These topics are often separated – in theory and disciplinary organization as well as in teaching— leading students, researchers and policy makers to consider each as a separately functioning aspect of society. Nothing could be farther from actual practice and in the context of rapid political, economic and social transition in the SEE countries, this artificial divide is untenable when effective new policies and institutions are being created. From this disciplinary, pedagogical and practical commitment comes also a social and political commitment to address problems of relevance to the region, to prepare students for a social and political environment that is much different than their professors and families experienced, and to create a functioning science‐policy community that is capable of addressing the challenging issues of the times. This paper will address the origin and design of this new program, but will focus on the impact of this educational and research experience on the students, faculties and universities as well as prospects for the future in terms of education, research, management and policy. As part of a larger donor funded capacity building project, the FOPER MSc program precipitated numerous innovations in teaching method and style, modes of research organization, and recognition of the value of social science in natural resource and environmental policy making processes. In addition, new educational and research capacities resulted from this collaborative effort which can support the incorporation of a wider network of teachers and a more international body of students. These kinds of programs can offer an opportunity for US universities to cooperate with European partner programs so as to greatly expand the opportunities for students.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/International/2