Joint and Double Degree Programs, An Emerging Model for Transatlantic Exchange by Daniel Obst and Matthias Kuder
Reviewed by Joe Hoff, University of Richmond
No. 2, October 2010, Review of Global Studies Literature
Though many institutions have been running international dual and joint degree programs for years now, more and more institutions are venturing into such partnerships. Obst and Kuder's Joint and Double Degree Programs
has provided the international education field with a wealth of information detailing the needed planning and coordination between and within institutions to create successful dual and joint degree programs. While the American Council on Education's Venturing Abroad: Delivering U.S. Degrees through Overseas Branch Campuses and Programs
(2007) touched on this subject, there has never been a resource before that describes the ins and outs of setting up dual and joint degree programs in such a comprehensive manner.
The book begins with general descriptions of definitions and processes including communications, curriculum design, implementation, and sustainability. The approach is not a “one-size-fits-all” model but rather an analysis of the communications, design, implementation, etc., of different U.S. institutions (public and private of different sizes, graduate and undergraduate), including a chapter that describes the European partners' perspectives. A number of chapters include questions to ask when considering the implementation of a dual or joint degree. Funding is discussed on various levels in the different case studies. An example of an Atlantis project funded by Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) is also provided.
One area that is not developed sufficiently is evaluation and assessment of dual and joint degree programs. Most of the authors state in their individual institutions' descriptions that they have just begun the process of evaluating their programs or have not done so at all. There is mention of common problems throughout the book such as recruiting students and the lack of communication between administrative units on campus, but a full assessment of a program related to initial goals is not discussed. This lack of discussion surrounding assessment and evaluation could be symptomatic of the relatively new existence of many of these programs for most institutions. As a suggestion for future writers on this topic, assessment of dual and joint degree programs could include the following topics for those universities involved: student learning outcomes, department to department collaborations/connections, dual/joint degree integration within university administrative procedures, intercultural adaptations needed to facilitate the exchange of students, and communications within departments and universities needed to keep everyone on board. Keep in mind, as per the title, that this book describes U.S. and European partnerships only. Joint and Double Degree Programs
is a great resource for those who are thinking of venturing into such a collaboration with any institution. The authors contribute the questions and checklists an institution needs to think about the process—as well as the wealth of experience that these institutions have to offer.
- Green, Madeleine. 2007. Venturing Abroad: Delivering U.S. Degrees through Overseas Branch Campuses and Programs . Washington, DC: American Council on Education.
Obst, Daniel and Matthias Kuder, eds. 2009. Joint and Double Degree Programs, An Emerging Model for Transatlantic Exchange
. New York: Institute of International Education.