Rīga Stradiņš University Faculty of European Studies Department of Communication Studies Academic Study Programme



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Rīga Stradiņš University

Faculty of European Studies

Department of Communication Studies


Academic Study Programme
PUBLIC RELATIONS’’
for the Bachelor’s degree of Social Sciences

in Communication Science

(code 43310)


Accreditation application materials

Riga, 2007



TABLE OF CONTENTS

page


Introduction 4

2. Self-evaluation of study programme 6

1.1. Aims and objectives of study programme 7

1.2. Organization of study programme 7

1.3. Practical realization of study programme 10

1.4. Evaluation system, forms of knowledge assessment and the order 12

1.5. Characteristics of students 13

1.5.1. Number of students in programme 13

1.5.2. Number of the admitted in 2006/2007 14

1.5.3. Number of graduates 14

1.5.4. Student”s inquiries and their analysis 15

1.5.5. Students’ participation in programme realization 18

1.5.6. Involvement of students into research activities and

practical work in the definite branch 18

1.6. Academic staff involved into study programme 19

1.6.1. University Doctors of sciences or professors in a

certain branch, which are implementing the higher

education programme 20

1.6.2. Selection of academic staff, its renewal, training and

developmental policy for further six years 20

1.6.3. Directions of research and scientific work of academic

staff 23

1.6.4. Publications and presentations of academic staff in

conferences and seminars (selection) 24

1.7. Sources of financing and provision of infrastructure 32

1.8. Foreign relations 33

1.9. Analysis of strong and weak sides of study programme 34


2. Perspective evaluation of study programme from the point of view of

Latvia 36

2.1. Conformity of study programme with state standard for

academic education 38

2.2. Comparison of programme with other related study

programmes abroad 39

2.3. Comparison with the same level higher education

programme in Latvia 43

3. Description of study courses 44

4. List of academic staff 121

5. Curriculum Vitae (CV) of academic staff involved in study

programme realization 123

6. Development plan of study programme 171

7. APPENDICES 173

7.1. Extract of minutes Nr.26 of the meeting of Licensing Commission of

higher education programmes of June 15, 2006 174

7.2. Contents of academic Bachelor’s study programme „Public relations” 177

7.3. Information approving that at least 50% of the elected academic staff

work at the university, and at least 59% of the elected academic staff

have a degree of doctor of sciences 179

7.4. Admission requirements 180

7.5. RSU statutes on writing and defence of Bachelor’s thesis 188

7.6. Sample of a diploma to be issued and its supplement for acquiring a Bachelor’s

degree in social sciences in communication science 190

7.7. Course description of ESF Bachelor’s academic study programme

„Public relations” for 1-4 study years 195


8. Register of various documents:

8.1.Enlisted courses of higher education programme „Public relations” presented

as a table 204

8.2 .Register of academic staff 206

8.3. List of other necessary documents needed for accreditation 208

I N T R O D U C T I O N

Academic Bachelor’s study programme „Public Relations” has been designed according to the requirements of the Academic Education standard of the Republic of Latvia.

The topicality of the academic Bachelor’s study programme in Public Relations of Rīga Stradiņš University (further in the text – RSU) Faculty of European Studies (further in the text – ESF) for the development of the society of Latvia is determined by the necessity to train educated, highly professional, competent and competitive specialists in public relations, and professionals for the work in the field of public relations in state institutions and local government, in business companies, as well as in non-governmental organizations and agencies representing Latvia in European Union structures.

Despite the fact that the field of public relations in Latvia began its development and got stabilized both as a service industry, and as an academic discipline and as a field for research only in the second part of the 90ties of the 20th century, in the 21st century the specialists in public relations are going to be those who will deal with communication science to ensure the functioning of fast-growing Latvia’s economy and social networking in the public sphere. Information making and distribution quality changes can directly affect the content of public attitudes, points of view and, consequently, civic action.

Considering the fast growth of business structures and state institutions, as well as the expansion of functions of non-governmental organizations, involvement into European Union and the world globalization processes, the academic programme in public relations is the grounds for the sustainable development of the branch of public relations. Qualitative training of students for their further work in various directions of public relations and for research is the guarantee for the quality of this branch and a stimulus for its development.

At present, the fast economic advancement of Latvia, the increase of the role of Latvia in building the common EU strategic development, as well as the international globalization of communication processes put forward new challenges to the process of public relations:

1.To combine local expert’s reports with international experience and knowledge of developmental tendencies;

2.To develop an effective communication between various public segments in the field of social sphere, culture and policy, thus providing an integrated domestic information flow;

3.To ensure constant regeneration of the academic staff and research traditions and the maintenance of sustainable development.

The academic Bachelor’s study programme „Public Relations” in its contents and implementation practice sets the task to train specialists, which would be able to accept the above-mentioned globalization challenges, to combine local and international experience, and, simultaneously, to promote the effectiveness in the process of adopting the national state policy decisions, which, to a great extent, depend on a skilful communication process between various groups of the society. Completion of the academic Bachelor’s study programme „Public Relations” makes it possible for a successful continuation of studies for a Master’s degree either in RSU, or in other higher schools in Latvia, Europe, or in other regions of the world.

The objectives and processes mentioned allow us to make conclusions on the fact, that for achieving tactical aims in Latvia in the nearest future, or more longstanding, strategic aims, there are and will be the need for highly qualified specialists in the field of public relations.

At present, a considerable part of people who are actively engaged in the field of public relations, have either not got the necessary education and qualification in this field, or have acquired extra knowledge in this field, not being equal to the qualification of academic education. As a result, there is still a great need for academically educated specialists in the field of public relations, who would be able to apply their academic skills in the real field of their work.

Training of such specialists is being done within the framework of the academic programme „Public Relations”.

The uniqueness of the programme lies in one of its priorities – to ensure the formation of the new academic staff and their involvement into the study process.

Thus, as a result of the programme implementation, a synthesis of multi-layer public relations as an empirically-practical and academically-scientific process is made in order to reach its maturity. Within the programme, specialists are trained both for Latvian and European Union labour market, and for the academic work, which would ensure both the research work and the study process quality due to formation of the new generation academic staff.


1. Self-evaluation of study programme

1. Self-evaluation of study programme
1.1. Aims and objectives of study programme
The basic aim of the academic education programme „Public Relations” is to render wide theoretical knowledge and to develop practical skills in students, majoring in the field of public relations.
Aims of study programme:


  • To provide students of RSU ESF academic Bachelor’s programme in public relations with theoretical knowledge and research skills, as well as skills for an individual work in the field of public relations;

  • To train highly qualified, competitive specialists with a wide spectre of knowledge in social sciences and humanities, being able to work in the field of public relations in Latvia;

  • To contribute to strengthening of research traditions and to sustainable development in the field of public relations.

Objectives of study programme:



Objectives of study programme have to ensure, that students acquire:

  • Theoretical knowledge in various subjects of communication science;

  • Principles and methods of work with public relations;

  • Other social sciences subjects (economics, politics, sociology, etc.);

  • To promote the development of students’ research and creative activities, undertaking individual projects during the study time, as well as writing the course papers and Bachelor’s paper;

  • To develop students’ skills for further work in specialized public relations sectors (state, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and representative offices, in the field of crises communication, etc.);
  • To prepare students for further studies for a Master’s degree and doctors’ degree, thus ensuring the succession of the teaching staff and academic staff for RSU ESF needs.

Additional objectives:




  • To promote the coordination of study process with the modern tendencies of the labour market, with the process of practice during the study time;

  • To ensure students’ international exchange and sharing practice from short-term academic visits to other European Union and other higher schools of European countries.



1.2. Organization of study process

The academic Bachelor’s study programme „Public Relations” is meant for full-time students of the day department, and it has been design, considering the succession of study subjects, the importance of the individual work, assessment of knowledge and skills, and by promoting an intensive research work, which is lasting for the whole study time and is completed by writing a Bachelor’s paper and its defence. Additionally to the development of the research work, great emphasis within a study programme is put on learning the practical skills, which is achieved by using the simulation games – press conferences, project work and „brainstorming” assessment, as well as by working at individual projects.

Taking into consideration the concepts of Bologna declaration on raising the study process effectiveness and the competitiveness of the academic education of EU member states under globalization conditions, the length of the programme since September 1,2006 is 3 years. In order to provide a gradual and logic transition to the new study length, students of the 2nd and 4th years in 2006/2007, will be going to study in compliance with the 4-year study programme. A similar transition process is taking place in other higher schools of Latvia, for instance, the Faculty of Social Sciences of Latvia University, where the 4-year study programme is still in force.

The distribution of the study time of the programme corresponds to the principle of semesters – in each study years there are two (2) semesters. In each semester a student has to get not less than 20 CP, in total, by working 800 hours.

Within one semester the study process consists of modules – short-time and long-time periods of learning the study subjects, or „blocks”, which are completed by taking an examination and making an individual research work and the presentation. The system of modules is widespread in several North European higher schools and in the Great Britain, and it is an alternative to the traditional length of the study courses within one semester.

The module envisages a schedule of intensive learning, when the length of the course is aither 4 months ( a long module for subjects with a greater number of CP and with a more fundamental contents), or 5 weeks (specialized or free elective subjects).

The module system has, undeniably, greater advantages, but there are also aspects to be improved.

The module advantages are seen in their intensity, the effective use of time, which gives to students an opportunity to participate in a constant learning process, and very quickly, already in the first year, to master specialized knowledge, which is supplemented also in the practice work in the 2nd year, for which students are already partially ready.

The insignificant number of modules within one semester allows the students to learn more in detail one specific subject, not dividing the attention between several subjects at a time. The module system is especially effective for acquiring the necessary academic literature and research sources. Considering the lack of the academic resources in public relations, the university lecturers prepare the selection of the academic literature for learning of specialized courses (a reader), and the students acquire them within the course of the module (up to 500 pages in one study course). The time necessary for reading of the literature is ensured thanks to dew courses within one semester. Thus, students have time to read the original texts in the Latvian language and in foreign languages, and to prepare a short review on the literature read (the so-called summaries for each lecture theme).

As a result, a very important precondition for the academic study process quality is achieved – inclusion of the original literature and current periodicals within the study course, as well as in the students’ individual research projects. Especially effective is the dynamics of acquiring the module materials, when preparing for the Bachelor’s paper, when the rather bulky literature in various languages already read, helps in being used for the final Bachelor’s thesis.

The improvements of the module system are needed just for making the time-table of the lecture courses, because the time-table for a week might be made unevenly due to the busy time-table of the visiting lecturers. The intensity of the module system and the need for acquiring a large range of material is a real challenge for students’ time management, not always students are able to make a balance between the individual work and contact hours. Another disturbing factor typical for all Latvia’s higher schools, and which is characterizing the contemporary students’ environment, which affects also the effectiveness of the module system is, students’ early entering into the labour market, thus making a conflict between the students’ work and study plans, and demands.

And still, the module system, both from the point of view of the study process organization, and the results of students’ inquires/questionnaires, can be defined as successful and for RSU ESF profile – optimal, since it allows, for example, to invite foreign lecturers for a short while (i.e. within a short module), which is regularly practiced within the programme „Public Relations”.

The positive tendency to be mentioned is the wish, expressed in students’ inquiries, to learn more themes within a short module. This may draw a conclusion, that the module intensity, combined with a diversity of themes within one module, may form a possibly optimal synthesis between deeper learning of the subject and more intensive time-table. An additional positive moment is a great number of hours devoted for individual work and consultations before the examinations (regular weekly consultations, or consultations meant for the examinations).

At the same time, students master not more than three major subjects and, preparing the individual work at the course conclusion (report/project), take an examination.

As a result of learning each study subject, a student gets 2 or 3 credit points, sitting on average 20 to 24 hours in the lecture rooms (lectures and seminars/practical lessons) and 80 hours individual work.

To pass an examination, a student must master the study course individually and write summaries about each lesson, acquiring, in total, up to 500 pages of themes of the original literature in the Latvian and foreign languages. Within the last two years a positive tendency has been seen in the development of scientific literature in the field of public relations – there has been a significant increase in the original monographs, textbooks and translated publications in the Latvian language. As a result, preconditions are made for the development of professional lexis in public relations. The teaching staff of the study programme in 2006 and 2007 made their contribution into providing the teaching process with the original literature in Latvian, by publishing the collection of articles „Globalization – theory and praxis”. In each study subject, students are encouraged in doing research and analytical work (essays, reports, presentations, case studies, etc.).

To get a Bachelor’s degree in communication science of the academic programme „Public Relations”, students, within 3 study years (6 semesters) have to get 120 CP, writing and defending the Bachelor’s paper in the sixth semester.

By training competitive specialists for the global labour market demands, a great attention within the programme is paid to the proficiency of foreign languages, developing both the general language competence, and the knowledge in the professional terminology. In the first study year the students have to take an examination in English, for which a remarkable amount of contact hours (100) and 4 CP are devoted.

In the second year students learn the second foreign language – mostly the German and French languages, but in RSU ESF, the elective subject is Spanish. By passing the test ( at the end of the second study year) and an examination (at the end of the third year), students, for the knowledge of the second foreign language get, in total, 8 CP. Proficiency of the foreign langue allows the students to read and make use of professional literature, to make presentations and project in foreign languages, and also to participate in the study exchange programmes within ERASMUS programmes, which in 2006/2007 are being used more actively than in the previous years by 2nd and 3rd study year students (mostly the cooperation is with Finnish, Swedish and German higher schools).

For making the study year much simpler and more effective, each student, before the beginning of the study year, gets a detailed course description, with the information on the teachers’ contact information, consultation time, course aims and objectives, a short list of lectures and compulsory literature, questions for the summaries and suggestions for report and project themes. The course description is supplemented with the advisable internet resources.

One of the programme advantages and conveniences, highly appreciated by students at the reviews, is the reader of literature for each lesson, which helps students not only to write summaries on the fragments of the literature offered, but gradually do the collection of the necessary set of materials for writing the Bachelor’s paper being in line with the study aims. In 2006/2007, instead of copying the necessary material, we have undertaken the scanning and sending the material to students by e-mails, with an aim to protect Latvian natural, time and material resources.

For the convenience of students, at the beginning of each study year, each student receives a „Student’s manual”, which gives the definitions of the most essential elements of the study process, priorities and tasks to be done, as well as other valuable information.

Surveying the information mentioned on the general principles of the study process organization, one has to conclude, that the structure of the programme is logical, it promotes individual research work, the priority being a purposeful learning of general social sciences, closely linked with specialization courses and a wide range of humanities. As a result, a student in the study process becomes a multi-dimensionally educated and competent specialist in the certain branch.

There is a need for the development and optimization of study process:


  • The development of the study process has to be organized in a closer combination with students’ needs and the changeable labour market environment;

  • It is important to take into account and to improve regularly the process of feedback between the students and the teaching staff, and programme administration (expanding the cooperation with the students’ self-government);

  • To further the international cooperation with EU state higher schools;

  • To continue to invite experts in specialized public relations branches, improving the link of the academic programme with the development of the practical skills in the study process,



1.3. Practical implementation of study programme

Quality criteria of the academic study programme „Public relations” are determined not only by the programme contents and highly qualified university lecturers, the international cooperation and succession of the research work, but also the fact, that the programme is implemented in the first certified higher school in Latvia – Rīga Stradiņš University, which corresponds to the international standard ISO 9001:2001 „Quality Management Systems”.

Implementation of the programme is provided by intensive cooperation of various chairs and university structural units. Programme study subjects are delivered not only by the lecturers of the Communication department, but also Political sciences, Sociology and Law programme teachers. Thus, it is possible to make economically effective programme administration expenditure policy and to ensure the high quality.

The division of study subjects corresponds to the principles defined in Latvia and European Union:


Part A - compulsory subjects, they include general subjects in social sciences and also the most significant specialization subjects;


Part B subjects are the so-called compulsory elective subjects, which promote the further specialization of students in public relations and develop the orientation towards a specific sphere of public relations, enriched by the practice in public relations enterprises or respective structural units.

Part C subjects are free elective subjects, which are envisaged as an extra opportunity for students to introduce variety in the study process and to continue a much deeper specialization.
Table Nr.1
Division of programme study subjects, correspondingly to parts A, B and C

( in three study years, %)



Nr.

I study year

CP and %1



II study year

CP2



III study year CP3

In total within

3 years


Part A

39 (97,5%)

10 (25%)

23 (57,5%)

72 CP

Part B

-----

28 (70%)

17 (42,5%)

45 CP

Part C

1 (2,5%)


2 (5%)

--------

3 CP

In total within a study year

40

40

40

120 CP

In the programme implementation are involved 25 lecturers, of whom 21 are RSU full-time teaching staff, who are elected in RSU. The rest of lecturers are invited as specialists of a specific branch with a corresponding scientific degree (Masters and Doctors of sciences).

Among RSU teaching staff, involved in the programme, 13 are with a doctor’s degree in different branches of social sciences and humanities. M.Boiko, S.Jirgena, I.Skulte, S.Kruks have got a doctor’s degree in a branch of social sciences. M.Putniņa, D.Hanovs, A.Vilks have scientific degree in humanities.

The chief forms of the academic study programme for Bachelor’s degree in communication science – public relations are lectures, seminars, students’ individual work, practical classes and practice in the state institutions, public organizations and enterprises.

The chief study methods in the programme are: the analysis of public relations practice, preparation of individual work (report, summary), preparation of individual and group projects, teaching exercises, teaching research work. One more essential improvement is students’ participation in the projects of various countries and public organizations, which allow students to get involved in the activities of further job sites and to define priorities, which, as a result, help better get oriented in the field of employment.

A special attention is paid to students’ individual work – a lecturer being not only a teacher, but mainly an organizer of students’ individual work and performing a consultant’s and expert’s duties. A decisive study component is the analysis of the

literature and writing of summaries for each lecture and a seminar, preparing reports, individual projects and course papers. Study methods are directed at mastering individual, analytical and critical thinking and scientific skills. The lecturer’s duty is to motivate students for an independent creative research work. It is realized by using the guest lecturers’ contribution and knowledge, as well as practising field lectures outside the university, which stimulate students’ interest on a certain phenomenon of public relations and encourage in synthesizing practical and theoretical knowledge.

An effective implementation of the programme is impossible without students’ participation in the perfection of the study process, which, within the programme, is provided by regular students’ opinion polls for each study course all the study year round. Study programme students are interviewed after completion of each study course. In the interviews students evaluate the lecturers’ work quality, provision with teaching materials, and express their ideas on the necessary changes in the course and study contents. Students’ suggestions are summarized at the end of each semester.


1.4. Evaluation system, forms of knowledge assessment and the order
In order students’ could easier get adapted to the study process, they may have not only “Students’ manual” at their disposal, but a specially prepared description for each specific course, which contains all the compulsory requirements for successful learning.

The size of the course description (more than 8 pages) is justifiable, because after each theme, which may refer to the whole course contents, there follow a detailed information on the evaluation criteria of the course. Thus, before the start of each module, students are already informed about the evaluation criteria.

Knowledge is tested according to 10 point-score grading.

Assessment of the study material acquired will be done by the following testing forms:



  1. participation in lectures

  2. participation in seminars

  3. essay writing on lecture and seminar themes

  4. final work

  5. examination

Each component of participation, respectively, gives an input to formulate the mark:


Final mark (in 10 point-score system) includes the evaluation of:

  1. attendance of lectures and seminar – 5% of the total mark

  2. activity and quality of answer in seminars – 15% of the total mark

  3. marks for summaries and essays – 30% of the total mark

  4. report – 15% of the total mark

  5. examination work – 35% of the total mark

Attendance of lectures and seminars is compulsory. In case of a disease, a student must show a sick-list, and inform the chair about missing of the classes. For unjustified absence of 1-2 classes, the final mark is lowered by 10%, but for three or more classes – by 30%. If there is an unjustified absence of 50% classes or more, the final mark, considering the total score, can be lowered up to 50%. Missed seminar classes have to be answered within 2- week time.

Postponing of the examination or taking the examination again, if it has been failed, is allowed only in an extreme case, which is confirmed by respective documents. Repeated taking of an examination is done in accordance with the existing RSU regulations.

Permanent evaluation system and accumulative mark is more objective and is not based on an accidental principle in the evaluation. On the other hand, such a system allows the lecturer constantly to follow up each student’s proficiency level and its changes.

The department staff is following up the student’s progress. Students are constantly informed about the marks, the total level of progress is discussed at least once a semester when the department staff and the programme directors meet students of each study year. In the academic year 2006/2007, a more intensive cooperation with students was established, especially in the field of research – possibility to have consultation 5 days a week for full-time and part-time students, a “joint e-mail” system was made, which helps students get additional material, fast distribution of Power Point presentations among students and distribution of short texts for seminars. By using the latest technologies, one can raise the interactivity to the study process.

Each year is completed by an examination.


Members of the commission for defence of Bachelor’s papers are offered by the department, but affirmed by RSU Senate.

1.5. Characteristics of students
According to the surveyed data on the number of students in the academic programme “Public Relations”, there are 209 students in the academic year 2006/2007.
1.5.1. Number of students in the programme (comparable table 2005-2007 academic year)
Table Nr.2




2005/2006













Study year

Programmes




PR

J




1

60

41




2

37

23




3

65

31


4


52

43




In total:

214

138

352
















2006/2007













Study year

Programmes




PR

J




1

58

40




2

50

35




3

32

23



4


69

30




In total:

209

128

337

The total number of students in the academic programme “Public Relations” on 2006/2007 is 209. Comparing it to the academic year 2005/2006 the number of students (214) has decreased by 5 people, which is due to the drop-out of students as a result of interrupted studies.


1.5.2. The number of the admitted at the first study year
In the academic study year 2006/2007, the number of the admitted students in the programme is 58.

The comparison with the academic programme “Journalism” shows a stable leader’s position, which can be explained mostly with a comparative novelty of the academic programme “Public Relations” in the range of offers of Latvia’s study programmes. The fast advance of the already-mentioned branch is one more of the decisive factors of the popularity.



1.5.3. The number of graduates
Form the year 2002 till June 2006, the total number of the programme graduates is 113 and the dynamics of graduates is depicted in the Table Nr.4:
Nr.3. Dynamics by years in comparison to the programme in Journalism (J)


Study year


1st study year

2nd study year

3rd study year

4th study year

Year of graduation

1998/1999

1999/2000

2000/2001

2001/2002

2002

PR

J

PR

J

PR

J

PR

J

PR

J

1998/1999

23

22

19

17

19

17

17

12

14

7




1999/2000

2001/2002

2001/2002


2002/2003

2003

1999/2000

15

15

13

11

11

11

12

11

10

11




2000/2001

2001/2002

2002/2003

2003/2004

2004

2000/2001.

29

28

26

23

26

19

21

18

19

14




2000/2002

2002/2003

2003/2004

2004/2005


2005

2001/2002

54

36

47

31

41

19

38

15

26

15




2002/2003

2003/2004

2004/2005

2005/2006

2006

2002/2003

76

63

61

54

51

43

47

41

44

40




2003/2004

2004/2005

2005/2006

2006/2007

2007


2003/2004

74

49

72

39

64

31

83

31










2004/2005

2005/2006

2006/2007




2008

2004/2005

40

30

35

22

32

23
















2005/2006

2006/2007







2009

2005/2006

59

41


50

35






















2006/2007



















2010

2006/2007

58

40




























































Main reasons of students’ drop-out are connected with the following external factors:

  • POOR PROGRESS –programme requirements and the intensity of study time-table requires from the student a motivation and time management.


  • MOVING ABROAD – students continue to learn in higher schools abroad and remain living there.

  • CHANGING FOR OTHER HIGHER SCHOOLS WITH PART-TIME STUDIES – this factor is connected with high rise in the tuition fee, the necessity to get involved in the labour market earlier than before.

As a result of the interaction of these factors into the study process in full-time studies is a great challenge.


Despite several aspects mentioned, which affect the number of drop-out students, we have to mention, that the average number of graduates from 2002 till 2006 is 83,5%, comparing with the number of students of the IV year:
Table Nr.4


Year of graduation

Number of students of

4th study year

Number of graduates % of 4th study year students

2001/2002

17

82,3%

2002/2003

12

83%

2003/2004

21

90,4%

2004/2005

38

68,4%


2005/2006

47

93,6%



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