From the I study year till the IV study year, the number of students is changeable, either decreasing, or increasing again, which can be explained by students’ changing the higher schools, for example, students from other higher schools- Baltic Russian Institute (2005/2006) – 2 students, entering RSU ESF.
1.5.4. Student’s inquiries and their analysis One of the most essential criteria of the programme quality is also students’ satisfaction with the programme contents. One can judge about the satisfaction, using the quantitative parameters:
Students’ inquiries on the choice of the higher school and the programme, as well as more detailed inquiries as to the quality of a specific course, including various aspects, e.g., quality of a lecturer and the course, room, quality of the equipment and materials, as well as proposals for the further perfection of the study process.
Thus, there are 2 types of students’ responses as to the quality of the study programme- general responses and a detailed analysis of each specific course.
In the academic year 2004/2005, the study made by students as to the students’ satisfaction of the most essential components of the study process, revealed, that the usefulness of study courses in practice, the type of delivery, quality of distributed teaching material, the length of the course, the usefulness of practical work in 88% of responses are evaluated as positive, 12% negative responses of some of the course organizational moments or the way of delivery.
When evaluating the lecturers’ methods of work, 78,5% respondents’ answers to the question, whether a lecturer makes students express their point of view and make discussions, are positive. 75% respondents agree that lecturers are welcoming to any, differently expressed point of view. Lecturers’ competence, way of delivering the subject, ability to answer the questions in 96% of answers were evaluated positively. 18% respondents expressed critical remarks on one or other aspects of the lecturer’s work.
Students regularly express their points of view on the quality of the study process in the post-examination inquiries and at regular joint meetings of the department staff and the programme directors and the students of each course at the beginning of each semester, as well as individually with each student at the beginning of the study year, or during individual talks, arranged in advance, all through the study year. The acquired information is regularly used, perfecting the study programme.
A wide inquiry was not done in 2005/2006, since mass-scale inquiries for all students did not find sufficient response from the respondents, due to technical reasons in data processing. Instead of mass-scale inquiries, a questionnaire for each study course, done after completion of the course and passing the examination turned out to be an effective tool.
Students’ inquiry was introduced again in 2006/2007. It was carried out in the period from March 15 till April 15, 2007. About 50% of the second year students of the programme of public relations were surveyed.
Satisfaction with study programme and the choice of the higher school All students surveyed (100%) are completely or partially satisfied with the higher school and the choice of the study programme. Fully satisfied with the study programme are 54% of respondents, but 46% - partially satisfied. Fully satisfied with the choice of the higher school are a little higher percentage (57%) of respondents, which might be caused by a comparatively insignificant ESF integration into the total university system.
Satisfaction with the quality of studies 69% of respondents mentioned, that the quality of studies, to their mind, is good or very good. 31% stated that the quality of studies is mediocre. Neither respondent had considered it as being bad or very bad.
Satisfaction with some study aspects
All in all, students are very satisfied with the quality of lectures and seminars (in both cases 96% students say that they are satisfied or more satisfied rather than unsatisfied). Students are more critical as to the quality of consultations, 67% are satisfied, but 33% - not satisfied. One has to mention, though, that 22% of respondents were of the mind, that consultations do not exist at all. This phenomenon explains the students’ passivity in attending consultations, which, can be explained, on the other hand, by the fact, that comparatively large number of students combine studies with work (67%).
Students are more critical to the forms of individual work (course papers, reports, summary writing). Dissatisfaction as to this point among students ranges about 18%. Students are especially dissatisfied with the task of summary writing. This problem has been raised in the department and the ways are looked for, how to reduce the task of summary writing, in order to decrease mechanical conspectus-writing and to stimulate a more creative work.
Satisfaction with the system of modules Majority of respondents (87%) acknowledged in liking the module system. The main advantages mentioned are that there is no examination session, it is easier to concentrate on learning of separate subjects. The negative sides of this system mentioned by the students – the module is too short in order to learn the material qualitatively; the time-table is change with each new module, which makes the time planning more complicated.
Assessment of the lecturer’s style of work 79% of respondents admit that lecturers often or always stimulate students for discussions. However, they are not always welcoming to any argumentative point of view (80% of respondents acknowledge that often or always, but 20% - rarely or sometimes).
87% of respondents consider that lecturers always or often evaluate students’ performance objectively. 13% - objective evaluation is given only sometimes.
Satisfaction with the study environment Majority of students are satisfied with the study rooms (72%), access to the internet (67%) and the library services (61%). However, only 64% of respondents are satisfied with the access to computers and hand-outs.
Subjective evaluation of study process
In the survey students were asked to choose the most appropriate characteristics for the studies. The absolute majority of students (83%) stated, that the study process, to their mind, corresponded to what they had expected. 61% stated that the studies were interesting. 44% - studies are valuable and intellectually stimulating. 33% found them tiresome, but only a slight percent – that they are not professional and useless. It means, that students are in total positive to the study process, but the department staff has to pay great attention to giving students, as much as it is possible, more practical skills.4
Satisfaction with choice of higher school and study programme
Satisfaction with choice of higher school
Satisfaction with choice of study programme
Indices of study quality
Bad or very bad
Table Nr.7 Satisfaction with the system of modules
1.5.5. Student’s participation in perfection of study process
Participation of students’ self-government both in extended meeting of the department of Communication Studies, and at RSU ESF Council meeting is one more effective instrument for joint process implementation, in which students become co-authors of the programme contents.
At the start of each study course, students, jointly with the teaching staff, have discussions of the course description, and, in case of need, introduce corrections into the study themes, including new aspects, or come to an agreement on the participation of experts or guest lecturers. In case, if there is a need to devote extra time resources to separate themes, students and the teaching staff suggest to have additional optional lessons. In such a way, the students’ participation is ensured to provide a continuous reconstruction of the study process. At the end of each course, students have a chance not only to evaluate anonymously the quality of work of the lecturer, but at the same time, to render critical ideas on the perfection of the course contents and the infrastructure. The survey results are analyzed and taken into account at the annual meeting on planning for the next study year in June.
One has to admit, that in the programme of 2005/2006, there was an offer to make the mechanism of a course monitor (senior) or “spokesman”, which would promote the solution of topical problems much closer to the students’ environment and students’ needs. However, the administration of the department concluded, that students’ readiness to be involved in such kind of self-activities is problematic due to their early involvement into the labour market.
Students’ evaluation results of the first semester for the academic years 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 were surveyed by the methodologist of the Department of the Communication Studies and they are available to any student and the academic staff.
1.5.6. Student’s involvement into research activities and practical implementation of programme Although the practice is an effective instrument for learning practical professional skills and work experience, some weeks of practical work cannot replace sustainable and versatile involvement into the work in a specific field.
In order to gain a notion on the topicality of the public relations field, its needs and specificity, a regular cooperation with several professional organizations of Latvian public relations branches, as well as representative organizations of common interests, is being implemented. Among the most successful experience we have to mention the long-term cooperation with:
A Secretariat of the Minister for special assignment in society integration matters: cooperation of programme students in organizing and running the activities in state institutions (press conferences, informative campaigns and seminars); On November 16, 2005 and 2006, students participated in the event, organized by the Secretariat of integration matters on handing jury prizes for the most tolerant article “Zebra 2006”.
Portal “Dialogi.lv” – the Internet portal www.dialogi.lv made a column studentarium, which is meant as a source of students’ research, articles and audiovisual projects. In the academic year 2005/2006, the research papers of several 3rd and 4th year students of public relations programme were published on themes of young people’s subcultures, Riga multi-culture history and other topical themes, as well as their own organized campaigns. Full texts are available at: www.dialogi.lv. We have to admit, that successful cooperation with www.dialogi.lv popularise the work of students of the Department of Communication and brings extra publicity also in RSU.
Cooperation with the Latvian Association of Public Relations Institutions (www.Lsaka.lv): input of detailed information in the association home page with an aim to popularize RSU ESF public relations programme contents, students’ achievements. The cooperation is taking place also in perfection of making a dictionary of public relations terminology.
The cooperation is targeted at students’ preparation for further professional activity, formation of a network of contacts and cooperation partners, as well as involvement of professional organizations into the study process with an aim to improve the mutual links, to add to the study process academic dimension a marked orientation to the current situation in the labour market. The present cooperation with the leading agencies and trade organizations has been very productive and successful.
The academic and research activities are an important precondition in the recruitment of the new teaching staff. Students in the academic years 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 participated in the scientific conferences of the department, in which students presented the results of their research work.
In their course papers and Bachelor’s papers students study the scientific aspects of communication, and analyze public relations and the related work practice, tendencies and development in Latvia.
Starting with the first students’ scientific papers, the discourse is being developed in the speciality. Already since the academic year 2000/2001, the department organizes colloquia, where 2nd and 3rd year students introduce their course papers and the 4th years students introduce to the ideas and writing of their Bachelor’s papers, students’ ideas, methods chosen and results are discussed.
1.6. Academic staff engaged in the study programme
The academic programme “Public Relations” is implemented by highly-trained staff, which is regularly raising their scientific qualification at national and international scientific forums.
Analyzing the academic staff of the programme, we have to say the following:
There are 25 lecturers engaged in the programme, of whom 21 (80%) are RSU full-time staff;
20% visiting lecturers, which can be explained by the contents of specific specialization and the necessity to develop students’ practical skills in the field of public relations (history of European integration; Photojournalism). Cooperation with qualified specialists in the programme ensures not only high quality of the study process, but also the link with real environment of public relations and possibilities for practice and further inclusion into the labour market;
From the total teaching staff 14 are doctors of sciences and 11 are Masters;
From the total teaching staff 5 are lecturers, 2 acting assistant professors; 6 assistant professors; 4 associated professors, 1 acting professor – head of the department M.Boiko and 1 professor. The leading researcher of the department – Dr.inf. Sergejs Kruks.
The total number of doctors of sciences in the programme is 14. 13 of them are RSU teaching staff, i.e. (60% of 21 elected and in programme engaged teaching staff);
4 staff members are studying at RSU PhD courses.
1.6.1. University doctors of sciences or professors in the specific branch of science, which is implementing the higher education programme
On June 6, 2006, 2 associated professors in communication science – Ilva Skulte and Deniss Hanovs got elected to the academic programme “Public Relations” with the decision of RSU Council of professors. Both associated professors are engaged in the academic programme and are supervising the students’ scientific work – course papers and Bachelor’s papers.
1.6.2. Selection, renewal, training and development policy of the academic staff for next six years
We have to say, that for the programme development it is necessary to continue to increase the number of doctors of sciences just in the branch of communication science. Up to now the number of doctors of sciences was limited, but it has been the general tendency among the Latvian scientific circles. A special attention and support to the development of sciences, announced by the government as one of the priorities in 2006 for acquiring the state budget and EU structural funds, allows us to hope to increase the teaching staff in the nearest future with doctors of sciences. In 2006/2007 there are 4 PhD students, who are the teaching staff of the programme in the position of a lecturer or invited teachers. It is planned to decrease the number of invited teachers at the expense of workload increase of PhD programme graduates for the next 6 year-period of the programme development.
Thus, in 6 year-period it is planned to achieve an essential ( up to 30%) increase of the number of the teaching staff by doctors of sciences and consequently to increase their involvement into the implementation of the academic programme. The priority task of the next stage is to provide majority of study courses with RSU elected doctors on the staff. It will serve for the stability in the development of the programme contents. Similarly to the previous stage, in the next accreditation period the teaching staff of the programme is regularly offered a chance to participate in international and national scientific conferences, symposia, to use the offered opportunities of the exchange programme to teach in foreign higher schools, gaining a valuable experience of other higher school scientific and pedagogical traditions.
List of academic staff
Introduction into studies and speciality
Editor’s work in the press and other media
Policy and media (Dep.of polit.sciences)
Introduction into Latvia’s politics
Modern theories of politics
Andrejs Berdņikovs Valters Šķerbinskis
History of ideas
History of European integration
Prof., Dr.hab. hist.
Media critics and analysis
Global and international communication
Protective mechanism of EU human rights (Mag.sc.iur.)
Globalization and developmental problems of international law (Mag.sc.iur.)
Introduction into studies and speciality
History of communication
Communication law and ethics
Introduction into law science (B.sc.iur.)
Protective mechanism of EU human rights (Mag.sc.iur.)
Globalization and developmental problems of international law (Mag.sc.iur.)
The academic staff of the study programme takes active part at RSU ESF organized scientific conferences, seminars and projects, do state-ordered scientific studies. Both full-time and visiting staff take part at RSU ESF regularly organized international conferences:
On March 3, 2005, acting professor M.Boiko, assoc. prof. I.Skulte and assoc.prof. D.Hanovs, as well as, acting assist.prof. J.Mihailovs participated at the international conference “Social, political, legal and medical problems of globalization”.
On March 5, 2006, assoc.prof. I.Skulte and assoc.prof. D.Hanovs, and acting assist.prof. J.Mihailovs participated at an international conference “Rejection and isolation – risks and solutions”.
On April19, 2007 a conference “Subculture in the city environment” was held in cooperation with the Department of Communication Sciences, where assoc.prof. D.Hanovs, acting assist.prof. J.Mihailovs, assoc.prof. S.Jirgena took part.
State-ordered scientific studies:
Within the period from 2004 till 2007 the following 5 state-ordered scientific studies were carried out:
Mag.soc. Ģ.Račko “Mazākumtautību nevalstisko organizāciju dibināšanas mērķi”; (Aims of foundation of minority NGOs)
A.Laķe, R.Rungule, T.Lāce “Pilsoniskās vērtības latviešu un mazākumtautību skolu izglītības programmās” (Civic values in Latvian and minority school education curricula).
S.Kruks, I.Šulmane “Neiecietība Latvijas medijos 2004.g.” (Intolerance in Latvian media in 2004) ( published in 2006).
D.Hanovs, I.Vinnika “Krievvalodīgie Latvijā – diasporas kultūras atmiņas saturs” (Russian-speaking population in Latvia – contents of culture memory of diaspora) (study done for the president of Republic of Latvia Strategic analysis commission – published in 2006).
S.Kruks “Homofobijas diskurss Latvijas medijos” (Homophobia discourse in media of Latvia) – finished in April 2007.
In parallel with scientific activities within RSU ESF programme, the academic staff takes active part at international scientific conferences and seminar, given expert statements on problem questions for media and public relations specialists, as well as participate in the courses of exchange of experience or qualification-raising courses, study trips and forums.
1.6.3. Scientific activity of academic staff and research directions
Since the establishment of the programme and in the whole previous accreditation period, within the academic programme “Public Relations”, there was carried out the interdisciplinary principle as regard to the full-staff and visiting lecturers’ recruitment. The interdisciplinary principle for the scientific work of the teaching staff is greatly determined by the programme contents as well, the courses included from the branches of social disciplines (sociology, politics, marketing, theories of public relations, etc.) and humanities (history of ideas, philosophy, intercultural communication, etc.).
The present head of the department and the recruiter of the staff to the programme, acting professor Mārtiņš Boiko, is carrying out his scientific activities on nonverbal acoustic communication, by actively publishing scientific articles, by participating at conferences and rendering his expert opinion to Latvia’s mass media.
M.Boiko is the expert of Latvian Scientific Council and Latvian Intercultural Fund.
Assoc.prof.Ilva Skulte is also involved in the study programme, she is an active co-worker of the culture newspaper “Kultūras forums”.
Acting lecturer Anda Rožkalne, in cooperation with the visiting lecturer T.Hanova, within the period from 2005 till February 2007, made a study “2006.gada Saeimas vēlēšanas – partiju prezentācija un iespējamā slēptā reklāma” (2006 Saeima elections – party presentation and possible hidden advertisment).
The director of the programme D.Hanovs is the author of several textbooks for school and higher school teachers, in 2004 and 2005, he took part at PHARE financedproject “Izglītības, dialoga un līdzdalības loma sabiedrības integrācijas procesa veicināšanā” (Role of education, dialogue and participation in stimulating the integration process), becoming the chief editor of a textbook “Izglītības, dialoga un līdzdalības loma sabiedrības integrācijas procesa veicināšanā 2” and the author of several publications.
In 2007, D.Hanovs, on the invitation of the publishing house Routledge began to work in a group of international researchers, whose aim was to make a group study on the globalization problems in the Baltic States.
The leading researcher S.Kruks of RSU ESF Department of Communication Studies, in the period from 2004 till 2006, has actively implemented a series of research projects in the field of discourse analysis:
Acting lecturer Klāvs Sedlenieks, from 2005-2006 has done the following research projects:
December 2005 – March 2006: researcher in the study “Kultūras nozīme Latvijas tautsaimniecībā un ES struktūrfondu izmantošana kultūras vajadzībām” (Importance of culture in Latvian agriculture and the use of EU structural funds for culture needs), Baltic Project Consulting,Ltd., order of LR Ministry of Finances.
June-December 2006: researcher in the project “Men Equal, Men Different”, for the LR Ministry of Child and Family Matters.
1.6.4. Publications and presentations at scientific conferences, seminars and symposia of the academic staff of the programme from 2004 till June 2007 (selection): Acting professor M. Boiko
2004 “Garīgās vārsmas. Piezīmes par kāda vecticībnieku tradicionālās mūzikas žanra vēsturi un tagadni.” Meklējumi un atradumi 2004. Rīga: Zinātne: 9–20.
2005 “Totenoffizium, Jesuiten und heidnische Seelenspeisungen in Südostlettland.” In: Heike Müns (Hg.) Musik und Migration in Ostmitteleuropa. Schriften des Bundesinstituts für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen im östlichen Europa, Oldenburg. Bd. 23. München: R. Oldenburg Verlag: 61–79.
“Mirušo ofīcijs: Tradīcijas dinamika 20. gadsimtā.” Letonica. Humanitāro zinātņu žurnāls: literatūra, folklora, māksla, Nr. 13. Rīga: LU Literatūras, folkloras un mākslas institūts: 79–93.
2006 “Latviešu muzikoloģija/mūzikas zinātne. Vēsture un problēmas.” Meklējumi un atradumi 2006. Rīga: Zinātne: 7–29.
“Latgales tradicionālā mūzika un identitāte.” In: Letonica. Humanitāro zinātņu žurnāls: literatūra, folklora, māksla, Nr. 14. Rīga: LU Literatūras, folkloras un mākslas institūts: 50–57.
Presentations at conferences, seminars etc.:
2004 “Jezuīti. Mentalitāte un mantojums“ un “Ziemeļlatgales tradicionālās mūzikas vēsturiskie un stilistiskie slāņi“. Lekcijas teorētiski praktiskajā seminārā Maija dziedājumi Ziemeļlatgalē. Balvi, 2004. gada 21.–23. maijs.
“Burdons Baltijā.“ Konference Burdona tradīcijas. Starptautiskais burdona festivāls Alsungā, 2004. gada 2.–4. jūlijs.
“Balcanic and Baltic Vocal Polyphonies. Some Comparative Aspects.” 34th conference of the International Ballad Commission. July 19–25, 2004, Riga, Latvia: 7–8.
“Mirušo ofīcijs: tradīcijas dinamika 20. gadsimtā.” Barondienas konference 2004 „Tradīcija un jaunrade“. Latvijas Universitātes Literatūras, folkloras un mākslas institūta Latviešu folkloras krātuve, 2004. gada 29. oktobris.
2005 “Par klusēšanas ieradumiem un stratēģijām Baltijas reģionā.” Konference „Mūzikas akadēmija šodien un rīt“. Jāzepa Vītola Latvijas Mūzikas akadēmija, pirmdien, 2005. gada 10. janvārī.
“Traditions and Strategies of Silence in the Baltic Region.” II Starptautiskais kolokvijs „Klusēšanas un klusuma semantika”, 2005. gada 14.–17. aprīlis. Psiholoģisko pētījumu biļetens Nr. 18, Rīga: Starptautiskā Praktiskās Psiholoģijas Augstskola: 2005: 93–95.
“The Question of Baltic Regionalism: history and some contemporary tendences.” Rīgas Stradiņa universitāte, Eiropas studiju fakultāte. Starptautiskā akadēmiskā personāla konference “Globalizācijas tendences pasaulē un Baltijas reģiona valstu problēmas” 2005. gada 18. aprīlī. Referātu tēzes. Rīga: 2005: 2.