EFMD Advisory Seminar - How to Cope with Challenges in Programme Design

Hosted by: EFMD

The event will start on: 12 Sep 12 17:30
And will end on: 13 Sep 12 15:00

Location: Brussels, Belgium

Programme Goals

Addressing some Challenges in Programme Design

The delivery of programmes is normally the core activity of a business school and therefore, in principle, the design of these programmes is a routine process. Unfortunately, too often this routineness shows through to accreditation bodies in terms of poorly structured programmes, unclear objectives and rationale, loosely specified Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO), and weak linkage of the ILO to the assessment regime. Sometimes new programmes or major revisions of existing programmes appear to be designed largely on the basis of individual faculty interests without sufficient attention being paid to a well-defined logical design process. The seminar will therefore first discuss the nature of the programme design process.

The Bologna process for reforming academic degree structures in Europe (also with world-wide implications) is now reasonably well understood and implemented in many countries. In particular, one of its goals has been to focus on the use of degrees at all levels as a preparation for employment. This means, for example, that Bachelor (or first) degrees have had a greater emphasis on employability in some countries than before. The effect has been to increase the competence development content of programmes perhaps at the expense of academic content. The balance between academic depth and rigour and managerial competences is a key issue in programme design.

Intended Learning Outcomes have increasingly become a standard output of the design process (eg. see Bologna documentation) since programme outcomes are more important to students, graduates and employers than the inputs which are often of more interest to faculty. Inputs should be a means to the outcomes. However the concept of ILO is often not fully understood and especially, how to link the assessment regime to measuring the achievement of the ILO.

Other implications in the design for employability are to include a range of areas that prepare graduates for the modern world of work. These should include familiarity with business and management in its broadest sense, the international context of business, and the necessity for innovation and creativity. The social context in which managers operate has become a key issue and hence programmes should aim to develop responsible managers who recognise ethical dilemmas, understand the need for sustainability both for the environment and for the organisation itself, and above all have a duty of care for their employees, other stakeholders and the world in general. These issues raise questions on how they may best be implemented within the programme design especially given alternative modes of delivery that may be offered, eg full time, part time evenings/weekends/modular, blended learning. For example how can an international learning experience be incorporated into a part time mode of study?

The seminar will take a comparative approach. The broad issues will first be outlined. Speakers from three different types of business schools will then discuss their own School’s approach. Finally, common threads of good practice will be identified.

  1. The programme design process and key issues for consideration.
  2. The development of ILO so as to relate back to the programme objectives and forward to assess the extent to which students have achieved the ILO.
  3. Impact of national/international programme reform, where applicable, and its implications for employability and the balance between academic depth and managerial competences.
  4. The inclusion of trends in business and society onto programme design.
  5. Any other aspect or comments particular to the speaker’s institution.

Target Audience
Associate Deans (Teaching & Learning), Program Directors, QA Officers, and Faculty

hotel booking

More Information


Wednesday, 12 September 2012 (Location: Chez Oki)
19:30 – 22:30 Informal Networking Dinner
«Chez Oki» Restaurant, Rue Lesbroussart 62, 1050 Brussels


Thursday, 13 September 2012 (Location: EFMD Premises)
09:00 – 10:00 Welcome and Introduction: What are the issues?
  • Chris Greensted, Associate Director, Quality Services, EFMD
10:00 – 11:00 Groupwork: Identify Problem Issues within Institutions
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee and Group Feedback
11:30 – 12:30
  • Sami Saarenketo, Vice Dean of the School of Business, Lapeenranta University of Technology, FI
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 14:30
  • Alan Blackburn, Programme Lead Professional HRM, Oxford Brookes University, UK
14:30 – 15:30
  • Camino de Paz, Associate Dean for Blended Programs, IE Business School, ES
15:30 – 15:45 Coffee Break
15:45 – 16:30 Groupwork: Identification of Good Practice
16:30 – 17:00 Conclusions