At the end of our first module, The Modern State, students are invited to write a motivation letter for the STAR-programme during module 2. Further, tutors are asked to tell about students that stood out during the meetings. And of course, when those two lists have been compiled there is looked into students’ individual scores. Finally, around 10% of students is allowed in the STAR-programme of Module 2.
EPA STAR-programmes are given in module 2 through 6. For each module students have to apply for the STAR-programme again.
In European Challenges, the second module, the STAR-group does an entirely different project than the other students called EuroSim. It so happens, that the EuroSim simulation not only takes place in the right timeframe, but also has the same subject as our own project; migration. The STAR-group is busy gaining knowledge and finding out facts to let University of Twente leave a good impression during the Model European Union in Antwerp in January 2016. Among other things, they have to find solutions and get answers following the official EU rules for decision-making.
The 2015 EuroSim decision making process, in which several of the students European Public Administration gained prizes, including the prize for Best Government Leader.
During the Public Policy module, module 3 of European Public Administration, the STAR-group will follow the same project as the others. The project gain is to create a policy to stimulate green energy. Instead of having fictional client, the STAR-group will do this in collaboration with a municipality and base their policy advice on the challenges of this municipality. They do so by interviewing employees and presenting their report to this municipality.
In Regional innovation and smart cities, the last module of the first year of European Public Administration, the STAR-group members were distributed amongst the other groups. In the project, groups have to describe the strong and weak aspects of a certain self-chosen European region. In the last part of the project, the star group students discuss the different outcomes of the different groups in order to come to recommendations, pitfalls and challenges for Twente as a region.
The second year starts with our module Public management. In the project, students interview their secondary school management, comparing and explaining differences in management style and performance. They have to compile that into a poster presentation and report. The STAR-group has to step up a bit and after the comparison design a management plan. In this plan a recommendation to increase the performance of the chosen school within five years.
In the last module with a star programme within European Public Administration, Public Governance in Europe, students learn in the project how to work with real-life data and propose and answer a chosen research question in the field of social inequality. The STAR-group is offered the assistance of a full professor and is geared towards writing their paper as a scientific journal article. If their work is graded with at least an 8, the project work will be submitted to the Student Research Conference of the VSNU.
During all these STAR-programmes, students are selected on only the individual results of the last module they participated. So, a student can improve over time and become a STAR-group member after some modules.
“My name is Jasmijn and I study European Public Administration, where I have participated in the STAR-programme. I decided to participate in the STAR-Programme because I want to get the maximum out of my bachelor and liked the idea of being challenged within the boundaries of my study programme. Further, I wanted to be in a group that is well matched.
The way the STAR-programme is designed differs per module. For example, for the second module we formed a delegation for EuroSim and were asked to write a text to compare EuroSim with the real European Union. Besides, we did an extra oral exam during which we defended the position that we had taken during the simulation. During the third module, we had to design a policy for a real client. Working with a real client formed the addition to the project since other project groups had fictive clients.
Until now, I do not have the feeling that the programme has cost me more time. So for everyone who is looking for a challenge, that does not cost too much time, I would recommend applying!”
Want to know more about the EPA STAR-programme? Contact the programme coordinator of European Public Administration, Martin de Nobel, email firstname.lastname@example.org.