Jean Monnet chair: Explaining and understanding policing and counter-terrorism in Europe
EUPOLCT provides research-led excellence in teaching and learning at the intersection of two fundamental areas of EU policy – the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (formerly known as Justice and Home Affairs) and EU counter-terrorism policy and law (also within the CFSP, notably in relation to counter-terrorist financing) – through an international cross-section of doctoral, post-graduate and graduate students. The objective is pursued by advancing cutting-edge blended learning formats, distance-learning, strong inter-disciplinarity, policy relevance by creating three new courses (two of them distance and blended learning) and contributing to the creation of a full Masters programme in Terrorism, Policing and Security in Europe by distance learning – the first such Masters programme in Wales and the UK, and one of the very few in Europe as a whole. Popular discourse often depicts the European Union (EU) as an ‘undemocratic and bureaucratic monster’ imposing its will upon the unwilling and ‘sovereignty-less’ member states.
This Jean Monnet Chair project aims to demonstrate that this is not necessarily the case. It is possible to teach EU politics to putative a priori ‘non-EU friendly’ students and make them enthusiastic about this subject. My argument is informed by my experience of teaching various modules on European Union politics, including an EU simulation module based on the problem-based learning (PBL) approach. ‘Problem-based learning’ is learning that is centred on a problem, a query or a puzzle that the learner wishes to solve. PBL is one of the most innovative developments in Higher Education and originated in medical schools at Case Western Reserve University in the United States in the 1950s and McMaster University in Canada in the 1960s. PBL is now used world-wide in Higher Education in many different areas, in particular through the use of case studies in international relations simulations. The features of a PBL curriculum and how they can inform an EU simulation can be summarised as follows: (1) Cumulative learning, (2) Integrated learning, (3) Progression in learning, and (4) Consistency in learning. PBL is a radical way of putting tasks at the centre of learning and is based on the assumption that students are motivated to solve problems. The Jean Monnet Chair project includes two simulation experiences for students each year, which are both build on the same teaching philosophy: (1) the EU Simulation embedded in three teaching courses, and (2) the TACEUSS transatlantic EuroSim teaching trip. The simulation experience provides students with a practical and grounded experience of the European Union, and utilises distance-learning technology very significantly.