The first step into establishing of the double degree public administration study programme between Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) and the University of Central Florida (UCF) is already taken: the European Commission has granted funding for exchange between KTU and UFC scholars under Erasmus+ exchange programme.
At is has been announced by the press release from UCF, students and faculty and staff members may now apply for financial support to visit KTU to learn, teach and network, and members of KTU may apply for support to visit UCF for the same purposes. The new agreement permits UCF and KTU to send up to two students per year for up to two semesters each to study at the partner university.
“Though we are not the first in the U.S. to sign an agreement for Erasmus+, we are one of the first”, says professor Professor Thomas Bryer, a former Fulbright Scholar and currently visiting professor at KTU instrumental in developing the agreement.
The first student from KTU to visit UFC through the exchange programme will be doctoral student Ieva Aurylaitė.
The confirmed agreement for Erasmus+ funding is the first step into finalising the establishment of a unique in the region double degree KTU-UFC programme in public administration. The students from both institutions will receive two bachelor’s degrees, one from each university, in four years. According to Eglė Vaidelytė, the head of the Committee for Public Governance Study Programs, the new study programme will focus on collaboration between citizens and public sector.
“Their first two years the students will spend in their universities. In the third and fourth year they will join into one large group, which will spend part of their studies at KTU, and part at UCF. In such a way students will acquire not only the public sector governance knowledge, but also will learn to work in a multicultural group, will develop their international communication skills, which are crucial to public administration professionals across the globe”, says Vaidelytė.
According to her, awareness of the global context is necessary to be able to solve the current social, political and economic challenges. The world needs professionals who understand various cultures, can sustain a dialogue between different groups of society.
“In the context of globalisation, Europeans need to understand the transatlantic challenges and Americans have to be aware of Eastern European context”, says Vaidelytė.
The discussions on the joint study programme between KTU and CFU have been going for couple of years. KTU has been having an ongoing cooperation with Thomas Bryer, Director of the CFU Center for Public and Nonprofit Management, who is a visiting Fulbright scholar and teacher at KTU since 2015. In the beginning of the last year CFU experts Stephanie Krick, Michael Frumkin and Sofia Prysmakova paid their first visit to Kaunas.
The initiative of the joint public administration study programme between Kaunas and Florida universities is strongly supported by the American Embassy in Lithuania.