MSc Elena Gorbacheva

Location: Brisbane

Arrival: May 14th 2014

Departure: Jun 27th 2014

Elena Gorbacheva
Administrative stay


Mission statement

The goal of my visit to QUT is to strengthen and intensify the long-term structures for cooperation in research and teaching between QUT and WWU Münster.


Research results

My core activities can be divided into two streams, which are described in details below: I) setting up the Joint PhD program between QUT and WWU Münster, and II) investigating different options for joint teaching projects and the ways to encourage QUT students to do an exchange semester at WWU Münster.

During my stay, I collaborated with the following decision makers from the QUT side:

  • Prof. Dr. Michael Rosemann – Head of the Information Systems School, NSS project partner (meetings took place on May 19th, May 26th, May 30th, June 20th and the final meeting is planned for June 27th)
  • Prof. Dr. Kunle Oloyede - Academic Programs Director – Research Training (meetings took place on May 27th and June 25th)
  • Leonard Fitzpatrick - International Partnerships and Mobility Manager (meetings took place on May 15th and June 25th)
  • Dr. Taizan Chan – International Exchange Coordinator (the meeting took place on May 29th)

I) Joint PhD program between QUT and WWU Münster (Program).

Establishment of the Joint PhD program is one of the main outcomes of the NSS project in terms of institutionalization of the partnership between QUT and WWU Münster. The two main points of consideration here are (1) legal aspects to launch the Program officially and (2) funding schemes to make the Program sustainable.

(1) Legal aspects

Overarching Agreement for Joint PhD Programs

QUT has already established earlier several Joint PhD programs with other universities and, therefore, proposed the template of the Overarching Agreement for Joint PhD Programs. This template was carefully considered, reworked and adjusted with support of the legal department of WWU Münster. The proposed changes were discussed with Prof. Dr. Kunle Oloyede and Mr. Leonard Fitzpatrick during two one-to-one meetings and one joint meeting. Several minor changes and one major change to the Agreement were accepted. The major change deals with the clear specification in the Agreement text that a Joint PhD candidate upon successful completion of his/her studies is awarded with one single doctoral degree done under the joint supervision by both universities. This point, as well as the other minor changes, will be discussed with the QUT legal department and embedded into the Agreement text. Once these corrections are done, the Agreement will be ready for signing.

Changes in the PhD Course Regulations of WWU Münster

As no Joint PhD Programs have been launched earlier at the School of Business and Economics of WWU Münster (which the NSS leading Partner, the Chair for Information Systems and Information Management of WWU Münster, belongs to), significant changes to the PhD Course Regulations are required. The first draft version of the new PhD Course Regulations has been prepared by Dr. Armin Stein and me, and is currently being discussed by the professors from the WWU Münster side. The PhD Course Regulations at the Faculty of Law (which has several Joint PhD Programs established) were used as a template here. Moreover, the coordinator of one of the Joint PhD Programs at the Faculty of Law was contacted to share experience on the processes related to student admission, funding, award of a degree etc.

Making changes to the PhD Course Regulations is a time-consuming process, as the changes have to be approved on multiple levels. However, support of the Program by influential stakeholders from the WWU Münster side guarantee the positive outcome. The Agreement and the related required changes in the PhD Course Regulations were already discussed with and supported by several professors, as well as the representatives of the International Relations Center at a faculty level and the International Office at a university level.

(2) Funding schemes

In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Program, it is important to work out the funding mechanisms for Joint PhD candidates.

Based on the discussions with Prof. Dr. Michael Rosemann and Prof. Dr. Kunle Oloyede, the two main ways of funding were identified: scholarships and third party funding from the industry.

Scholarships

Information about PhD scholarship programs at the university, state and country levels from both German and Australian sides was collected. This information will be published on the Program webpage.

Industry funding

Global companies might have interest in funding the Program for one or several of their employees who will gain an opportunity to do PhD in an international setting and to work their theses on topics of relevance for their companies. In order to make the Program more attractive for companies, on top Service Science the two additional focus areas were identified, namely Business Process Management, and Social Media. Both QUT and WWU Münster have expertise in these three areas.

As a first step, a unique value proposition for the potential industry funders, as well the Program details, were formulated in a marketing brochure. The brochure has already undergone a series of revision rounds from both the QUT and WWU Münster sides. The next step is to receive feedback from the QUT and WWU Münster partner companies in order to then start promoting the Program worldwide.

 

II) Joint teaching and promotion of exchange semester opportunities for QUT students.

The student exchange agreement between QUT and WWU Münster was signed several years ago and doing an exchange semester is very popular among students from WWU Münster. On top of that, Master students from WWU Münster have an opportunity, which they actively use, to write their thesis with Prof. Dr. Michael Rosemann or Prof. Dr. Jan Recker from QUT.

Unfortunately, till now QUT students have not been active in visiting WWU Münster. Possible ways to encourage students were discussed with Mr. Leonard Fitzpatrick and Dr. Taizan Chan. Presentation slides for QUT Bachelor and Master students were prepared highlighting the following opportunities of collaboration with WWU Münster: (1) Exchange Semester at WWU Münster, (2) Work Integrated Learning with the ERCIS Advisory Board Members, and (3) Participation in the ERCIS Virtual Seminar (for MSc students).

(1) Exchange Semester at WWU Münster

It was discovered that one way to encourage QUT students to do an exchange semester at WWU Münster is by raising their awareness about the possibilities to recognize the courses done at WWU Münster as part of their studies at QUT. In order to facilitate this course recognition process, the curricula were compared and the mapping of courses was proposed. For most of the courses from the Master of Business Process Management study program at QUT the equivalent courses from the Master of Science in Information Systems study program at WWU Münster could be found. Currently I am awaiting the approval from the QUT side on the proposed mapping for Master program. Once I receive detailed information about the Bachelor of Information Technology (Information Systems major) courses, I will also propose the mapping with the Bachelor courses offered in English at WWU Münster from the BSc in Information Systems, BSc in Business Administration, and BSc in Economics study programs.

(2) Work Integrated Learning with the ERCIS Advisory Board Members

Another way to encourage QUT students to do a semester abroad is by offering them an opportunity to gain some practical experience on top of attending the courses while being in Germany. Doing a scientific internship (called Work Integrated Learning at QUT) is obligatory for QUT students. And here the connections of WWU Münster, as the ERCIS Headquarters, with the companies forming its Advisory Board (www.ercis.org/network/advisory-board) are of great value. WWU Münster will act here as a mediator and a supervisor.

(3) Participation in the ERCIS Virtual Seminar

This year QUT Master of Business Process Management students will be also offered an opportunity to participate (while physically staying at QUT) in the ERCIS Virtual Seminar (http://virtual-seminar.ercis.org/). The Seminar will be recognized as a Project Unit for them. Participation of QUT in the ERCIS Virtual Seminar has been discussed with and supported by Prof. Dr. Michael Rosemann and Dr. Taizan Chan.

Presentation slides summarizing all the above-mentioned opportunities for QUT students were prepared and will be finalized in the next weeks. Afterwards, at the beginning of Semester 2 at QUT (July, 2014), these opportunities will be presented to QUT Bachelor and Master students by respective study programs coordinators.