YMC-60809 Academic Consultancy Training

Course

Credits 9.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical
Group work
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. TJ Stomph
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. GJ Casimir
Examiner(s)dr. ir. TJ Stomph

Language of instruction:

English

Assumed knowledge on:

Before starting an ACT the student should have successfully completed at least 24 credits of MSc-level courses or a first MSc-thesis.
Furthermore the student should master Information literacy, computer literacy and presentation skills on minimally the level of the MOS-modules; English verbal and writing skills should minimally be on a level which allows self-reflection and feedback and full independent functioning in a student team.

Contents:

Students have to pre-register via the ACT course website an no later than roughly one period in advance and for period 1 this implies in May the preceding study year. We use this pre-registration and the keywords you enter there describing your expertise to search for meaningful projects. The registration is not possible via SSC, once you have started the course the coordination will take care of your registration with SSC. For all further information about the course including the exact deadlines for all periods and to pre-register see the website (https://actregistration.wur.nl/). Be aware there are different versions of ACT like entrepreneurial ACT (E-ACT) Sustainability ACT (S-ACT)and Academic Research Training (ACT-ART), information can be found on the website. ACT is also offered as split course during the afternoons of period 5 and the mornings of period 6 on request of your study adviser before November 1st.
NOTE: It is not possible to register for this course via SSC. The course coordinator will take care of the registration of the participants at SSC. Closing dates for registration (site will be closed at 09.00 o'clock in the morning):
Period 1: 2 June;
Period 2: 16 September;
Period 3&4: 9 November;
Period 5&6: 15 November (consult your study advisor for this combined period);
Period 5: 1 February;
Period 6: 21 March.
Teams of 4 to 7 students are assigned a project. These consultancy teams are composed on the basis of required disciplinary mix for the execution of the project and the interests students have expressed in an application letter to the course coordinator. In their application letter students indicate what their disciplinary knowledge will add to the execution of the project. Each team has an assigned process coach and is required to find at least one content coach/expert relevant to the project.
The multidisciplinary and preferably multicultural team will carry out a design type project for a client. This may be design of new technologies, but also policy papers, business plans, communication plans or draft research plans for integrated research programmes. Crucial is that teams reach an interdisciplinary synthesis of the compiled information and translate this into an advice on future actions for their client.

Learning outcomes:

After this course students are expected to be able to:
- determine, with a team and in interaction with a client, the goals of a project and formulate tasks and a project plan on the basis of their disciplinary knowledge and general academic skills and attitude;
- adjust, with their team and in interaction with the client, the formulated project goals and plan when and if necessary;
- defend and sell their viewpoints and conclusions in a professional and representative way and academically correct;
- contribute at an academic level to the execution of an interdisciplinary project both in terms of process and content related to their own disciplinary training by gathering, selecting and analysing information and integrating this into project deliverables;
- implement reflective learning by an assessment of their personal functioning in and contribution to a professional team and reflection on this in writing and during an assessment interview;
- assess the contribution of other team members and other stakeholders on team functioning and execution of project tasks and appropriately reflect on these and give feedback in writing and verbally.

Activities:

- Team meetings: During the course, teams have formal meetings, which the process coach attends regularly. With the assistance of the coach students regularly reflect on the functioning of the team and of individual members.
- Assigned team functions: Prior to starting, the students will be assigned functions with a clear task description: team manager, secretary, financial controller, member.
- Meetings with commissioner: Students organize and prepare meetings with the commissioner. During at least one the coach will be present as observer.
- Work plan: Teams prepare a project plan, a first concept is discussed with a project planning expert. Work plans should at least address the mission/vision of the group, the planning chart, the stakeholder analysis, go/no-go decisions and involved risks. The plan is further assessed by the client and a content coach/expert before a final plan is made. When needed, the group will negotiate with the client in order to meet client wishes, on condition academic standards and project limitations are respected. During project execution the group checks the work-plan and negotiates adjustments when and if needed.
- Project execution: During project execution a certain division of tasks is needed, yet the group should not start to work as a task group, with only one or two persons working on the integration of elements. Interdisciplinarity requires that all members actively work on synthesis and participate in the formulation of the final product and recommendations to the client.
- Project deliverables: All groups deliver an oral presentation, in English, to their commissioner, peers and coaches involved in the ACT. Further deliverables for each project are defined in the work-plan in interaction with the commissioner and the content and process coach.
- Individual assignments: Students compile a (self) assessment dossier. This includes the: application letter, expectation paper, reflection forms, mid-term reflection paper and final reflection paper. During the starting, mid-term and final interviews the coaches give feedback on the dossier. Elements of this dossier are discussed during group meetings.
- Additional skills training: Lectures are given on theory of project planning and the preparation of a work plan. Training sessions are organized for a revision of the theory on communication, group dynamics and self-reflection and for team building exercises and training on multicultural communication.

Examination:

The final mark is calculated as follows:
- project proposal (15%) (of which 50% coach and 50% proposal writing teacher);
- product (42.5%) (of which 50% assigned expert, 25% coach and 25% commissioner);
- team process (10%) (100% coach);
- individual process (32.5%) (of which 50% coach and 50% mutual assessment team);
All parts: written self-assessment, project proposal, product, team process and individual process, have to be sufficient (5.5 at least) to pass the course.

Literature:

Project specific.

ProgrammePhaseSpecializationPeriod
Compulsory for: MTOLeisure, Tourism and EnvironmentMSc6WD
MCHCommunication, Health and Life SciencesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
Restricted Optional for: MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3MO+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MBIBiologyMSc1,2,3+4,5,6
MOAOrganic AgricultureMSc1WD, 2WD, 3MO+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MEEEarth and EnvironmentMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MFNForest and Nature ConservationMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MASAnimal SciencesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3MO+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3MO+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMSc6WD
MPSPlant SciencesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3MO+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MBEBiosystems EngineeringMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MNHNutrition and HealthMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MBFBioinformaticsMSc2WD, 6WD
MUEUrban Environmental ManagementMSc1WD, 2WD, 3MO+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MCLClimate StudiesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MIDInternational Development StudiesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MAMAquaculture and Marine Resource ManagementMSc5WD, 6WD