Following the first term students will do a six-week internship ideally at a Global Union Federation or an institution that is concerned with matters of the International Trade Union movement, Most of these organisations are located in Geneva or Brussels. The internships are an integrated and obligatory part of the Masters programme. They offer unique insights into the work and activities of the ILO, international trade union organisations, labour related research foundations, German trade unions or works councils of German based transnational companies.
During the internship the students will work on specially assigned projects, that are part of the global activities of the hosting organisations. At the end of the internship they will be requested to write an analytical report that will be assessed by the universities.
The internship also offers the opportunity for the students to identify relevant topics for the global labour movement that might be further elaborated in the final Master thesis students have to write to complete the programme.
In addition to the internship possibilities advised by the programme, students may propose internships of their own choice, if the suggested institution is able to provide the necessary supervision and guidance to do an equivalent internship.
Detailed information on how to organize and secure an internship placement will be provided by the coordination of the Masters programme.
Due to the heterogeneity of the student group, special emphasis is laid upon student advice and conflict management. Within the concept of student advice, both universities will offer the students guidance and advice on the processes of registering within the universities, accommodation, health insurance, visa support, mobility, information support, scientific support (e.g. e-mail account, access to computers, access to libraries, language courses etc.), child care.
Tools for conflict management anticipate that due to the heterogeneity of the student group, efficient means to solve possible conflicts have to be established. Here, emphasis is put on dealing with the different cultures and gender aspects. To anticipate possible conflicts between students and staff, and among the students themselves, measures for active participation will be installed. The programme co-ordinators at both universities will be supportive in problem-solving. In addition, students will elect a spokesperson who will work as facilitator between the different conflict partners. This elected representative will also participate in the evaluation board of the course.
The quality management of the course includes the following:
- Accreditation prior to implementation by an independent, external agency. This accreditation requires permanent evaluation and ensures the improvement of the course;
- Evaluating academic progress by the academic staff, tutors, and the students by means of guided interviews at the beginning and end of each term;
- Questionnaire-based evaluation of the curriculum, didactic outline, student advice, administrative and technical support;
- Peer review by members of the academic board. Peer review as a means of quality assessment will address the academic staff, the students and the external partners, e.g. course providers from the trade unions.
- An alumni network will also allow provide an assessment of the extent to which participants continue to work with trade unions or the degree to which they are maintaining their links to the labour movement, in cases where participants have taken up other employ ment opportunities in the public or private sector.
- The results from quality assessment will be documented and discussed by the Academic Advisory Board. This Board will develop recommendations for improvement and implementation.
The concept behind this seminar is to actively involve the students who come from different trade union backgrounds, and disciplinary and professional fields. The seminar aims to bring together these different experiences and provide an open space to address specific challenges and questions of the trade union movement from multiple perspectives. In group projects the participants develop their own curriculum of topics around the labour movement which are then presented and discussed throughout the seminar.
Additionally a variety of experts from the trade union movement and also reseachers of the trade union movement are invited for guest talks in their fields of expertise. These guest talks mainly deal with issues of International Trade Unionism and the question of International Organizing of the Labour Movement.
The Universities will organise several excursions to trade unions and economic and political institutions in Germany. All excursions will be accompanied by faculty members. Guided Tours will be held in English as will the talks and discussions.
Volkswagen Kassel at Baunatal
- The students will visit an automobile plant with approx. 16,000 workers and learn about its structure and organisation. Additionally, they will have a meeting with members of the works council to learn about the German Codetermination System and to discuss specific aspects of it with regards to the labour movement.
IG Metall headquarters in Frankfurt
- The students will discuss with union representatives strategies concerning transnational corporations, and will learn about the functions of a headquarter, particularly the international department.
After the Internships
ILO in Geneva
- At the end of March all participants will gather in Geneva for a two day Workshop at the ILO as part of the seminar on International Labour Standards
DGB Headquarters, Ver.di Headquarters
- The students will discuss with union representatives strategies concerning transnational corporations and will learn about the functions of a headquarter, particularly the international department.
German Parliament (Reichstag)
- The students will meet representatives from the German Parliament for discussions and visit the "Reichstag building".
Tutors provide a first-line counselling service but also offer academic advice and guidance to students on their progress through the degree and appropriate modular choices. They also assist by giving diagnostic help regarding both the English language and study skills. The tutorials are intended to improve students' awareness of their strengths and weaknesses and help develop independent learning skills by fostering awareness of how they can help themselves better on their next assignment.
Tutorials offered at the University of Kassel:
- Economics Tutorial
- Political Science Tutorial
- Academic Standards