Transatlantic M.A. in East-Central European Studies
In 2009, Collegium Civitas, the University of Tartu and West Virginia University initiated their collaborative Transatlantic Master of Arts in East-Central European Studies as part of the United States - European Union Atlantis project. The Atlantis program is jointly administered and funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIPSE) and the European Commission’s Directorate For Education and Culture.
The program is the consequence of nearly a decade of bilateral relationships between and among West Virginia University (WVU) in the United States, Collegium Civitas (CC) in Warsaw and the University of Tartu (UT) in Estonia. The University's connection to Collegium Civitas began in 2002 as part of a larger collaborative research project. As of March 2007, Collegium Civitas began to serve as a regular host to a WVU faculty-led 10-day study abroad program, which has emphasized various aspects of contemporary political economy in east-central Europe. In the meantime, faculty from WVU and CC have taught brief, intensive courses or given invited lectures in Morgantown and Warsaw. At approximately the same time, WVU signed an exchange agreement with the University of Tartu, and in 2006, began sending students to Estonia for semester and summer-long study abroad programs in Baltic and Transitional Studies and receiving students from UT who have taken courses across the WVU curriculum.
In an effort to establish and systematize a dual and multidisciplinary master's degree program that builds on existing curricula, student exchanges and faculty collaboration in international relations (CC), social sciences (UT) and history (WVU), the three institutions formed a consortium and applied in March 2009 for an Atlantis grant. This successful application was preceded by a memorandum of understanding that allowed the consortium to initiate student and faculty mobility among them already in the program’s first academic year, 2009-10.
Eleven WVU students have studied or are studying in Poland and Estonia under Atlantis grant funding, six CC students have studied or are studying at WVU and UT, and six UT students have studied or are studying at CC and WVU. Faculty mobility was initiated with the visits of Dr. Serge Pukas, then the European project director from CC, and Heiko Pääbo, the director of the Baltic Studies Program at UT, to WVU in October 2009 and January 2010, respectively. These have been followed by visits to WVU by Olaf Mertelsmann, Viktor Trasberg and Ingrid Rummo of UT and Julian Pankow, the current European project director from CC. In the meantime, Robert Blobaum, the U.S. project director, William Trumbull, Lisa DiBartolomeo, Katherine Aaslestad and George Lies have visited CC and/or UT since the program’s inception.