College faculty sometimes question why they should participate in a Model European Union. It is time consuming compared to the traditional lecture format, requires some involvement in fundraising (especially when the campus is new to the Model EU and must begin seeking dedicated sources to fund student registration fees, accomodation, and travel), and the time invested in the Model EU may be seen as "robbing" faculty members of valuable research time. These are all valid concerns, but SUNYMEU continues to thrive and attract new faculty advisers despite these perceived impediments. SUNYMEU has been able to address these concerns by offering a state-of-the art pedgogical model that complements classroom training, incorporating scholarship into a parallel faculty program, and providing an opportunity for graduate students to network, learn experiential teaching pedagogy, and interact with EU scholars, all of which should strengthen their competitiveness on the academic job market. Furthemore, those university with graduate programs will SUNYMEU students (some of whom begin participating as college freshman) are a competitive pool of potential applicants for their MA politics, MA international studies, MPA, MPP, and other similar graduate programs.
SUNYMEU is the result of years of trial-and-error in delivering a superior educational experience. So, for example, SUNYMEU is a simulation of a Council Presidency, which is more accessible to both students and faculty (and more realistic) than the legislative model (which is based on one legislative directive or regulation which the European Parliament and Council must agree under co-decision) employed by some Model EU programs. After considerable study and consultation, SUNYMEU jettisoned the legislative simulation in 2008, in favor of the Council simulation.
The Council Presidency is based on the current issues with which the trio presidency (based on the trio programme) is grappling. Furthemore, unlike those Model EUs based on a legislative simulation where the faculty organizers select a topic (usually one year in advance), each country delegation writes an agenda proposal and submits them to the delegation playing the Council Presidency, from which these students select three. In addition, the opening of the simulation on Thursday evening includes time for each delegation to present an agenda item that was not selected, which are then voted on by the delegates. Two are selected as additional agenda items to be taken up by COREPER or the relevant Council formation, while the European Council debates the agenda items completed and submitted by the foreign ministers and finance ministers. This practice ensures all students are fully engaged and learning about the politics and policies of the EU throughout the entire simulation weekend.
Here are several resources, below, selected to assist college faculty in learning about the Model EU. These might be downloaded, for example, and included in one's dossier as evidence of the pedagogical value of the Model EU.
We recommend reading this article in EUSA newsletter, which lays out the pedagogical argument in favor of Model EU programs. Model European Union Simulations: A Brief Primer by Phil Shekleton (Volume 22, No. 1, pp. 7-9)
The SUNY Guide to the Model European Union assists both students and faculty in becoming familiar with a simulation of a Council Presidency summit. It also includes learning objectives, which may assist the faculty member in making his/her case to college administration for permission to recruit a delegation to a Model EU program. The Institute for European Union Studies has given permission to Model EU programs - both high school and collegiate - to use our guide as the basis for their MEUs.
Wondering about the role of faculty advisers? You might be interested in reading this paper written by three professors who advised delegations to the Model EU for several years. Steck, H., L. Buonanno-Lanze, and M. Eagles (1996) "Pedagogical Strategies and Assessment Results in Cross-National Simulations: Conclusions from at Two-Continent Model European Union Simulation," Presented at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco.
This next paper may be of interest to faculty interested in participating or even starting their own Model EU program:
Buonanno, L., J. Mather, and N. Nugent (2003) "Organizing, Managing, and Assessing an Intercampus, Transnational EU Simulation," Teaching Public Administration 23 (1); 1-14.
During SUNYMEU, there are several opportunities for faculty to meet in seminars where graduate students and faculty present their EU research. These informal seminars are sometimes organized to produce conference papers and publications. For example, this book Neill Nugent (2004). European Union Enlargement (ed). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan contains several chapters based on papers presented at a SUNYMEU faculty seminar.
Graduate students are invited to serve as faculty advisers in SUNYMEU. This is excellent training for graduate students in experiential learning, a crucial skill to have on one's CV in today's competitive market for college teaching posts. SUNYMEU also welcomes graduate students to serve as expert witnesses and to present their scholarship in the faculty seminars. Graduate students are included in all faculty adviser events - seminars, SUNYMEU Council meetings, and the Friday evening faculty dinner. IEUSS thinks SUNYMEU provides a great networking opportunity for graduate students.
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