Engaged Citizens Programme

The EUC Engaged Citizens Programme is an extracurricular programme in which a small group of students gets the opportunity to initiate and engage in activities that commonly fall outside of the scope of their academic learning journey. The Engaged Citizens Programme is situated at the intersection of Critical Thinking and Critical Making. It is an interdisciplinary programme for reflexive thinkers and doers who enjoy, and consider it important, to engage collectively with complex public issues. The programme corresponds to a study load of 15ECTS and runs parallel to the regular coursework.

What do we do in the Engaged Citizens Programme?

Each academic year, the Engaged Citizens Programme welcomes twelve new students. It is a selective and intensive programme, in which we aspire to make stories that travel beyond the boundaries of our discipline and institution. Particularly, the Case Writing Cycle (CWC) and the Documentary-Making Module are exemplary of this ambition. In the CWC, students are guided to develop Teaching Cases, based on real-life dilemmas, which are published in the RSM Case Writing Library. These cases feed back into the day-to-day education of students at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

In the Documentary-Making Module (DMM), students are challenged to explore socially relevant themes, within and around Rotterdam, that deserve to be expressed in film. In contrast to scholarly work, which can be experienced as rather rigid and limited in terms of creativity, the DMM is interest-driven, supports playful experimentation, and leaves room for trial and error. At the same time, it puts students in a context in which they will encounter challenging question with respect to narrative-development, collaboration and ownership, and the ethics of representation.

What makes the Engaged Citizens Programme unique is that at the end of the year you can call yourself both a filmmaker and a case writer. The journey that leads you there is enriching in and of itself, but hopefully also serves as a source of inspiration for the work you do after the track comes to an end.   

Students familiarizing themselves with the film equipment

ECP: Student-Led Initiatives

The Engaged Citizens Programme is an educational space in which students are encouraged to think along, to contribute to the programme, and to take ownership of their personal and collective learning trajectory. In addition to the three required components of the programme (i.e. CWC, DMM, Personal Leadership Trajectory), there is ample room for self-initiated learning. Students are provided with time, resources, and guidance which enables them to think of innovative ways of adding to the Engaged Citizens Programme. This has led to a wide variety of activities ranging from masterclasses, urban walks, and student-led cooking workshops to reading groups. It is this diversity that gives the Engaged Citizens Programme a distinct and unique identity each academic year.

ECP: Case Writing Cycle

In its most elementary form, the teaching case is a story. It is a rich narrative, based on real-life experiences, in which an individual or a group faces a challenge, decision or problem. The teaching case encourages the reader to consider the dilemma from the perspective of the protagonist. The case provides information but does not present a conclusive answer; it is ambiguous enough to spur discussion. Identifying the actual problem, evaluating the different paths of action, and considering the consequences of these actions is the work done by students in a classroom discussion guided by a teacher.

In the Engaged Citizens Programme, students are asked to write a teaching case from scratch. Each year, several protagonists (usually executives in a publicly or privately held organization) participate in the programme and based on their experiences students produce a case. Past years, students have developed cases in collaboration with organizations such as the Dutch public broadcaster NOS, the newspaper NRC, the KWF (Dutch Cancer Society), PicNic, and Stichting ALS. The Case Writing Cycle is a chance for students to talk to practitioners in the field, while simultaneously developing a variety of skills such as critical analysis, presentation, and argumentation.

ECP: Documentary-Making Module

In the Documentary-Making Module (DMM), students are challenged to explore socially relevant themes, within and around Rotterdam, that deserve to be expressed in film. Much of our academic work relies on written or oral communication, but there are more modalities in which we can conduct and present research. In the Engaged Citizens Programme, students acquire all the elementary skills to produce, shoot, and edit a documentary film. The research and filmmaking process is supported by professional filmmakers and academics.

The DMM encourages students to think of themselves as storytellers. A lot of our seminars cover themes such as narrative development, knowing your (intended) audience, and visual storytelling. The lessons learned are applied in the documentaries that students – in teams of four – produce, but are also very much relevant for the ways in which we shape and present our ‘academic output’. At the end of the journey, we organize a screening during which the makers introduce and present their work.

ECP: Personal Leadership Trajectory

Engagement is a condition of social life. We always already find ourselves in a wide variety of networks (economic, technological, cultural, etc.). But within that entanglement, we can also choose how we organize our attention and which issues we engage with. Our capacity to do so successfully is to a large extent determined by how well we know ourselves. Knowing and being able to proactively tap into your potential personal drivers contributes to being able to effectively engage with people, initiatives, ideas and projects. During the Personal Leadership Trajectory students will uncover the patterns, convictions and habits that govern their engagement. They will become aware of how thoughts, feelings, cultural context and emotions feed into these mechanisms and how they can transcend them in order to have an increased sense of choice, balance and empowerment. Through practice in the field, individual reflection, and dialogue with their peers students will increase their ability to engage in what truly captures them from the inside out.

The extent of your engagement is also for a large part defined by how well you know yourself. Knowing and being able to proactively tap into your potential personal drivers contributes to being able to effectively engage with people, initiatives, ideas and projects. During the Personal Leadership Trajectory students will uncover the patterns, convictions and habits that govern their engagement. They will become aware of how thoughts, feelings, cultural context and emotions feed into these mechanisms and how they can transcend them in order to have an increased sense of choice, balance and empowerment. Through practice in the field, individual reflection, and dialogue with their peers students will increase their ability to engage in what truly captures them from the inside out.

Participating in the Engaged Citizens Programme

Who can apply?

The Engaged Citizens Programme is an interdisciplinary educational space for committed and inquisitive second-year EUC students. This means that applications are open for EUC students currently in their first year of study. In the selection process, we put a high premium on motivation, inquisitiveness, and an explicit deliberation on how the ECP can contribute to your personal learning goals. Note that the programme corresponds to a study load of 15ECTS and runs parallel to the regular coursework.

When to apply?

The deadline for submitting your application is 24 April. Incomplete and/or late applications will not be considered.

How to apply?

Your application should consist of the following:

  1. A maximum 7-minute video in which you:
    1. Present who you are and why you would like to participate in the Engaged Citizens Programme;
    2. Discuss one issue or theme that you are passionate about and that you would like to further engage with in the programme;
    3. Present one idea for an event, workshop, or excursion that you could co-organize in the programme;
    4. Briefly discuss the latest book, film or exhibition that truly captivated you and why.
  2. A CV and your full transcript up to the time of application (in one .pdf with your full name as the name of the document);

You can either send the video file via email or share a link to the video. Please make sure that everything works. We will not accept applications with no/dysfunctional videos. Send your application to vanbaalen@euc.eur.nl under the email subject Engaged Citizens Programme Application by 24 April, 23:59.

All timely and complete applications will be evaluated by the Selection Committee. In due time, you will be informed about the results.