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Europeanizing Universities: Expanding and Consolidating Networks of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Programme (2004–2017)

  • Marques, Marcelo
  • Zapp, Mike
  • Powell, Justin J W
Publication Date
May 12, 2020
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The Europeanization of higher education has gained considerable scope and momentum over the past quarter century. Whereas the coordinative Bologna process, with soft governance mechanisms, have facilitated standardization across countries, European Commission funding programs targeted universities more directly. The Erasmus Mundus Joint Degree Programme, as an incentive-based program, epitomizes the dynamics of such European funding management. Notably, it has established expanding university networks across Europe and unique new tertiary degrees that facilitate student mobility. Applying social network analysis to 561 participating universities through several program cycles, we longitudinally examine three key patterns in the program’s development: the expansion of the programme, the consolidation of networks, and the participation of and coordination by central universities in these processes. Program participation increased considerably across cycles, even as established networks were consolidated, largely through re- accreditation of established programs. Moreover, we identify those universities that assume a central position in the inter-organizational structure of this international program. These universities actively facilitate the evolving Europeanization of higher education by strengthening inter-university networks via a signature EU program.

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