International Network for Social Policy Teaching and Research
(First Annual Meeting)

September 25–26, 2014
Madrid, Spain


Thursday, September 25

20:00/8:00 p.m.

Business dinner, Café de Oriente, Plaza de Oriente, 2, 28013 Madrid, Spain
A reception on the terrace (20:00/8:00 p.m.) will be followed by a private dinner meeting (20:45/8:45 p.m.). The restaurant is quite close to the Royal Palace and other touristic sites, so those who arrive in Madrid early enough may want to visit these sites beforehand. (We will organize a way for people to coordinate arrangements.)
Welcome and introductions
Doug Besharov and Neil Gilbert
Who we are and what we hope to accomplish
Roundtable discussion with Neil Gilbert
Introducing ourselves and the institutions we represent and the nascent International Network for Social Policy Research and Teaching. We come from a variety of programs and organizations incorporating diverse perspectives on the field of social policy. Broadly speaking, there are various methodological and substantive similarities and differences among us. In the course of this discussion, we hope to define the intellectual space that forms the common ground of applied social science on which we function—and how we may assist and learn from each other. In the process, we are seeking to lay the foundation of an ongoing network of which this group would be the founding members. This network would facilitate a range of cooperative initiatives involving teaching, research and academic advances, which we will be discussing in more detail the next day.

Friday, September 26

08:00/8:00 a.m.

09:00/9:00 a.m.

09:00/9:00 a.m.

10:30/10:30 a.m.

10:45/10:45 a.m.

11:30/11:30 a.m.

12:15/12:15 p.m.

13:30/1:30 p.m.

14:45/2:45 p.m.

15:00/3:00 p.m.

15:45/3:45 p.m.

(9:45 a.m. DC

6:45 a.m. Seattle)

16:30/4:30 p.m.

17:30/5:30 p.m.

18:30/6:30 p.m.

20:00/8:00 p.m.

Breakfast, Cánovas room, Westin Palace
There will be a private buffet breakfast for our group. We will probably start our meeting over breakfast

Network meeting, Neptuno Room, Westin Palace

Teaching Social Policy: Curricula Alternatives and Models (includes possibly building an online bank for sharing)
Scott Fritzen, with Alexey Barabashev, Martin Potucek, Patrick McGreevy, and Sang-Moon Hahm
This panel will discuss (1) school and context, (2) mission of program and student profile (where do they come from and where are they going?), (3) core program curriculum and the core skills emphasized (process skills, technical/research skills, substantive information about policy areas) (4) models of field education (field placements, internships, capstone courses that integrate field and class), and (5) thesis/project requirements. The feasibility of an online bank of teaching materials and guides will also be explored.


Faculty and Student Exchanges
Sang-Moon Hahm, with Hector Diaz, Scott Fritzen, Innocent Matshe, and August Österle
This panel will explore MOUs and other options for student exchanges among the programs in different countries as well as several models of faculty exchange. These models could involve year-long visits (usually over sabbatical periods) to participate in both research and teaching activities; short term (several months to one semester) teaching assignments; and what might be described as “distance teaching.” The latter option would involve a faculty member from one institution visiting another for a week or so to introduce a course, then returning home and continuing to teach the course at a distance via weekly skype-like meetings with the class, and finally returning for the last week for meetings with the class in person. Besides the utility of distance teaching, we would discuss the business and technical details that would need to be resolved. Another approach, or course, could be the more conventional forms of distance education, which will be discussed by the next panel.

Distance Education
Doug Besharov, with Alexey Barabashev, Hector Diaz, Chris de Neubourg; and Antonio Lopez Pelaez
This panel will explore the growing use of distance education involving both massive open on-line courses (MOOCs) (usually online, asynchronous, and involving thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of students) as well as what might be termed supplemental or combined on-line courses (a live, synchronous experience with students in one or more classrooms connected through a Skype-like program that allows interaction between faculty and student and among students). For our network, in addition to the faculty exchange in distance teaching we would envision pursuing the supplemental/combined on-line approach, that is, the possibility of one or more member institutions taking a preexisting course and adding students from a satellite class in another institution. (The latter would need to provide either a co-teacher or a teaching assistant.) Business and technical details would also be discussed.

Lunch, room TBD, Westin Palace

Joint Research Programs
Ariel Fiszbein, with Gregory Elacqua, Innocent Matshe, Chris de Neubourg, Martin Seeleib-Kaiser, and Daniele Vidoni
This panel will explore the opportunities and challenges of joint research programs as a component of the network's activities. Panelists will reflect on the lessons from other joint research programs they have participated in as well as put forward concrete ideas on potential topics for joint social policy research projects for the group's consideration. As part of this discussion, Daniele Vidoni will describe the European Commission’s 2014-20 programming, including its new conceptual framework for monitoring and evaluation and possible roles for individual or collaborating EU-nation members of the network.


A Publishing Partnership with Oxford University Press?
Neil Gilbert and Dana Bliss (OUP, via Skype)
As discussed earlier, part of our efforts may involve some sort of online interaction coupled with a repository of teaching materials. What other opportunities might exist for the publication and dissemination of related material, including textbooks, practice guides and research volumes? In order to explore these and other possibilities, we have invited Dana Bliss, senior acquisitions editor for social work and social welfare at Oxford University Press (OUP), to give us a brief overview of some of the ways that OUP might be a strategic partner for the Network. For example, the OUP Handbook series provides a comprehensive overview of various fields and social issues. Under this series, we might develop a “living” Handbook on International Social Policy, which would be annually updated on-line on an OUP sponsored International Network for Social Policy Teaching and Research website; another possibility might include an OUP monograph series on the core competencies that inform the basic curricula of social policy programs. This could be something like the OUP guides to social work research methods, but these would focus on the methods of social policy practice. In line with this possibility, we will also explore the mutual benefits of having our network serve as the advisory committee for the series.

Executive Education

Chris de Neubourg, with Tom Kennedy (via Skype) and Venkatesh Kumar

Description to come.

Organization, Funding, and Operating a Network
David Reingold, with Hector Diaz, Ariel Fiszbein, Innocent Matshe, and Antonio Lopez Pelaez
This panel will explore four related questions: (1) What do academic networks do? (2) What do academic networks do well? (3) What do academic networks do poorly? (4) What is the expected “life span” of an academic network? Activities will include joint or coordinated educational/teaching and research activities and annual meetings.

Next Steps
Neil Gilbert and Doug Besharov
Topics, based on the day’s discussion, could include: communication network/website; posting of positions for short-term visiting teachers and distance teaching; curricula exchange; student exchange MOUs; summer program certificates; membership conditions; cooperation with OUP; and our next meeting.


Closing dinner meeting, ME Madrid Reina Victoria Hotel, Plaza de Santa Ana, 14 28012 Madrid, Spain (walking distance from Westin)
We will meet for a reception on the roof (20:00/8:00 p.m.) followed by a private dinner meeting (20:45/8:45 p.m.).

Sunday, September 28

17:00/5:00 p.m

Transportation to Segovia
For those who are attending the conference in Segovia, we have arranged for a van from Madrid to Segovia to leave around 17:00/5:00 p.m. Please let us know if you are interested in joining. The cost will be about $35 per person.

To view Madrid Meeting Agenda in PDF version, please click here.


  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Maryland School of Public Policy
  • Indiana University