Purpose – One ambition of most mid-career MPA programmes is to combine the attainment of an academic master degree with a qualitative leap in professional skills and functioning. This ambition requires that academic insights and methods be sensibly linked to real-life professional contexts and challenges. This chapter develops a rationale to enhance conditions and mechanisms that help to produce such linking, based on insights in professional learning. Design/methodology/approach – Two methods used in the mid-career MPA programme at Erasmus University Rotterdam to help students to establish such links will be discussed. The first method involves an evolving personal learning agenda and the second method involves peer-topeer coaching. Both methods will also be used to evaluate the added value of the programme for the professional functioning of the students. Findings – The MPA programme makes students link theory to their own real-life practice and changes their perspective on analysis and professional intervention. Often, however, these new perspectives are quite general in nature, not aking much account of the specific context. Thorough lecturer feedback and training in peer consultation may help students to become more reflexive and to develop better situationspecific strategies. Practical implications – The findings point to the need for further development of didactical strategies. Originality/value – The chapter analyses professional added value of an academic programme.

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doi.org/10.1108/S2045-794420160000005003, hdl.handle.net/1765/95064
Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management
Erasmus University Rotterdam

van der Meer, F.-B., & Marks, P. (2016). Academic pa education and professional practice: Innovative methods for linking theory and praxis. Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management. doi:10.1108/S2045-794420160000005003