Call for Expressions of Interest: Developing a Reader for the Collaborative Master of Research and Public Policy Programme (MRPP)

Working Title – Public Policy in Africa:  An Overview of Key Thematic Issues and Concepts


African universities aspire to world class status with cutting edge content, technology, methods and practices defining and redefining trends in knowledge creation and linkages to national priorities as well as overall sustainable development.  PASGR’s experience with 12 African universities in developing and implementing the collaborative Master of Research and Public Policy (MRPP) shows that progress towards this vision is constrained by many challenges, among them paucity in quantity, quality and diversity of teaching and learning materials.

The MRPP programme aims to produce the next generation of public policy leaders and researchers.  A variety of teaching and learning resources is critical for the programme to be truly aligned to its underlying principles of excellence and relevance to different national contexts.

PASGR has committed support aimed at developing and delivering a programme of exceptional quality.  Essentially, PASGR supports activities that benefit all partner universities equally, such as professional development of teaching staff; preparation/acquisition of crucial teaching and learning materials and facilitating access to MRPP specific electronic teaching and learning resources.  Specifically, teaching and learning materials that lend depth to this programme that is woven around concepts and tools, content and context of public policy are pertinent.  It is with this background that PASGR wishes to develop an MRPP Reader.

The MRPP is a multidisciplinary programme that includes 10 Foundation courses and 6 Concentration course electives.  Taking cognizance of the fact that disciplines acquire, develop and share knowledge in distinct ways, the need to ground students in the epistemological demands of specific disciplines as well as the complex analyses of the public policy discourse remains overarching.  Arguably, materials that cut across disciplines to consolidate knowledge, skills and experiences of public policy issues in different national contexts are therefore beneficial.

Objectives of Assignment

PASGR wishes to work with MRPP teaching staff to develop Readers whose content covers a wide range of public policy issues relevant to the African condition and contexts.  The Readers will be an output of original synthesis of content that shows how public policy is integrated in various MRPP disciplines.  The purpose is to enhance the appreciation of knowledge in the field as well as to assist scholars develop competencies, knowledge, skills and experiences that will enable them address present and future public policy issues.

It is envisaged that together the series of Readers will be fundamental to:

  • Understanding and relating domain specific concepts to public policy;
  • Use of evidence as well as norms for reasoning within and across disciplines to form cogent and convincing arguments that shape specific policies;
  • Critical thinking skills that catalyze use of facts from various sources to challenge assumptions, engage concepts and create new knowledge;
  • Independent learning by provoking exploration of supplemental reading materials.

Although all core components of the MRPP are amenable to Readers/collections, these will be developed sequentially. The focus of the present project is to provide an overview of key thematic issues and concepts in the following areas of the MRPP curriculum:

  • Governance and politics of public policy;
  • Social science foundations of public policy;
  • Social diversity, gender, equity and public policy;
  • Leadership and public policy;
  • Global context of public policy.
  • Political economy of public policy;
  • Contemporary issues in public policy;

Aside from expanding the resources available for the programme, this assignment is expected to inspire MRPP teaching staff to deepen their understanding of the intersection between various disciplines and public policy.  A secondary outcome would be the networking of academics/researchers and cross-fertilisation of ideas.

Indicative Approach and Time frames

This is an intensive writing assignment that will involve an iterative process of identifying variable resources, writing stimulating scholarly materials, peer review and feedback.  The work will be undertaken by a team of 7 MRPP academics and overseen by a designated team leader. This call will therefore be circulated among academics who teach the above MRPP courses and a team constituted from among the respondents. The team will work collaboratively with PASGR staff to operationalise the theme of the Reader, identify appropriate materials and prepare the requisite content. The work will be undertaken remotely but will also involve one face to face meeting and a number of virtual meetings.

Deliverables and Timelines

The assignment should commence on April 22, 2016 and be completed by March 31, 2017.

The deliverables are:

  1. Expression of Interest (EOI) with updated CV submitted to by April 8, 2016.  The EOI should be a 2-page document describing the scholar’s understanding of the terms of reference and how s/he intends to approach the work.
  2. Project kick off meeting (Virtual) – April 22, 2016
  3. A draft table of contents and material description – May 16, 2016
  4. First drafts of materials shared – July 29, 2016
  5. Face to face meeting (discussion of draft materials) – August, 2016
  6. Second draft of materials shared – November, 2016
  7. Comments on draft materials shared – January 31, 2017
  8. Revised materials shared – February 28, 2017
  9. Revised materials compiled into a single Reader–  March 15, 2017
  10. Project closure – March 31, 2017