Topic outline

  • Ever wondered what governance is? Or who are your stakeholders, and what is the difference between organisation and institution? Do you know how law affects water engineering? Or how this all is related to politics and, ultimately, to sustainability?

    Welcome to Water & Governance course! 

    The course is part of our Master's Programme in Water and Environmental Engineering (WAT), and it provides you with an in-depth introduction to broad issue of governance in relation to water management. The course combines the theory of key elements of water governance (introduced through Contact Sessions) with practical case studies, focusing on different governance contexts (presented during Case Study Sessions).

    The course sessions are on Tuesday mornings (9.00-12) and Thursday mornings (9.00-12) during Period III at Lecture Hall 286/287 in Water Building (Tietotie 1E, Otaniemi). Note that the sessions start at 9.00 sharp! Tuesday mornings from 9 to 10 are usually reserved for preparatory Reading Circles. For more information, see 'Sessions & Reading Circles' sub-page on left. 

    The responsible teacher for the course is Senior University Lecturer Marko Keskinen, and Lauri Ahopelto and Amy Fallon act as Course Coordinators. In addition, we'll have a wonderful set of experts as our visiting lecturers. 

    You can send questions about the course to course email: wat-e2080 (at) 

    Welcome to the course!

  • The course includes two type of sessions: Contact Sessions (Tuesdays at 9-12) and Case Study Sessions (Thursdays at 9-12). 

    Contact Sessions cover a specific weekly theme that is presented by a lecturer. You will familiarise yourself and discuss the theme already beforehand by reading a given material and discussing it in a preparatory Reading Circle with your group (see more below). After each Contact Session, you will also document your Personal Take-Home Messages to MyCourses. 

    Case Study Sessions are organised on Thursdays and most of the sessions include lectures focusing on frameworks and methods related to governance and management. The sessions also include time to work on your Case Study with your group. The sessions may also include some reading material, but no preparatory Reading Circles. You will, however, document your Personal Take-Home Messages also from those Case Study Sessions that include a lecture. 

    Table below gives you a general overview for the Sessions and course timetable.

    Group Work: Reading Circles + Case Study

    The idea of the course is to learn and discuss together what governance is and how it relates to water management - as well as to your own experience and interests. In order to facilitate such discussion, the course makes use of preparatory Reading Circles that combine individual learning (reading the given material) with group discussion (actual Reading Circles) and its reflection and synthesis (Reading Circle Brief + Personal Take-Home Messages). In this way, the course makes use of both flipped learning and peer learning. 

    Reading Circles are always related to a certain Contact Session (see below) and take usually place before the Contact Session: recommended time is before the Contact Session i.e. on Tuesdays at 9am. For more information on Reading Circles, see information page below. 

    The group work during this course thus consists of two parallel processes: weekly Reading Circles as well as work on your Case Study: see figure below. As an Individual Assignment, all students are required to submit a Personal Take-Home Messages from each Contact Session (see below).  

    As the course builds on group work and discussions during the sessions, participation in the Contact Sessions and Case Study Sessions as well as Reading Circles is compulsory. You can miss one session: after that you have to compensate your absence with Personal Compensatory Task (see below).

  • The Case Studies form a key learning process of the course, and consists of three main parts: 

    1. Governance analysis of your Case Study
    2. Preparing a Case Study Report 
    3. Presenting your Case Study 

    Each of the Case Studies focuses on a given case at a different geographical scale. The Case Study groups are defined during the first Contact Session on Tuesday 8.1: read the Case Study descriptions below beforehand, and decide on (at least) three Case Studies you would prefer to work on. There will be 4-5 Case Studies, depending on the amount of student participating in the course. 

    The tentative topics for the Case Studies are:

    • Group 1: UN-Water and SDGs 
    • Group 2: Transboundary cooperation in the Mekong River Basin 
    • Group 3: Environmental governance in Finland, with focus on EU-WFD 
    • Group 4: Finnish case (e.g. hydropower or Talvivaara)
    • Group 5: The governance of Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY 

    For detailed instructions on the Case Study (incl. Case Study Report and presentation), read carefully the instructions below. The aim of the Case Study is to provide a practical example of a particular governance context, and in this way to deepen your understanding of different governance settings. At the same time, the analysis work to be done for the Case Study gives you a possibility to apply a set of governance analysis methods in practice as well as to discuss them with your peers. 

    The Governance Analysis Methods session on Thu 10.1 will -together with Case Study Sessions on Thursdays- be particularly important for your Case Study. The methods session will introduce you the key methods to apply in your Case Study, while in other sessions you can plan and carry out your Case Study analysis together with your group. 

    Case Study Sessions: timetable

    The Case Study Sessions include actual Case Study presentations during Week 7 as well as Case Study Sessions and Workshops that helps you to plan and carry out your Case Study. The sessions are mainly on Thursdays.

  • Course assessment is based on the assessment by both teachers and students in a following way: 

    • Half of the grade comes from the assessment by teachers 
           - 1/3 of the grade based on Reading Circle Briefs
           - 2/3 based on Case Study (25% from Case Study presentation, 75% from Case Study Report)

    • Half of the grade comes from the assessment by students through Peer & Self Assessment

    Instructions about Peer & Self Assessment will be provided during the course.

    Note that as there is no exam in the course but learning and assessment is based on group work, individual assignments and sessions, it is compulsory to participate in all Contact Sessions and Case Study Sessions. You can miss one session, after that you must do a personal Compensatory Task (see Sessions & Reading Circles sub-page).