Blog & Opinion
4 September 2018 • Leonard Geluk
5 ambitions for the new academic year
It’s lovely to feel the energy again of all the (new) students in our buildings during the intro week after the rest over summer. I was able to welcome the new first-year students on three degree programmes. It’s wonderful to hear all of their high hopes. Let’s try to keep that feeling of energy going!
In the new academic year, we will be working further on achieving our educational vision. Greater attention on personal development and training should lead to students who are more satisfied. As satisfied students learn more, it seems logical that the education results will also increase. This was the key message during our opening of the THUAS academic year on 23 August. Susana Menéndez, my esteemed colleague who has since stood down from her role as a member of the Executive Board, has left behind a splendid vision on education at THUAS with a recognisable focus. Our education is inclusive, motivational, challenging and feasible. We guide our students to becoming global citizens and give great attention to personal development. This vision is written down and is also already actually visible and perceptible in the education at various places in THUAS. However, that’s just the start. All THUAS students have to noticeably come into contact with the basic assumptions which we have formulated in the vision.
My new colleague in the Executive Board, Rajash Rawal, issued a clear message during the opening of the THUAS academic year which in my view is inextricably linked to this educational vision: our education should focus on talents, not shortcomings. Education is not about teaching, rather it is about learning.
What do we need to do to achieve this? Five ambitions:
- At all levels of THUAS, but particularly at the degree programme level, we hold open discussions with students on the issue about whether they experience our education as inclusive, challenging and motivating and what we need to do to improve the education.
- We give each other feedback because only when there is a culture of feedback we can learn, develop and grow. That applies to education and to the organisation as a whole.
- Education is teamwork. We work together in teams so that we can effectively organise the education. There is an open and professional culture within the teams.
- Education is about personal growth. In our conversations among ourselves and with students, this growth plays a key role. It’s different for every person, and that is fine.
- We are a university of applied sciences that wants to do things ‘a little better every day’.
For many teams, these are not ambitions but rather a description of their day-to-day reality. This is how it should be. For other teams, the reality is different. For them, “let’s change” is a nice slogan. They are moving in the right direction, step by step. Learning from each other, making every day a little better! This has its own energy.
Leonard Geluk has been Chair of the Executive Board since 1 April 2014. Prior to this, he served as alderman of Education for Rotterdam and chairman of a regional training centre in Utrecht.