Blog & Opinion
13 December 2018 • Leonard Geluk
I always look forward to the results of the Kompas, the annual ‘thermometer’ among staff. They were announced last week and I took a systematic look through the results. What information do I get from it?
Over the past period, we have made sure that the finances are in order. And this past year, we have given a lot of attention to social safety within our teams. Fortunately, I see that our scores concerning social safety have risen. Improvements are still possible and required in certain areas, but things are better. It’s now time to focus on the quality of education.
“I’m doing fine, but we aren’t doing so well.” That seems to be the tendency. People are satisfied with the quality of their own degree programme, but there are questions about the quality of the university of applied sciences as a whole. One of the most important points for improvement from the Kompas connected to that is the focus on students by the university of applied sciences. And from the answers provided, on several occasions, I see the comment: “What course is THUAS taking now? And above all: “What does that mean for me in real terms?” That latter is an eye opener. We have been working on global citizenship, internationalisation and a networking university of applied sciences (known as WIN) for four years now and there is still a lack of clarity. It requires attention within the individual degree programmes: what does this mean for us?
When I started at THUAS, I regularly used the term ‘a good discussion’. At a certain point I was getting negative responses to that. Too soft, those discussions all the time. I can now state they are vital. To explain what the university of applied sciences’ ambition is, and to listen to what preoccupies staff. A good discussion starts with listening. Good management tells the great story of where we come from and where we are going. On the basis of the Kompas results, I can state that this discussion has stalled. Listening and talking. A good discussion. I read in the Kompas that this is sorely needed.
THAUS’ course? That’s easily explained in a few sentences. We want to educate students well for good professions. But we also want to do more than that. We want our students to be strong personalities, that they can act ethically, are willing and brave enough to take responsibility and can put themselves in the position of people who have a different background or convictions to themselves. That is what we mean by ‘global citizens’. And it’s not a simple ambition to achieve. The Kompas shows that we have to focus more on achieving that ambition. And we will do that. Because a good and healthy university of applied sciences listens properly to students and staff.
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 chair of a Regional Training Centre in Utrecht.