7 May 2018 • HNTB Carly Timmerman
Proud global citizens in Business Economics
’Our team is hard at work on educational innovation and global citizenship,’ says Arno van Dijk, a Business Economics lecturer. ‘Last year, my colleague Marloes Ambagts and I set up the ‘World Issues Event’: a new subject, a new form of education. The event focused on corporate social responsibility, personal development and world citizenship. It’s the same with the new curriculum we’re going to launch in September 2018.’
The Hague University of Applied Sciences is committed to having students, lecturers and partners help each other become global citizens: professionals who both master their field of expertise and can make a difference. ‘We want to make our students more aware of the impact they are having on the world,’ says Arno. ‘Their personal development is thus always linked to their current and future role in the world and the social responsibility they are learning to take. What we are doing as lecturers in our new curriculum is getting our students ready for this. We’re preparing them to become global citizens so that they will later have the tools – the mindset skills – as we call them, to continue developing themselves.’
A circular business model
‘A few years ago, I explained the production process as we had known it for years: we get raw materials out of the ground, take them to a factory, and use them to make a product. We sell that product, use it and dispose of it. I suddenly realised, however, that this no longer applies to a time when everything is constantly changing so fast and when sustainability is becoming more important by the day. So I also addressed the circular business model in a tutorial. Students think this is just as fascinating as I do. You can almost read their minds: “So, we can earn a living and also do some thing good for the world”. This developing awareness is something I can be proud of. That’s when I started devoting more attention to global citizenship.’
‘After discussing this individually with colleagues, we quickly decided to organise world citizenship lunches to talk about what global citizenship really means. What does it mean for yourself – and for our students? What were we going to teach our students to help them become global citizens? How could we help them think critically? How could we encourage them to be open and flexible? Which skills and competencies did we think were important? With the answers, we could continue to develop the concept of global citizenship as part of our degree programme – and even more so in the new curriculum!’
‘Lecturers are already introducing changes in the subjects they are now teaching. Besides talking about Coca-Cola and Apple, we’re also talking about more sustainable brands like Flevosap and Tony Chocolonely. Starting this year, students have had to fulfil the requirement for their elective credit by selecting an assignment that focuses on social corporate responsibility. Being more critical and aware of the impact we have on the world is becoming increasingly important. This is why I organised the first ‘World Issues Event’ during the last academic year.’
World Issues Event
‘During the first ‘World Issues Event’, third-year students spent three days learning about the garment industry: fast fashion. They investigated this topic on their own and took on the role of one of the interested parties in this industry: government authorities, an NGO, a factory worker or a brand. It was an effective way of broadening their horizons and discovering the impact marketers have when they launch a product. It also had a personal impact on the students: would buying a shirt for €3 be that socially responsible when there was another choice? Everyone was excited about the event, and not just the students but the lecturers’ team, too. This event encouraged everything that our school sees as important. The subject will be a fantastic addition to our new curriculum. See you next year!’
How can you do it?
How can you do it? This is the big question that gets addressed in this series known as ‘best practices’ in which one of our school’s lecturers or staff members shares a practical example during each session. How can you embed global citizenship in your teaching? Or how can you encourage long-term students to graduate? It’s a good way to learn from each other and make our education that little bit better.
Arno van Dijk: ‘You can almost read their minds, “So, we can earn a living and also do some thing good for the world”.’