26 February 2019 • Sairoen van Eekhout
Students are pleased the Inclusive Education research group commissioned their research
Studying is a solitary endeavour, but the support of friends, family and fellow students significantly boosts academic success. On behalf of the Inclusive Education Research Group, six Applied Mathematics students mapped out the support networks. Evelien Zeeman explains what it was like to conduct the research. “It’s great to see math being applied in so many unexpected areas.”
Why did you partner with the research group as a client?
“We wanted an engaged client who understood the expectations we had of them. The goal of the research group is not to make a profit, but to make improvements based on the research. We really identified with the goal of Inclusive Education: to make everyone who works or studies at the Hague University of Applied Sciences feel welcome and engaged, and ensure that everyone has the support they need to be able to give their very best.”
What is the added value of having a research group as a client?
“The research group did not only provide us with an assignment, but also understood what the research entailed, provided support and was very interested in the development of the study. During our project I had frequent phone and email contact with professor Aminata. We met with Aminata twice to discuss the progress of our study.”
What did you think of the study that the research group proposed?
“I had already realised that without the support of my fellow students, lecturers, parents and friends I never would have been successful in my studies. But it hadn’t occurred to me that this could be a suitable topic for a comprehensive quantitative study.”
What was it like as a student of Applied Mathematics to conduct research within a completely different discipline?
“I love math and find it very interesting, but I am also interested in people and had even considered studying psychology at one point. So it was wonderful to see these two interests of mine come together in this research.”
Did you learn any new skills?
Yes. In this project I was the contact person for the client. That was a whole new experience for me. The client has to be kept well informed, but at the same time doesn’t want to be inundated with messages.
Did this study change the way you see yourself?
“I often think that what I do is very normal and that everyone handles things the same way or has the same opinion as I do. But I have started to realise that this isn’t the case and that also became quite clear during the research. We had different opinions about the importance of a support network and who is a part of it. A number of project members found emotional support, such as support in dealing with stress and questions about your day or your exam, completely unimportant. Whereas for me that is one of the most important types of support.”
The research on support networks at the Hague University of Applied Sciences was conducted by second year students of the Applied Mathematics degree programme. With this research they mapped out who students get support from and what kind of support they receive (emotional, academic, motivational). The research revealed that students receive the most support from their fellow students, followed by lecturers and Academic Career Coaches (SLB). The research also found that students at the main campus stated that there were few or no active students associations, in contrast with the students at the Delft campus. One of the project group’s recommendations is to invest in student associations so that students can engage and interact with each other and feel more quickly at home at the University of Applied Sciences.
Sairoen van Eekhout receives the research report from Applied Mathematics students (Evelien Zeeman, Emiel Goldman, Lombard de Leeuw, Tom van Rooijen, Kelvin Schouten and Pim van der Zande).