’Successful students and committed teachers’. This is the essence of the performance agreements that the University of Groningen wants to enter into with the Education Ministry. But the ambitions also embrace other themes found in the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, such as the promotion of the social themes of Healthy Ageing, Energy and Sustainable Society and strengthening excellence in research.
The University discussed a proposal for the performance agreements with the Review Committee this week. The agreements will be signed by the University and the State Secretary in September. The goal is to further improve the quality of the University, which is already high, as evidenced by its position on various rankings.
One important goal is the improvement of the success rate of the Bachelor’s degree programmes. This is currently 53.3% and will increase over the coming years, so that by 2015 the success rate will be 70%. In addition to increasing the BSA threshold, the creation of ‘learning communities’ is another important means of achieving this. Learning communities will be year groups of students who follow the same programme under the supervision of particular lecturers.
Students should be able to choose a degree programme at an earlier stage in their education. Study information will focus more on this and the propaedeutic phase will be more selective, so that dropout in the second and third years can be prevented.
Good teaching requires committed lecturers who have the requisite teaching skills. By 2015, 80% of lecturers with a three-year or longer contract will need to have a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ).
The University of Groningen provides highly motivated and talented students the opportunity to participate in an Honours College in both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree phase. In addition, the extensive range of excellence programmes will be expanded with a University College, focusing particularly on the three core social themes of Healthy Ageing, Energy and Sustainable Society. In 2015, the intake in the combined excellence programmes will amount to at least 7% of all Bachelor’s students.
In the field of excellent research, the University of Groningen has a strong trump card in hand with the Zernike Institute of Advanced Materials. This institute holds a very respectable fourth place worldwide for publication output in the field of materials science. The University also participates in the renowned Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA).
The three core themes bring together research that is important to society. A wide range of activities will be initiated with stakeholders inside and outside the region. Collaboration is the key, and the partners will be universities and industries in the Northeast Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world as well as universities of applied sciences in the Northern Netherlands.
The themes dovetail with the government’s ‘top sectors’ policy and the ‘European Challenges’. This means the University will increasingly participate in consortia with public and private partners.
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