University education is returning to Fryslân. The University Campus Fryslân (UCF) is officially set to become the eleventh faculty of the University of Groningen. 1 May 2015 will see Prof. Jouke de Vries taking office as the first Dean of the Faculty, which will be named University of Groningen/Campus Fryslân.
Member of the Provincial Executive of Fryslân, Jannewietske de Vries, and President of the Board of the University of Groningen, Prof. Sibrand Poppema, presented their plans in Leeuwarden on Friday 23 January. Poppema is pleased with the collaboration in Fryslân: ‘We want to boost our position as the “University of the North” by joining forces with the universities of applied sciences in Leeuwarden to capitalize on the existing infrastructure here in the region. This will also provide the north with a stable, sustainable knowledge infrastructure. We are investing in knowledge and jobs. This will strengthen our ties with the region, and secure us more Master’s students and research.’
Jannewietske de Vries: ‘Fryslân is finally getting a university again. This is great news for the region, two hundred years after the closure of the University of Franeker. It’s important that people can study here at every level. Everyone in Fryslân, from toddlers to PhD students, should feel at home and be able to develop their potential. It represents an upgrade for the province. We are a breeding ground for knowledge and innovation, and a university should be part of this.’
‘Universities in the region are becoming increasingly active,’ says Jouke de Vries. ‘I see this as a fantastic opportunity to create an eleventh faculty for the University of Groningen here in Leeuwarden. It will be a world-class university with strong regional ties. The programmes will be devised in close consultation and cooperation with the universities of applied sciences in Leeuwarden, the business sector, government bodies and other knowledge institutes.’
The University of Groningen wants the UCF to teach Master’s degree programmes that are relevant to Fryslân. A total of five to ten new programmes will be offered, attracting several hundred students to Leeuwarden. A number of Master’s programmes are already available in Leeuwarden, with the University of Groningen providing the Master’s in Multilingualism.
But realizing new Master’s programmes is not the only priority. An international residential University College is also planned in Leeuwarden. The University College will offer a broad-based three-year Bachelor’s programme in the field of Politics, Philosophy, Psychology and Economics. Students will live and study on the campus. The University College is eventually expected to provide places for some 600 students.
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