CHEPS’ researchers Renze Kolster and Don Westerheijden participated in a multi-year research project to analyse excellence programmes in Dutch higher education, from selection of students to the learning effects on them, and to the impact these programmes have on the broader education environment in the institutions. A number of articles from the project have been published in the European Journal of Higher Education and are available open access.
Focussing on CHEPS’ main interest in the higher education institutions, we conclude that excellence education functions as a testing ground for education innovations. Diffused innovations are, for example, student-driven learning approaches and student assessment practices. However, the amount of diffused innovations is rather limited and excellence education is not the most important source of educational innovation. To improve the impact of excellence education on the organisation, we see room for improvement in the integration of excellence education in the organisation, particularly through leadership attitudes and connectedness of key actors.