See About our education

quality of education

On this page you can find information about quality assurance, surveys and teacher professionalization.

Quality assurance

The quality of education at the University of Twente is assessed both internally and externally. Internal quality assurance is organised through dedicated committees and periodic evaluations with students and staff, at the level of courses, programmes and departments. Externally, the institution as a whole and all programmes are assessed by the national accreditation organisation (NVAO) and for some programmes also by accreditation organisations specific to the field of study.

FORMAL STATUS

The University of Twente is a state-appointed research university, subject to the Dutch Law on Higher Education and Scientific Research.

With regard to international students: the University of Twente has signed the “Code of Conduct International Student in Dutch Higher Education”, which gives guidelines for the quality of services to international students. More information about the code of conduct can be found at International Study.

External assessment

Below you can find more information about the external assessments of our education.

Accreditation

All bachelor’s and master’s degree-programmes at the University of Twente are accredited by NVAO, the national accreditation organisation. They commission a review of the programmes by a committee of (international) experts and students once every six years.

NVAO also conducts institutional audits of universities in the Netherlands every six years, to assess their internal system of quality assurance and management. University of Twente has successfully passed the audit in 2014.

More information about the accreditation procedure and the register of accredited programmes can be found on the NVAO website.

Next to the national accreditation organisation, some programmes are assessed by accreditation organisations specific to their field. If this is the case, these accreditations are mentioned on their programme websites.

Rankings

The University of Twente participates in a number of reputable rankings, like the Times Higher Education, QS and ARWU. These rankings show that, relative to its size, the Dutch higher education system is in the absolute top of the world.

Internal assessment

There are a number of organisational bodies that play a role in managing and assessing the quality of education.

Programme Committee

Every degree programme has a Programme  Committee. The  Programme Committee is a participation body and represents students and staff at programme level.  It consists of an equal number of teaching staff and students.

In general this Committee advises the Programme Director  on improving and safeguarding the educational quality of the programme (including the quality agreements). According to the Dutch Act on Higher Education (article 10.3c), it is a Programme Committee’s task to give advice on how to guarantee and improve the quality of a Degree Programme. In practice this means that the Programme Committee:

  • has the right to consent regarding some elements of the Education and Examination Regulations (EER), whether on others the right of consultation;
  • evaluates the implementation of the Education and Examination Regulations;
  • gives advice on the quality assurance system, the annual evaluation of the courses and modules, the curriculum, including admission criteria and examination criteria for final assessment and thesis.

Given these tasks, the Programme Committee is an important discussion partner for the Programme Director.

Board of Examiners

The Board of Examiners is required by law to monitor the quality of the diplomas and the examinations independently of the programme management (Dutch Act on Higher Education article 7.12). This board determines the guidelines for the assessment, and assesses whether students meet the learning outcomes of the programme. The board has at least one member who is a lecturer in the programme and one external member. The board also decides on requests from individual students regarding choices/adjustments in their study programmes. The Board of Examiners addresses a report to the dean of the faculty annually, with recommendations for improving the quality of assessment and the associated procedures.

Employee and student representation

Councils of elected students and staff monitor both the department- and university-boards. They advise on budgets and quality reports and have a strong voice in rules and regulations for education.

Student associations

There is an autonomous student association for every programme or group of programmes. The student associations conduct their own surveys of teaching quality and monitor complaints by students. They are an important and respected advisor to the programme management.

THE UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE’S EDUCATIONAL QUALITY POLICY HIGHLY VALUED

In November and December of last year, the University of Twente was visited by a committee from the NVAO. These visits were aimed at the institutional quality assurance audit for educational quality assurance (ITK), as well as for the assessment of the plans for the Quality Agreements that have been requested by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.

During five days, the committee spoke with various groups within the university (staff members and students) about a wide range of topics that are important to the quality of education at the University of Twente. The committee members were very positive about the outcomes of the conversations, and informally indicated that the university had more than met the standards relating to education and educational quality. Within the framework of the ITK, the committee will compile a report of findings and recommendations to be submitted to the NVAO. Based on this report, the NVAO will take an official decision concerning whether the university has passed the institutional quality assurance audit for 2019 (as in 2013). For the Quality Agreements, the NVAO will approve only the text of the report, with the final decision resting with the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.

The passion for education can be seen everywhere
The committee characterises the UT as a fine organisation, in which the ‘corporate spirit’ is clearly felt. The passion for education can be seen everywhere. The committee perceived a culture of permanent improvement, and thus a favourable quality culture. The committee explicitly reported having held frank conversations with honest, hard-working and committed staff members and students.

Vision and policy

According to the committee, the UT has embraced the full scope of the Twente Educational Model (TOM). Considerable consensus with regard to the model is ingrained throughout the university. The committee also observes that the environment and the professional field are strongly involved in the educational programmes. Entrepreneurship is evident throughout the entire university. 

The vision on internationalisation is clear, and the committee understands the choice for teaching in English. The committee nevertheless recommends preserving space for the Dutch language. 

There is a clear vision on growth in student numbers, as well as on the limits of growth. The committee recommends identifying tools that can be used to keep growth within these boundaries, in cooperation with the Ministry. 

The examination and assessment policy is well documented, allowing considerable freedom for educational programmes. 

Finally, the committee notes that the university has a fine talent policy for staff members, and it advocates having the courage to promote the truly good performing teachers to the position of professor.

Implementation

The UT is working on the further development of the Twente Educational Model to realise ‘TOM 2.0’. The committee regards this as an excellent process. The philosophy of ‘High Tech, Human Touch’ is explicitly tangible, although the committee does remark that there is still room for increasing the involvement of stakeholders.
The committee notes that lecturers are quite approachable for students, and they are impressed by the range of professional-development options for teaching staff.
The committee refers to the introduction of the faculty boards as a good step, further noting that the University Education Committee (UC-ED) is in need of attention, given that it is an advisory board that, in practice, is sometimes seen as a decision-making body. The committee regards the addition of a study advisor to the Examination Board as a good idea that is in the interest of students.

With regard to workload, the university addressed the problem in an early stage. There is an awareness that workload is a ‘many-headed monster’. Although the approach will not lead directly to a reduction in the workload, the committee does see that the university is on the right track in this regard.

Finally, the committee notes that the UT should take action to address the issue of formative testing

Evaluation and monitoring

The committee observes a continuous line of improvement in the quality of education, with a broad range of monitoring instruments. In the opinion of the committee, the university is doing well with regard to involving the professional field in education. With regard to the MISUT management-information system, the committee also recommends the addition of qualitative criteria.

Finally, the committee appreciates the university’s courage in listing clear key issues in the evaluation report for the Twente Education Model (TOM).

Focus on development

The committee observes that development is taking place in all areas, and that there is explicit interplay between lecturers and students throughout the university in this regard. The committee expresses considerable respect for the manner in which the university’s new mission, vision and strategy—SHAPING2030—were developed, with substantial involvement from the university community. It was a true bottom-up process, in which considerable work remains for the university with regard to the digital transformation. 

Although the committee has seen that the university is strong in adjusting, it nevertheless recommends to prioritise more and not to do everything at the same time.

QUALITY AGREEMENTS ARE CLEARLY A BOTTOM-UP PROCESS AT THE UNIVERSITY

The committee assessed the Quality Agreements according to three criteria: 1. sufficient alignment with the themes of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; 2. a development process that involves students and participation bodies; 3. the manner in which monitoring is performed. In this aspect as well, the committee observed that the UT more than meets these criteria.

The University of Twente has opted for its own university profile, which is well-suited to its own vision for education, and that thus demonstrates clear overlaps with the themes of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (e.g. intensity of teaching, academic success, educational differentiation, quality of the teaching staff, student guidance and educational facilities).
The committee regards the UT’s profile as a clear contribution to quality improvement in education. Students acted as fully fledged sparring partners in the process of developing the Quality Agreements. This provides further evidence that it was truly a bottom-up process, which was aligned with all existing plans within the educational programmes and faculties.

The committee has seen that the university aspires to accomplish many things at the same time with regard to the Quality Agreements, and it has noted that many different projects are being addressed. The advice is to pay careful attention to the monitoring of this process, and it would be wise to arrange the monitoring at a somewhat higher level of detail.

FOLLOW-UP

The UT expects a report from the committee concerning the ITK and the Quality Agreements within two months. The official decisions will be taken by the NVAO and the Minister of Education, Culture and Science before 1 May.

For questions or comments, please contact Susanne Wichman or Marc-Jan Zeeman

Second institutional audit october 2019

Find more information about the second institutional audit.

Quality agreements 2019-2024

Find more information about the quality agreements.

Surveys

Opinions and experiences of students regarding programmes and facilities are collected through student questionnaires that are carried out at least twice per semester.

Students also get an annual questionnaire through the National Student Survey (‘Nationale Studenten Enquete’).

For international students, the University of Twente also participates in the International Student Barometer (ISB). ISB tracks and compares the expectations and experience of our international students from application to graduation.

Our alumni are questioned biannually on their experience in the labour market through the Nationale Alumni Enquête (NAE). Furthermore, the university encourages alumni to stay involved.

Teacher professionalisation

In our view linking teaching to research remains crucial for university education. We select our academic staff on the basis of their capability of combining teaching and research. That these two activities inspire and motivate mutually is of the utmost importance.

Good teaching is of critical importance to the University. Good teaching is a skill in itself and it is one that you must develop and maintain. Only then can the University offer the quality that students deserve. The Dutch universities therefore introduced the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) in 2008. The UTQ is a mark of quality for lecturers who have thus proven that they have mastered the craft. It is a basis from which they can further develop their skills.