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 organization. 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, to assess their internal system of quality assurance and management. Universities can choose to be subject to these audits every six years as well. University of Twente has successfully passed the audit in 2014.

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

Next to the national accreditation system, 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.

Degree Programme Advisory Committee

Each programme has a Degree Programme Advisory Committee. The Degree Programme Advisory is a advisory body to the board of the programme. It consists of an equal number of staff members and students. The committee also monitors the quality of education. Based on the results of the programme evaluations, they identify possible weaknesses and organizational bottlenecks and advice on solutions.

Board of Examiners

The Board of Examiners decides if the student has met the requirements for the degree. The Board consists of lecturers in the programme as well as external members. It also has a statutory duty to monitor the quality of examinations and other forms of testing.

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.

Quality agreements 2019-2024

UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE EDUCATION QUALITY AGREEMENTS 2019-2024

On 5 November 2018, the Executive Board made an intended decision on the quality agreements in education that will be reached with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) in response to the sector agreement on investing in the quality of education (Investeren in Onderwijskwaliteit, April 2018). On 12 December, the Executive Board will discuss these quality agreements with the University Council to obtain its approval.

Valid for the period 2019 to 2024, the quality agreements are the result of an intensive process that has been coordinated at faculty level by the educational programmes themselves. Since March this year, all faculties have been formulating their own plans concerning quality improvements in education. All faculty councils have been intensively involved in planning and the process is almost complete in the faculties. All of the plans combined form the quality agreements that the Executive Board will now discuss with the University Council. Once approved by the University Council, the quality agreements will be put to the Ministry. The Ministry will provide the income of the student loan system (in Dutch studievoorschotmiddelen) to enable the realization of the agreements. For the UT, this involves the sum of € 2.6 million in 2019 that is expected to reach a total of € 6.5 million by 2022.

Regarding the bottom-up approach that the UT applied to develop quality agreements, Thom Palstra says:   “I am satisfied and proud about these quality agreements and the extent to which students in particular, but also our staff, have been actively involved in the development process. This demonstrates that quality of education is high on the agenda that is  remains a key focus.”

FIVE PROGRAMMES TO IMPROVE QUALITY
At UT level, the faculty plans have been converted into five programmes in which efforts are being made to improve education quality:

  1. Community building
  2. Learning facilities
  3. Teaching professionalization
  4. Talent development of students
  5. Global citizens

Students and educational staff have made a substantive contribution to developing these quality agreements. Each programme has a long-term ambition in order to direct the efforts the UT will take to improve education. Faculties can participate in a programme to the extent that is required in order to realise a significant improvement of education, in line with the needs of students and staff.. This means that there are differences of emphasis in the faculties’ approach to the five programmes. These are described in broad outline below.  

EDUCATION QUALITY AGREEMENTS: FIVE PROGRAMMES

The most important priorities set by the faculties in the programmes are as follows:

The Faculty of Science and Technology (S&T) is focusing its quality improvement strategy on the learning facilities, community building and teaching professionalization programmes. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) is concentrating on study facilities, intensifying the educational process through student guidance and teaching capacity. The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS) is focusing its quality improvement across all programmes, as is Engineering Technology (ET), although it is also placing particular emphasis on maintaining the small-scale approach in its educational programmes. The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) is concentrating on staff development and the evaluation of teaching performance, career guidance, internationalization, E- learning and blended learning, as well as study facilities.

1. Community building

The Community building programme reflects the importance for many faculties of having a home base. S&T intends to realize this together with students very soon when educational programmes will be relocating internally. ET is focusing more on an integrated plan for facilities, the composition of staff and the overall activities that will contribute to the ET community. BMS is concentrating on rooms and activities that will promote social cohesion between students.

2. Learning facilities

The Learning facilities programme aims to improve the quality of physical and digital learning facilities while increasing their availability and use. ET intends to devise a plan for the ideal learning environment for the ‘Engineer of the Future’ and explore how this will impact the Master's profile. EEMCS needs more room for small project groups and an upgrade of the working areas for students in the labs. S&T requires expansion and a lab facilities upgrade. BMS aims to develop the BMS lab for study purposes. ITC needs learning environments that can accommodate different forms of learning. There will be efforts across the board to improve the availability of learning environments and the booking system will be improved to achieve that. Research is being conducted to find out if it is possible to track down available rooms using sensor technology and changes to the timetabling methodology are being explored with a view to increasing flexibility in terms of room availability.

This programme also aims to provide improved support to the students’ learning process through the use of digital facilities. This specifically concerns the use of various types of digital testing. In the years ahead, further efforts will be made to facilitate and encourage teaching staff to apply digital tools for flipping the classroom, use blended learning, and increase classroom interaction. The potential of learning analytics in assisting the learning process will also be explored.

3. Teaching professionalization

Policy was recently introduced within the UT aimed at rewarding teaching achievementmore explicitly and emphasizing academic career opportunities for scientists that show excellent impact on education, teaching and learning. The teaching professionalization programme aims to further strengthen knowledge about educational improvement while valuing and rewarding initiatives that result in improved quality. The UT explicitly facilitates and supports initiatives that contribute to the development of a teaching community. In that context, EEMCS intends to introduce the UTeachers’ Academy@EWI.

In addition, efforts will be made to ensure that 70% of teaching staff have a suitable teaching qualification by 2021 (preferably a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) or Senior Teaching Qualification (SUTQ). In S&T, a pilot will be launched involving the use of learning assistants who will be given tailored training, with a view to enabling students also to participate actively in teaching.

4. Student talent development

This programme aims to enable all UT students to create their own learning experiences and recognize and develop their own talents. This will involve considering the options for deploying coaching and mentoring in relation to talent development of students and exploring the potential added value of a UTalent Hub, aimed at facilitating and supporting talent development. The faculties have differing plans with regard to the possibilities for talent development. These include launching a specific course on entrepreneurship within ITC, a new Master’s project in ET for developing academic and professional skills or flexible pre-Master's programmes within BMS.

5. Global citizens

The UT prepares students for an international career after graduation. The University is developing a range of initiatives to achieve this. The focus in the Global citizens programme is on developing an international curriculum, facilitating exchanges and international experience for students, as well as entering into international partnerships. Both EEMCS and ITC intend to transform various educational programmes into an international curriculum thereby using the insights of the Certificate for Quality in Internationalization (CeQuInt) methodology. ET plans to increase the number of students with an international experience and ET, BMS and ITC aim to develop and strengthen existing international partnerships.

FOLLOW-UP

The Executive Board is discussing the proposed policy agreements with the University Council on 12 December. The UT plan on quality agreements will be assessed parallel to the institutional quality assurance audit for which the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) will visit the UT in late 2019.

Once the agreements have been approved, faculties and the university in general will report on the progress of the quality agreement programmes. Based on this information, both faculties and the university will determine the desired course of action within a programme in close consultation with students and staff. This programmatic approach provides enough room to respond adequately to new situations and to incorporate unforeseen opportunities.

MORE INFORMATION
The document concerning the quality agreements at UT level can be found here.

Contacts: Bertyl Lankhaar (+31 (0)53 489 2210), spokesperson for the Executive Board/ Marc-Jan Zeeman, Strategy & Policy adviser (+31 (0)53 489 3951)

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.