The University of Twente’s educational quality policy highly valued
In November and December 2019, 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.
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.
For questions or comments, please contact Merijn Snel.
Institutional audit on educational quality assurance
At the end of 2019, a second institutional audit on educational quality assurance will be carried out at the University of Twente. In 2014, UT received a positive assessment from the NVAO, the accreditation organization of the Netherlands and Flanders. Within six years a reassessment based on a general evaluation framework is necessary for renewal.
A panel of higher education experts is scheduled to visit the University of Twente on November 11 and 12 and December 16, 17 and 18, 2019 to determine if the university’s educational activities are in compliance with the quality requirements specified by the NVAO. During these days, the panel will meet with delegation of staff, students and stakeholders from various levels of the university.
On the last day, the panel will assess the plan on the quality agreements in education, that will be agreed with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) in response to the sector agreement on investing in the quality of education.