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The future of the University of Twente through the eyes of students

For a period of six weeks, students considered the question of what the future of the University of Twente should look like. They presented the results of their search at the DesignLab last week. The most important message: invest in encouraging students to meet each other, promote sustainability in every possible area and develop a new outlook on talent development.

Five groups of students have recently been working on the ‘Moonshot Meet-ups’ to develop their vision of the future. Each group focused on a specific aspect – from talent development to internationalization to sustainability. The University Innovation Fellows, who have taken the initiative for the meet-ups, developed a systematic approach to looking towards the future – not based on current reasoning, but on starting with the year 2100 and thinking about what would no longer exist. This yielded five concrete ideas.

Space for encounters and connections

For example, one group explored the possibility of developing a place where students and the local community could meet and connect faster and more easily. That place could be located on campus, or off-campus. By talking to each other and through cultural exchange, a ‘multicultural platform could be created to bridge the gap with the local community, but which would also have an inspiring and motivating effect’.

Building on the desire for more encounters, another group developed ‘The Space’: a pop-up location that could connect people wherever they want by means of various types of activities.

Sustainability

A third group focused on a more sustainable university: in their opinion, the university should become the greenest university in the world by 2030. They quoted Nelson Mandela to reinforce their ideas: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon if you want to change the world.’ This could be achieved by developing a Bachelor’s programme in sustainability, a special track for Honours students, taking the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as its starting point. Because these could play an even more prominent role for the university.

Talent development

Education in 2030 will look fundamentally different, the students believe. There will need to be more structural room for the development of a range of competencies and skills. The curriculum vitae of the future will be multi-dimensional and include much more than just your academic qualifications, the students say. Students should have the opportunity to complete part of their studies every three months with training opportunities that meet their needs: languages, creativity, management skills, public speaking but also personal development.

This development should also be supported with a renewed information system. This was the conclusion of the last group. We currently use many systems to share, analyse and record information, but these are not sufficiently interconnected and do not focus enough on the personal development of the students. Canvas 4.0 should connect all these platforms and provide a personal portfolio that contributes to the development of a personal career path.

Shaping2030

The results of the session are important input for the University of Twente’s strategy process, Shaping2030. A renewed view of the mission and vision of the University of Twente is working on a strategy for the coming years. In the recent past, inspiration has been collected for this new strategy in various ways. The next step will be to bring this together in an ambitious and appropriate strategy for the future.

Laurens van der Velde
Press relations (available Mon-Fri)