Jan van Diepen works at the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences (GW). Prior to his current position, he has studied biology and worked in the Science Shop for ten years. At the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, he has first served as programme coordinator for a small master's programme, Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society (PSTS). As of this September, he is the faculty's quality coordinator. ‘I actually enjoyed leaving it all behind and focusing on something completely new and different.’ These days, his work mainly consists of assessing educational quality and gathering other information on educational performance. Jan is not a teacher within the Twente Educational Model (TOM), but is responsible for the university-wide Student Experience Questionnaire (SEQ), built on the EvaSys system.
A culture of quality
What is important to Jan is realizing a culture of quality. Assessing educational performance is only part of the package: the results should also be made transparent. ‘If you truly want to realize a culture of quality, you need to be willing to take a hard look at the quality as it is perceived.’ Jan possesses a clear view of what the culture of quality at the University of Twente should be like and strives for a culture of transparency and openness. ‘We are fully aware of our level of quality and you should therefore be able to find all information available; we talk about it openly and do not sweep the matter under the rug.’ Jan believes society is mature enough to do so.
From the programme to the faculty to the university level
A lot has changed at the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences as concerns evaluations these past years. Jan has been involved with the course evaluations for quite some time now. ‘Ever since 2008, I have been responsible for all course evaluations at the faculty of Behavioural Sciences. Before that time, a rather disjointed system was used for evaluating course quality.’ In 2008, the first EvaSys pilot was carried out at the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences – the same system currently used in a university-wide pilot.
A faculty-wide evaluation form has been in use at the faculty of Behavioural Sciences for a while now, as well as a uniform procedure and reporting system. ‘The evaluation process has become increasingly centralised and has thereby gained clarity and efficiency. We are now also better able to rise above people's personal experiences.’ In early June 2013, Jan also offers to take care of the university-wide evaluations – an offer the Executive Board readily accepted. ‘I had no qualms about taking care of those 20 modules. They are nothing compared to the amount of course evaluations I am responsible for each time, so I will not lose any sleep over it.’
Difference between the projects
EvaSys provides tons of ways of rendering the results. ‘Everyone is very happy with the speed and flexibility of the system.’ Jan has provided all programmes with their module results. He has also provided each and all of them with a 'profile line', a global overview of how their module compares to the others. ‘What is striking is that student assessment follows the same pattern for all modules, but results are all over the charts when it comes to the individual projects. These results amuse Jan. ‘The projects are where it varies: they are all evaluated differently.'
Executive Board involved with education
‘What really fascinates me about the Twente Education Model is that, to my knowledge, it marks the first time in the history of the UT that the Executive Board is involved with the actual education.’
The Twente Education Model has resulted in attention being given to education on the level of the entire organization. This mainly used to be the field of the faculties and individual programmes. ‘Centralised evaluation is the latest step in this process.’ Jan notes that we are in the midst of a true culture shift. ‘Thanks to the implementation of the Twente Education Model, the culture of quality we are currently fostering will be realized over the entire organisation.’ To improve this culture of quality further, Jan believes more transparency and openness is in order. This should pose no problems, as ‘everyone should be proud of their results’.