Strategy meeting EEMCS
Wednesday, 27 August
Discussions on the implementation of Vision 2020 were held on 27 August for the Faculty of
EEMCS. The discussion was focused on three subjects:
- The contribution of the Faculty to achieve synergy between disciplines
- Digitalisation of Education and
- The influx of Master students
After a short introduction of the Dean, Jaco van de Pol presented his ideas about the challenges for the Faculty to create societal impact with the converging technologies of our University. During the meeting it was evident that collaboration of disciplines of the University was necessary; “When you start to combine things, great things can happen,” thus Van der Pol.
Therefore additional funding is vital. The criteria for regular funding from Brussels for instance, subscribe that research projects need to be realized within an international cooperation. It is not sufficient to combine the disciplines of the University of Twente, we also need to collaborate with foreign companies. It is useful to realize a platform where staff easily can meet other disciplines which simplifies the use of each other’s network and sharing each other’s technologies. It would also be better to coordinate research proposals and focus on specific topics. The Design Lab could facilitate these thoughts.
DIGITALISATION OF EDUCATION
Digitalisation of Education was presented by Djoerd Hiemstra. He encouraged the audience to think about new (digital) methods of education. We should be aware of the fact that complete academic courses are available on line. It is important to anticipate these digital developments and make good use of them. We should evaluate their added value and see them as an addition to local meetings and personal contact between teachers and students. Face-to-face dialogue will always play an important role in education.
In that respect we should turn our campus to good account.
The reactions of the staff during the meeting were ambivalent. We shouldn’t be afraid of the upcoming changes in education. But someone also mentioned: “We shouldn’t overestimate MOOCs; we will always need books.” Often students prefer the personal explanations of a teacher, with a simple Black chalkboard, over for instance the online lectures.
Hiemstra emphasizes that technology in education should support the regular educational methods. It is a creative way of bringing the message. Not all students are the same, we have to offer different ways of learning our programmes, accommodating different learning styles. And last but not least, in the process of education we also need to think about efficiency.
HOW TO ENHANCE THE INFLUX OF MASTER STUDENTS AT EEMCS?
Jan Willem Polderman introduced the subject to the audience. In the current situation EEMCS offers eight Master courses. Most of the students come from corresponding Bachelor programmes. From Universities of Applied Sciences and Universities of foreign countries we welcome about 40 students a year. We would like to have an increasing influx from other (Dutch) universities
Polderman gives an outline of some factors that affect the influx. One of the bottlenecks is a lack of scholarships and the fact that the University of Twente hasn’t got a top of mind position for prospective students.
Polderman points out that the UT has always had great ambitions. Therefore Polderman pleads for learning from the successes of the past. For instance the international MSc in Applied Mathematics had 30-40 students each year, has been very successful for several years. The Master track in Financial Engineering had 5-10 new students per year. It was based on the needs of the students, and it was based on uniqueness and good reputation, that is why it was successful.
The main issue that was addressed in the discussion was the importance of scholarships in order to attract international talent. Several professors of EEMCS made an appeal to the Executive Board to meet with CEO’s of big companies like Philips and achieve that those companies are willing to offer scholarships. Professors are not easily in the position of communicating at the level of CEO’s, they often liaise with other scientists in companies.
Two more issues were raised. The UT should work on international visibility. In connection with the need for a strong international profile, the suggestion came up to make more use of the personal academic network of the staff to the benefit of our University. At the end of the discussion the ineffiency of the enrollment process was highlighted.