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New University of Twente strategy to focus on change of culture

The University of Twente’s new strategy was presented to the University Council for the first time yesterday. Following an intensive process over the past several months, the Deans, Scientific Directors and the Executive Board adopted the new strategy this week.

We at the University of Twente will be intensifying our efforts to distinguish ourselves from other universities.

We will be forging ahead, raising the bar even higher and sharpening our ambitions. UT will become the leading entrepreneurial university. We will constantly anticipate and respond quickly and effectively to changes in our environment. This requires a change of culture based on the following core values:

  • Focused on society; relevance / impact / making a real difference
  • Synergy-driven; excellent in combinations
  • Entrepreneurial and pioneering; the best in Europe
  • Internationally oriented; Global Citizens of tomorrow

President Victor van der Chijs: “Scientific excellence will be more necessary than ever, but no longer sufficient for us. We need and intend to distinguish ourselves even more. This is why we will now focus intensively on targeted and innovative combinations in research and education. We intend to be the leaders in innovative, applicable knowledge, and to offer unique degree programmes in a distinctive setting. It is time to take matters into our own hands.”

The campus will be transformed into an inspiring meeting place for scientists and students. A community for professional and personal development. Entrepreneurship will be expanded to encompass an entrepreneurial attitude among all staff and students: the desire and the ability to innovate, experiment, pioneer and discover. The University of Twente’s playing field will be very international. Knowledge will be developed together with international partners in and for an international context addressing the Grand Challenges. Students will be educated as future Global Citizens.

Victor van der Chijs: "The combination of academic excellence, an entrepreneurial attitude and an international orientation will make our social impact greater than ever by 2020. More than ever before, we will function as a partner in the region, boosting regional innovation.”

The new strategy envisages a strong UT that will be an international meeting place for pioneers, for entrepreneurs and for people looking to get the very best out of themselves by collaborating with others. The University of Twente will be a flexible organization with fewer certainties, but with greater individual responsibility and room for innovation.

Victor van der Chijs: "This will require an institution-wide change of culture. We need and intend to be truly 'different' from the 'rest'; for example by developing our campus as an attractive working and living environment, by being active in niches where others do not operate, by introducing design as an integrating concept across our disciplines. We must be seen and heard as an authority, a university that continually surprises and that nobody can ignore.”

To achieve this, we will convene Business Development Teams, explore alternative national and international sources of funding, and the Design Centre concept will be developed further to support the substantive connection and cooperation in education and research. Our campus will be one of our key distinguishing factors: an inspiring, international meeting place.

The new strategy is meant to make clear to all staff and students exactly where the University of Twente intends to be in a number of years. A strong UT requires an institution-wide change of culture where everyone shares responsibility for the ambitions and the final result. Everyone also has the opportunity to contribute to achieving our goals.

The new strategy is based on input from staff and students obtained during faculty visits by the Executive Board. The Board also visited our research institutes. Discussions were held with professors, support staff, and representatives of the Student Union and the Supervisory Board. Furthermore, elements of ideas from the Create the UT of Tomorrow event have also been included in the strategy, such as blended learning (the combination of e-learning and personal education on campus as a community for professional and personal development), the smart & living campus and the student as a co-designer of education.

The Executive Board stresses that the strategy has not yet been finalized in every detail.

“That’s been done intentionally. This is because our environment is changing rapidly, but especially because our staff are eminently capable of deciding for themselves what needs to happen for us to achieve our ambitions. That is not something that should be decided in the board room. We invite staff and students to use this document as a basis for reflecting on the implementation of the strategy and the role they will play in this process,” says Van der Chijs.

The Executive Board will collect input during the faculty meetings that are scheduled to be held in June. The document will be discussed again in May and June with the University Council, which has the right of assent.

Further information: The full text of the document is available here (Currently, only the Dutch version is available. The English version will be made available soon).

Contact: Bertyl Lankhaar, spokesperson for the Executive Board, tel: +31 (0)53 489 2210