Windesheim invests millions in student counselling and more flexibility in education

14 May 2019

Over the next six years, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences will be investing nearly 17 million Euros in more intensive student counselling, more flexibility in education and better alignment with professional practice.

Windesheim has additional funds to spend up until 2024 as a result of the abolition of the basic grant. Universities (of applied sciences) are to spend the money they receive on further improvements of the quality of the education they provide. But how they do this is for the institutions themselves to decide. Windesheim has documented its choices in its 2019-2024 Quality Agreements plan, which was established in close consultation with the Central Participation Council (CPC).

‘More intensive student counselling increases chance of success’

Windesheim Chairman Henk Hagoort and CPC Chairman Cor Niks explain the choices made. ‘Over the past few months, we’ve had intensive discussions with staff and students about what Windesheim should invest in,' says Henk Hagoort. ‘More and better student counselling tops the list for many of them. Good counselling helps students to make the right choices for their learning pathway and to prepare them for the labour market. More intensive student counselling reduces the risk of dropping out and increases the chance of study success.’ In the next few years, one of the things Windesheim will focus on is counselling by senior students and professionalization and extra deployment of student counsellors, student psychologists and general student counsellors.

‘Student more in control’

In addition to student counselling, Windesheim is also firmly committed to making its education more flexible. Cor Niks: ‘Not only students themselves but also many study programme teams want students to have more opportunities to make their own choices for better alignment of their studies to their specific wishes and qualities and to changing trends in the work field. Where possible, students will be more in control of what, how, when and where they learn.’ Windesheim is going to focus more on learning outcomes and students will be able to take exams when they are ready to do so.

‘Professional practice makes theory relevant’

Students indicate that more practice-related situations in the programme stimulate and motivate them. They want more internships, more internship counselling, more "real" projects and more learning in the workplace. And all this at a high quality level. Cor Niks: ‘The link with professional practice makes the theory to be learnt relevant. That’s why we are investing in extra supervision for instructors, in professionalization of our instructors and in curriculum development, with a primary focus on multidisciplinarity. More and more often we see the work field dealing with issues that are interesting to approach from different professions. It is motivating and instructive for the students to collaborate with students from other programmes.’