Avans again crowned top large university of applied sciences: where can further improvements be made?

    For the seventh time in 10 years, Avans was crowned top large university of applied sciences in the Netherlands by Keuzegids. Is it therefore possible to make any further improvements? Jacomine Ravensbergen, member of the Executive Board, thinks that it is.

    Ravensbergen is pleased with the fantastic result in the Keuzegids. “What is striking is that the gap between Avans and the rest has become even wider.” Ravensbergen does not have a clear explanation for this. “Large universities are just like tankers; the measures that are taken now will often not have effect until the long term.”

    Despite its top position, Avans is not resting on its laurels. Ravensbergen points out 3 areas in which she thinks that the university will make improvements:

    Scheduling
    “We have already made a significant improvement in the area of scheduling, which is also reflected in the National Student Survey.” Nevertheless, at Avans, scheduling still involves a lot of manual input and last-minute changes. Avans will start using the Xedule programme and expects to be able to schedule more flexibly in future. “We will also take a closer look at how our classrooms are being used. At the moment, there are still too many no-shows. These are classrooms that are scheduled to be in use but which turn out to be unoccupied.”

    Internationalisation
    “In the area of internationalisation, we’ve come a long way and we are now taking concrete steps. Soon, every study programme will have its own internationalisation plan. This also creates greater clarity for the students. In the past, expectations were sometimes too high.” Ravensbergen expects the first results of these plans to be visible in the National Student Survey in 2020. “In addition, we are more involved in community forming for our foreign students. The first step was made 2 weeks ago when we invited all Avans students following an international study programme as well as our foreign exchange students to a joint barbecue. The barbecue kicks off a list of regular activities for this academic year. This makes it easier for students who are quite isolated because of their study programme or minor to connect with others within Avans.”

    Quality and innovation
    “We already enjoy a good quality culture at Avans. And we have lecturers and students who enjoy innovating. However, there was always a lack of proper follow-up in the past. This is something we are improving upon, with our Quality in Motion programme and with our innovation agenda which was announced last week. Our aim therefore is to improve learning and implementation, whilst also holding on to the innovation mindset of our people. That is the power of Avans.”

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