‘Good morning professor’ will still be a common greeting at the university in 2025. The best researchers will be teaching and remain in close contact with students. Lectures will be smaller in scale and more intensive. Students will be given more individual feedback and greater supervision, provided by a greater number of lecturers. Although the digitalisation, internationalisation and flexibilisation of education are increasing at a fast pace, universities continue to believe in the importance of an attractive and modern university campus with a vibrant 24/7 dynamic which focuses on academic development through personal meetings between students and lecturers. Even more than in 2015, the campus will be a place to exchange knowledge and to reflect on this knowledge. These ambitions have been formulated in the new strategic vision on education for the joint universities: ‘Good morning, professor. Vision for studying in a new era’, which VSNU President Karl Dittrich presented to the students and staff of Tilburg University today.
It is 2015. The Dutch universities are considering their strategic choices for the future. They have formulated a shared vision for the next ten years to ensure that the students and lecturers of 2025 will find themselves in an academic environment which has evolved to a new modern state. The vision which was presented today reflects the discussions about the future strategy which the universities have recently held with students, staff and other stakeholders. This future is not the same for all universities. The diversity between programmes, disciplines and ambitions is great. The universities therefore also pursue their own institution-specific agenda.
Strengthening the academic community through campus-based education
Education is undergoing drastic changes as a result of web lectures, MOOCs, flipped classroom and blended learning. Despite the fact that universities are adapting to this trend, they continue to believe in the importance of campus-based education. Alongside the online massification of education and teaching modules being offered to large numbers of students, the university of the future will be characterised by a highly developed cohesion of the academic community and an accompanying clearly structured and attractive university campus, with a vibrant 24/7 dynamic. The value of personal meetings on the campus is appreciated by both students and lecturers. Being part of a university community and actively participating in this community makes a significant contribution to the academic development of the students. In addition, the campus is an ideal location for other formative cultural and social activities and also for establishing start-ups. The campus will therefore become even more of a breeding ground for innovation and creativity and will also offer an attractive business climate for knowledge-intensive companies from the Netherlands and abroad.
Universities will be primarily responsible for the academic development of 18 to 25-year-olds
The universities no longer aim to increase the number of students at universities. However, they do aim to achieve ‘a higher lecturer-to-student ratio’, so that university teaching becomes smaller in scale and more intensive, with more individual feedback and greater supervision. Universities feel primarily responsible for the academic development of 18 to 25-year-olds, whereby education and research will remain closely interwoven. In addition, universities are developing flexible and modular higher education for working people, making it more attractive for this target group to receive academic training at the university.
In the near future, the universities wish to hold discussions on these aspects within the university community. The institutions will be able to realise most of the ambitions themselves within the framework of current laws and legislation. Some ambitions will require action on the part of the government, for example when it comes to reducing bureaucracy and exercising restraint when drawing up new performance agreements. The universities welcome the resources made available through the student loan system as these will allow them to invest, but are asking the government to be realistic. Additional financial resources for universities, which are not 1 billion but 228 million euros, will be released in phases and will only reach their peak ten years from now.
Click here to download the vision