Through quality, commitment and personal contact in our education, we aim to ensure that students develop into critically-minded scholars capable of taking on responsible positions that make a positive contribution to society. Therefore, deliberate choices were made in 2022 about the use of digital resources and the shape of education on campus. Below is an overview of the key developments in education, including some collaborations.
1. Developments in education
No study programmes were inspected in 2022. The re-assessment of the Bachelor’s programmes in Theology and Religious Studies and the Master’s programme in Theology & Religious Studies took place in early November. The assessment panel expressed an intention to issue a positive decision, and a positive final assessment report is expected in early 2023.
Based on the quality summaries produced by the faculties in 2021, a quality summary covering all faculties was produced in early 2022. This Quality in View report was prepared to provide input for internal discussion on the further development of the quality assurance system. In November, we organised three sessions on educational innovation and quality culture as part of this process. The sessions were well attended by a diverse group of engaged staff from all faculties. The outcome of these sessions will be used to further develop the quality assurance system and prepare for the institutional audit quality assurance in 2025.
Effects of the coronavirus pandemic
The changes to education necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic revealed how the use of digital resources can add value to education, and also the added value of education on campus. In 2022, several study programmes revised certain courses and training programmes. In doing so, deliberate choices were made about the use of digital resources and the shape of education on campus. Other forms of assessment were also frequently given more concrete content. In the educational vision that will be ready in draft form by mid-2023, these lessons learned will be developed into longer-term themes.
2. Education for a more sustainable world
Our ambition is that all students will come into contact with sustainability-related issues in their own discipline. Students who want more have access to a broad and multidisciplinary range of courses, also at other faculties.
Our own sustainability plan
In 2022, work continued on integrating sustainability into education at Radboud University. Within each faculty, this is shaped to suit the respective study programmes, and sustainability issues are woven into the compulsory curriculum. For instance, the principles of ‘planetary health’ are increasingly appearing in medical education, law studies address topics such as liability for climate change, psychology students learn about sustainable behaviour, and sustainable digitalisation is becoming a topic in IT study programmes. Sustainability is also increasingly reflected in the philosophy education required for all students. The aim is for every student to understand the relationship between their own study programme and sustainability issues. The Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies has become the first faculty to include this in their learning outcomes.
Additional in-depth courses
Students who want to delve further into sustainability topics can choose from an increasing number of elective courses and study programmes, presented in a convenient online overview. Meanwhile, more than half (55%) of undergraduates have taken one or more of these in-depth courses. If a student takes at least 21 ECTS of these courses and dedicates their thesis research to a sustainability topic, they can request a sustainability certificate from the Faculty of Science or Nijmegen School of Management. The certificate will also become available from the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies and the Faculty of Social Sciences in the near future. In the first phase, 45 students earned this certificate. Opportunities for in-depth study can also be found in the Radboud Green Office’s Living Labs and in various sustainability-focused projects from the Honours Academy. These are not limited to Radboud students: in the Healthy Circularity campus hub, Radboud students work via the Honours Academy with students from HAN and ROC on sustainability issues in the region.
Over the coming years, the integration of sustainability in education will get an extra boost from the Comenius Leadership project: You Have a Part to Play: Higher Education for Sustainability. Students and lecturers from various study programmes, together with ArtEZ University of the Arts, are working on teaching methods that help students become aware of the complex issues involved in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
3. Making an impact through education with our partners
Our ambition is to take a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to solving diverse issues of social relevance.
Radboud-Glasgow Collaboration Fund
In 2022, 15 Radboud colleagues, together with their counterparts from Glasgow, submitted a proposal to the Radboud-Glasgow Collaboration Fund for funding collaborative projects in Research and Learning & Teaching. Seven of these colleagues, from five Radboud faculties, were awarded up to £20,000 for implementation. In May, staff from the University of Glasgow’s Research Office and Radboud University’s Research & Impact Strategy presented a joint paper at the European Association of Research Managers & Administrators conference (EARMA) on how to support partnership development in higher education. A virtual networking event was also organised to match researchers from both institutions working on sustainability topics. In August, it was announced that an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master proposal for the implementation of the joint Master’s programme in Education in Museums and Heritage with Glasgow as consortium leader could count on a €5,400,000 grant from the European Commission. Two brainstorming events took place in autumn 2022. These looked back at the past four years and looked ahead to a possible extension of the Radboud-Glasgow partnership from May 2023.
Collaboration agreement between Maastricht University and Radboud University
On 14 June 2022, the Executive Boards of Maastricht University and Radboud University signed a collaboration agreement. This agreement is a follow-up to the declaration of intent signed in 2020. With this collaboration, we contribute to the development of both institutions and to the future-proofing of academic higher education and research to meet the societal challenges of the south-eastern Netherlands region. In part, this will intensify existing collaboration, such as in academic teacher training study programmes. In addition, the collaboration will be strengthened by new initiatives, such as new joint Master’s programmes. There will also be collaboration in support processes, more joint research, and shared development programmes for healthcare professionals.
City Deal Kennis Maken
Together with regional partners (HAN University of Applied Sciences, ROC Nijmegen and the municipality of Nijmegen), we participate in City Deal Kennis Maken. The aim of this cooperation is to contribute to solving issues of social relevance together through multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary educational projects. The city of Nijmegen is our campus. One successful project in 2022 involved setting up a meeting for community sports coaches. Sport and Exercise students from ROC Nijmegen and Sports Science students from HAN worked on this with Radboud University students from the Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology and Islam, Politics and Society programmes. In the meeting they set up, community sports coaches were informed about the influence of cultural and religious backgrounds on sports and exercise programmes. This knowledge enables community sports coaches to better design programmes that have a greater impact on residents with a migration background. The education project is permanently embedded in curricula and will recur annually.
OnePlanet Open Education
The Open Education programme developed by the OnePlanet Research Centre brings together students and lecturers from provincial institutes for higher professional education (HBO) and senior secondary vocational education (MBO) with students from Radboud University. These students from various study programmes, disciplines and levels work together on complex issues related to digital technology that come from the practice of real-world clients. The projects connect to OnePlanet’s innovation areas – Precision Health, Nutrition & Behavior, and Precision Agri(culture), Food & Environment – and to the specialty courses from the various study programmes.
4. Quality agreements
Dutch universities have reached agreements with the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport on quality agreements for 2019–2024. These are connected to the use of the study financing resources (studievoorschot). In consultation with the participational bodies, Radboud University created a plan to allocate those resources. The Minister approved it in October 2019, based on a positive recommendation from the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). In 2022, Radboud University was notified that the NVAO will give a positive assessment to the Minister as part of the midterm review of the quality agreements carried out on the basis of the 2021 annual report. A small part of the budget is spent centrally, but the majority of the funds is in the hands of the faculties.
Radboud University invests the vast majority of its resources at the faculty level. Thus, decisions about the use of those resource are made as close as possible to the primary educational process, although implementation may vary from one faculty to another. All faculties have made their own plans for this. The faculties’ plans in the framework of the quality agreements are in line with previously formulated plans, strategies or visions. By far the most resources are invested in more intensive and small-scale education and in more and better student guidance. For example, Nijmegen School of Management invested in additional staff. This reduced the need for externally hired staff, thus improving the stability and quality of education. The additional staff made it possible to reduce the size of groups or intensify student guidance. At the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences, the hours for thesis supervision were increased, among other things. In addition, money from the quality agreements at the Faculty of Arts was used to recruit a student wellbeing coordinator and the size of tutorials was reduced.
There have been various initiatives launched using the central funds. For instance, extra study facilities were made available in the university library by extending the opening hours and increasing the number of study workplaces. There were also investments in educational innovation using ICT, such as digital assessments and Brightspace. And a project was launched to make web lectures future-proof, increasing flexibility and capacity. The intended plans were implemented using additional investments from our own resources. The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact since March 2020 by accelerating the adoption of digital education facilities.
Faculty participation takes place via the Faculty Joint Assembly (FGV), which has advisory rights regarding the main points in the faculty budgets. The Faculty Student Council (FSR) and the Representative Council (OC) from the FGV have the right of consent for the spending of faculty funds for the quality agreements. All faculty representative bodies agreed to the plans for the quality agreements in the budget for 2023. In addition, the quality agreements for each faculty are discussed twice a year during the annual report discussion and budget discussion in the presence of the Executive Board, the faculty’s Executive Board and the student assessor. The student assessor is specifically asked about the progress and involvement of the participational bodies in implementing the quality agreements.
At the university level, the University Joint Assembly (UGV) has the right of consent to the main points of the budget and the use of university funds for the quality agreements. Twice a year, the Executive Board reports to the UGV through the regular planning and control cycle and the annual plan, including the budget. The use of quality funds at the central level was determined for several years in 2019. As the plans have not been changed since then, decision-making on this part of the funds only took place in 2019 with the agreement of the UGV.
Central support organises annual meetings to which the FGV and UGV are invited. The goal is to inform the participational bodies of their rights regarding quality agreements and to promote the exchange of practices and information. These meetings also ensure that the participational bodies know where they can go in the organisation with questions about the quality agreements.