Wageningen University & Research has been chosen as the best university in the Netherlands by www.keuzegids.nl for the twelfth time in a row. On top of that, 17 of the 19 bachelor’s programmes in Wageningen have been declared top programmes. That’s two more than last year, when WUR had 15 top programmes.
‘The Netherlands offers about 400 university bachelor’s programmes, of which 58 have the moniker top programme. As a top programme, you stand head and shoulders above the other programmes. Out of our 19 bachelor’s programmes, 17 have received this title. This means that nearly one third of the top programmes in the Netherlands is taught at our university. This year, International Development Studies and Economie en beleid (Economics and Policy) have joined the top programmes’, says Hermien Miltenburg, relations manager and parent information officer at WUR. This is the fifth year that the Guide to Higher Education (website in Dutch only) has been awarding the quality mark top programme. Twenty programmes have been among them throughout all these years, twelve of which are in Wageningen.
According to the Guide, Wageningen University once again ended up in first place due to the personal and small-scaled guidance. ‘The study shows that we are able to combine good education and good research. Our profile is broader than simply agriculture; there are many study programmes in communication, management, economics and tourism. Many of these programmes are now also among the top programmes’, says Miltenburg. WUR also scores well thanks to its international nature. ‘We have many students and staff members from all around the world. Of course, this international context fits our area of focus very nicely, because what we do at WUR does not stop at the Dutch borders.’
‘Our lecturers devote a lot of time on personal contact with students; I think that is the main reason that, despite the growth, we have been able to remain in that first position as a university all those years. The lecturers in Wageningen are very approachable, and I see that this is the general mentality here. Lecturers are always prepared to help students, and I am very proud of that’, says Tiny van Boekel, director of the Education Institute.
However, the Guide also cites several downsides. ‘No other place has such a low number of female professors as Wageningen. An agreement was made with Jet Bussemaker that this should increase to 25 percent by 2020. It is currently around 15 percent. Furthermore, we do not have a train station, and we are the only student city without an H&M’, says Miltenburg with a smile.
The Guide to Higher Education contains substantive information on all study programmes in the Netherlands. Not only the programmes are compared; they also examine the universities. ‘They look at student satisfaction, but also consider the accreditation of the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This organisation guarantees the quality of higher education’, tells Miltenburg.