Student - November 2, 2018

Areas of improvement for Wageningen education

Albert Sikkema

Although the university has once more received a magnificent assessment from the National Student Survey, the students’ appreciation for study spots and the English language proficiency of lecturers has diminished. The Executive Board knew of this and has already started taking steps to solve these issues.

© Guy Ackermans

The annual National Student Survey (Nationale Studenten Enquête, NSE), in which students assess the education and the facilities of the university, once again contains many high grades for the university. Nearly all programmes and facilities in Wageningen received grades above the national average, and Wageningen was rated the best of all universities in the Netherlands by far – for the nth time.

Study spots
However, there are a few lesser aspects as well. The students’ appreciation for the study spots – both regarding their numbers and their quality – has decreased over the past year by 0.15 points, the survey revealed. Furthermore, the language proficiency of the lecturers has been given a lower grade (minus 0.07), as have the ICT facilities (minus 0.11) and the electronic learning environment (minus 0.07).

Education building
The Executive Board has already taken steps toward improving these issues, according to a letter the board sent the WUR Council. ‘We are currently working on increasing the numbers of graduation positions’, rector Arthur Mol elaborates. Mol also expects that the third education building on campus, which is currently being planned, will offer additional and better study spots.

Language proficiency
Regarding the English language proficiency, ‘we are systematically working on having all lecturers and supporting teaching staff take an English test to evaluate their English language proficiency’, says the rector. Based on this test, the university decides whether a lecturer requires additional language courses. All lecturers of the Environmental Sciences Group have already taken the test, which is currently being administered at the Animal Sciences Group.

Furthermore, the university is developing a new electronic learning environment, ELS, which will replace the old learning environment, Blackboard. Mol expects the new system to be introduced next year. ‘We are working on the final assessments.’

Despite the areas of improvement, the university can be proud of the high appreciation the students expressed in the survey, Mol says. ‘This even warranted a personal congratulatory letter from the Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten to me. As a matter of course, I would like to pass on these congratulations to all people involved at the university.’