Wageningen students are still very pleased with education. Despite the growth, which led to lower scores at other universities, Wageningen University & Research was declared the best university of the Netherlands for the fourteenth year in a row.
© Marte Hofsteenge
This was revealed in the Keuzegids Universiteiten 2019 (Guide to Higher Education 2019; link in Dutch only).
According to Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol, this is a unique feat. ‘People around here are starting to take it for granted, but this is exceptional. Being declared the best university of education for bachelor programmes fourteen times in a row. And not just based on the opinion of students, but also according to accreditation panels. This is good news for us, and at the same time, it’s a great challenge for the other universities to try and break that streak.’
This year, the Guide to Higher Education accredited 71 programmes as top programmes, 13 of which are in Wageningen.
Plant Sciences (98) and Forest and Nature Management (94) are the number one and two programmes in the Netherlands, respectively. Molecular Life Sciences (86) takes third place in Wageningen. The lowest scoring programmes in Wageningen still reached a 70 and are therefore ‘a fine choice’ according to the Guide to Higher Education. Those are the programmes Management, Economics and Consumer Studies, Landscape Architecture and Planning, and Public Health and Society.
‘Despite the growth of the number of students and the lacking funding, we are still offering top-level education’, says Mol. ‘The two best programmes in the whole Netherlands are taught in Wageningen. But other programmes are also doing really well. None of them fall short. As rector, one can only be proud – and I am. The level of quality is really high.’
How can this success be explained? ‘We really focus on education, fund it properly, extensively involve students in their programmes, and there is a great commitment from the side of the lecturers. That is our recipe for success’, says Mol.
Areas of improvement
However, there are always areas of improvement. The National Student Survey, which is in part the base for the Guide to Higher Education, recently showed that the appreciation for the study spots and the English proficiency of the lecturers has decreased. This was reflected in the Guide to Higher Education by a lowered total score, which went from 76 last year to 74 now. Furthermore, the university had more top programmes last year: 14. The Executive Board is working on solutions.