Next academic year, Wageningen will boast a new higher education institution, Stoas Hogeschool. What does this institute do exactly, and how many students will be coming to Wageningen? The arrival of Stoas in six questions.
Stoas Hogeschool trains teachers for lower secondary classes in green subjects, and has two branches, in Den Bosch and Dronten. Stoas has a total of almost 800 students, half of them part-timers. The school has decided to merge its two branches at one location in Wageningen for reasons of efficiency.
2. Why Wageningen?
Wageningen is centrally located and the green focus of Wageningen UR matches that of Stoas Hogeschool very well, says director Madelon de Beus. 'This location offers more scope for further study for our students.' The director also foresees opportunities for collaboration on the content of the work. For example, Stoas is already in touch with the Education and Competency Studies chair group, with which the school will be organizing Educational Research Days next year.
3. Two applied science institutions in Wageningen?
De Beus is not worried about competition with Van Hall Larenstein (VHL). 'Because of our educational focus, our niche is more in the social sciences, whereas VHL trains technical experts, real specialists. So we can complement each other, in fact. Perhaps our minor in education will be of interest to VHL students, and the other way round as well. Our follow-up programme, for after the teacher training, could be of interest too.'
A merger with Wageningen UR is not on the agenda. De Beus: 'We belong to the Aeres group, including CAH Dronten and the PTC+ practical centre. We are looking for collaboration in Wageningen at the level of content.'
Early in July, Stoas will move into the empty buildings on the Churchillweg that formerly housed Diedenoort. In 2013, the school will move to a new building on the Mansholtlaan, opposite the campus and next door to the NIOO-KNAW institute for ecological research. The first stone will be laid this autumn.
5. How many?
The school has between 750 and 800 students, half of them part-timers. In September, Stoas expects 100 fulltime first year students. Some of them will be coming to live in Wageningen, putting even more pressure on the already tight housing market in the town. But according to De Beus, there will not be very many: only 20 students from later years have indicated that they want to move to Wageningen, she says. The first years and any others who are interested are invited to participate in the introduction days (AID) in Wageningen. Between 40 and 80 Stoas students will probably join in. They are also free to join existing Wageningen student societies.
Stoas students come from all over the Netherlands and are of varying ages. The young people on fulltime programmes are primarily interested in learning their subjects. The part-time students are often already teaching, on VMBO secondary school courses for example. For two years now, Stoas has been running a part-time Master's course on 'Learning and Innovation' which also attracts people from the business world. Yet all these diverse students have one thing in common, says De Beus: 'Stoas students are ecologically intelligent people who take a broad perspective on things and connect people with each other.'