Distinctive quality feature internationalisation
The mission of the ITC Faculty is to be a gateway of knowledge exchange in the field for individuals and institutes from countries that are economically and/or technologically less developed. The vision of the ITC Faculty on internationalisation is rooted in, and inherent to, its capacity-building mission. It includes linking up the content of education to relevant realworld problems, teaching students about research and professional practices worldwide, attracting an international student body, and responding to the needs of international students and the international working field. In the panel’s opinion, the vision of the ITC Faculty on internationalisation is clear and supported by stakeholders. The link between the ITC and the university vision on internationalisation of global citizenship could be more explicit, however. The same applies to the verifiable objectives of this vision. Although the vision includes implicit and relevant verifiable objectives, they are not explicitly mentioned in a document. The ITC Faculty also needs to develop explicit procedures for the evaluation of this vision. Although there are still opportunities for improvement, the panel assesses the overall quality of this standard as satisfactory. The excellent integration of the capacity-building mission in its vision on the design of its international educational activities and the international reputation of the ITC Faculty are important factors in this decision.
The set of intended learning outcomes of the professional master’s programme includes specific learning outcomes for internationalisation. They focus on the ability of students to operate and communicate in a multicultural environment. According to the panel, these learning outcomes are relevant, a clear reflection of the vision on internationalisation of the university and addressed in the programme. However, they are not formally tested at the moment. The panel advises the programme to develop more detailed ideas on how to test international and intercultural skills in the near future. The panel read several project reports. It established that the overall level of the reports is satisfactory. The majority of project reports showed a logical line of reasoning, was adequately constructed, and demonstrated sufficient English language skills. In some reports, the panel would have liked to see more reflection on methods, more consultation of the recent international literature and a better developed problem analysis. Most graduates are positive about their employability and feel that the international approach and the international learning environment at the ITC Faculty have broadened their understanding of cultural differences.
The panel concludes that the curriculum, the teaching methods and the learning environment of the professional master’s programme match the vision on internationalisation of the university and the ITC Faculty, and the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes. The teaching methods of the programme focus on multicultural project work, reflection on international concepts and cases, and discussion about the work experiences that students bring in from their home country. The curriculum reflects this focus: modules discuss concepts and case studies from around the world, students are invited to compare problems and solutions with situations in their home countries, student take excursions to companies and organisations in Europe, and the development of intercultural competencies and communicative skills is stimulated through guided discussions and project work in international teams. In the panel’s opinion, the ITC Faculty offers students a unique and stimulating multicultural learning environment. In this specific respect, it can be seen as an international ‘best practice’.
The student-staff ratio for the professional master’s programme is 1:4.2 for the 2012 courses and 1:6.25 for the 2013 courses. According to the panel the number of teaching staff is adequate. The panel is also positive about their general quality and engagement. The staff is well informed about recent developments in the field. It concludes that the staff of the programme has ample international experience and expertise. Furthermore, sufficient services are in place to facilitate their international experiences, intercultural competences and language skills. In addition, the ITC Faculty offers courses throughout the world. As a consequence, staff members continue to develop and expand their international experience and intercultural competences while they work at the ITC Faculty.
The majority of students at the ITC Faculty come from developing countries. Most of them originate from countries in Africa and Asia, but the ITC Faculty also attracts students from the Americas, Europe, and Australia/Oceania. The panel is very impressed by the international composition of the student group and concludes that the ITC Faculty is extremely successful in its mission ‘to be a gateway for knowledge exchange for individuals and institutes from countries that are economically and/or technologically less developed’. According to the panel, students have ample opportunity to develop multicultural professional and communicative skills and international experience through the curriculum (formal and informal) and the international learning environment at the ITC Faculty. Important in this respect is the fact that many students come from abroad: for them, staying at the ITC Faculty is already an international experience in itself. Many services and facilities have been put in place to support international students.
The committee assesses the standards from the NVAO Frameworks for the Assessment of Internationalisation (as of 14 November 2011) as follows:
Teaching and learning - good
Criterion 3a: Curriculum - satisfactory
Criterion 3b: Teaching methods - good
Staff - good
Criterion 4a: Staff composition - good
Criterion 4b: International experience and competence - good
Students - good
Criterion 5a: Student group composition - excellent
Criterion 5b: International experience - good