On 24 May 2018, nearly 400 passionate lecturers and policymakers from universities from across the Netherlands came together at the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) Education Festival. Wageningen University & Research (WUR) was this year’s festival host. In addition to an inspiring plenary programme, 30 workshops, 3 debates and a festival market with 23 stands gave attendees the opportunity to exchange ideas on the latest educational innovations in the academic world.
Professionalisation of university lecturers
The day started in a high-tech lecture hall, with the presentation and video about the VSNU report ‘Professionalisation of university lecturers: The UTQ and beyond’. The report shows that the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ, or BKO in Dutch) is working well and that universities are focusing on the professionalisation of lecturers both prior to, in addition to and following the qualification process.
In the first keynote lecture, Ruth Graham discussed the extent to which university education is appreciated, and the way in which it is remunerated. She presented the results of a four-year international project which culminated in the ‘Career framework for university teaching’.
Three workshop sessions gave attendees the opportunity to talk with each other in greater depth. This could take place in a wide range of different workshops and/or while engaging in verbal jousting during debates about future challenges that the academic community is facing. During the lunch break there was also a lively festival market at which all the universities were represented.
Digital educational innovations
The second half of the programme focused on digital educational innovations. For example, WUR Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol spoke about the acceleration plan for educational innovation using IT – a joint initiative between VSNU, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and SURF. As a member of the Acceleration Plan steering committee, Arthur Mol made a convincing case for the importance of working together to accelerate and innovate.
The second keynote speaker, Farshida Zafar, had the audience’s rapt attention as she introduced a number of real-world digital innovations that she is already using at Erasmus University Rotterdam. ‘Guts’ was the keyword in her presentation – a story which she illustrated with a live demonstration of virtual reality.
Want to relive the highlights?
View the photos of the festival;
Watch the aftermovie: