As a specialist higher education institute, BUas strives to be a leading international knowledge institute with innovative, high-quality education and research and a strong relevance for business and society. Expert, innovative, enterprising, divers and personal are our core values, in which we fully encourage everyone’s innovative capacity. The year under review was the third year of our strategic plan Creating Professional Value. This year was the first year that all students, all study programmes, academies and support services were located on one campus; the BUas community has found a home. This year was also the year in which the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world, resulting in multiple lockdowns, travel restrictions and the very limited options to make use of our campus. None of us could have predicted that within the space of one calendar year we would fully be studying and working online; yet this has turned out to be the reality. Thanks to the incredible drive and flexibility of our lecturers, we have made the swift transition towards online teaching and online testing.
State-of-the-art education is at the heart of our strategic plan. In the last year, we saw rapid improvements in the widespread use of digitisation in education and testing, as well as a broad acceptance of blended learning as the new norm. In 2020, BUas successfully passed the NVAO re-evaluation of our quality agreement plans, which are in line with our long-term positioning for 2030 and our strategic plan 2018-2021. The resources related to the quality agreements enabled us to take extra steps into the direction of further improving our education. By means of these and other innovative developments and the efforts of our professionals, we are keeping the quality of our degree programmes at a consistently high level. This was demonstrated by good accreditation results and distinctive features awarded to us.
Within all degree programs, actions were taken to improve study success, which resulted in the bachelor’s success rate being improved from 68.5% to 76.6% and – partly influenced by the national decision to postpone the binding study recommendation for first-year students - the drop-out percentage for the 2019-2020 cohort dropped from 28.1% to 19.5%. However, we expect the drop-out rate to rise a little when the binding study recommendation will be effective again. We believe that study success is largely achieved through the interaction between students and lecturers and that it is our collective responsibility to give our students the best possible guidance and support. Aspects that are conducive to study success, such as a community feeling, physical proximity and a sense of engagement were harder to achieve under the influence of social distancing rules. Internal and external expertise was gathered in order to achieve these aspects in an online setting. Traditionally, internationalisation has been hardwired into the DNA of our organisation. The percentage of international students at BUas remains high and even grew slightly this year. We had 1,310 international students, from over a hundred different nationalities. BUas’ percentage of international staff rose to 18.5% in 2020.
Knowledge development and connect to industry
In order to obtain an internationally recognised position in research, affiliation with international research programmes and participation in international networks is an important condition. Based on our research profile and research themes, efforts were made to keep advancing our collaboration with the industry. Even though the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries have been hit exceptionally hard by the worldwide pandemic and the travel restrictions associated with it, collaboration with our industry partners as well as with our public-sector partners, remains strong. One of our Centres of Expertise, the Centre of Expertise on Leisure, Tourism, Hospitality (CELTH), initiated and is leading the proposition to develop a doctorate for universities of applied sciences in the CELTH domain. The proposition has been positively reviewed and the development stage has commenced.
Professionalisation and operational excellence BUas’ professionalisation efforts concentrated on digitising its education. Lecturers professionalised in using digital tools and digital didactics so as to be able to offer high-quality online education. Efforts towards improving out staff’s English proficiency also continued. Other elements within our professionalisation program were the new role of the lecturer in a learning community, didactics training, BKE (basic examiner qualification) and SKE (senior examiner qualification). For all people in management or leadership roles, a training course was organised with a focus on distance leadership during lockdowns.
A start was made with the development of an educational office, in which services directly supporting education are offered centrally or in a hybrid collaboration. When testing had to transition to online testing, the educational office proved to be of vital importance. The SERVE programme continued to improve processes, realising greater efficiency within the organisation. Through these efficiencies gained, more financial resources became available for the teaching process, in particular for the benefit of small-scale and intensified education for our students.
Unfortunately, the full annual reports are only available in Dutch