The UT/VU joint programme of Mechanical Engineering has just begun, welcoming its first 67 students, but the universities are already planning to extend their collaboration, said Van der Chijs. ‘We will develop a new joint bachelor and a joint master programme, which will start as soon as possible. Furthermore, the UT is expanding its collaboration with Saxion and Roc van Twente, leading to ‘seamless educational system in Twente’, and with its longstanding partner University of Munster.
2500 students, 78 nationalities
One of the other changes on campus, said Van der Chijs, is the larger crowd of students this year. The number of Bachelor students has increased by 12%, growing from 2236 in 2018 to the current 2500. ‘The Master influx is also looking good and 39% of our students are international, coming from 78 different nationalities. What is interesting is that both beta and gamma tracks are growing and also faster than is the average in the Netherlands. That makes the UT one of the fastest growing universities in the country.’
The ‘Harry Potter’ model
The biggest ‘grower’ is the Bachelor programme of Computer Science, where the number of students has literally doubled. ‘50% is a big growth,’ continued Van der Chijs. ‘That is a positive development, but it is also bringing challenges. To maintain the small-scale and personal character the track has decided to adopt the “Harry Potter” model used at Hogwarts. The 300 first-year students will be divided into four houses.’
Van der Chijs also commented on the hearsays about a new Investment Fund for the Netherlands (Toekomsfonds) of potentially 50 billion euros. ‘If the rumours are true, this money could be partly invested in education, research and technological innovation, which could mean additional investments for universities. Obviously, everyone would like a piece of this pie and so do we. We therefore challenge you to come up with new and unique propositions.’
‘We want to be a civic university’
‘More financial funding would help us better fulfil the role we feel we should have in society, relieve some of the work pressure and help us execute our new Strategy – Shaping 2030, which will be finalized this year,’ concluded Victor van der Chijs. ‘The UT is choosing a new strategy. We want to be a civic university, focused on delivering answers and solutions that society needs. We choose to be the ultimate people-first university of technology.’