‘ECIU University is still an experiment’

| Michaela Nesvarova

The University Council has expressed their reservations regarding the plan for the ECIU University. They question how well will the pilot be embedded within faculties and how it will benefit the UT. This matter was discussed during the University Council meeting today.

Photo by: Frans Nikkels

eciu university

The ECIU University is a new European university involving all thirteen ECIU (European Consortium of Innovative Universities), including the University of Twente which coordinates the project. The ECIU University aims to offer ‘challenge-based education’, a brand-new type of education open to everyone and focused on solving challenges, not on getting a degree. The pilot is scheduled to launch later this year.

In their advice submitted to the Executive Board, the Council shared their concerns, specifically the integration of the ECIU model within the regular curricula, the pilot’s costs and the overall benefits for the UT.

In the morning’s (online) meeting, Victor van der Chijs responded to this: ‘ECIU University is meant as a catalyst for innovation and change. This means that there will be a high level of experimentation. The pilot is not just about education, but also research and knowledge transfer, setting up challenges with industrial partners on international levels. This is uncharted territory. There will be best practices that we can apply, but there will also be worst practices that we should learn from and avoid. It is still an experiment, but what comes out of it should benefit this university. That is our focus.’

The Executive Board agreed to take the advice from the Council on board as much as possible. Based on that, the plan is to ensure that the ECIU University will be integrated into the UT in ‘a logical way’ and that the costs per student are comparable to what is available for mainstream education. The need to structurally invest extra money into the pilot should also be reduced. ‘The challenges are organized in such a way that they can also generate income,’ stated Van der Chijs.

‘Expert groups are being aligned in terms of staff and agenda, so that the outcomes of this pilot land well within this university,’ added Van der Chijs. ‘The Executive Board will consult with deans and faculty boards on regular basis to see that what we are doing is right. The idea clearly IS that it should benefit the UT.’