Why this opening, at this time? University College Twente has of course been using the building for some time...
'True. Due to the corona crisis, we couldn't find an earlier moment to open the building. Above all, it is a way to give a different kind of business card. We wanted to present ATLAS in a positive way, after the corona crisis and the evaluation report last spring. People either don't know ATLAS, or they talk about it and base it on assumptions. This was a moment to present ourselves. On the one hand, with a large photo gallery in the foyer; a feast of recognition for everyone who was ever involved with ATLAS. On the other hand, there was a substantive panel discussion on the past, present and future of the university college. Those who had questions could ask them. And the questions we don't have answers to yet, we see as a nice challenge.'
Much has been said and written about the past and present. What about the future?
'Everything we talked about earlier has been set in motion. There was really no lack of commitment or knowledge and expertise. We don't need to design anything new within ATLAS, we just need to bring to the surface what had previously sunk: the shared educational vision and the five core values. We had these printed large on an aluminium plate, which rector Tom Veldkamp unveiled in the foyer this afternoon. Those same core values also hang in the teachers' offices and teaching rooms. Because if we don't have a common goal in mind, we get differences of opinion. Since the goal was no longer explicit, the problems within ATLAS grew.'
What does ATLAS need besides such a shared goal?
'With this location, we are literally in the centre of UT, right between the residential area and the education and research area. But this programme also needs to be figuratively at the centre of the university. This university started ATLAS, then you also have to accept the consequences of that.'
During the panel discussion in the Vrijhof.
On what level?
'The current bachelor-master system is not set up for a university college. What is possible abroad but not here, is that university college students can also take master's subjects. That is not possible here. ATLAS students are rejected for courses - for explainable reasons - but it would be better if students are not thwarted in their development by the system. It is up to the student to chart that path. Above all, we want to position ATLAS as a living lab; a testing ground for teachers who have made their mark to get their Senior Qualification Education here. We hope they know how to find their way to the Drienerburght, and to return to their own education after that path.'
The (re)opening of the Drienerburght took centre stage today. How does the building fit with the ATLAS philosophy?
'The nice thing is that the Drienerburght building has always been a hotel, with hospitality at its core. That's where the connection with the education is. Education is on the ground floor and living areas and communal kitchens are in the floors above. It regularly happens that students visit each other downstairs in the evenings. This is exactly what suits this community: students looking out for each other, caring for each other and asking each other questions. It is exactly that culture that corona drew a line under and that we would like to see return in all its glory.'