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The assessment of teaching at Vrije Universiteit Brussel was exceptionally positive. Yesterday afternoon the Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation - NVAO) released the results of its institutional review of all Flemish universities. According to the final assessment, Vrije Universiteit Brussel has “an appropriate teaching policy which it implements effectively, with a focus on improvement” and the quality of its teaching is of a “relevant standard both internationally and societally”. Vice-rector for teaching and student policy Jan Danckaert was delighted with the report. “This is an accolade for our university, and it means a lot to all those who work hard on teaching here.”
The Commission noted that the VUB takes a very personal approach to its students. VUB describes its teaching approach as tailored teaching, characterised by individual guidance for students, teaching in small groups and a low threshold for contacting academic staff.
The report found that study support at VUB is partly centralised and partly course-based. There is a standard offering, but the support provided is tailored to the individual student if this is necessary.
The VUB accepts its responsibilities and is seeking to continue its efforts to democratise higher education and widen access to university, in accordance with its humanist tradition. The Commission also found that the university is particularly aware of its responsibility towards the city of Brussels and its position as a Dutch-speaking university in the city.
Nevertheless, the report makes it clear that the Vrije University also has other ambitions. The VUB states that internationalisation is an important dimension which it is seeking to continue to develop. International students questioned by the Commission are very enthusiastic about the VUB and the support that they receive. Its ambition to provide an international experience for Belgian students, partly due to the fact that not many VUB students participate in mobility programmes, is expressed mainly by maximising the use of the international context provided by the city of Brussels. A number of initiatives have already been introduced by individual courses, and this will continue during the coming years in collaboration with a large number of external partners in Brussels.
During its visits the Commission noted that all those it spoke to, including students, are strongly committed to the VUB’s strategic approach. Students have a clear voice in policy-making within the university and feel a sense of shared responsibility. The Commission felt that this goes beyond mere consultation to include a degree of shared governance of the university.
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