Ghent University’s Education Vision

Our vision on learning and education is a translation of our university credo, ‘Dare to Think’. At Ghent University, we aim to train (re)searchers who are at once down-to-earth and brave enough to think outside the box. We stimulate this by means of multiperspectivism, i.e. the ability to perceive oneself through someone else’s.

Six Strategic Education Objectives

We put our multiperspectivistic vision on education into practice by means of six strategic education objectives. These objectives make up the framework for high-quality education at our university. In our dynamic education context, this vision is an important guideline for education policy choices today and in the future. At Ghent University, we constantly evaluate our education ambitions to make sure they match these guiding principles. In so doing, we keep our education state of the art at all times.

1. Think broadly

By means of the first strategic objective Multiperspectivism, Ghent University trains students who dare to think

Put into education practice, multiperspectivism specifically refers to, and focuses on, the following values:

  • critical thought;
  • open-mindedness;
  • change in perspective;
  • pluralism;
  • tollerance to different points of view.

Educating students into becoming “daring thinkers” using the concept of multiperspectivism: that is Ghent University’s first strategic education objective. The remaining five all naturally ensue from here.

2. Keep researching

Education at Ghent University is based on excellent research and the most reliable academic insights in the field. Our lecturers are free and independent critical researchers with a wish to offer their students an academic education.

This academic education:

  • is optimally aligned with the dynamic development of academic/scientific research. It is this cross-pollination between education and research that encourages students to adopt an academically justified and honest attitude throughout their study trajectory;
  • stimulates academic/scientific creativity, in particular the ability to look at problems from different angles, and to organize known data in new ways. Here, too, multiperspectivism is the guiding principle: we offer our students frames of thought as well as information that runs counter to said frames. We also offer them opportunities for a change of perspectives. With our education, we impart to students the necessary competencies for knowledge creation. What is more, we teach our students that perspectives are subject to time and place. We teach them how to deal with that, and to adjust their perspectives accordingly.

In addition, we enable education innovation. At Ghent University, we:

  • invest in innovative teaching methods and techniques;
  • integrate innovative research into our education;
  • develop innovative concepts and tools in response to social problems.

3. Cultivate talent

Ghent University education contributes to student and staff talent development

On the one hand, Ghent University’s education policy offers students and teaching staff ample opportunities for talent development.

    • we provide high-quality study programmes that encompass programme-specific as well as generic competencies (e.g. language competencies, international and intercultural competencies, sustainability competencies, diversity competencies, entrepreneurial competencies);
    • throughout their entire study trajectory, we ensure that all students receive optimal orientation, remediation, supervision and challenges. It is to this end that we focus on generic intake, study progress, and outflow initiatives;
    • we take into account the specific needs of certain target groups. Taking our cue from the principle of equal treatment and the principle of second chance, we pursue a transparent policy on special statutes:
      • all students have an equal right to maximum talent development;
      • students with a less straightforward study career are given a second chance, taking into account certain binding requirements;
    • we promote and support the professional development of our staff. There is a wide range of support and career development options by means of which teaching staff can (learn to) create powerful learning environments for their students. After all, our dynamic education context requires a great deal of flexibility and adaptability from our teaching staff.

On the other hand, by pursuing our diversity and language policies, we want to remove any possible obstacles that prevent students and teaching staff from developing their talents. To this purpose, we organize various initiatives. Diversity as it is embedded in our education policy, is to be understood in the broadest possible way. Cultural, social, linguistic and gender diversity is seen as an added value.

4. Contribute

Ghent University education is fueled by the participation of stakeholders

Ghent University is an important hub where various stakeholders and their interests meet:

  • students,
  • university staff,
  • alumni,
  • the professional field.

We want these stakeholders to participate in our education as critical partners who help monitor education quality. In so doing, we strive for a sound balance between independence and social relevance.

  • on the one hand, academic education must remain general and critical;
  • on the other hand, academic education must meet social needs. After all, graduating students must be socially employable.

In the context of our education process, we invest in sustainable networks with both non-academic and academic partners:

  • we incorporate professional field perspectives in our education design. For that purpose, we regularly consult professional field representatives in one institutionalized form or another;
  • we integrate student and staff interests into our university’s processes: we have the necessary structures to embed student and staff input in a sustainable way.

5. Extend horizons

Ghent University education integrates an international dimension

As a partner in a broad international network, we integrate an international perspective into our education. For us, internationalization is not a goal in and by itself, but…

  • … a means to increase the academic quality of our education::
    • student and staff exchange garners new ideas and perspectives, leading to new forms of integration, and thus innovation;
    • international experiences offer students and staff the opportunity to acquire international and intercultural competencies. These are desperately needed in a time of increasing globalization and diversity.
  • … a means to benchmark our education (policy) internationally::
    • by means of thematic international think tanks, we raise our general education policy to the next level;
    • a continuous dialogue with other international academic institutions and umbrella organizations is therefore an important priority for us.

6. Opt for quality

Ghent University education meets internationally recognized standards for solid quality assurance

We place great store by education quality assurance, which a vital element of any sound education policy. Realizing the necessary quality assurance conditions is therefore a strategic objective in and by itself. Our education vision contains all the essentials for a balanced and continuous quality assurance system.

Our quality assurance system guarantees:

  • ambitious study programme competencies,
  • study programmes of the highest quality,
  • well-structured curricula,
  • proper alignment of teaching and assessment methods.

The basic principles of our quality assurance system are as follows:

  • it is data-supported and data-driven;
  • it is regularly benchmarked nationally and internationally. Embedding that external perspective is considered an important learning opportunity;
  • it installs a permanent quality culture based on trust, and on dialogue with all stakeholders, especially students, teaching staff, management, the professional field, alumni, and international peers;
  • it informs a broad group of stakeholders about the quality of the study programmes we offer.