28 June 2018

24 hours Education Conference 2018: social and involved

Lef to right: Judith Deynen, Richard Kraan, Judith Werkman, Peter Steijn

Education is continuously developing. Every year the Utrecht University uses her brainpower and decisiveness during the 24 hours Education Conference to uncover new chances and share experiences. This year with a social and involved theme.

Four representatives of partners from the Utrecht region started in a panel and addressed to the social responsibility of the university. Judith Deynen (Volunteer Centre Utrecht), Richard Kraan (PwC en Economic Board Utrecht), Judith Werkman (Academie van de Stad) en Peter Steijn (Municipal Utrecht) appealed the participants of the conference of 2018 to increase the community engagement in education:

“Don’t wait any longer and educate students to be meaningful now!”

“We search for young people that can think beyond boundaries and connect knowledge to other subject areas.”

“Don’t search further but look around and use the city as learning environment.”

“We are sitting on gold, now we have to cash in.”

On De Horst Estate in Driebergen over 70 educational managers, vice-deans, teaching fellows, policymakers, student assessors and other colleagues inclined from the 6th to the 7th of June on the question what students should know and be able to after their study to deliver a meaningful contribution to the society. And what should they already mean to society during their study period? Where lie the opportunity’s within and beyond education? The conversation with the panel –moderated by Maud Radstake - varied from vision to practical execution. On one issue all the participants fully agreed: the necessary is high to make education more social involved. Students and society ask for it and community engagement will enrich our education.

Some ideas: describe social involvedness’ in the end terms of a programme, stimulate teachers to put social issues in an academic perspective, stimulate students to volunteer, engage organizations that match clients and issues with students and teachers and to a profound look what fits with your programme. In six workshops the participants deepened into methods to increase social engagement.

Inclusive and diverse education
Teaching Fellow Leoniek Wijngaards-Meij

Another social responsibilty is to make our university more inclusive with a more diverse student and teacher population. Teaching fellow Leoniek Wijngaards-de Meij researched diversity in the composition of student population at application and subscription in bachelor programmes at the Utrecht University and in the study success of the different groups. On Thursday morning she clarified the results. Compared to other Randstad-university’s, the entry of students with a migration background is relatively low, so as for students with parents in a low-income category. Between the programmes big differences are visible in the proportion of male and female students. After this, the  faculty’s turned into action by making a plan with the help of the programme scan made by Leoniek which shows the current diversity at their faculty and school.

Some ideas: intensified and earlier contact with high schools (U-talent), address communication and marketing also on parents, promote diversity of employees, cooperate with higher professional education to improve the student flow, more attention for diversity in the curriculum, involve students that are diverse in the plan for action, explore possibilities of domestic scholarships (financial contribution for students), set up community’s to maintain students and collaborate with social organizations (in the region).

24 hours Education Conference at De Horst Estate, Driebergen

The 24 hours passed quickly. We hope the participants were inspired and get to work in their own programme or department with a lot of ideas to stimulate the social responsibility of students in a diverse and inclusive environment.

Do you want to know more on social responsibility in education?

-      The recent started programme Community Service (Learning) supports teachers, directors and policymakers that want to work with extern partners on social issues in education. In this programme the UU also stimulates students to volunteer work. Contact Programme manager Kim Zunderdorp (k.zunderdorp@uu.nl) if you want to know more or seek for support.

-      Leoniek Wijngaards publishes soon the results of her research via a link on her profielpagina. Want to know more already? Contact her directly (l.wijngaards@uu.nl).

Kim Zunderdorp (O&O) & Mirjam Bok (CAT)