KU Leuven and UU: jointly investing in education

On 17 and 18 April, a delegation from Utrecht University paid a working visit to KU Leuven. The programme was dedicated to education. The Utrecht delegation included rector Henk Kummeling, vice-rector of education Manon Kluijtmans, vice-deans of education from various faculties and staff members of education policy. 

UU working visit to KU Leuven, with Luc Sels (rector KU Leuven) and Henk Kummeling (rector UU) in the middle.

New framework agreement

As strategic partners, Utrecht University and KU Leuven have cooperated for several decades on student mobility, education and research. In the field of education, the KU Leuven and UU teacher training programmes, among others, have joined forces to offer (future) teachers and teacher trainers an international context. Teacher exchanges, guest lectures and lectures have been organised. In addition, Utrecht students and teachers recently participated in a new BIP (Blended Intensive Program) course in Leuven on The role of the Teacher for the 21st Century. A next edition of this course will be held in Utrecht in March 2024. The working visit to KU-Leven was therefore used as an opportunity to sign a new five-year framework agreement, confirming the intention to continue further cooperation.

Educational vision, strategy and innovation

In the field of education, both institutes have similar visions and ambitions. For instance, they similarly seek a balance between autonomy of lecturers or programmes and realising a university-wide ambition.  We also share strategic ambitions when it comes to promoting interdisciplinary education, community engaged learning, and Life Long Learning.

Working visit

The Utrecht delegation's visit to Leuven on 17 and 18 April focused on teacher support (Leuven Learning Lab), on Community Engaged Learning (KU Leuven Engage), on educational challenges we experience as both institutions in the context of the 'European universities' (Una Europa and Charm-EU).

The first day then focused extensively on education policy.. In particular, we discussed the Leuven approach to quality assurance, which does not work so much with direct control, but by creating a culture of quality based on the principle of subsidiarity. This means placing responsibility as low as possible in the organisation and on the basis of verified trust. To support this quality culture, work is being done on making educational steering information visible in a dashboard: to facilitate reflection on characteristics of education in relation to other programmes.

The second day was more content-oriented and focused on educational research, and how to create a structure for it. Followed by a lecture and exchange on educational philosophy: how, as a university, we want to avoid constantly ascending but rather landing back in society. This revealed many similarities with the Utrecht strategic plan: open mind, open attitude, open science

More information: Jeroen Frietman