Next phase of CHARM-EU: programme expansion, appointments to UU team

Bert van den Brink has been appointed executive director of CHARM-EU at Utrecht University. The appointment will take effect from September 2023 when his predecessor, vice rector Frank Miedema, retires. Marjanneke Vijge will become academic director of CHARM-EU, the European alliance of nine European educational institutions that jointly develop education and research programmes.

CHARM-EU as a source for innovation of existing courses and didactic approaches.

Connection with Utrecht University

In his role as executive director, Bert van den Brink will act as ambassador for CHARM-EU, both within Utrecht University and beyond. He will also join the executive board of CHARM-EU, which will soon be headed by Utrecht University. The position of executive director will be a double function: Bert van den Brink will fulfil this role together with Jan Haarhuis.

Bert van den Brink is looking forward to getting started: "CHARM-EU has already achieved a lot in the first years after its establishment. A new way of international student exchange and university cooperation has been shaped, resulting, among other things, in a particularly innovative master's programme." Bert van den Brink sees opportunities for more connection with developments within Utrecht University.  "Together with the faculties, we would like to explore how CHARM-EU can be a source for innovation of existing courses and didactic approaches. The experiences gained through CHARM-EU are especially valuable if Utrecht colleagues also experience these new forms of learning and exchange as enriching."

In addition, Bert van den Brink will focus on governance issues such as the integration of CHARM-EU within the governance structure of Utrecht University.

Bert van den Brink is professor of political and social philosophy and until recently was dean of University College Roosevelt (UCR) in Middelburg.Before that, he held several positions within the Faculty of Humanities and at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. In addition to his duties for CHARM-EU, Bert van den Brink will remain associated with the UCR.

Educational innovation

Jan Haarhuis, involved with CHARM-EU since its start, looks to the cooperation with Bert van den Brink with enthusiasm: "Bert has a lot of managerial and international experience and is motivated to work with us on all challenges and developments. As former programme leader of Educate-it, I have great memories of Bert's drive for educational innovation. I am therefore very pleased that Bert wants to contribute to CHARM-EU with his knowledge and expertise."

CHARM-EU takes an important step towards becoming a full European University.

CHARM-EU expansion

Marjanneke Vijge, associate professor at the Copernicus Institute, is one of the driving forces behind the development of the successful joint European CHARM-EU master's programme 'Global Challenges for Sustainability'. For this, she received the very first UU Team Award in July on behalf of the entire team. From 1 September, Marjanneke Vijge will become academic director of CHARM-EU from Utrecht University. This means that in addition to the master's programme, she will focus on the expansion of this European University. The expansion will include joint research and PhD programmes, student exchange in existing BSc and MSc courses at the nine educational institutions and the development of microcredentials in education for professionals, among others. The master's programme will also be expanded from 1.5 to 2 years. Moreover, students will soon be able to take the master's programme at both the original five educational institutions as well as four educational institutions that later joined CHARM-EU. All this will be shaped in terms of content by the CHARM-EU academic council in which Marjanneke represents Utrecht University.

With the expansion, CHARM-EU takes an important step towards becoming a full European University. Marjanneke Vijge on this step: "The master's programme serves as a testbed to experiment different educational innovations in hybrid form at five educational institutions. Now that this has been successfully established, we will build on this to address sustainability challenges globally and inclusively through transdisciplinary challenge-based education and research, in collaboration with societal actors inside and outside Europe."

High on the European agenda

CHARM-EU is one of 50 European Universities funded by Erasmus+. The European Commission has put European Universities high on its agenda. European universities are transnational alliances that in the coming period work together with the European Commission on themes such as legalisation, digitisation and funding. Through CHARM-EU, Utrecht University is also contributing to the European Commission's long-term strategy.

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