8 February 2018

Opening UU Honours College

Utrecht University positions interdisciplinary honours education in Honours College

On Tuesday 6 February, Rector Magnificus Bert van der Zwaan completed the official opening of the UU Honours College. This UU Honours College offers motivated students the opportunity to enrol in an extra challenging and inspiring education programme besides their regular programmes.

Motivated students get the opportunity to optimally utilise the possibilities of studying at Utrecht University.
Rector Magnificus

With that, this broadening cross-faculty form of education receives a definitive place alongside the already existing faculty honours education, which offers more depth in its own science discipline. Van der Zwaan says: “Because of the diverse offering of honours education, motivated students are given the opportunity to optimally utilise the possibilities of studying at Utrecht University.”

Honours community

Besides providing education, the UU Honours College improves the connection and meeting between honours students, honours lecturers and honours alumni of the entire university and makes itself strong for new honours initiatives. This way, the new UU Honours College encourages an active university-wide honours community.

Honours dean prof. dr. Michael Burke.
Honours Dean Professor Dr Michael Burke during the opening. Photo by Bart Weerdenburg.

The Honours Dean, Professor Dr Michael Burke, explains: “We like to educate our students into conscious and critical academics. Within the community, we can share our knowledge with each other and deepen it by discussing scientific and societal developments with each other.” That results in benefits for the honours lecturers as well as the honours students.

Burke has an example: “Personally, I do research into the persuasiveness of language. When I discussed this with my honours group, students from various degree programmes, each turned out to have their own perspectives on rhetoric: one of them spoke about artificial intelligence and machine persuasion, while another one was enthusiastic about differences between cultures worldwide. The persuasiveness of animals was brought up as well. These are aspects that never occurred to me as a professor of rhetoric. This is what we call mutual inspiration.”

Collaboration and professionalisation

The UU Honours College also improves the collaboration between all honours programmes of Utrecht University and the College develops new honours initiatives in collaboration with internationally leading universities, institutions and research institutes. It also offers a course of honours teaching in collaboration with the Centre for Academic Teaching, to enable lecturers to professionalise themselves for this type of education.