BA Communication, Major International Communication – Hanze University of Applied Sciences

Groningen, Netherlands

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Hanze University of Applied Sciences

Executive summary

The assessment regarding the distinctive quality feature internationalisation is specifically aimed at the international stream (major in International Communication) of the Bachelor’s programme in Communication of Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Hanze UAS).

The programme was assessed by Hobéon. Hobéon convened an assessment panel which studied the self-evaluation report and undertook a visit in Groningen on the 16th and 17th of February 2017.

The Bachelor’s programme in Communication is part of the School for Communication, Media & IT (SCMI). The programme educates students to become broadly oriented communication professionals, employable in both the public domain and in commercial domains. Hanze UAS focuses on three themes (Energy, Healthy Ageing and Entrepreneurship), that are clearly reflected in the programme. The programme comprises 240 EC and has a nominal duration of four years.

Standard 1 – Intended internationalisation: Good

The internationalisation goals for International Communication are clearly concretized for different aspects of the programme. The course management defined and documented multiple aims and ambitions regarding aspects of internationalisation. However, the panel would recommend describing the objectives in a more SMART perspective in order to be able to better evaluate afterwards. For example, the student recruitment goals could be defined more precisely by stating explicitly the ambitioned ratio between Dutch, German and other international students, the under-represented nations/continents and the ‘deadline’ to achieve these goals.

It is evident that internationalisation aspects are an object of the PDCA cycle of the School and the IC programme itself. The audit panel established that the results lead to solid action plans that are executed accordingly.

Overall assessment of Standard 1

Although the programme’s internationalisation objects could be expressed in more verifiable terms, the internationalisation goals of the programme, regarding both learning outcomes and the more policy- and content-oriented aspects, are well documented and supported by all stakeholders, periodic evaluations are systematically conducted and improvements are implemented. Therefore, the panel rates Standard 1 as ‘good’.

Standard 2 – International and intercultural learning: Excellent

The panel concludes that the learning outcomes of the IC programme clearly incorporate the consideration of cultural and international issues relevant for a starting communication professional. The international/intercultural intended learning outcomes are translated into learning outcomes per study block. The audit panel considers this an exemplary (international) communication programme in terms of intended international and intercultural learning outcomes.

The audit panel is particularly pleased with the way in which the pedagogical approach and the associated assessment system of IC continually encourage and challenge students to enhance their intercultural competences and learn from each other.

Considering the quality of the midterm project results and the theses, the panel is convinced that the IC students indeed achieve the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes and are well prepared to perform as communication advisors at Bachelor’s degree level in an international environment.

Overall assessment of Standard 2

Based on the relevant and eminent international and intercultural learning outcomes, the creative didactic methods, the fit to purpose assessment methodology that surpasses any international communication programme alike, and the convincing evidence that the IC graduates achieve the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes, the audit panel rates Standard 2 as ‘excellent’.

Standard 3 – Teaching and learning: Good

Internationalisation is strongly integrated into the curriculum from the beginning till the end of the programme. This is demonstrated by the numerous and diverse real-life international study cases, the intense experience of studying at least one year abroad and the international classroom with a diverse range of lecturers and students. The panel observed that these content-related and structure-related elements contribute to nurture and achieve the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes.

The IC programme is consciously applying various teaching methods that – in different ways – align with internationalisation. The teaching methods allow students with varying learning styles and cultural backgrounds to learn and flourish. The teaching principles and methods, the Scrum method and more specifically the study abroad requirements encourage students to experience and reflect on different world views, whilst developing their ability to communicate with peers in an international setting.

The learning environment of the IC programme is imbued with internationalization. This is exemplified on the one hand by the international classroom setting and, on the other hand, through the staff composition, the structure and the content of the programme.

Overall assessment of Standard 3

Because internationalisation impacts the curriculum comprehensively and the teaching methods are tailored to fit students with a broad scope of cultural backgrounds, a truly international teaching and learning environment has been created. Therefore, the audit panel rates Standard 3 as ‘good’.

Standard 4 – Staff: Good

From faculty résumés, as well as from the panel discussions with both students and lecturers, the audit panel gathered that the qualitative and quantitative composition of the staff facilitates the achievement of the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes. Both their qualifications and their international experience as well as the professional discussion with the faculty during the site visit convinced the panel of their international and intercultural knowledgeability, their professionalism and their enthusiasm and commitment to the programme.

The internationalisation plan and the appropriate examples of internationalisation activities demonstrate that the management facilitates the faculty to maintain and/or expand their intercultural competences and international experience. The IC staff all have a thorough command of English.


Overall assessment of Standard 4

Based on the highly qualified and experienced staff members of IC, combined with the internationalisation-related services the programme offers its staff, and the student appreciation of their lecturers, the audit panel rates Standard 4 as ‘good’.

Standard 5 – Students: Good

The audit panel considers the composition of the student group with a variety of national and cultural backgrounds extremely well-balanced.

The audit panel endorses IC’s ambition to attract more international students and to stay critical regarding the ratio between domestic, German and other foreign students from different origins. For that matter, the panel experiences the new recruitment plan a step in the right direction.

The audit panel observed that the intercultural ambiance of the learning environment at school, combined with study abroad experiences and international work placements, make the programme successful in reaching its internationalisation goals.

The audit panel considers the welcoming, mentoring and counselling of students highly customised and effective. Not only are students supported in overcoming the usual learning difficulties, but intercultural issues are also addressed such as home sickness and obstacles and/or problems during the work placement abroad.

Overall assessment of Standard 5

Because of the national and socio-cultural variety in the student population, the thorough guidance and mentoring of the international students, as well as the demonstrable achievement of the programme’s international and intercultural competences by the students, the audit panel rates Standard 5 as ‘good’.

Overall judgement

Based on ECA’s assessment rules, the panel nominates the major in International Communication (part of the Bachelor Communication) of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences for the Certificate for Quality in Programme Internationalisation.