Master of Science in Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture (Academy of Architecture, Amsterdam University of the Arts)Amsterdam, Netherlands
Reviewed by AeQui, NVAO
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- Academy of Architecture, Amsterdam University of the Arts
Assessment reportAHK AvB CeQuint visitatierapport
This report contains an assessment of the quality of internationalisation of the Master of Science programmes in Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture at the Academy of Architecture in the Amsterdam University of the Arts. The underlying assessment constitutes an update. The initial audit was performed by an international panel, convened by AeQui and validated by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), during an online visit on 7 and 26 November 2020. The panel then concluded that the three programmes fulfilled all criteria and all standards of the CeQuInt evaluation framework and judged three criteria as satisfactory and two criteria as good. As such result did not lead to the conferral of the Certificate, the programmes decided to internally develop their internationalisation activities and report on their progress in December 2022. The panel’s findings, considerations and conclusions in the present report take into account the quality of internationalisation of the three programmes at the end of 2022.
According to the panel, the three master programmes at the Academy of Architecture fulfil all criteria and all standards of the CeQuInt evaluation framework. Over the past three years, the Academy has developed a robust framework to enhance the internationalisation aspects of its three master programmes. The strategic goals for internationalisation are clear, relevant and widely supported by management, staff, lecturers and students. The goals are broken down in appropriate objectives and operationalised in a timebound Action Plan that proves sufficiently concrete to monitor the programmes’ achievements and to establish that they contributed to the quality of teaching and learning. At the time of the update, the strategic goals and the accompanying objectives reflect the intentions of the programmes and the Academy. If anything, some of the specific indicators to monitor progress can be formulated in a more concrete and verifiable way. The intended learning outcomes of the programmes are in line with the level and orientation of the study programmes and are attuned to the expectations of the discipline and the international field of work; there is a clear alignment between programme learning outcomes, course learning goals and assessment methods; and students who graduate have indeed achieved the intended learning outcomes as they are currently formulated. While at the time of the initial site visit, there were references to the international and intercultural dimension in the learning outcomes, a set of six international and intercultural learning outcomes have now become part and parcel of the programmes and their respective curricula. The panel considers that the international and intercultural learning outcomes are formulated appropriately and encourages the Academy to formally incorporate these as an integral part of the overall intended learning outcomes in the respective programmes.
The Academy’s teaching and learning environment continues to be robust, an appreciation that covers to a similar extent the content, the didactics, and the facilities of the three study programmes. The discussions with lecturers, staff, students and alumni have demonstrated that the strategic goals for internationalisation are indeed pursued and that the international and intercultural learning outcomes are effectively realised when students, staff and lecturers meet (virtually) in small-scale diverse groups or in the safe environment of the Academy building. The panel welcomes the integration of a 2 ECTS compulsory course on intercultural skills in each of the three programmes, as of September 2023.
The Academy can rely on a sufficient number of good quality permanent staff and guest lecturers to deliver spatial design education with an international and intercultural dimension. When staff would not be sufficiently competent in terms of didactics, assessment, intercultural or language skills, then the Academy and the AHK offer a range of in-house professionalisation opportunities. Since the initial site visit, these opportunities have increased in so far as Cultural Awareness is concerned, and have been attended by several permanent staff and all newly recruited lecturers. The panel welcomes the efforts of the Academy and the AHK in this regard and encourages them to pursue on the same path. If anything, the panel advises the Academy and its three programmes to set clear and verifiable indicators, and to monitor regularly if the targets for training lecturers in new teaching methods and for lecturers and staff with international and intercultural experience are reached.
The composition of the student group has been and continues to be well in line with the internationalisation goals of the programmes and conducive to delivering the programme according to its international and intercultural ambitions. Students on the three master programmes acquire extensive international and intercultural experiences both abroad and at home. Moreover, all students – irrespective of nationality or discipline – can rely on a range of relevant services that facilitate their study period. Moreover, it goes to the credit of the Academy and its programmes that these opportunities also seem to the work out in practice: students were very enthusiastic about the concurrent education model, the international classroom, the small diverse and inclusive working groups, the safe environment of the Academy, the networking opportunities and the support they receive to make their stay in Amsterdam worthwhile and effective. In addition to all positive comments and appreciations, the panel sees room for furtherdevelopment in a few areas. It advises the Academy of Architecture and the three master programmes in Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture to:
- to incorporate the international personal and professional skills as an integral part of the intended learning outcomes;
- to increase the number of non-Dutch and non-Western staff in the Academy and on the programmes.
In sum, the panel considers that the Master of Science programmes in Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam fulfil each of the five standards of the CeQuInt assessment framework. The update report and review has demonstrated that the Academy has made tremendous progress with regard to its intended internationalisation, while the quality of its teaching and learning environment and its students continue to be good. The panel’s overall judgement on the programmes’ quality of internationalisation is positive.