MSc Degree Programme in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (University of Twente)

Enschede, Netherlands

Reviewed by NVAO

Valid from
Valid until

Contact information

University of Twente

Executive summary

The MSc programme Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (CROHO: 75014), hereafter: M-GEO, was assessed by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). At the request of University of Twente, Qanu organised and supported the assessment. Qanu convened an assessment panel which was approved by the NVAO on 1 April 2020. The assessment panel studied the self-evaluation report and undertook a site visit at University of Twente on 29 and 30 September 2020.

Standard 1: Intended internationalisation

The panel found that the internationalisation goals for the programme are adequately documented, that they clearly indicate the programme’s ambitions and that they are shared and supported by stakeholders within and outside the programme. The verifiable objectives are reasonable but challenging and also correspond with the internationalisation goals. The M-GEO programme is mindful of promoting the quality of its teaching and learning as part of its internationalisation goals, as can be seen from the curriculum and from the surveys. The panel deems the underlying criteria of this standard to be met. It would be even better if the verifiable objectives are further optimised to ensure a more controlled PDCA cycle. The panel therefore assesses Standard 1 as satisfactory.

Standard 2: International and intercultural learning

The panel found that the international and intercultural learning outcomes reflect the programme’s internationalisation goals and that they are part of the assessments in the common courses of the programme. Also, the surveys, evaluations, a sample of the student work and subsequent careers of its graduates underpin the achievement of the international and intercultural learning outcomes. The panel deems all the underlying criteria of this standard to be sufficiently met. The panel concludes that areas for further improvement lie in a more explicit correspondence between the international and intercultural learning outcomes and internationalisation goals, in a broader and more articulated assessment basis for ILO 11, in assessing students’ internationalisation progress, and in the incorporation of the international and intercultural learning outcomes into the thesis assessment and evaluation of its functioning in the near future. The panel therefore assesses Standard 2 as satisfactory.

Standard 3: Teaching and Learning

The panel concludes that the M-GEO programme meets all underlying criteria of this standard. It found that the structure and content of the curriculum, the teaching methods and the learning environment all clearly contribute to the achievement of the international and intercultural learning outcomes by all students. It considers the attentive integration of a wide range of student needs (covering for instance housing, social, dietary and religious needs) into the learning environment as an international role model. It would qualify the quality of teaching and learning as excellent for the first year and as good for the second year. The panel therefore assesses Standard 3 as good.

Standard 4: Staff

The panel deems all the underlying criteria of this standard to be met, and this up to the level where the criteria regarding the composition and the experience surpass the current generic quality. The panel found the quantity and quality of the staff well adapted to deliver the M- GEO programme and in line with the international and intercultural ambitions of the programme. The panel also concludes that staff members have diverse international backgrounds and bring sufficient international experience, intercultural competences and adequate language skills into the programme. The panel considers the staff’s rich hands-on experience in international projects and how this is incorporated in examples and case studies an international example. Interviewed and surveyed students also showed great appreciation of staff members’ experience and involvement. Finally, the opportunities for staffprofessionalisation are appropriate and adequate. A centralised and future-oriented overview of intercultural and internationalisation insights and structural staff exchanges and discussions could take this to the next level. The panel therefore assesses Standard 4 as good.

Standard 5: Students

Based on the written materials and the discussions on site, it is clear to the panel that the highly international composition of the student body helps to bring about diverse international experiences. The panel is most impressed by the M-GEO programme’s professionalism and success in building and maintaining a safe, international and intercultural community in which students actively learn to contribute to global developments in their academic fields. The programme provides a great many services, guiding students every step of the way, while from the start it provides many opportunities for students to interact in an international, multicultural environment and reflect on international(isation) and cultural differences, both within the formal curriculum and in numerous extracurricular activities. Students are strongly facilitated to go on internships or do fieldwork abroad, but already at ITC they are sure to find an enriching internationalisation experience. This is acknowledged by the vast majority of students and alumni. The panel deems all the underlying criteria of this standard to be systematically surpassed. The dedicated services, especially to student wellbeing in every respect, can be regarded as an exemplary practice that embodies the programme’s firm intention to include all students and help them reach their full potential. The panel therefore assesses Standard 5 as excellent.

The panel considers the CeQuInt assessment as the Michelin star for internationalisation. It finds that the M-GEO programme has all the ingredients for an excellent recipe, but that it can improve its conceptual side further in order to realise its full potential.

To conclude, the panel has assessed the quality of internationalisation of the M-GEO programme. It has found that the programme fulfils all criteria and all standards of the CeQuInt evaluation framework. Its overall judgement on the programme’s quality of internationalisation is positive.