Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (MSc) – University of Twente

Enschede, Netherlands

Reviewed by NVAO

Valid from
Valid until

Contact information

University of Twente

Assessment report


Executive summary

Standard 1

The mission of the ITC Faculty is to be a gateway of knowledge exchange in the field for individuals and institutes from countries that are economically and/or technologically less developed. The vision of the ITC Faculty on internationalisation is rooted in, and inherent to, its capacity-building mission. lt includes linking up the content of education to relevant realworld problems, teaching students about research and professional practices worldwide, attracting an international student body, and responding to the needs of international students and the international werking field. In the panel’s opinion, the vision of the ITC Faculty on internationalisation is clear and supported by stakeholders. The link between the ITC and the university vision on internationalisation and global citizenship could be more explicit, however. The same applies to the verifiable objectives of this vision. Although the vision includes implicit and relevant verifiable objectives, they are not explicitly mentioned in a document. The ITC Faculty also needs to develop explicit procedures for the evaluation of this vision. Although there are still opportunities for improvement, the panel assesses the overall quality of this standard as satisfactory. The excellent integration of the capacitybuilding mission in its vision on the design of its international educational activities and the international reputation of the ITC Faculty are important factors in this decision.

Standard 2

The set of intended learning outcomes of the academie master’s programme includes specific learning outcomes for internationalisation. They focus on the ability of students to operate and communicate in a multicultural environment. According to the panel, these learning outcomes are relevant, a clear reflection of the vision on internationalisation of the university and addressed in the programme. The panel is convinced that graduates achieve the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes. However, the international and intercultural learning outcomes have only been included in the set of intended learning outcomes recently and are not yet formally tested. The panel urges the programme to develop more detailed ideas on how to test international and intercultural skills in the near future. The panel read several theses and was impressed with the overall level achieved in the academie degree programme. lt found that most theses include international elements and that graduates demonstrate sufficient English language skills. Most graduates are positive about their employability and feel that the international approach and the international learning environment at the ITC Faculty have broadened their understanding of cultural differences.

Standard 3

The panel concludes that the curriculum, the teaching methods and the learning environment of the academie master’s programme match the vision on internationalisation of the university and the ITC Faculty, and the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes. The teaching methods of the programme focus on multicultural group work, reflection on international case studies, and discussion about the experiences that students bring in from their home country. The curriculum reflects this focus: modules link to global issues and relevant international cases, students take excursions to companies and organisations in Europe, and the development of intercultural competencies and communicative skills is stimulated through guided discussions and group work in international teams. In the panel’s opinion, the ITC Faculty offers students a unique and stimulating multicultural learning environment. In this specific respect, it can be seen as an international ‘best practice’.

Standard 4

The student-staff ratio for the academie master’s programme is 1:5.3 for the 2012-2014 cohort. According to the panel the number of teaching staff is adequate. The panel is also positive about their general quality and engagement. The staff is well informed about recent developments in the field. lt concludes that the staff of the programme has ample international experience and expertise. Furthermore, sufficient services are in place to facilitate their international experiences, intercultural competences and language skills. In addition, the ITC Faculty offers courses throughout the world. As a consequence, staff members continue to develop and expand their international experience and intercultural competences while they work at the ITC Faculty.

Standard 5

The majority of students at the ITC Faculty come from developing countries. Most of them originate from countries in Africa and Asia, but the ITC Faculty also attracts students from the Americas, Europe, and Australia/Oceania. The panel is very impressed by the international composition of the student group and concludes that the ITC Faculty is extremely successful in its mission ‘to be a gateway for knowledge exchange for individuals and institutes from countries that are economically and/or technologically less developed’. According to the panel, students have ample opportunity to develop multicultural professional and communicative skills and international experience through the curriculum(formal and informal) and the international learning environment at the ITC Faculty. Important in this respect is the fact that many students come from abroad: for them, stayingat the ITC Faculty is already an international experience in itself. Many services and facilities have been put in place to support international students.

The committee assesses the standards from the NVAO Frameworks for the Assessment of Internationalisation (as of 14 November 2011) as follows:

Standard 1:

Vision on Internationalisation – satisfactory

Criterion 1a: Shared Vision – good

Criterion 1b: Verifiable objectives –  satisfactory

Criterion 1c: Improvement-oriented evaluations – unsatisfactory

Standard 2:

Learning outcomes – satisfactory

Criterion 2a: Intended learning outcomes – satisfactory

Criterion 2b: Student assessment – unsatisfactory

Criterion 2c: Graduate achievement – good

Standard 3:

Teaching and learning – good

Criterion 3a: Curriculum – satisfactory

Criterion 3b: Teaching methods – good

Criterion 3c: Learning environment – excellent

Standard 4:

Staff – good

Criterion 4a: Staff composition – good

Criterion 4b: International experience and competence – good

Criterion 4c: Services provided to staff – satisfactory

Standard 5:

Students – good

Criterion 5a: Student group composition – excellent

Criterion 5b: International experience – good

Criterion 5c: Services provided to students – good

General conclusion – good