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Updated: 4 hours 46 min ago

MSc Students Visit Two Tourism Operators in Gelderland

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 11:35

Master's students from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences enjoyed not one, but two company visits last week to give them insight into the various approaches of tourism operators in the Gelderland region.

The students visited a commercial bungalow park, Landal Miggelenberg - which employs a very Dutch concept of holidaying, and is part of the Landal Greenparks Group. This was followed with a visit to Parc Spelderholt, which encompasses a hotel, castle and estate in the beautiful Veluwe area. What makes the latter unique is its social responsibility approach to tourism by employing special needs students.

The Wittenborg students all follow MSc programmes in either International Hospitality Management, Event Management or Tourism Management. It was their first external trip for the year. They were accompanied by Wittenborg’s work placement coordinator, Adrianne

She said the aim of the visit was to give students a broader view on hospitality and tourism. “We visited two very different organisations – a commercial company and one where social responsibility features strongly. Landal holiday bungalows is a very Dutch concept which is now also expanding to the UK. Students need to know the hospitality industry does not only mean the hotel business.”

At both facilities students were given an introduction to the business, a tour around the premises and were also allowed to ask questions.

One of the students on the trip was Gabriela Padilla from El Salvador who spoke enthusiastically about the visit to Landal. “The manager explained really well how the operation works, what they do to stay ahead of the competition and their plans to grow by 3% in the next 3 years.”

WUP 21/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Wittenborg StudentsMsc

Wittenborg Student Does Internship at Luxury Brand Sotheby's

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:28

How do you snag an internship at one of the top luxury brands in the world?

Just ask Wittenborg student, Maggie (Yujing) Zhang, who recently did her work placement at Sotheby’s International Realty, one of the world’s largest brokers of real estate, jewellery, art and collectibles.

Maggie worked at Sotheby’s Dutch franchise that offers luxury real estate and homes for sale. In case you didn’t know, Holland has some of the most precious heritage properties in the world – including the stately canal houses in Amsterdam and the authentic windmill properties sprinkled all over the countryside. The company’s offices are based in Hilversum.

Maggie, who hails from a Chinese province close to the Mongolian border, is doing an IBA (Bachelor) in Marketing & Communication. She was introduced to the company by a friend – stressing the importance of establishing a good professional and social network.

At Sotheby’s she worked in the marketing department and was involved in developing a social media strategy for the company and maintaining its social media presence, including taking photographs of properties. The company is also interested in rooting Dutch Chinese relations and being Chinese was an advantage for Maggie.

“The biggest challenged I faced was not being able to speak Dutch – which was a problem in meetings. Working in a Dutch company was also a bit of a culture shock because the Dutch are very direct! Nonetheless, Holland is a great country with innovative people.”

The Wittenborg modules that were most useful in her internship were Business English and drawing up a Business Plan. She loves the international atmosphere at Wittenborg and describes the university as “quite well organised”. She came to Holland in 2013. After her studies she wants to look for an international job – perhaps working at Sotheby’s in Dubai.

Sotheby’s is a British national corporation, established in 1744. Chinese insurance giant, Taikang Life, is its largest shareholder.

WUP 17/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Wittenborg StudentsInternship

Wittenborg Whisky Book Attracts International Media Attention

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 15:54

Wittenborg University Press’s latest publication has been attracting coverage in the international press.  Ben Birdsall’s Whisky Burn – Distilleries of Scotland by Vespa was released last year at a gala launch at the Amsterdam campus, in the heart of the city’s business district, and has been ‘flying’ off the shelves ever since.

Whisky Burn tells the tale of one man’s quest around Scotland on a classic Vespa 50 to explore the whisky distilleries: camping, 'soaking' up the atmosphere, and doing a spot of oil painting along the way.

The Glasgow Herald magazine’s article entitled Do the Ride Thing, opens with a conversation from the book on the Isle of Islay:
Birdsall arrived on his loaded-up Vespa and met a couple of strangers sitting outside a hotel. They fell into conversation, Birdsall explaining that he had arrived from Switzerland to tour the distilleries scattered across the Highlands and Islands.  The strangers’ curiosity was, perhaps understandably, stirred. 
“Are you an alcoholic?” one asked. 
“No,” Birdsall replied. 
“Are you wanted by the police?” asked the other.
To which Birdsall could only reply, “Not yet.”

This January’s edition of Scootering.com magazine has the author pootling across the front cover.  In the interview, the journalist asks: “The trip combines 3 passions, scooters, whisky and painting.  Which one most influenced your route?” 
Birdsall replies: “My Vespa journeys all start out as painting trips, this one was no exception.  As a landscape painter, I was more enticed by the dramatic Highlands and Islands scenery rather than the Lowlands, and decided to head north.  Then I planned visits to the best-known distilleries, so Islay, Skye and Speyside were in my sights from the off.  Having a 50cc, I made sure I didn’t have to travel too far in one day, and the tent made me far more flexible on that account.”

Germany’s “Classic Scooter” has Birdsall for its centrefold poster as he sits to paint the fields outside Macallan distillery.  In the article entitled Der Wahre Highlander (The Real Highlander) they write: Drinking and driving is forbidden, even in Scotland.  But Ben Birdsall did it anyway, around the distilleries of Scotland on a rattling old classic Vespa.  How’s that for a ‘Schnapsidee’?

Articles have also been published in the Vespa Club of Scotland and the Vespa Club of Switzerland magazines, besides numerous mentions in online blogs and a Wikipedia page about the author.  Birdsall says: “I’m pleased and a little bit flattered by the attention the book has received - especially the centrefold!  Right now, though, I’m concerned with planning my next summer’s trip, around Ireland, and that means, of course, the distilleries of Ireland – by Vespa.”

Copies of "Whisky Burn" can be ordered from: www.whiskyburn.com


WUP 15/2/2017

by James Wittenborg, and others
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Whisky Burn

Wittenborg Welcomes New Students from 21 Countries

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 08:28

More than 50 new students from at least 21 nationalities will start their classes at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences on Monday.

On Wednesday the early arrivals enjoyed lunch with members of staff, including registrar Santosh Aryal who welcomed them as part of Introduction Week activities, which continued on Thursday.

Introduction Week is designed to familiarise new students with the wide array of academic, intellectual, leadership, cultural, and social experiences available at Wittenborg.

The new students are from Serbia, the Ukraine, Italy, Nepal, South Africa, Mexico, Bangladesh, Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, China, Morocco, Iran, Algeria, Eritrea, India, Syria and Indonesia.

Aryal said: “We are pleased with the latest group of international students. There was definitely a rise in the number of students compared to February last year. This is a great start to the new year.”

Phia Klopper from South Africa gained direct entry to the 3rd phase for the IBA programme in Marketing & Communication. Before coming to Holland, she studied Financial Planning in South Africa and worked as a financial advisor. “I took a gap year in Holland and just fell in love with the country.” After her Bachelor she wants to do a Master degree and look for a job.

Romeissa Laib from Algeria says she chose to study in the Netherlands because she heard the country has one of the best education systems in the world. She is following an IBA in Marketing & Communication. Before coming here she did a language course in Germany for one year and, before that, lived for 2 years in Canada. After her studies she would like to go back to Canada.

Olanrewaju Oluwaseun David from Nigeria says he came to study in the Netherlands because he wanted a change. “I want to gain more experience in business.” He currently lives in Apeldoorn at the Full Force Sports Academy campus and is following an IBA in Tourism Management.

WUP 13/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: New Wittenborg Studentsinternational studentsInternational Classoom

Latest Wittenborg Graduates Urged to be "Ambassadors of Internationalism"

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 16:21

The latest group of graduates from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences were urged to be “ambassadors of internationalism and tolerance” during the 2017 Winter Graduation ceremony on Friday.

Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, told graduates that, considering what’s happening in the world and the anti-reaction to internationalism, they were a beacon of hope. “It is important that you are ambassadors of internationalism in a world where people seem to struggle in coping with the concept.”

Almost 40 bachelor's and master's students, from some 13 different nationalities, graduated from Wittenborg on Friday.

Guest speaker, Alderman Johan Kruithof from the Apeldoorn city council, said students are living in challenging times, but urged them to not let themselves be defined by others. “As international students you have already been brave enough, in a manner of speaking, to ‘cross the water’ and study in a different country, and thereby proving to yourself that fear does not define you. To the Dutch students: You have had the courage and curiosity to study at an international university and leave your comfort zone behind and expose yourself to different cultures.”

He also said he believed in the concept of life-long learning, and hoped that the international students found the city stimulating and welcoming.

Wittenborg’s interim Academic Dean, Dr Regina Kecht, who was also in attendance from Vienna, told the graduates that Wittenborg took pride in having created a completely international environment at the level of students, staff and faculty. “I’m sure you have discovered lots of fascinating things about other cultures, countries and perspectives inside and outside the classroom at Wittenborg. And due to this you have become more open-minded and tolerant. You can accept differences and appreciate diversity.

“I would like you to make a conscious effort at disseminating this spirit and contribute to a more peaceful, more cooperative and more understanding world.”

The graduates were also congratulated by Birdsall, who reminded students that they will henceforth be considered Wittenborg alumni. “It is like that song (by the Eagles), Hotel California: You may enter, but you will never leave,” he joked.

“As Wittenborg grows and develop, that will add to your CV, because people will always be interested to know where you studied. Our promise to you is that we will continue to improve the quality and diversity at Wittenborg, and increase its reputation as an international Dutch institute of higher education.”

WUP 11/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: graduationGraduation PicturesWittenborg Graduates

Data Shows Wittenborg is the Most International Institute of Higher Education in the Netherlands

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 12:29

With international students making up 89% of its student body, is Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences the most international institute of higher education in the Netherlands? 

New data by Nuffic - the Dutch agency promoting internationalism – certainly seems to back up this bold statement.

The agency recently released a list of the top 10% of institutes in terms of international students. According to this data, the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam has the highest percentage of international students (68%) in the Netherlands, followed by the Design Academy in Eindhoven (62%), and the University of the Arts in The Hague (55%).

However, Wittenborg’s own data has shown that the university currently has an international student percentage of 89% - making it the most international institute of higher education in the Netherlands.

A total of 70 different nationalities studied at Wittenborg in 2016 – currently there are 68. The biggest source countries were China, the Netherlands, Nepal and Nigeria. However, the university also received students from countries as diverse as Luxembourg, Australia, Georgia, Germany, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Turkey, the UK, Zimbabwe and Vi etnam.

“International content is an integral part of the curriculum,” one of Wittenborg’s internal reports for 2017 accreditation processes reads. “Students are thus prepared for the challenges in an international working environment.”

The report reiterates that the acquisition of intercultural competences and skills are at the core of the programmes’ learning objectives and are strongly promoted. All modules are English taught, and lecturers, as well as support staff, are a mix of nationalities.

WUP 9/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Wittenborginternational studentsInternational ClassoomTransnational Higher EducationDutch Higher Education

Wittenborg's Spoorstraat Building Gets a Facelift

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 16:05

If you have recently visited Wittenborg’s Spoorstraat location in Apeldoorn, you might have noticed the front of the building is currently getting a major renovation which is close to completion.

Despite the drab weather, workmen could be seen planting a hedge on the edge of the property on Friday, enclosing it from the road.

Bas van Santen, internal researcher and financial administrator at Wittenborg, is leading the project. He said the idea is to make the building appear more green and inviting.  “The bricks we laid fit in well with the surroundings and the dark-grey basalt gives it a modern, playful touch. Keeping the area multifunctional was important. Now there will be enough parking for staff and visitors and place even to host a barbeque in the summer!

“The original pavement was old and there was a big hole in the middle of the terrain for drainage. The new drainage system (between Wittenborg and the Fotovakschool) allowed us to flatten the surface.”

Wittenborg opened its Spoorstraat location in August 2015. According to Van Santen, updating the front is the finishing touch on the building. “We will of course continue to make small improvements, for instance, by creating more storage for students, like lockers, and making it a comfortable place to take classes or hang out during breaks.”

WUP 07/02/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Spoorstraat

As Crucial Dutch Election Looms, D66 Political Party Expresses Support for International Students

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 08:56

In just over a month, on 15 March 2017, the Dutch will go to voting polls – thereby kicking off a year of crucial elections in Europe amidst a rise in far-right sentiments on the continent, which could have far-reaching implications for international students.

This week one of the main political parties in the election race, D66, hosted a discussion on lifelong learning at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences.

Among the attendees was Kees Verhoeven, D66 member of the Dutch parliament, who has been quite vocal this week on fears that the election results might be compromised due to cyber hacking. Though the Dutch government has in the meantime announced it will not solely rely on election software as all results will also be counted by hand, Verhoeven still feels they could have acted sooner. He told the New York Times: “The elections will be held in 6 weeks and only now the minister sees that the software is not secure.” He nonetheless welcomed the move.

On Monday evening, at a well-attended meeting, Verhoeven was part of a panel at Wittenborg debating the question of lifelong learning. He was joined by D66 Apeldoorn councillor, Marco Wenzkowski and Nicolet Theunissen (executive D66 member in Apeldoorn) who led the discussion as well as Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng.  Many Wittenborg students also attended.

Wenzkowski said the goal of the discussion was to share information on lifelong learning and interesting ideas were presented, which will be used to inform D66 policy on the matter. “There is an ongoing discussion on how the content taught at universities and other institutes of higher education relates to the needs of commercial companies.”

According to him, D66 values the potential contribution of international students to the Dutch economy and society. “We can learn from them as they add to the existing knowledge on conducting business internationally.” D66 also supports attracting more institutes of higher education and businesses in Apeldoorn. “It is good for the city, and bringing higher knowledge to Apeldoorn also facilitates the businesses we have here.”

On how he thinks D66 will perform in the coming elections, Wenzkowski said he believes the party will garner the second or third most votes in the country. “We have a coalition government in the VVD and PvDA and the past 4 years we have worked with them to make the country a better place for all. I think the voters will appreciate that we are working with instead of fighting the cabinet on critical issues.”

On lifelong learning, Feng said the top skill of everyone should be to be a “quick and effective” learner. “The quicker and more effective you are, the more flexible it makes you, and therefore your employability prospects are lasting.”

Also on the panel was Céline Blom, vice-chair of  D66 Gelderland, Theo Burghout (Development Advisor at Hollander Techniek), Elske Akkermans from Apeldoorn Stagestad, René van der Weerd from Permanent Future Lab Apeldoorn, Wim Hoetmer of the Veluwse Onderwijsgroep Apeldoorn and Bram Wattel from the Apeldoorn Gemeente.

WUP 05/02/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: international students

Wittenborg's New International Sales Director, Tim Birdsall, Wants to Double Student Numbers in 3 Years

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 09:31

As of the beginning of this year, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has a new International Sales Director, Tim Birdsall, who has been a sales trainer for 15 years, consulting for companies like IBM and many others.

Birdsall, who wants to double Wittenborg’s student numbers by the end of 2019, believes that as students become more assertive, this requires a comprehensive and highly engaged response from universities’ sales teams. “Students are more demanding from year to year. The questions about study programmes are more specific. Our people need to engage with students at a very detailed level before they feel comfortable,” he said in an interview. Birdsall will be based in Vienna.

How do you see you role as international sales director at Wittenborg?

Our priority will be to develop an (education) agent strategy that allows Wittenborg to double the student body by the end of 2019. We focus on building good relationships with agents because they are often in the same town as their students – they understand their wishes and the economic realities better than we ever can. The second priority is to help an already professional internal sales team structure their activities and raise the level of self-awareness.

This position finally gives me the opportunity to implement some of the best ideas that I know, and avoid some of the mistakes that lots of companies get lost in.

What has your involvement with Wittenborg been up to now?

I have been close to the growth of Wittenborg over the years, and recently I have done some corporate training programmes under the Wittenborg Corporate Development banner. I have not been a lecturer, but sometimes I am called in to do staff training.

What will your new job entail and what are the particular challenges of the sector?

A big part of the job will be travelling to the locations where our agents are running roadshows and study fairs. This needs good preparation and follow-up. Coupled with the training of the internal sales team and gaining a full understanding of the Wittenborg portfolio, I think my time is going to be pretty full.

Have educational institutes always had sales directors or is it a recent necessity?

I don’t know how common the actual title “sales director” is - I expect Europeans have a traditional view of sales, and will probably not put it into their titles. What I do know is that we are the only institution that makes a full sales training promise to each and every student regardless of the programme they are studying. Sales is still seen as “not completely serious” by academic fraternities, and I would like to change this.

How will you position the Wittenborg brand?

Students are more demanding from year to year. The questions about study programmes are more specific; our people need to engage with students at a very detailed level before they feel comfortable. The Wittenborg brand speaks for quality, intimacy, business and a completely international educational experience in English.

What business credo do you live by?

“Add value in every conversation you have.”

 What sort of student were you? 

Terrible! Luckily, I come from a family of educationalists. I trained as a cook to avoid going into teaching, but it came back to get me in the end!

What are your interests outside your job?

Skiing in winter, sailing in summer.

Do you have a family?

I am married and have two teenagers.

WUP 3/2/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: StaffWittenborg

Wittenborg Appoints Dr Alexander Bauer to Steer New Vienna Campus

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 10:33

When Wittenborg opens its new campus in Vienna, Austria, in September it will be headed by Dr Alexander Bauer who will be its new Campus Director. Bauer, a German who has been living in Vienna for 11 years, joined Wittenborg’s academic staff in 2014, and currently commutes between Vienna and Apeldoorn where he lectures both MBA and IBA students.

Before Wittenborg, Bauer traveled the world as a successful sales and marketing manager. In his free time, he enjoys sailing, scuba diving, rock climbing and is also part of a small theatre group in Vienna. “Just last year we staged ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – I played Humpty Dumpty and we received quite good reviews in the local papers!”

What makes Vienna a great student city?

Vienna is a multicultural melting pot with a long history. It offers students a lot – from culture to a vibrant social life. It is a city of trade, tourism and future industries. There are several universities and the Wittenborg campus is located in the heart of the city.

How do you see your role as Vienna campus director at Wittenborg?

I will focus mostly on education and operations management to ensure the programmes we deliver adhere to the same high quality standards we uphold in Apeldoorn. This includes finding the right lecturers and making sure our students have a great study experience.

Why were you interested in the job?

My professional background is in management, and I have always liked to manage people and processes – and I love teaching. As campus director, I will be able to combine both.

What do you think are the particular challenges of running an institute of higher education in Vienna?

There are many excellent institutes in and around Vienna, so our challenge will be to maintain a competitive edge to remain attractive to great students and first-class lecturers.

What will make Wittenborg different from other universities of applied sciences in Vienna?

Other universities of applied sciences are large-scale operations with big classes and relatively inflexible schedules. We will have Wittenborg's unique block structure, which allows 6 entrance dates per year, and both students and lecturers are team players.

How can the gap that sometimes exists between the people who study business and those who practice it be narrowed (as someone who have successfully straddled both worlds)?

Our project weeks are a great tool to link academic theories and models with what happens in practice – here students will learn to apply models. Our contacts at companies often appreciate the “out of the box thinking” we offer.

What sort of student were you?

Critical – I never accepted only what was written in textbooks. I was more interested in applying the knowledge and trying my skills during various internships rather than just having my nose in the books. From my first year of studies, I always had part-time jobs.

What is the most important trait you try to instil in your students?

Be critical and have fun.

Are you on social media? Do you think it’s important?

I am on LinkedIn – I think it is a good professional network and I like to stay in contact with former students and colleagues. Social media has its place among all available communication channels. It is certainly important but I would not overrate it – it is only one of many possible channels. On the professional side, social media is an essential part of the media mix.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When you are upset about an issue or person – have a good night's sleep before you reply to an email or call back.

Who has had the biggest influence in your life?

We are all influenced by many people, but to name one I would say my grandmother. She was an incredibly intelligent and humorous person, and always had cunning ideas and sharp comments to everything and everyone.

WUP 30/1/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Staff at WittenborgWittenborg ViennaVienna

Wittenborg Introduces Powerful New Alumni Platform

Sat, 01/28/2017 - 15:08

When you have alumni from all over the world, as Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences does, it can be hard to stay in touch and keep track of graduates’ professional progress.

Which is why Wittenborg - now in its 30th year - has teamed up with Graduway, a company which builds powerful alumni platforms by utilising existing social media networks.

Interested? Then check out the new alumni platform, Wittenborg Connect, which is now live.

Graduway’s European sales director, Daniel Blog, said: “We build alumni platforms to improve engagement between alumni and their institutions, but also between each other.” It leverages Facebook and LinkedIn – among others – to connect past and present students with each other and the school.

In other words, Wittenborg Connect, not only helps alumni expand their professional network in an exclusive and official space, but also allows them to reconnect with other Wittenborg graduates. All this without asking its users to integrate yet another social media network into their daily lives.

It is an excellent way to stay in touch with classmates and lecturers, spot professional opportunities, and keep up to date with the latest developments at Wittenborg.


WUP 28/1/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Wittenborg University AlumniAlumniWittenborg Connect

Wittenborg Student, Jenny Chen, Starts Own Fashion Line

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 14:31

As if full-time studies are not demanding enough, IBA-student, Jenny Chen, is also running her own fashion line Jencee Collection, which sells women’s clothes, shoes and accessories.

Born to an industrious family, Jenny has been exposed to the ins and outs of running a business from a young age, helping her father with the bookkeeping of his businesses. "I definitely got my work ethic from my Dad, who worked hard and taught me the value of money."

After meticulous planning, she finally launched her fashion line in December last year. “I remember being so excited when I made my first sale on Boxing Day! I could not believe it was really happening,” she smiles.

Jenny, who was born and grew up in Amsterdam, joined Wittenborg in September 2015. She is doing an IBA in Economics and Management. “I’ve always liked fashion. My favourite designer is Balmain head designer, Olivier Rousteing.”

She works with independent fashion designers abroad – particularly in Italy, France and Germany – and selects items she believes her target market would like from their work.  Thereafter, the goods are produced in China before being shipped to the Netherlands where Jenny checks and rechecks everything.

This all means that, between studies and work, she also has to travel a lot. She describes herself as “a perfectionist”, paying attention to every detail of her fledgling business, including designing its website. Currently, she only sells in the Netherlands, but hopes to expand in the future.

As far as the future is concerned, she recently entered into a new partnership with a manufacturer in Italy which will not only offer production services, but also designing.


WUP 26/1/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Wittenborg Students

Wittenborg Unveils New Logo to Celebrate 30th Anniversary

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 14:39

In the spirit of Wittenborg’s 30th anniversary celebrations this year, the university has unveiled a brand new anniversary logo symbolising the joyous event.

The logo is now live and can be seen on the Wittenborg website. It was chosen by members of staff.

Originally four logos were designed, the chair of Wittenborg’s executive board, Peter Birdsall, said. At the annual staff dinner earlier this month, attended by about 95 people, all four logos were presented and staff were asked to vote for the one they preferred by signing their favourite design.

After counting the votes, the final choice has now been revealed.

The main event of the commemorative year will be a Celebration Gala to be held at the Apeldoorn City Hall, on Friday 10th November, 2017.

WUP 24/01/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press


Related Content: 30th Anniversary

Wittenborg Appoints Dr Regina Kecht as New Interim Academic Dean

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 08:59

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Maria-Regina Kecht as its new interim Academic Dean.

Dr Kecht will be based in Vienna, Austria, where Wittenborg will open a new campus in September 2017. She was born and grew up in Austria, and spent almost 30 years in the US before returning to Austria in 2009. She holds a PhD in American Studies and Russian from Innsbruck University and a Master's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois in the US. She has one daughter (25) who lives in London.

What will be your priorities as interim Academic Dean at Wittenborg?

Given the interim nature of this assignment, it will be most important to familiarise myself quickly with the lie of the land and play a constructive consulting role with regard to all upcoming academic and accreditation issues. My many years of relevant experience should be useful for the team efforts required to implement Wittenborg’s goals.

You will be based in Vienna. How will you navigate the transnational nature of the job?

In Vienna, I will be helping the Wittenborg team prepare and establish the proposed programmes to be launched in the fall of 2017. In Apeldoorn and Amsterdam, I will be working together with faculty and staff preparing the re-accreditation site visits and similar matters. Many of our meetings will be virtual and my physical location will be irrelevant in that context. Obviously, regular trips to the Netherlands are planned.

Why were you interested in working at Wittenborg?

I had been informed about the current projects and goals of Wittenborg, and when some consulting work became necessary regarding the Vienna site, our conversations generated the profile of an interim academic dean with tasks that must be done over the future months. I had served as academic dean at another private university and wanted to support Wittenborg’s efforts.

You were an international student yourself. What are your views on international education? What can be improved?

When I was an international student – spending years of study in St. Andrews (Scotland), Moscow, and in the US – studying abroad was not yet the thing to do, even if you wanted to maximise your ability to be a constructive and innovation-oriented global citizen. It was the exception. Much has changed since then and the world has definitely become a better place with regard to the growing internationalisation of higher education.  What may still need improvement is students’ immersion in the target culture, so that they would indeed become adept in critical comparisons of “ways of world-making”.

It seems a lot of students pick (or are encouraged to pick) the programmes they want to follow based on the job situation in the world. Do you agree with such an approach?

I was fortunate – circumstances of history, not anything else – that when I was young, it was easier to reach for the stars when it comes to employment opportunities. I studied literature and even though this was definitely not a pragmatic choice, but a decision solely based on my interests and passion, I succeeded in establishing my career.  

Today, young people are increasingly worried about their employment opportunities – and their parents may also exert some pressure when it comes to the choice of field and degree. Given the fierce global competition in the labor market, I understand their pragmatic considerations. Hopefully, their choice does not exclude passion and interest.

What sort of student were you?

I am almost embarrassed to state that I always was a straight-A student, graduated “summa cum laude” and always just loved studying. I greatly enjoyed solving intellectual puzzles by reading lots of fascinating books and addressing some important issues in my field.

What troubles you most about modern education policies?

I find it most troublesome that higher education no longer makes it its primary business to instill critical thought and help young people become reflective and conscious drivers of system change. Churning out degree holders who are well-functioning cogs in a global machine is definitely not my idea of the mission of education.

What is the most important trait you try to instill in your students?

When I was teaching undergraduate and graduate courses – until 2010 – it was always very important to me to encourage students to recognise the power of the word and the compelling reality of our human imagination. Through such discoveries, students come to realise that it is up to them to shape the world and make it better (in all kinds of ways). Change starts in our heads!

What are the pros and cons about life as an academic?

Contributing to our students’ academic discovery of the complexity of our world, and helping them establish important connections among different disciplines – that is one of the most gratifying aspects of being an academic. Being able to share ideas with many colleagues equally passionate about the world of the mind – that’s also fantastic.

Perhaps, it is a negative aspect of the life of an academic that today’s world has little appreciation of the processes of thinking, reflecting, and exploring ideas … instant practical application of any knowledge seems to be far more in demand. I am convinced, however, that in particular, the humanities and the arts will soon be in demand again.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Hard to think of the “best” piece of advice. Since I am a fairly impatient person, I guess, I have to keep reminding myself of the adage “Rome was not built in a day” when tackling any project. Patience and perseverance are very important when engaged in some major assignment.

Are you on social media? Do you think it’s important for academics to be “plugged” in like this?

I am not really on social media, and I can think of plenty of arguments why academics should not waste their time on these media ... On the other hand, the young generation cannot imagine living without Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., and if academics want to understand the young, they ought to be familiar with their channels of communication. I do not like superficiality!

Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how is this expressed in your work?

Yes, I definitely consider myself a feminist – this is manifest in my publications, the choice of writers, the choice of topics I have addressed in my literary scholarship. It is also clear from the types of courses I taught over the years at American universities.

What do you do to relax?

I am from Tirol and grew up amidst high mountains. Not surprisingly, I love hiking and spending my free time in the mountains. When I cannot escape to the mountains, I immerse myself in books or classical music. I am an avid reader, and spend many evenings a year at the opera or in the concert halls of Vienna.

Who has had the biggest influence in your life?

I think that my grandfather had the strongest impact on my life: he was a hard-working, life-loving, affirmative, and good-humored human being who never lost faith in progress and social betterment, despite the cataclysmic historical experiences he (and his generation) endured. Opa’s optimistic approach to the world and his exuberant exploration of life have been exemplary.

WUP 21/1/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Related Content: Staff at Wittenborg

Removal of Wittenborg's Spaceboxes Marks End of an Era and Heralds a New Beginning in Student Housing

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 14:17

It is the end of an era! After more than 5 years the colourful Spaceboxes  - which provided accommodation to dozens of international students from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences in Apeldoorn - are being removed.

The Spaceboxes - ship containers meant as a temporary housing solution after Wittenborg moved from Deventer to Apeldoorn in 2010 - will get a new lease of life. They will be taken over by Welman Units in Almelo. Already last week, the 24 containers could be seen forklifted one by one in Molendwars Street, not far from Wittenborg's Spoorstraat location.

With Apeldoorn not yet developed as a student city with the necessary facilities, Wittenborg acquired the Spaceboxes to ensure international students have a place to stay when they arrive in the Netherlands.

Today, the school has grown to more than 600 students from about 80 different nationalities, necessitating a more permanent and affordable housing solution. In cooperation with the Apeldoorn municipality (gemeente), the university is now continuously working towards repurposing empty buildings in the city for student accommodation.

Last year, Wittenborg invested for the first time in student accommodation by purchasing 5 apartments in the south of Apeldoorn - about 3km from its campus at 500 Laan van de Menserechten.

Last week, at the annual staff dinner, Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, said the university will also develop a campus in the centre of Apeldoorn, which will house about 35 students.

WUP 19/1/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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Celebration at Annual Staff New Year Dinner - Looking ahead at 2017

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 09:32

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' annual 2017 staff dinner, held at Restaurant "De Brugwachter" in Apeldoorn, was attended by around 95 members of staff and partners.

In a relaxed atmosphere, staff enjoyed good food and the traditional speech held by Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, in which he looked back at the highlights of 2016, before presenting the key events planned for 2017. The evening started with 30 seconds of silence for lecturer Ton Willems who passed away last week.

Birdsall informed the party that 2017 would see the new School of Education taking shape with the pending validation of a Bachelors' and a Masters' in Education jointly to be developed with the University of Brighton in the UK. The School of Education is expected to launch mid-2017 with classes starting in 2018.  Meanwhile, there will also be quality audits of all Wittenborg's Bachelor programmes in 2017.

The key announcement for 2017 was the Celebration Gala that will be held to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the founding of Wittenborg. The Gala will be held at the Apeldoorn City Hall, on Friday 10th November 2017. More details are to follow.

In the run up to the event a special anniversary logo has been designed - actually four possible choices - and at the dinner staff were asked to vote on which logo they would like to see. The result will be published this week.

Another exciting event to look forward to in 2017 is the opening of Wittenborg's Vienna campus in Austria in September. It will be led by Dr Alexander Bauer, currently a senior lecturer based in Vienna.

Birdsall also introduced Wittenborg's new interim Academic Dean, Regina Kecht, and its new international sales director, Tim Birdsall.

In looking back at 2016 Birdsall said although it was a turbulent year in world politics, it was an excellent year of development and professionalization at Wittenborg. "We continued developing partnerships with Shanghai University, the online University of Fredericton in Canada as well as Moscow University.

"There is continued growth in recruitment and new programmes. We now boast 80 + different nationalities at Wittenborg and we made our first investment in student accommodation with a city campus, housing 35 students, in the pipeline."

Another highlight of 2016 was when Wittenborg was commended in parliament by the Dutch minister of higher education, Jet Bussemaker. The minister, in an update on her vision statement from 2014 about internationalisation in Dutch higher education for the period until 2025, singled out Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences as a good example of an institute with an unequivocal international character.

Birdsall ended with thanking staff for their contribution in the successes of 2016, including the Dean of Wittenborg Amsterdam, Timo Timmerman, for the excellent work done there.

WUP 15/1/2016

by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

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Respected Wittenborg Lecturer, Ton Willems, Passes Away - Also had Illustrious Career in Dutch Royal Air Force

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 15:59

Ton Willems, respected lecturer at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences and retired military officer, has passed away at the age of 70.

Willems died on Wednesday, 11 January, in Almelo after an extended period of illness. He leaves behind his wife, Hermie Willems-Holshof, and three daughters: Susanne, Natasja and Marjolein.

The sad news was announced on Friday by Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, who also expressed his condolences to Willems’ widow on behalf of the university.

“We will sincerely miss him, his sense of humour, his discussions and of course his absolute loyalty to our school. We knew that Ton was very sick, but still it comes as a great shock to us all,” Birdsall said. According to him Willems was a highly respected and very much appreciated colleague at Wittenborg with whom he and Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng, had a warm relationship.

Willems taught a range of modules at Wittenborg from 2004 – 2015 and had a guiding influence on many students who came to study at Wittenborg from all over the world. Courses he lectured includes Quality Management, Research Methods, Industrial Relations, Statistics and Corporate Strategy.

Antonius (Ton) Johannes Willems was born on 11 December 1946 in Haarlem. He was educated at the Royal Military Academy as technical officer in the Royal Netherlands Air Force. He also studied Public Administration at Leiden University and Management and Economics in Eindhoven.

During his illustrious career in the Air Force Willems enjoyed his contact with aircraft maintenance and the armaments industry, and later on with many external consultants hired to enable the success of various strategies of change and reorganisation projects. He held various command positions at maintenance depots, the RNLAF headquarters as well as the Dutch Ministry of Defence in The Hague and NATO’s supreme headquarters in Belgium.

After his retirement he found AJW Management Consulting to advise the Royal Library on optimizing book flows, based on logistics insights and modern IT and warehousing.

Tom also acted as elected chairman of the Principal Board of the Dutch Officers Association, a union that promotes the interests of Dutch officers.

There will be a cremation ceremony for Willems on Tuesday, 17 January 2017, at 12:30 at the Crematoria situated at 40 Usselerrietweg in Enschede (West Entrance). Afterwards there will be a gathering at De Hanninkshof Restaurant, 5 Usselerhofweg in Usselo-Enschede where friends and family can extend their condolences to the family.

WUP 13/1/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Dutch Student's "Eye-Opening" Internship at Apeldoorn Hotel

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 16:07

Hospitality student Marnix Doorman chose a unique hotel to do his in-company training – one where he worked alongside students with special needs.

With the assistance of Wittenborg’s work placement coordinator, Adrianne Jonquière-Breure, he recently worked for 6 months at Parc Spelderholt – a place that encompasses a hotel, castle and estate in the beautiful Veluwe area. 

Marnix, whose parents are Dutch, grew up in Australia and joined Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences in 2014, where he is doing a BA (Hons) in Hospitality Management.

Marnix was part of the hotel’s hospitality team – assisting in the food & beverage department, performing reception duties in the hotel and conference halls, and also helped out in the sales department. Parc Spelderholt is situated in Beekbergen, close to Apeldoorn.

According to Marnix, he worked closely alongside students with special needs, helping them gain the knowledge, skills and confidence for future employment.

“The hotel recently made the switch from a ‘care hotel’ to a regular hotel, and that required some adaption. I found it very interesting and learned many new skills.”

He concedes it was sometimes a challenge to work with special needs students. “You have to be especially motivational and go the extra mile. Yet, I commend them for doing something different. It was quite an eye-opening experience for me.”

Next, he would like to do an internship at a 4 or 5 star hotel.

WUP 10/1/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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Hospitality Management Graduates also Popular with High-End Companies like Louis Vuitton, says Report

Sat, 01/07/2017 - 14:00

The hotel industry is not the only career option for hospitality management students - they are also sought after by high-end companies like Louis Vuitton, Bloomberg and JP Morgan, PIE News reports.

The site was reporting on the continued boom in the tourism and travel sector, which translates into more job opportunities for hospitality and tourism graduates.

“At the same time, hospitality management courses are prized even more highly because well-established companies like JP Morgan, Bloomberg, Disneyland and Louis Vuitton are frequently recruiting internationally-oriented future managers from them,” the article reads.

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences offers an IBA and BA in Hospitality Management (double degree), as well as a Bachelor in International Tourism.

Students can also further their studies with a Master degree (MSc) in International Hospitality Management or an MBA in Hospitality, as well as a MSc in International Tourism Management.

In its latest annual report, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that the tourism sector now accounts for 1 out of 11 jobs in the world. “With more than one billion tourists travelling to an international destination every year, tourism has become a leading economic sector, contributing 10% of global GDP and 6% of the world’s total exports.”

The number of international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) in 2015 increased by 4.6% to reach a total of 1186 million worldwide, an increase of 52 million over the previous year. It was the sixth consecutive year of above-average growth in international tourism following the 2009 global economic crisis.

Tourism flows were influenced by three major factors in 2015: the unusually strong exchange rate fluctuations, the decline in the price of oil and other commodities, and increased global concern about safety and security.

By UNWTO region, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific both recorded close to 6% growth in international tourist arrivals, with Europe, the world’s most visited region, recording 5%. Arrivals in the Middle East increased by 2%, while in Africa they declined by 3%, mostly due to weak results in North Africa.

WUP 7/1/2016

by Cornelius Tree


©Wittenborg University Press

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Australian Student Balances Football at AFC-Amsterdam with Studies at Wittenborg

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 15:09

The Dutch are not only famous for their cheese and millions of bicycles, but also for their legendary skills on the football field – just think of Johan Cruyff, one of the greatest footballers in history!

And football is exactly what lured Australian student, Mauro Davila, to the Netherlands. The 18-year-old is doing an IBA in Information Management at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, while at the same time playing for Dutch football club AFC-Amsterdam.

“I came over in August last year for try-outs at Dutch clubs and was selected for AFC’s second division.” He joined Wittenborg in December and said he chose the university because it is international, offers English-taught programmes and has several entry dates.

He trains three times a week and plays centre back position. “I played football back home in Sydney and have been playing since I was 6-years old.” His favourite football team is Manchester United, and the player he admires the most is German defender Jerome Boateng.

According to Mauro, he found adapting to life in Holland quite easy, but misses friends and family. “And the good weather!”

He has not settled on what career he envisions, but deems a good education and obtaining an academic degree as important as football.


WUP 5/1/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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