Wittenborg Celebrates Positive Feedback from FIBAA Review Panel
When Wittenborg received positive feedback from FIBAA for the review of its Master of Business Management (MSc) programme last Thursday, it was a good reason for small toast at the 35 year-old business school in its Brinklaan campus in Apeldoorn. FIBAA, the German, Austrian, Swiss Accrediting body conducted a rigorous assessment process of MBM/MSc programme since a few months ago and completed the review process with a panel visit last Wednesday and Thursday, 19th and 20th October 2022. The assessment criteria for the review process includes 4 different chapters – Objectives, Admissions, Contents, Structure & Didactical Concept of the Programme and Academic Environment and Framework Conditions and a review of Standards 10 & 11 for the NVAO.
Wittenborg’s MBM/MSc (Dutch Government Croho Registration 49149) programme focuses on International Business & Management and is adapted and focused on bachelor’s graduates within the economics domain. This programme does not require work experience, in contrast to the internationally accepted ‘classic' MBA (Master of Business Administration) programmes that require 3 years of work experience. Another contrast with the MBA is that students are offered specialisation modules from the first semester, and also introduced to professional-based learning and company exposure. (More about Wittenborg’s MBM(MSc) programme here.)
FIBAA (Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation) was founded in 2002 to accredit schools of business. Since the launch of the European Bologna Process, along with the transition to bachelor’s and master’s programmes and the growing independence available to higher education institutions (HEIs) in designing their degree programmes, the call for the HEIs to establish and advance sound and transparent quality assurance systems has grown continuously. FIBAA accredits according to the standards of the German Accreditation Council and it awards its Quality Seal to higher education institutions and programmes of high quality worldwide. Excellent performances, especially those that demonstrate a strong strategy-based and international profile, would receive the FIBAA Premium Seal. Wittenborg’s President & Chair of the Board Peter Birdsall said, “The value of international accreditations is often underestimated at universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. However, the challenge of having a panel of independent peers reviewing your programmes and your school, outside the required ‘must have’ national audits, can result in a much higher level and focused quality system that in turn will raise the profile of the school internationally.”
High praise for internationality
The Chair of the peer review panel, Professor Ed Peelen, who is also a professor at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), commented that Wittenborg is really an international school and shows this with its international staff, student body, guest lectures and everybody bringing in their local experiences. He also said that Wittenborg’s modular structure of 6 entry points is a perfect competitive advantage amongst its students while its integration of theory and its didactical concept in terms of integration of theory and practice has scored an above average point.
He also complimented Wittenborg on its dedication to the student body in terms of faculty support and support for finding jobs. He is also impressed with its programme management and especially the professionalism in terms of exams development, exams quality check and grading. The theses of graduating students were also commended as “pretty good” compared to those from other universities of applied sciences in terms of relevancy of topics and literature study.
One other section of the process which received commendation is Wittenborg’s Quality Assurance where three of the sections were exceeding requirements with the rest meeting requirements. Assurance of Learning manager, Kriszta Kaspers-Rostás said "We were very pleased with the results of the accreditation and as a process in itself it is reflective and instructive. Throughout the process it could be felt that as Wittenborg staff we have become quite a team, each of us being aware not just of our own contributions but also of the areas of our colleagues, and therefore we could support each other where needed and show great teamwork for the desired outcome. Accreditation processes enhance the quality of our programmes and systems, fuel our internal communication, intensify our team cohesiveness and provide us with continued motivation in striving for excellence!’
Panel Chair, Peelen further added in his summing-up that as a recommendation, if Wittenborg have academic aspirations in becoming a research university, it should strengthen itself by having a core faculty of full-time professors with good academic record who can set out strategies for research in line with the academics, curriculum development and publication. Furthermore, it should take up Erasmus+ projects that align with its own strategic focus and theme as these would benefit students more.
Rauf Abdul, Wittenborg’s Head of School of Business commented, "Accreditation reviews ensure the HEIs quality assurance practices are not only in place in the HEIs documentation but implemented in a way that provides enriched student experiences. I was pleased with the outcome of this process and with an excellent reflection from the accreditation review panel, we are looking forward to the final report. It is sometimes challenging to achieve such a success as meeting all accreditation standards requires a rigorous and high-level commitment at all levels of the institution. I would like to congratulate and thank all the teams for their tireless efforts and contributions on a regular basis to achieve our mission and vision through quality higher education".
by Hanna Abdelwahab