Wittenborg's Karen Penninga Appointed to National Commission Monitoring Quality of Education for International Students
Congratulations are in order for Wittenborg's Director of Corporate Governance, Karen Penninga, who has been appointed to the National Commission for the Code of Conduct for International Students in Dutch Higher Education. The announcement was made in the Commision's latest newsletter. As commissioner, Penninga will represent NRTO - the Dutch Council for Private Universities and Institutions for Education and Training.
The Commission meets on a regular basis to monitor the compliance of institutions of higher education which have signed the Code of Conduct, thereby guaranteeing the quality of the education they offer to international students.
Penninga is no stranger to an international, culturally-diverse environment, having worked for about 16 years for a private institution with students from more than 100 different countries. Her colleagues at Wittenborg are just as diverse, constituting approximately 30 different nationalities.
She spoke about how she sees her new role, stressing a compassionate approach to recognising the needs of international students and Dutch education's response to it.
"Every international student deserves the full student experience – the so-called 'Grand Tour in the Netherlands'. Now that circumstances are different, for the time being, I keep that in mind as Director of Corporate Governance at Wittenborg during the pandemic, and will in the period to follow," Penninga said. "In representing NRTO in the National Commission and with all my practical experience in the international education sector, I hope to make a positive contribution to the principles which underpin the Code of Conduct.
"When international students arrive in a new country, they face a dynamic challenge: to integrate in a new environment where everything is different from in their home country. Not only do they have to settle in terms of study and career, but also on a socio-cultural level. They have the opportunity to enrich themselves.
"Given the realities we are facing now, we all carry a collective responsibility for a big group of migrants with great ideals and ambitions who find themselves in a vulnerable position. Due to the pandemic, international students are facing many obstacles, which makes them rely on us working together diligently. Think of situations, for instance, that make it hard for them to find an internship, insecurities around part-time jobs or even the lack of human contact.
"And this responsibility starts from the first moment of contact to the day they leave as alumni of the institution."
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press