School’s Conference Day Featured Lively and Insightful Debates
With the goal of discussing its staff and students’ expectations and a range of topics related to education and other services provided by the school, Wittenborg held its annual Student & Staff Representation Conference Day on 22 February. The activities, which took place at the Spoorstraat location, were also livestreamed for those who could not be there in person.
The day started with student and staff rep meetings as well as programme committee meetings. During the plenary feedback session in the afternoon, staff members and students presented and discussed the results of the morning’s talks. Representing the Programme Committee, associate professor Dadi Chen highlighted that, among other priorities, Wittenborg aims to embrace the “new normal” and foster the sustainable career development and employability of its students.
“We have learned that resources such as hybrid lessons have pros and cons. Although it is good that people who are based in Amsterdam can remotely attend a lecture in Apeldoorn, or vice-versa, these sessions can be affected by technical problems, such as a bad internet connection. So, if lecturers choose the option of going hybrid, this must be very well planned,” he said.
Chen also stressed that by communicating with students through multiple platforms, such as Moodle, social media and Wittenborg Connect, the school has helped them find jobs and progress in their careers. “Apart from advertising vacancies, we have also conducted activities such as work placement preparation sessions and career development seminars. Approximately 110 students have found jobs or internships since June, out of which 98 are working in the Netherlands and 12 are located abroad. Our students have worked for well-known companies such as Unilever, Danone, Philips, Yamaha Motors and others.”
According to assistant professor Fahad Shakeel, lecturers must ensure that students are motivated and interested in the content and activities offered to them. “It is our duty to inspire students to physically join classes and help increase their engagement levels through resources like workshops and guest lectures. Besides, when it comes to their professional development, we have discussed ideas such as creating a special career development centre.”
Associate professor Vanessa Menezes pointed out that Wittenborg needs to keep promoting social events for both its staff members and students, as well as expanding its alumni network. “It can be difficult for foreign students and staff to adapt to the Dutch culture and way of life. We have many talented students and alumni who are artists and entrepreneurs. It would be really beneficial to invite these students to show their abilities and maybe even offer courses to those who want to learn,” she said.
Community and Mental Health
Student representatives stressed that the students’ mental health and sense of community need to be prioritised by the school.
Amrou Khal, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Communication & Information, suggested that the institution could create a student help centre. “We can learn a lot from each other, and it would be great to have a place where students can provide support and orientation to their fellows.”
Keletso Pooe, an MBM student, added that Wittenborg could implement a hotline where students have the opportunity to express their feelings and inform the school on how they are facing this period of their lives.
The president of Wittenborg, Peter Birdsall, thanked the staff and students for their contributions and said that the feedback received inspires Wittenborg to keep improving its structure and services. “These discussions are very important to us and I am very satisfied with how the session went. Wittenborg is always open to hearing new suggestions and ideas, because they contribute to making the school even better,” he said.
By Ulisses Sawczuk