Wittenborg Working towards International Recognition
Institution Going through Multiple Accreditation Processes
To ensure that its bachelor’s and master’s programmes have high standards of quality, international recognition and meet all legal requirements, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has been going through multiple processes of accreditation nationally and abroad.
In the Netherlands, accreditation takes place at the level of programmes, which means that higher education institutions can only offer degree programmes that have been officially accredited by the government. These processes are conducted externally, by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), and involve panels composed of academics, professionals from the industry and students.
Each degree offered is individually accredited and has to go through this cycle every six years, in a process that concerns the broad programmes, not their specialisations. Wittenborg’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Business Management (MBM) programmes have been accredited separately on different occasions.
While conducting the process, the NVAO panel focuses on items such as the structure and concept of the programme, how it fulfils the requirements of the job field and the output of the students, including their graduation assignments.
With the goal of adding even more value to its programmes, Wittenborg has also been accredited by international agencies, such as the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA) active in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. FIBAA’s accreditation process assesses both the institution and its programmes. It analyses technical aspects of the learner’s journey as well as the content and structure of each programme, including its study load and how modules are balanced, among other topics.
The president of Wittenborg, Peter Birdsall, explained that the school seeks to undergo both the NVAO and FIBAA accreditation processes simultaneously, because by looking at different criteria, they complement each other to provide more comprehensive feedback. “By having extra accreditations, the institution shows that it is really working to improve the programme and its quality from different perspectives. Getting the documentation right for a panel is very important, and we spend a considerable amount of time preparing that,” he highlighted.
Aiming to increase its recognition even further, Wittenborg is undergoing another accreditation process conducted by an international organisation. Having started in 2017, this process concerns the whole school and specifically addresses the business school’s education, research and all aspects of its quality system directly in relation to its mission, values and goals.
In order to meet the agency’s requirements, several Wittenborg lecturers and professors have been working on a series of self-assessment documents and appendices. These papers, which can be up to 50 pages long, feature highly detailed information on the school’s strategic plan, values and structure, as well as other criteria. Each document concerns a specific topic, and the team strives to keep them all at the same level, forming a cohesive whole.
Advantages of International Accreditations
Apart from increased recognition, further accreditation will offer multiple advantages to Wittenborg, such as being able to benchmark and compare its programmes and particularly its organisation and culture with other internationally accredited business schools. Moreover, it will help refine the institution’s processes of quality assurance by focusing on areas that are not addressed by national accreditations, including its mission and vision.
Birdsall emphasises the importance of this process, adding that Wittenborg aims to be one of the top business schools in the world. “This will also be beneficial for the students because, if they have graduated from an internationally accredited school, this will stand out in their CVs and provide them with even more educational and professional opportunities. Besides, it will also help Wittenborg partner with other top-tier institutions in the future.”
by Ulisses Sawczuk