The Strategic Plan 2019-2024

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences – the five-year Strategic Plan 2019-2024

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences – the five-year Strategic Plan 2019-2024 (Download PDF)

This is the updated strategic plan. It replaces the documents 2013-2023 and 2019-2023.

1. Introduction

IStrategic Plan 2019 - 2024 Wittenborg University of applied sciences

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (WUAS) is a dynamic higher education institute with its headquarters in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn. WUAS has held degree-awarding powers since 1996, and was established in 1987. It is one of the few 100% English-speaking higher education institutes in the Netherlands and its 1,200 students and staff represent over 100 nationalities.

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences is continuing to develop into the only private university of applied sciences offering a broad range of Bachelor and Master programmes across various disciplines, with a predominant focus on the business and/or management in those domains.

WUAS aims to develop to the level of a so-called ‘boutique’ university; that is to say, a university that maintains a constant student body of around 1,500 high-quality students, and maintains a national degree-awarding power and can develop and sustain multiple accreditations, staff development, an applied sciences research profile, and an international profile.

WUAS strives for all its programmes to share a common framework, within a systems approach, quality system that is managed centrally from the board, and that the programmes have three distinct characteristics in common:

  1. All programmes will look at the management of people, products or processes or a combination of these.
  2. All programmes will have diversity, internationalisation and ethics as key elements.
  3. The concept of sustainability and sustainable economies will run through all programmes.

WUAS’ goal is to develop into a broad business and management-orientated university of applied sciences in various professional fields, such as Business & Entrepreneurship, Hospitality & Tourism, Arts & Technology, Health & Social Care, and Education. The university will maintain quality through maintaining a vigorous and transparent accreditation cycle for its programmes, ensuring dialogue with its students and staff through their active involvement of the accreditation and validation processes. 

WUAS will strive to continue developing modern methods of teaching and learning that meet the changing needs of society and technology. Within its role as a higher education institute, WUAS supports life-long learning through the development and implementation of up-to-date and industry-driven professional programmes aimed at corporate employees and individuals.

In the long-term, WUAS’ ambitions are to achieve the highest research degree (doctoral) award powers, preferably in the Netherlands.

2. Vision & mission

Wittenborg University Vision & mission​​​​​​“Better Yourself, Better Our World”


To become a recognised university of applied sciences with an international, innovative approach to higher education, creating life-changing opportunities and to advance the development and dissemination of knowledge in partnerships with the (business) community.


To promote excellence in teaching and learning international business and management, as well as to create the best environment for students and staff, where internationalisation, diversity and ethics are setting the premises for successfully applied, research-informed global learning.

3. Values: Internationalisation, Diversity and Ethics

Values: Internationalisation, Diversity and Ethics

​​​​​​Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences sees its role as the education and training of highly qualified, internationally minded, socially responsible and intercultural, critical and independently thinking graduates, who engage in innovative and creative business in companies and organisations around the world, either working for others or in the instigation of business and entrepreneurship. Wittenborg embraces internationalisation as a key value.

To achieve this, the university engages in close dialogue with industry, government and NGOs. WUAS strives to bring expertise, knowledge and diversity to the local region in which it operates, thereby enhancing the economy, culture and social environment around the university.

WUAS’ outlook is global, and it aims to maintain its independent status whilst being one of the most international and diverse higher education institutions in the Netherlands. Wittenborg promotes total equality of students and staff, of cultures, gender, and people with disabilities within the institute. WUAS promotes a working environment that is fair, andemphasises respect between and within its student and staff body.Wittenborg embraces diversity as a key value.

The practical applied sciences that are engaged within WUAS’ programmes enable the university to maintain up-to-date content within a diverse range of management-orientated disciplines, and to implement the curriculum to the highest modern education standards. As a university of applied sciences, Wittenborg sees as important an interdisciplinary approach to higher education, which is reflected in the cross-disciplinary, broad management programmes that allow students to develop their knowledge, skills and development through applied research in a manner that is not subject constrictive.

WUAS’ motto expresses the commitment to offer higher education where students and staff understand that ethics plays a central role in their every decision. Guided by well-established ethical and moral standards, such as honesty and integrity, unified we strive for a better tomorrow: Better Yourself - Better Our World.Wittenborg embraces ethics as a key value.

WUAS – 7 Strategic Initiatives

WUAS – 7 Strategic Initiatives

WUAS has developed 7 Strategic Initiatives for the 5-year period 2019-2024.

SI-1 – Maintain & Manage Current Growth Strategy

WUAS aims to become a ‘boutique’ university of around 1,500 high-quality students. To achieve this, a steady increase in student numbers (15% per year) will be maintained during the coming 5 years. WUAS will ensure that its recruitment is fair and transparent, adhering to the highest ethical standards, where diversity and internationalisation will be further maintained and supported with the addition of every new student, and that all new students reflect its diversity and internationalisation. In the process, stakeholders, such as the Advisory Board, will monitor growth and together with other governance bodies will ensure that a balance between financial stability and reaching the strategic goal is struck. 

WUAS expects its student numbers in the School of Business and the School of Hospitality & Tourism to continue to develop; growth will be additionally stimulated by the further development of management programmes in other schools, in the areas of data science, artificial intelligence, clean technologies, healthcare and education. WUAS aims to grow its diverse and international academic staff, and will increase investment in its student support team.

The projected revenues and operational costs over the next five years will reflect the 15% growth towards 1,500 students in 2022, and the targets to invest in academic staff and support services.

Note: the surplus will be used to invest in achieving the strategic initiatives, such as increasing the PhD-qualified academic staff, and therefore the scholarly active staff (SI-3), and the further development of both support staff and academic staff through the provision and support of further study and career development.

SI-2 –Maintain & Enhance the International Classroom

International Students at WUASWUAS excels in providing students with an international experience within an international classroom, created by recruitment strategies that encompass diversity and attract students from every corner of the globe. An international classroom is not only having students of different nationalities, but includes international teaching methods, literature, case studies, and research done from an international perspective. In order to maintain and develop the international classroom further, the curriculum and the teaching needs to be embedded in a quality cycle that ensures assurance of learning for a multicultural and diverse, international student body.

SI-3 – Increase Scholarly Active Academic Staff

WUAS aims to increase its scholarly active academic staff in the coming 5 years, and to support its academics to regularly undertake research, publish in academic journals and to encourage research-led education in the programmes they teach. 

WUAS intends to achieve 60% of its teaching staff to hold a doctoral title by 2021, and 40% of its teaching staff to be scholarly active. Increased research output will be achieved through structured investment, and also by instigating joint supervised PhD studies in Apeldoorn with research universities.

WUAS expects its scholarly active academics to increase in the coming 5 years with the following targets over the first three years:

Note: In the past three years, WUAS has already increased its PhD-qualified teaching staff by more than 50%.

SI-4 – Extend the Quality System to Encompass Assurance of Learning

WUAS intends to further develop its robust quality system, in line with its aim to guarantee assurance of learning. Assurance of learning will be included as a key element in the Quality System, through the collection of information about graduates’ and students’ learning outcomes, reviewing these and ultimately using the data to enrich the already developed continuous improvement and development cycle of the degree programmes. The Quality System and the focus on assurance of learning will involve all stakeholders, including the professional field, advisory board, academic advisory board and other governance structures.

WUAS has appointed an Assurance of Learning Manager as part of the quality system management team and aims to achieve a documented circle of measurement of assurance of learning by 2021.

SI-5 – Increase Societal Impact in Apeldoorn & the Region

In the coming 5 years, WUAS aims to increase its societal impact in Apeldoorn and the region by increasing its collaboration and partnerships with local schools, companies, businesses and government, especially in the area of internationalisation. 

WUAS will promote the so-called “Triple Helix’ by bringing together the three elements of higher education, the professions and local government in WUAS’ ‘glocal’ approach, where a diverse and international student body of bachelor’s and master’s students will have a positive and substantial impact on the local economy and society in Apeldoorn and the region.

SI-6 – Further Development of Support and Academic Staff

WUAS prides itself on having a collegial work environment, promoting inclusion and equality, in line with its values of diversity and internationalisation. WUAS will continue to engage in good employership that leads to good employeeship, employee engagement and commitment. In the coming 5 years, WUAS intends to further develop its policies and actions that enable career development, through lifelong learning opportunities, such as encouraging and supporting further studies, in master’s and PhD programmes. Lifelong learning for both support staff and academic staff will be facilitated in time and financially supported, according to an agreed structure.

Further Development of Support and Academic Staff

SI-7 – Gain AACSB Accreditation

It is a WUAS strategic goal to gain AACSB Accreditation by 2024. Entering and completing the process of AACSB accreditation will not only align WUAS with similar business schools, it will significantly improve the quality systems, assurance of learning and scholarly activities. WUAS will maintain its current national NVAO accreditations and its FIBAA accreditation, expanding this to institutional accreditation. The process of AACSB accreditation will build on existing national and international programme accreditations, and also enable WUAS to complete institutional accreditation in the Netherlands.