Internationalisation

What does it mean?

University
Eerste slide: Voorpagina met Chapeau en kop

Internationalisation

What does it mean?

1-1 intro

Internationalisation is so much more than teaching in comprehensible English and enticing as many non-Dutch students and staff to come to the RUG as possible. It is a whole lot of work – but what does it mean?
Text and photos by Traci White
cover: Members of ESN Groningen play boerengolf (peasant golf) in a typical Dutch setting.
4-1 #2517

It means that the admissions department has roughly doubled in size since 2013 in order to accommodate the increased number of applications, especially for English-taught programmes. Over the past couple of years, bachelor applications have risen by about 30 per cent each year and master applications are increasing by about 18 per cent annually.

4-2 #2488
It means that the Faculty of Economics and Business is growing concerned with being able to competitively compensate its staff members to keep them from choosing to work elsewhere abroad, but they are limited by a cap on the income that Dutch public servants can be paid (the so-called Balkenendenorm, which means no public servant can earn more than the prime minister, is limited to 228,599 euros as of 2017).
4-3 #2521

It means that the only remaining Dutch educational programmes at the Faculty of Science and Engineering – Life Sciences & Technology and Biology – are now also in the process of internationalising. LS&T is also one of the first RUG programmes scheduled to be taught at the RUG’s planned branch campus in Yantai, but programme leader Jan Kok emphasises that the two programmes were already scheduled to make the leap to English before LS&T was included in the definitive list headed for China.

Kok said that the process of internationalisation and implementation of the programmes demands time and care, and it cannot be rushed simply in the interest of being ready for China when and if the university gets the green light.

4-4 #2569
It means that even though the RUG’s long term English plan – Language and Culture Policy – has called for all RUG representative councils to hold their meetings in English since the 2015/2016 academic year, the coordinator of those plans, Marloes Siccama, feels that goal in particular may not be all that practical. Some faculties do hold their council meetings in English, but for smaller faculties with fewer foreign staff, the language requirement could stand in the way of getting involved. However, every faculty and department within the RUG has submitted a customised plan for their own internationalisation goals (a combination of tasks, culture and language) and Siccama says there is a lot of good will to get the ball rolling. While many employees – at all levels, from porters to professors – have language courses paid for by their employers and some faculties only permit instructors with sufficient English skills to teach in the language, the university has no institutional enforcement or incentive policy to ensure that staff meet the language requirements.
4-5 #2603
It means that both Dutch and non-Dutch students alike in the Faculty of Economics and Business want to have their grades and class ranking provided more in keeping with international standards. Students who study abroad at the RUG are given a transcript of their grades, and all students who graduate from the programme receive a document explaining what their grades would be equivalent to abroad (Dutch grading is infamously strict). But Dutch students planning to attend a foreign university also need to provide their position in their class rankings as part of their application process.
4-6 #2620
It means that students in the Industrial Engineering and Management programme at FSE – both Dutch and international – are to be assessed on their English presentation skills at the end of their first year as part of the binding study advice before being permitted to move on to the next academic year.
4-7 #2629
It means that while the RUG is attracting foreign students and staff here, Dutch students apparently need some convincing to go abroad at similar rate. It is up to the RUG’s mobility project to see to it that 50 per cent of all RUG students go abroad by 2025 – about 30 per cent are doing so at the moment.
4-8 #2702
It means that when it comes to higher education, Dutch political parties are calling for increasingly opposing things: either less pressure for researchers to publish and to focus more on fundamental science (PvdA, GroenLinks) or increasing collaboration with businesses in order to continue competing internationally (VVD, ChristenUnie). The VVD, PvdA and D66 all want more English-taught courses, and ChristenUnie wants Dutch universities to hire more top international researchers.
4-9 #2742
It means that more international students are coming to the RUG for the entirety of their degree programme than on exchange through Erasmus+ or similar programmes. Only 27 per cent of the 3,815 total new international students at the RUG in the 2016/2017 academic year were exchange students. That also means that Stichting Studenten Huisvesting (SSH), the company that rents out rooms for internationals in Groningen and currently only has 1,558 beds, simply does not have enough room to keep up with the ever growing numbers of incoming students.
Mobile version
Internationalisation is so much more than teaching in comprehensible English and enticing as many non-Dutch students and staff to come to the RUG as possible. It is a whole lot of work – but what does it mean?
Text and photos by Traci White

It means that the admissions department has roughly doubled in size since 2013 in order to accommodate the increased number of applications, especially for English-taught programmes. Over the past couple of years, bachelor applications have risen by about 30 per cent each year and master applications are increasing by about 18 per cent annually.

It means that the Faculty of Economics and Business is growing concerned with being able to competitively compensate its staff members to keep them from choosing to work elsewhere abroad, but they are limited by a cap on the income that Dutch public servants can be paid (the so-called Balkenendenorm, which means no public servant can earn more than the prime minister, is limited to 228,599 euros as of 2017).

It means that the only remaining Dutch educational programmes at the Faculty of Science and Engineering – Life Sciences & Technology and Biology – are now also in the process of internationalising. LS&T is also one of the first RUG programmes scheduled to be taught at the RUG’s planned branch campus in Yantai, but programme leader Jan Kok emphasises that the two programmes were already scheduled to make the leap to English before LS&T was included in the definitive list headed for China.

Kok said that the process of internationalisation and implementation of the programmes demands time and care, and it cannot be rushed simply in the interest of being ready for China when and if the university gets the green light.

It means that even though the RUG’s long term English plan – Language and Culture Policy – has called for all RUG representative councils to hold their meetings in English since the 2015/2016 academic year, the coordinator of those plans, Marloes Siccama, feels that goal in particular may not be all that practical. Some faculties do hold their council meetings in English, but for smaller faculties with fewer foreign staff, the language requirement could stand in the way of getting involved. However, every faculty and department within the RUG has submitted a customised plan for their own internationalisation goals (a combination of tasks, culture and language) and Siccama says there is a lot of good will to get the ball rolling. While many employees – at all levels, from porters to professors – have language courses paid for by their employers and some faculties only permit instructors with sufficient English skills to teach in the language, the university has no institutional enforcement or incentive policy to ensure that staff meet the language requirements.

It means that both Dutch and non-Dutch students alike in the Faculty of Economics and Business want to have their grades and class ranking provided more in keeping with international standards. Students who study abroad at the RUG are given a transcript of their grades, and all students who graduate from the programme receive a document explaining what their grades would be equivalent to abroad (Dutch grading is infamously strict). But Dutch students planning to attend a foreign university also need to provide their position in their class rankings as part of their application process.

It means that students in the Industrial Engineering and Management programme at FSE – both Dutch and international – are to be assessed on their English presentation skills at the end of their first year as part of the binding study advice before being permitted to move on to the next academic year.

It means that while the RUG is attracting foreign students and staff here, Dutch students apparently need some convincing to go abroad at similar rate. It is up to the RUG’s mobility project to see to it that 50 per cent of all RUG students go abroad by 2025 – about 30 per cent are doing so at the moment.

It means that when it comes to higher education, Dutch political parties are calling for increasingly opposing things: either less pressure for researchers to publish and to focus more on fundamental science (PvdA, GroenLinks) or increasing collaboration with businesses in order to continue competing internationally (VVD, ChristenUnie). The VVD, PvdA and D66 all want more English-taught courses, and ChristenUnie wants Dutch universities to hire more top international researchers.

It means that more international students are coming to the RUG for the entirety of their degree programme than on exchange through Erasmus+ or similar programmes. Only 27 per cent of the 3,815 total new international students at the RUG in the 2016/2017 academic year were exchange students. That also means that Stichting Studenten Huisvesting (SSH), the company that rents out rooms for internationals in Groningen and currently only has 1,558 beds, simply does not have enough room to keep up with the ever growing numbers of incoming students.

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