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Talking a lot and listening well

Talking a lot and listening well

UCM’s key to success

Maastricht University achieved third place in the category ‘other universities’ in the KeuzeGids 2012. Only Wageningen and Eindhoven University of Technology did better. The UM owed this third place partly to the exceptionally high score for University College. Having ended up in third place last year (with 7.2 on a 10-point scale), it now took the lead with 8.6.

“I am still puzzled as to how they reach their final scores, it is somewhat of a mystery, but nonetheless we are extremely happy,” says UCM dean, Harm Hospers. To what do we owe this progress? “The past two years, we looked very carefully at what we could do better. We reviewed the courses that we offered and their sequence and made this more chronological. Introductory courses were brought forward. We also talked much more with students. We have a tea party in the common room once a month. There are long tables, lots of chairs, we have tea and biscuits. Student and staff – both supporting and academic staff – sit and talk for a while and discuss matters. Things that are going well and things that could be improved. Students appreciate being listened to. It is very useful to the members of staff. We hear things at an early stage, and can do something immediately, before there is agitation or a fuss.” In addition, supervision of the students is even more intensive. First-year students who do not pass a subject, are invited for a talk with the academic advisors. “We are right on top of things. We select our students, they are good students who are often used to getting good grades. If they fail a subject, it is a great shock.”

The UCM has matured, Hospers concludes. “In the beginning, most of the time was spent building things up, now we have more time for matters such as these.”

 

Riki Janssen

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