Open Meetings: part one

In 2017, the TU Delft is not only reflecting on what it has achieved in the last 175 years, but also setting its sights firmly on the future: on the future of TU Delft and the strategy for the 2018-2024 period.

In order to establish a new strategic framework, in recent months the vision and mission have been scrutinised and twelve internal advisory groups have given their advice on the priorities of the university regarding various policy issues. Based on their advice, we worked towards a draft strategy. The initial ideas regarding this strategy will be presented for discussion to a broad group of stakeholders during nine ‘Open Meetings’ in May and June.

The first four Open Meetings have now been held. These meetings focused on Research (31 May), Societal Impact (1 June) and Students & Education (2 and 8 June). In the region of 200 participants – students, (research) staff, alumni and relations within our business network and the academic field – attended these Open Meetings to discuss the draft strategy and draft recommendations for the Executive Board.

Click on the photo to go to the gallery

Some ideas opted in the meetings

‘Impact’ proved to be a keyword at all four meetings, participants thought that it was important for the TU Delft to focus keenly on this aspect in the years ahead. Participants put forward intriguing recommendations, with competitions turning out to be particularly popular. The ‘City Deal’, for example, a competition for multidisciplinary student teams in which credits can be obtained. Or ‘Delft’s Best Idea’: a competition inviting residents of Delft to propose a potential solution to a problem, before subsequently working with TU Delft researchers to explore the idea in greater detail.

ECA alongside ECT

Participants also recognised that more could be done within the regular study programme to bring students into contact with social partners and real-life problems. One proposal was to actively link student projects to social challenges, for example, by setting up a ‘science shop’, a database, a ‘broker service’ or via a massive digital platform that would allow everyone to post questions for students and academic staff to consider. The proposal to acknowledge ECA (Extra Curricular Activities) alongside ECT on students' diplomas was met with great enthusiasm.

Appreciation of teacher quality
Educating outstanding students is viewed as TU Delft’s most significant impact on society. Perpetuating and further developing high-quality education alongside supporting and acknowledging good teachers is therefore a high priority. Teacher quality was seen as being key to good education, and when it came to the educational system as a whole, the keywords of flexibility (‘flex study’), freedom of choice and interdisciplinarity were all mentioned. While increased individual freedom of choice within the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes was not supported by all, the participants were unanimous in their recognition of the value of personal development outside of the curriculum and their observation that offering scope for such development does not tally with a high-efficiency approach.

Scientific speed dating

During the Open Meeting addressing Research, the recommendation was put forward to further improve collaboration between the faculties. There should be a particular focus on stimulating the links between the different approaches of science, design and engineering, all in a responsible manner. The fact that these various approaches and methodologies are interwoven in research at TU Delft is perceived to be one of our university’s strengths; we could expand on this in the years ahead. The proposed ideas ranged from stimulating fortuitous encounters at the coffee bar to scientific speed dating and interfaculty micro-sabbaticals: a sort of academic internships.

A blue heart for life
Multiple alumni have also participated in the Open Meetings held thus far. This dovetails with TU Delft’s pursuit of strengthening alumni involvement with the university in the future: as a guest teacher, advisor or collaborative partner. We are also keen for alumni to return to the university for professional education later in their career. In order to truly give alumni a life-long place in the TU Delft Community, the idea was introduced during the Open Meetings to offer students a TU e-mail address for life; after all, their (blue) heart for the TU Delft will continue beating for the rest of their lives. The TU Delft Community and the position of alumni in this community will also be discussed during the Open Meetings addressing People & Community on 14 and 20 June.

Another five Open Meetings on the agenda
Another five Open Meetings will be organised in the second half of June, dealing with the subjects of People & Community (14 and 20 June), Support Services (22 and 23 June) and Estates (27 June). If you would like to contribute to the discussion of one or more of these subjects, we will be delighted to see you at an Open Meeting. Please register here