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Foreign Academics Have Highest Regard for Dutch HE Institutions

by Wittenborg News -

Foreign Academics Have Highest Regard for Dutch HE Institutions


Foreign Academics Have Highest Regard for Dutch HE Institutions

Netherlands Scores Top Spot in Overall Global Reputation Report

Universities in the Netherlands are the most highly regarded by foreign academics from across the globe, an analysis by the prestigious British weekly, Times Higher Education (THE), has found.

The magazine analysed the results of its annual list of the world's most international universities. And although the results put institutions from Hong Kong, Switzerland, the UK and Singapore at the front of the race, a closer look at the data revealed that overall none of these countries as a whole has the strongest global reputation. That honour belongs to the Netherlands.

"The international reputation metric draws on THE’s annual Academic Reputation Survey and is a measure of the proportion of votes that an institution receives from academics outside its home country," the magazine states in an article.

"A country-level analysis shows that the Netherlands has achieved the highest average score on this metric for the past three years (88.8 in 2021), with all six of its representatives in the international ranking receiving a score upwards of 83 out of 100. This year, the UK is second (87.3) and Canada is third (84).

Of the 11 countries included in the analysis, Russia and China received the lowest share of votes from academics outside their countries (they scored 13.7 and 20.6 on this measure respectively). The analysis only included countries with at least three universities in the international ranking, so small systems such as Hong Kong and Singapore were excluded.

Methodology

The THE list of the world’s most international universities is based on data collected for the THE World University Rankings 2021. It is based on four equally weighted metrics:

  • Proportion of international staff
  • Proportion of international students
  • Proportion of international co-authorship (the share of a university’s total research journal publications between 2015 and 2019 that have at least one international co-author, normalised to account for an institution’s subject mix)
  • Proportion of international reputation (the share of votes from outside the home country that the institution achieved in THE’s annual Academic Reputation Survey, which asks leading scholars to name the world’s best universities for teaching and research in their fields)

WUP 4/3/2021
by James Wittenborg
©WUAS Press

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Self-Discipline is Key to Success

by Wittenborg News -

Self-Discipline is Key to Success

Self-Discipline is Key to Success

With Self-Discipline, Almost Anything is Possible

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “With self-discipline, almost anything is possible.” Self-discipline is, indeed, regarded as one of the keys to success. Many people attribute self-discipline as having determination and fortitude. That means having the strength and will to continue carrying out what one wants to achieve despite setbacks and hardships. But in actual fact, self-discipline is more about having self-control or the ability to control your desires and not falling prey to bad habits, such as laziness, procrastination and irresponsibility. In other words, self-discipline is having the willpower to fight your wilful desires.  

When a teenager gets up early and prepares him/herself for online classes, that is self-discipline, as they resist the desire to sleep longer. If a student turns off his/her mobile phone to study peacefully without any distraction, that is self-discipline. Making great efforts to abstain from bad habits, such as smoking or too much gaming, is also self-discipline. So, basically, self-discipline is regulating yourself for the sake of improvement or betterment of your situation.

Self-Discipline is Key to Success

Self-discipline is something difficult to achieve, since it really requires one to battle with one's own self in making the right choice. But true self-discipline is not punishing oneself and it is not supposed to restrict a person’s lifestyle or the right for some leisure. It is to make the right choice at the right time when the time calls for it. Like completing your assignment first before playing games. It actually denotes one’s mental and inner strength, which is crucial in leading a more meaningful life. Self-discipline grants you freedom - freedom from being a slave to your wilful desires and wants. It helps you to divide your time wisely between study/work, rest and entertainment.

Self-discipline delays short-term gratification for long-term reward

Having self-discipline helps us to overcome laziness and procrastination and prevents us from taking things for granted. It directs us to choose what we want now and what we want for the future. Maxwell Maltz, author of a self-help book called "Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living out of Life", said, “The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success”. Self-discipline makes you re-evaluate what you need to do now in order to achieve success in the future. As the saying goes, what you sow now is what you will reap in the future.

The self-disciplined person takes control of his own life

Having self-discipline helps us to overcome laziness and procrastination and prevents us from taking things for granted. It directs us to choose what we want now and what we want for the future. Maxwell Maltz, author of a self-help book called "Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living out of Life", said, “The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success”. Self-discipline makes you re-evaluate what you need to do now in order to achieve success in the future. As the saying goes, what you sow now is what you will reap in the future.

You alone are responsible for your quality of life

One thing about self-discipline is that it is a learned skill, not something innate.  Some people are taught self-discipline when they are young, like making their own beds, having salad at every meal or having a specific time for study and play, while others do not.  But, however you were brought up, it is never too late to learn self-discipline.  All you need is a strategy and a little practice.  Some strategies that you can employ to increase your self-discipline are, for example, establishing a daily routine, like sleeping and getting up at the same time every day, having a specific timetable for your daily activities and removing distractions and temptations slowly but consistently. Another good strategy is reminding yourself of the benefits of what you need to do compared to what you want to do.  
Instilling self-discipline in yourself is not a walk in the park. It is challenging and many people fail. But this is where your determination and fortitude come in. Suffer the pain of self-discipline or you will suffer the pain of regret. Persevere and continue practicing self-discipline every day, and one day you will reap the fruits of your success.

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. You alone are responsible for the quality of it.” (Anon.)

WUP 2/3/2021
by Hanna Abdelwahab
©WUAS Press

New Board Member has More than 30 Years of Top Academic Experience

by Wittenborg News -

New Board Member has More than 30 Years of Top Academic Experience

https://www.wittenborg.eu/new-board-member-has-more-30-years-top-academic-experience.htm

New Board Member has More than 30 Years of Top Academic Experience

Distinguished Educator, Dr Petra de Weerd-Nederhof, Joins Wittenborg's Advisory Board

With more than 30 years of academic experience under her belt, Dr Petra de Weerd-Nederhof is one of three new members to join Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' Advisory Board this year. The two other members are Rijn Platteel (chair) and Paul Zevenbergen. De Weerd-Nederhof is currently professor in organisation studies and innovation at the University of Twente, but has held various other academic positions at the university throughout her career. She is also a member of Topvrouwen.nl - an initiative by the Dutch Ministry of Education and employer's association VNO-NCW aiming to boost the number of women in management positions.

De Weerd-Nederhof said she met Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng years ago and has since been very impressed with the growth arc the institution has made. "Wittenborg is a very agile organisation, designed to be flexible and very aware of their unique position in the Dutch education landscape. Above all, in everything they do they are entrepreneurial. Maggie and Peter (Wittenborg's president) try things where other people would not. It would be very interesting to see how they continue to develop the organisation."

According to De Weerd-Nederhof, she is also intrigued by the school's personal approach to students. "I like the way Wittenborg takes care of its students – the individual attention to their well-being. I think the success of Wittenborg has a lot to do with the very specific characteristics of the people who run it."

She believes this personal approach to students as well as the diversity of both students and staff is what distinguishes Wittenborg from other universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. As a member of the Board, she is looking forward to meeting and interacting with staff and students. "Management also encourages us to go to events."

De Weerd-Nederhof brings with her a wealth of experience to the job. "I know the higher education sector from a business administrative point of view and would like to make a contribution in that regard. Other areas of expertise are in the fields of innovation, resilience, entrepreneurship education (also on the executive level) and engaging with the region." From 2006 – 2011 and 2014 – 2017 she was Twente University's Programme Director: International Business Administration (BSc and MSc).

While in that position, she successfully redesigned the master's programme into five high-tech human touch specialisations: (1) Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Strategy, (2) Strategic Marketing and Business Information, (3) Purchasing and Supply Management, (4) HRM, Technology and Innovation and (5) Financial Management, implementing Twente's 'Research-Design-Organise' teaching philosophy.

She believes the pandemic brought about a steep learning curve in terms of online education and digital transformation in the education sector. "There are more possibilities. For instance, with online education we can now facilitate international students better. The pandemic also showed how important it is to have a personal approach to students, the importance of teamwork and creating a sense of  community. I think it will be wise to keep strengthening that aspect."

De Weerd-Nederhof thinks it's too early to see how Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences faired in terms of riding out the storm brought about by the pandemic. "There will definitely be differences between bigger and smaller universities. I think we will have a better picture around September."

She said one of the things she misses is travelling. "There were some big conferences planned, for instance in China, which had to be cancelled. But this was also a good time to self-reflect and develop new teaching methods. Although at times it could be stressful, it was also inspiring.

WUP 28/2/2021
by Anesca Smith
©WUAS Press

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New Project Logo to Grace Erasmus+ Eco-Systems Open Science Schooling Project

by Wittenborg News -

New Project Logo to Grace Erasmus+ Eco-Systems Open Science Schooling Project

https://www.wittenborg.eu/new-project-logo-grace-erasmus-eco-systems-open-science-schooling-project.htm

New Project Logo to Grace Erasmus+ Eco-Systems Open Science Schooling Project

Romanian Team Wins Open Science Schooling Project Logo Competition

After some stiff competition during the Schools Empowerment Event of Erasmus+ Eco-Systems Open Science Schooling Project (OSS), the Romanian team came out tops, beating teams of students from other partner schools. The logo, with its visually and aesthetically pleasing elements, represents an embodiment of the project theme and aims and will grace the project throughout its 2-year stint. (View the article on the launch of the project here).

A total of 20 artistic and innovative logos were received from partner schools (Turkey, Lithuania, Romania and Poland) and voting for the most representative logo was tough. But the Romanian team's logo took the prize because of its unique conceptualisation, which includes all the necessary elements that represent the project. When asked what she thought of the Project Logo Competition, Calkin Suero Montero, the knowledge expert from the University of Eastern Finland, said, "I was very pleased to see the good effort that all the student teams have put into conceptualising the essence of the project." She added that the competition was carried out smoothly and fairly, and the outcome reflects the consortium's synchronised spirit towards the project goal, well-represented by the winning logo.

New Project Logo to Grace Erasmus+ Eco-Systems Open Science Schooling Project

Romanian Students Ecstatic Over Victory

The Romanian students were ecstatic and proud that their logo was chosen to represent the project. “A picture is worth a thousand words!” said the team, and they believe that the logo managed to embody all the essential elements related to the project – the partner countries, the community and the environment. It symbolises beauty and the idea of unity through science as a force that generates development. Students Alessia and Sarah said, “We felt so happy and proud that the Romanian logo won, as we had worked hard on this and our work has been rewarded”. Alessia regarded the flower as representing “us learning and growing together through science”, and another student, Alexandra, elaborated that its petals represent each flag of the countries collaborating in this project. Student Damaris said that they are pleasantly surprised that their logo will represent this project as there were many interesting logo ideas. He said, “This victory brought us a small advantage in this project and has improved the team's mood. We thank the team and the project partners for all the support and encouragement provided so far.”

New Project Logo to Grace Erasmus+ Eco-Systems Open Science Schooling Project

Light Bulb Originates from First OSS Project Logo

The winning logo also includes a lightbulb with impressions of the world map, which is actually the original logo of the first OSS Project held from September 2017 to February 2020. It was the creation of School Pere Fontdevila associated with partner UPC, Catalonia, Spain. The aim of including the first logo into the second project logo is to show continuity and progression of the main mission of OSS, which is to encourage schools and the community to become real partners in school life and activities. In commenting about the lightbulb, student Alexandra said that it connects our planet with science, while student Mihai prefers to see it as representing collaboration and teamwork between schools in different countries in generating new ideas.

New Project Logo to Grace Erasmus+ Eco-Systems Open Science Schooling Project

The project is progressing well up to now with the student teams being given a workshop on video editing tools and how to document their science missions by Arash Mirhashemi from the University of Eastern Finland, who is in charge of the project’s student video output. The 3-day session also includes presentations of the OSS Resource Maps from the participating schools. The Resource Maps detail the schools' science mission ideas and possible collaborations with their chosen community members or organisations. When asked about her opinion of the progress of the OSS project, Montero said, "I can say that the practice partners are working steadily towards completing their ecosystem resources maps. The empowering mobility was an excellent event to give the partners suitable feedback on their efforts and ideas related to this mapping process. The partner school teams have demonstrated a lot of creativity bringing several social actors to the fore to support their chosen missions and to co-create suitable opportunities and solutions to the benefit of their society."  

The Schools Empowerment Event which took place virtually on 3-5 February, 2021,  was attended by teachers and students of all partner schools and facilitators from Wittenborg, the University of Eastern Finland (Itä-Suomen yliopisto) and Working with Europe (Treballant amb Europa Associació). Wittenborg was represented by its CEO, Maggie Feng, Dr Dadi Chen, Hanna Abdelwahab and Aydan Ismayilova. Ismayilova is Wittenborg’s new EU Project Coordinator and Junior Researcher, and she will be the coordinator of this whole project. Ismayilova said, "It's a great opportunity to e-meet all our project partners, and I was impressed by the enthusiasm and readiness of schools, their involvement and contributions, especially the students. Despite the difficult times we are going through due to the pandemic, the team is very experienced in dealing with challenges and is very positive in its outlook. Our job going forward will be to create the perfect working environment for partners, so that the schools can focus on the main purpose of the project - building their eco-systems of OSS and carrying out their missions."

WUP 26/2/2020
by Hanna Abdelwahab
©WUAS Press

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Wittenborg's 3rd-Approved Erasmus+ Project Launched

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg's 3rd-Approved Erasmus+ Project Launched

https://www.wittenborg.eu/wittenborgs-3rd-approved-erasmus-project-launched.htm

Wittenborg's 3rd-Approved Erasmus+ Project Launched

Enhancement of Internal Quality Assurance of Education in Teaching, Learning and Assessment in HEIs of Azerbaijan and Russia

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has been accorded the privilege of being the grant holder of its 3rd approved Erasmus+ project by the European Commission. The project, which is known as IQAinAR (Internal Quality Assurance in Azerbaijan and Russia), seeks to support enhancement and development of the internal quality assurance of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) of the partner countries with EU quality standards as the benchmark, as well as strengthening the HEIs' local, regional and national policies and strategies implementation.

The project was officially launched in a virtual kick-off meeting on 16 February, hosted by Wittenborg's EU Project Coordinator and Junior Researcher, Aydan Ismayilova and its CEO, Maggie Feng. The meeting was attended by Erasmus+ National Agency representatives from the Netherlands, Russia and Azerbaijan and graced by the presence of a special guest from the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), Danielle Picot. The meeting was packed with high spirits among all attendees from 5 countries and the support provided by Erasmus+ officers to the project team was acknowledged and warmly received.

Wittenborg's 3rd-Approved Erasmus+ Project Launched

Dream team composed of top universities in Russia & Azerbaijan

As grant holder, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences is delighted to be able to work with excellent EU partners from Germany (IUBH Internationale Hochschule), Spain (Fundacion Universitaria San Antonio) and the Netherlands (456 International B.V.). However, the real stars of the project are the 4 partners from Russia and 2 partners from Azerbaijan: Financial University Under the Government of the Russian Federation, Russian Academy of Education, Tver State University, Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution of Higher Education Belgorod National Research University, Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University and Nakhchivan State University.
 
In addition to the main aims, this project also seeks to support further quality culture development within HEIs of partner countries. At a later stage, the project team will develop internal quality assurance (IQA) indicators and assessment scales based on EU standards and practice. After evaluation of implementation, further training programmes will be developed with full information and training packages. During the project lifetime, the partners will not only train the staff within their own institutions, but also reach out to all parties of the partner countries interested in IQA, and give the project after-life through its open online platform with full resources and experts in implementation of the IQA system.

Wittenborg's 3rd-Approved Erasmus+ Project Launched

Student-centred approach key to any IQA in HEI

Wittenborg was also represented by its Assurance of Learning Manager, Kriszta Kaspers-Rostás, and Head of School of Business, Dr Rauf Abdul. When asked how she felt about being included in the project, Kaspers-Rostás said that she is very glad to be involved in this project as a key researcher. She agrees that a vital aspect of any IQA in HEIs is the student-centered approach. She said that as Wittenborg is targeting AACSB accreditation IQA is, of course, vitally important. “This project will surely give us a broader perspective, relevant data and an in-depth understanding of how other top-ranked institutions are operating from within. Such an opportunity does not come by often. My colleagues and I are eager to get started”, said Kaspers-Rostás.

Lecturer should be a combination of educator, practitioner and researcher

One of the fundamental understandings of this project is that a lecturer should be a combination of educator, practitioner and researcher. Dr Rauf Abdul was delighted with the inclusion of these 3 pillars in the definition of a lecturer as he himself has been consistently applying such principles in the daily practice at Wittenborg in the past years. He said, “It is rare to find a lecturer who is perfect in all 3 aspects. However, if we are aware of it as managers and as an institution as a whole, we can provide personal development opportunities to colleagues to develop themselves. It is never too late, or too perfect to learn and improve ourselves. I always believe in life-long learning”.

WUP 24/2/2021
by Maggie Feng and Hanna Abdelwahab
©WUAS Press

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News Overview Page Understanding the Online Buying Behaviour of Chinese Millennials

by Wittenborg News -

Understanding the Online Buying Behaviour of Chinese Millennials

Understanding the Online Buying Behaviour of Chinese Millennials

Graduate's Research Looks at What Motivates Young Adult Chinese Shoppers

Wittenborg graduate Wei He took a peek inside the mind of the Chinese consumer as part of his final research project, deconstructing their online buying behaviour. He graduated with flying colours earlier this month with a Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) in Logistics and International Trade. In his Graduation Assignment (GA), Wei looked at what motivates Chinese millennials when they do online shopping and also what demotivates them.

Wei, who is Chinese, said online retail giants like Alibaba are facing some problems approaching millennials because of their unpredictable buying behaviour. "The purpose of my study was to analyse the purchasing behaviour of this group and help marketeers optimise sales, thereby creating effective marketing strategies."

Shift in Chinese Market

He hit upon the idea after seeing on the news the big shift in the Chinese market from traditional shopping to online shopping. "Being a millennial myself, I was curious about my own behaviour and what motivates me. Millenials are currently the biggest spenders in China."

His findings revealed that for this group of consumers, brand is the most valuable aspect of any product they buy online. "A popular brand name gives them a feeling of esteem. Online shopping also depends on income and gender. Females are much keener to shop online."

When shopping online, most consumers consider the overall evaluation of the shop, the brand reputation of the store's products in general, as well as current reviews of the shop, Wei said during his research presentation. What demotivates them are risk factors such as the possibility that products might be damaged when they arrive, the difficulties of accurately judging a product online, besides financial risks such as the possibility that bank card details might be compromised.

As for his own plans now that he graduated, Wei said he wants to pursue a career in the Netherlands. "The educational system is very different in the Netherlands than in my own country. I had to adjust a lot for it. For example, the study load for each class has a different requirement. Some classes require a student to put a lot of time and effort into it. It was intensive for me to get used to it at the very beginning."

WUP 22/2/2020
by James Wittenborg
©WUAS Press

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Former NVAO Director, Paul Zevenbergen, Joins Wittenborg Advisory Board

by Wittenborg News -

Former NVAO Director, Paul Zevenbergen, Joins Wittenborg Advisory Board

Former NVAO Director, Paul Zevenbergen, Joins Wittenborg Advisory Board

Wittenborg Advisory Board Adds Three New Members

Dutch education expert Paul Zevenbergen is one of three new members to join Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' Advisory Board this year, bringing with him considerable experience in both the public and private higher education spheres. The two other new members are Rijn Platteel (chair) and Prof. Petra De Weerd-Nederhof. The next Advisory Board meeting will be in the spring where they will be formally introduced.

Zevenbergen is a former director of the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO), board member of the Coding College Amsterdam (CODAM) and serves as chairman of a commission advising the Ministry of Education on the training of teachers. He was the guest speaker at Wittenborg's 30th anniversary gala in 2017.

Zevenborgen said he came into contact with Wittenborg through his work at NVAO. "I regard Wittenborg as a fine institution and a very relevant one, providing high quality management education to international students so they can benefit from all the good facilities and quality education system we have in the Netherlands. Wittenborg is relevant in light of its contribution to the landscape of management education and as a private institution with affordable fees."

He brings to the table a broad experience in both private and public education, a vast network, as well as a valuable insight into Dutch education from the government's point of view.  

Zevenbergen said he is optimistic about the state of affairs in Dutch higher education. "We really do have great universities and other institutions of higher education, and the way we got to this excellence gives me reason to be optimistic. Furthermore, the Netherlands has a stable society where business and business education can flourish with its wealth of talented people, capable of collaborating and reaching common solutions."

He acknowledges the inequalities that still exist in society, even in the Netherlands, but sees education as one of the ways to eradicate it. "The better educated we are, the better for society, and we must keep working on the problem and doing everything we can to improve the situation."

Asked about the lessons learned during the pandemic year which can be taken forward, Zevenbergen said: "We found ourselves in a situation we could never have imagined, yet we showed how fast we can improvise and how creative we are in adapting. On the technical side, providing a better mix of on-site and online education would be a good step forward."

One of the first things he plans to do once the pandemic has been brought under control, Zevenberg said, is: "Meeting people – that would be high on the list. Just being human and connecting face-to-face."

WUP 20/02/2020
by Anesca Smith
©WUAS Press

University of Brighton Celebrates Graduates in Online Ceremony

by Wittenborg News -

University of Brighton Celebrates Graduates in Online Ceremony

https://www.wittenborg.eu/university-brighton-celebrates-graduates-online-ceremony.htm
University of Brighton Celebrates Graduates in Online Ceremony

Happy Days for Wittenborg MSc and Double Degree Graduates as They Pick Up Degrees from UK Partner

Wittenborg's double degree master's and bachelor's students graduated from the University of Brighton in the UK last week as part of a partnership between the two institutions. It follows Wittenborg's own 2021 Winter Graduation Ceremony, which took place on 5 February.

Nineteen Master of Science degree students from Wittenborg attended Brighton's virtual graduation ceremony last Wednesday. They are from Spain, Turkey, the Netherlands, Austria, Vietnam, Russia, Iran, Nigeria, Germany and Luxemburg. The degrees bestowed on them were MSc in Sport Business Management, MSc in International Event Management and MSc in  International Hospitality Management.

University of Brighton Celebrates Graduates in Online Ceremony

On the preceding Monday, there was an online ceremony for bachelor's students who graduated with double degrees from Brighton and Wittenborg. They are from Denmark, India, Iran, China, the Netherlands and Thailand.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Brighton, Professor Debra Humphris, said it is her sincere hope that somewhere in the future, when it is safe to do so, the university will welcome the graduates back to the university as important members of its alumni community. "Our graduation ceremonies are always the highpoint of the academic year. This year is no different. Indeed, I would suggest the extraordinary times we are living in give us even more reason to celebrate your incredible achievements. And today the technology allows us to still come together from across the UK and indeed from across the globe.

University of Brighton Celebrates Graduates in Online Ceremony

"Graduates, you know how hard you all had to work to get here today and you know how hard we challenged you. Today marks the culmination of those efforts. Over the course of this week we will celebrate graduates from the age of 19 to 76 from 112 countries. The university is deeply proud of the diversity of nationalities that make up our institution and long may it do so."

Humphris paid tribute to the family and friends of graduates who supported them as well as those who graduates who have lost love ones during the course of the year. "Today marks a milestone for all of you and I would like you to reflect on the fact that none of us ever really stop learning. Today marks a beginning, not an end and we all look at you to change the shape of the future. And you will do so as part of an alumni network that will provide you with a link to your fellow graduates and 167,000 fellow alumni worldwide."

WUP 18/2/2021
by James Wittenborg
©WUAS Press

Commencement Speaker Marc van Gerrevink Encourages Graduates to Consider Career in Recycling

by Wittenborg News -

Commencement Speaker Marc van Gerrevink Encourages Graduates to Consider Career in Recycling

Top Advice from Business Owner Makes up for Loss of Pomp at Wittenborg Graduation Ceremony

Top Advice from Business Owner Makes up for Loss of Pomp at Wittenborg Graduation Ceremony

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wittenborg's latest group of graduates could not walk across the stage on Friday to collect their diplomas or even throw their caps in the air. What they did get, however, was some sound advice from this year's keynote speaker, Marc van Gerrevink – a young, successful business owner from Apeldoorn, who shared some of the tough lessons he learned on the road to having a thriving company, Van Gerrevink B.V.  

Van Gerrevink's authentic story of how he came to run a 142-year old recycling company, which tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time, waste pollution, made a big impression on his audience.

According to Van Gerrevink he was in his 20s when his father passed away and he suddenly found himself in charge of a large company. "Our family business is a recycling company, which my great-great-grandfather started in 1879 as a classic paper-making business. When I inherited the company in 2011, I realised that recycling is a very relevant and future-proof business model.

"I was keen, motivated and, being a mechanical engineer, believed everyone understood reason. I thought I could lead a company the way you perform an equation. I was wrong. I had good plans for the future but faced people who did not see the point of changing things, so I had to find a way to convince them. I also had to have difficult conversations, even fights, with people who have worked for the company a long time. They said I was not fit to lead the company and should leave. I was very bitter about this, but still motivated enough to prove them wrong. Therefore, I sought help. I hired a coach to improve my people skills and spoke to more experienced entrepreneurs about my problems.

Don't Be Too Proud to Ask for Help

"There are two lessons I learned from this: One, you have to believe in yourself and what motivates you, and two, the importance of asking for help when you need it. Don't be too proud to recognise your own flaws and lack of experience," Van Gerrevink told graduates. 

Pitfalls of Micro-Managing

He also spoke about the pitfalls of micro-managing your employees. "Once I started working at our company I wanted to be involved and have an opinion about everything that was going on. Not only is our company too big for that, but it also drives people mad and demotivates them when the boss wants to be involved in everything. You have to give people room to take responsibility. So don't be a micro-manager and focus on the long-term." 

Van Gerrevink said one of the ways he gained more experience was by joining the Apeldoorn chapter of Junior Chamber International. Wittenborg has been involved two years in a row with the organisation's Christmas lunch initiative, where student volunteers bring some festive cheer to lonely senior citizens in the region. 

Finally, Van Gerrevink stressed the enormous problem caused by waste pollution and invited students to consider a career in fighting it. "If you decide to work in recycling, you will be doing something good for the planet and make a decent living. If you need advice in this regard, do not hesitate to contact me through Wittenborg." 


New Advisory Board Chair wants to Strengthen Bond Between Wittenborg and Dutch Business Community

by Wittenborg News -

New Advisory Board Chair wants to Strengthen Bond Between Wittenborg and Dutch Business Community



New Advisory Board Chair wants to Strengthen Bond Between Wittenborg and Dutch Business Community

Meet Wittenborg's New Chair of the Advisory Board: Rijn Platteel

Rijn Platteel has been appointed as the new chair of the Advisory Board at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences. He replaces the outgoing chair, Ruud Dost, who has been a member of the board for the past 10 years. In an interview Platteel spoke about how he envisions his new role and the importance of creating equal opportunities for youngsters in an unequal society reflecting on recent incidents that rocked Dutch society, like the child benefit scandal and youth unrest. Platteel is the regional chair of the employer's association VNO-NCW (Stedendriehoek), as well as company director of Change=, a social real estate development and property management company.

Why were you interested in the position?

Apeldoorn needs excellent education. Being so international, Wittenborg fills a gap that no other school or university does. As chairman of VNO-NCW Stedendriehoek (Apeldoorn, Deventer, Zutphen and surrounding municipalities) I need to stay in close contact with the education sector. While the public education system is well taken care of, Wittenborg, as a private institution, may easily find itself overlooked. I am here to ensure Wittenborg stays in the limelight.

How do you see your role as chair of the advisory board?

I do not have a background in education, so I see my role is as connecting entrepreneurs, government and education.

What contribution to you hope to make?

What I would like to accomplish is that the municipality of Apeldoorn finally really supports Wittenborg. Wittenborg has so much to add to the educational climate in Apeldoorn and surroundings and its programmes are the only ones that really add the element of internationality to its curriculum. Employers need internationally oriented employees. I believe there needs to be a closer link between Wittenborg and the business community. Since its student body, lecturers and even the management are mostly international, I think I can contribute to strengthening its local network.

What do you think we can learn from the past year as a society?

COVID-19 taught us a number of things. Proximity is no longer an issue, be it for social interaction purposes. That requires a complete new way of thinking about the future, about communication, about travelling, about information technology. What we held dear in the past no longer exists and we need new ways of adapting to the future. Besides that, even with less travel, the CO2 emission rate did not really alter. We need new strategies on how to cope with climate change and environmental problems.

As chair of Change=  how would you describe the current student accommodation situation in the Netherlands? What can be improved?

Student accommodation is too expensive and scarce. Students would like to live in the centre of cities, close to where the action is. That is currently unobtainable. Students actually bring life to city centres. And even without high income, they usually spend a good deal. Students add to the 'couleur locale'.

Transformation of unused office buildings and new buildings will relieve that situation but it will take time. Cooperation between a number of parties may help. There are more solutions I could think of, quicker and less expensive.

May I ask you an arbitrary question? Do you think we have the right to tell our children they are equal or can be anything they want to be, while the social system is clearly skewed against many of them? Doesn't it only lead to disillusion? I'm referencing some recent issues like the child benefit scandal and the spate of riots in the Netherlands.

Mankind may be created equal, but our societal and social system does not favour equality. My children have a tremendous advantage simply because I have had a decent education and the financial abundance to give them the same level of education. Secondly, my way of raising children forces them to take responsibility and act.

On the other hand, our society tends to reward "entitlement". Our system is based on having rights, not on contribution and responsibility. We, as a society as a whole, as well as individuals, have a responsibility to offer every member the same chances. Furthermore, we need to make sure that people take responsibility. I have to admit that it is easier said than done.

The examples you mention indicate something else too. A deep mistrust and bias (racial and or otherwise). The youth riots are, in my opinion, not an expression of real discontent. At most, they are a manifestation of powerlessness. And for many, simply a reason to "have a good riot".

Finally, what kind of year has it been for you personally? How did you motivate yourself?

I never have problems motivating myself. I never seem to have enough time anyway. Having said that, I started as managing director at Change= in March. Motivation was never a question.

WUP 14/2/2021
by Anesca Smith
©WUAS Press

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