Wittenborg's Chair of the Executive Board, Peter Birdsall Outlines it's 10-year Plan to Dutch Business Community
Wittenborg University was proud to host members of the influential business organization, De Maatschappij, for a lunch network event at its Spoorstraat 23 location in Apeldoorn on Monday.
De Maatschappij is an independent organization for business-minded people from government, Dutch companies and training institutes – it boasts 2500 members from all over the Netherlands. The event was opened by the director of the Fotovakschool Apeldoorn, Paul Akkermans, who is also a member of De Maatschappij.
The Fotovakschool is one of the training institutes neighbouring Wittenborg at its new Spoorstraat premises, forming a growing educational hub around the Apeldoorn railway station, boosting the city’s profile in the Dutch education sector.
Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, gave an extensive overview of Wittenborg – from its beginnings in Deventer to its aspirations to become a cross-discipline institute of higher education in the Netherlands. One of the ambitions is to upgrade its status from a university of applied science to a full-fledged research university with a broad curriculum instead of one catering for a small niche market with little room to grow, Birdsall told members of the business community.
“Currently we have more than 70 different nationalities represented at Wittenborg. About 85% of students are international and 15% Dutch.” He also elaborated on the reasons behind the university’s recent decision to move its IBA in Entrepreneurship & Small Business programme to its Amsterdam campus citing more opportunities for start-ups in the capital of the Netherlands instead of Apeldoorn, where the university’s headquarters is currently situated. “We are also testing the waters to see to what extend Wittenborg can compete with other business schools in Amsterdam.”
To realize its ambition of becoming a research university - thereby positioning itself to receive research funding from the Dutch government - Wittenborg currently offers 4 Master of Science programmes in conjunction with the University of Brighton in the UK. Birdsall hopes that within 3 to 4 years Wittenborg would have strengthened its research capacity and accumulated sufficient knowledge to launch an application to become a research university.
From February this year it also offers a fully-accredited MBA programme with different specializations, including an MBA in General Management and an MBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation with an MBA in Energy and Clean Technology to follow.
Birdsall further told attendees Wittenborg’s 10-year plan includes growing its student number to about 1500 (maybe even 2000 given proposed online courses) and 100 different nationalities. “We are currently growing at about 25% per year.”
by Anesca Smith