Talent development for students in the study programme
Each study programme is expected to conduct an explicit reflection and to have a policy regarding the way in which it contributes to the realisation of the six strategic educational objectives of Ghent University. One of these six objectives is ‘Talent development for students’.
Ghent University policy is aimed at offering as many opportunities as possible to as many people as possible. Study programmes are expected to explicitly outline a vision on the talent development of students. This vision is included in the education monitor. The Programme Committee is the body that has to make well-considered choices in order to develop talent to the fullest. Naturally, these choices are in line with the specific context and individuality of the programme. It is also recommended that the Programme Committee determine how the policy and initiatives regarding talent development will be evaluated and how a targeted improvement policy will be pursued.
When developing and implementing a policy on student talent development, study programmes take a number of aspects into account:
First of all, a programme has insight into the initial competencies of the incoming student. The programme clearly communicates about the necessary or preferential prior knowledge for starting a particular study programme. This means that information about the initial competencies is clearly communicated in brochures, website, SIDins, information days, etc. In addition, study programmes can
- advise potential students to complete the SIMON test to check whether they have the right profile and whether they have the necessary or preferential initial competencies.
- already set up tests or trials so that students can evaluate their basic knowledge and skills and take targeted actions from the start of the academic year. Examples of such tests or tests are: calibration test, orientation test, science test, etc. It is important that the programme makes these initiatives widely known to potential students and thus create good participation.
- organising targeted preparation lessons to brush up on the initial competencies. Examples are summer or holiday courses in chemistry, mathematics, physics, languages, etc.
Preparatory and linking programmes
With a view to the intake of students from other academic or university colleges, a programme can provide a range of preparatory and/or linking programmes. These preparatory and linking programmes are checked with the relevant stakeholders and regularly updated. Students who follow such programmes are preferably specifically informed, supervised and monitored. Within this group of students, there may be a relatively larger group of working students. Study programmes can facilitate the trajectories for working students through, among other things, distance learning, blended learning, adapted timetables for lessons or practicals, etc. There is also the possibility to provide a specific preliminary trajectory for non-Dutch speaking newcomers.
Counselling offer for students
The study programme has an appropriate and easily accessible counselling offer for students. Some of these counselling actions take place at faculty level and transcend the programme.
- Examples of study counselling are: subject-related study counselling, learning path counselling, etc. Certain forms of counselling are provided at the faculty level; other forms of counselling are specific to each study programme, such as subject-specific counselling by teachers and assistants, mock exams, individual supervision or group supervision of students, feedback after evaluations, etc.
- Counselling actions are geared to the intake profile of the students in the programme. The programme can provide an analysis of the intake profile of 1BA students at the start of the academic year and can provide adequate counselling depending on this profile. Since the intake profile can differ from year to year, the counselling can differ as a result. Ideally, the programme should have a good overview of the diverse influx of students from disadvantaged groups (e.g. gender, migration background, functional limitation), encourage these students to enrol and tailor counselling campaigns to this group of students. Students with a migration background often find it more difficult to take the step towards counselling. It is important that they are encouraged in a timely manner to seek counselling – if necessary.
- Specific counselling can be provided at pivotal moments in the student’s study trajectory. Important pivotal moments are: announcement of points after the 1st semester of 1BA, after the 2nd semester of 1BA and after the resit examination period for all years. Students can be guided to make the right choices at these pivotal moments: continuation versus reorientation, personalised learning trajectories, part-time programmes, etc.
Monitoring and actions to improve study and transfer efficiency
The study programme monitors the study success rate after each session and relates the study success rate to the available predictors in the progress monitor. Research has shown that certain aspects influence the study success (e.g. environment, parental education, gender, low SES…). These factors are taken into account when the study success rate is analysed. This analysis of the study success rate may give rise to targeted actions.
- To optimise the study yield in 1BA, maximum attention is paid to 1BA. The reform of the flexibility measures in 2015 stated that course units in 1BA must be carefully programmed and taught by experienced and excellent teachers. Programmes and faculties are therefore asked to deploy their most experienced and enthusiastic teachers in 1BA.
- The re-entry of year courses in 1BA is made possible, in which partial exams are mandatory and count towards part of the examination grade. Students who have not passed these partial exams will have the opportunity to take the full course material again in June. This way, the university tries to meet the needs of students who need more time to adapt to university in the first few months, who are often discouraged by poor examination results after the first semester and are sometimes immediately referred to the second session.
- The study programme achieves a good throughput rate after 1BA. The programme also monitors the duration until the diploma for BA and MA diploma and implements a targeted improvement policy.
Academic Language Proficiency
The programme focuses on the development and strengthening of academic language skills in students. This is done on the basis of a well-thought-out language policy that focuses on higher-order skills such as structuring, substantiating, critically reflecting, analysing and synthesising.
There is a range of various honours programmes on offer across the university. The following honours programmes are currently open to students from various faculties: the Quetelet Colleges (all faculties), the Honours Programme Breaking Frontiers (gamma faculties), Humanities and Social Sciences (alpha faculties). Programmes can indicate in the education monitor how they encourage their students to participate in honours programmes.
The Infrastructure and Facility Management Department, the Student Facilities Department, and the Information and Communication Technology Department play an important role in providing accessible facilities for all students. Study programmes pay attention to this as well. Possibilities include making (computer) rooms available, printing and copy facilities, WIFI, course service, infrastructure for activating teaching methods, study rooms, accessibility of campuses and classrooms for students with disabilities, etc.