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Wittenborg Vienna Students Visit Oldest Zoo in the World

Project Week at Wittenborg’s campus in Vienna is always an awesome affair!

Wittenborg Vienna Students Visit Oldest Zoo in the World

This Project Week, students had an exclusive tour of the Vienna Zoo Schonbrunn  - which at 260 years of age is the oldest zoo in the world. And to boot, it is situated in the imperial gardens of the Sconbrunn Palace – surely one of the most beautiful royal buildings in the world, besides being one of the most popular tourist attractions.

But it was not all fun and games. Since it is a Project Week, assignment students will have to file a report on one of two topics: “How to promote animal protection for the Vienna Zoo” or  “How to combat low visitor numbers during off-season”.

Wittenborg Vienna Students Visit Oldest Zoo in the World“The Vienna Zoo sees it as their responsibility to create awareness of animal protection among its visitors. Students will address this issue in a report and presentation, and will create a mini-marketing plan of promotional activities for the zoo to use.

“The zoo also stru

gles with seasonality – like so many tourist attractions. Therefore, students will investigate how to tackle this problem and create recommendations for the zoo,” Wagner said.

WUP 29/11/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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Goodbye Dr Jacques Kaat

In a moving and very personal ceremony, attended by his former colleagues from Webster University Leiden, and of course from our own wonderful Wittenborg, by Maggie, myself and our Head of School of business, Rauf, we all came to terms with what we have lost.by Peter Birdsall, Chair of the Executive Board, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences

I was privileged today to be asked to speak at the memorial service for our (Wittenborg's) Academic Dean, Dr Jacques Kaat, who sadly passed away last week. My last 'whatsapp' with him a week previously confirmed that things were not going well, and he said 'I'll be in touch'. He certainly was.

In a moving and very personal ceremony, attended by his former colleagues from Webster University Leiden, and of course from our own wonderful Wittenborg, by Maggie, myself and our Head of School of business, Rauf, we all came to terms with what we have lost.

The harsh reality is the exceptional man we all have lost; and I implore those bestowed with the responsibility to manage our excellent Dutch higher education to go carefully with its exceptional talent.

The un-abridged speech that I wrote, and mostly spoke today is below.

To Jacques Kaat - we will miss your earthly support.

Monday, 27th November 2017, Oegstgeest

I am honored to have been asked to say some words about a man who has meant so much to so many of us, in different but often similar ways. Thanks for asking me, Jacques – you placed great trust in me, and having heard you speak in the past, I’m nervous!

I’m also speaking especially on behalf of all the staff and teachers at Wittenborg who knew and worked with Jacques, and thanks to colleagues who have contributed to these words.

I feel as if I have known Jacques for a long time – higher education in the Netherlands is a relatively small world, and international education even smaller, and those working in internationalisation, as Jacques has done for many years, become ‘known’ on the circuit.

I’ve actually only really learnt about ‘the real man Jacques Kaat’ since we started working together in 2015.

As have many of our colleagues, and when writing this speech last night, Daniel, our senior English teacher, who has had a lot to do with Jacques during his time at Wittenborg, mentioned that Jacques would probably quite enjoy the idea of doing this speech ‘Monty Python style’, for example, when John Cleese spoke at the memorial of Graham Chapman, co-author of the Dead Parrot sketch, who also left us, just as Jacques, sadly much too early. I think you can get the idea – if you know the sketch, or you can see it on YouTube. Sorry, Jacques, the crossover of culture from British to Dutch can be treacherous.


In a moving and very personal ceremony, attended by his former colleagues from Webster University Leiden, and of course from our own wonderful Wittenborg, by Maggie, myself and our Head of School of business, Rauf, we all came to terms with what we have lost.My memories of Jacques go ‘back a bit’, but in 2009, after my wife Maggie and I had become fully and solely responsible for Wittenborg, we were keen to get as much support and coaching from people experienced in what we were trying to do. We naturally found our way to Leiden and met Jacques at Webster University, where he was Academic Director. We had a wonderful day with this gently spoken leader, who showed us the institute and discussed the trials and tribulations of international higher education in the private sector. We had a delicious lunch together, talked about our plans, and asked for advice, which was easy for him to give. Travelling back to the east, Maggie and I talked about ‘what a truly nice guy this man was, and how much he knows about the sort of education we are trying to create in Deventer’. Little could we imagine that one day we would be based in Apeldoorn, and be lucky enough to have the opportunity to employ this gentle intellect as our first full academic dean.

Joining Wittenborg, Jacques brought to the job his experience of American, British and European higher education and accreditation systems, but especially a wealth of experience relating to building and managing quality programmes at an international institute.

They say great leaders choose their leadership style like a golfer chooses his or her club – with a calculated analysis of the matter at hand.

As the Academic Dean at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, Dr Jacques Kaat chose to lead with sincerity, gentleness and a quiet, cool intellect. He was a natural mentor.

He was appointed at Wittenborg in March 2015, and he immediately immersed himself in the consolidation of its academic programmes and the enhancement of quality in its education system. His extensive knowledge about education quickly won him the respect and trust of colleagues and those he mentored.

The joy he derived from working in education was obvious. “It’s magic,” he called it at one point, describing the satisfaction of seeing new students arriving and watching them develop year after year into young adults. “That is what motivates me.”

During the relatively short period that Jacques was able to fully concentrate on his work at Wittenborg, he implemented some radical changes that will remain with us for decades to come.

The first thing was a classic – to raise the academic levels. An academic dean wants to raise the entry standards above the basic norm, for instance, by raising the English language requirements for students starting – of course, the well-being of the institute is a balance between increasing and ensuring intake and being competitive. Jacques was careful first to highlight the problem, with a possible solution, which he knew would not go down well, and he was clever enough to have a compromise ready, one that would satisfy both his ethical approach to raising quality, and the need to enrol students on a competitive basis. The result is that every student starting at Wittenborg is now tested during their introduction week with a ‘seriously tough’ diagnostic English test – if they pass it, that’s fine, if they don’t – extra English lessons must be followed and provided free of charge by the institute.

Another legacy is his work on our recent accreditations, long and complex processes that can make or break a small institute. His methodical way of working, his deeper insight into the links between what we do and why we do it, and also his creative thinking, have directly resulted in our MBA programmes being now fully accredited by the Dutch NVAO as well as the German FIBAA.

His work on the additional requirements set by NVAO, which needed some creative curriculum design solutions, to ensure that it met NVAO but didn’t stray too far from the already gained FIBAA accreditation, was exceptional. I am glad that I told him so.

Jacques even gave input into the recent re-accreditation of all our bachelors’ programmes this spring, even though he was so sick.

In a moving and very personal ceremony, attended by his former colleagues from Webster University Leiden, and of course from our own wonderful Wittenborg, by Maggie, myself and our Head of School of business, Rauf, we all came to terms with what we have lost.

During his illness, I tried to call him on a regular basis, and I know that other colleagues did too. We would talk about higher education, about Wittenborg, about our successes and our challenges, and he would continue to give advice and ideas and suggestions that could help. For instance, he suggested that his good friend Dr Regina Kecht could act as interim in his absence, and as she is based in Vienna, where we have new adventures now, this idea was grasped keenly, and our Vienna venture will benefit greatly.

Before concerns about his health took their toll, Jacques gave one last talk in his capacity as Academic Dean when he addressed graduates at Wittenborg’s 2016 Winter Graduation Ceremony in February that year. He spoke intently about the decisive moments in one’s life, calling them “game-changers” and urging students to “never stop creating those moments”.

“The day you choose your life partner or the day when your first child is born, those are examples of decisive moments. You have them right until the day you draw your last breath. These moments don’t just happen. They happen because you create them, you open yourself up to opportunity and act upon them.”

Perhaps his biggest legacy at Wittenborg is that he taught how to lead with integrity – by sharing words of wisdom, but mostly by way of example.

Not only has Wittenborg lost a great asset in Jacques, but I feel that higher education, and particularly private higher education in the Netherlands, has lost a wonderful supporter for the cause of quality and excellence in our branch. Maggie and I have lost a great colleague, a gentle advisor, but also the chance to further develop a friendship. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, he will be missed.

WUP 27/11/2017

by James Wittenborg

©Wittenborg University Press

Tribute to Dr Jacques Kaat

Tribute to Dr Jacques KaatThey say great leaders choose their leadership style like a golfer chooses his or her club – with a calculated analysis of the matter at hand. As the Academic Dean at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, Dr Jacques Kaat chose to lead with sincerity, gentleness and a quiet, cool intellect. A natural mentor.

He was appointed at Wittenborg in March 2015, immediately immersing himself in the consolidation of its academic programmes and the enhancement of quality in its education system. His extensive knowledge about education won him respect and trust from colleagues and those he mentored.

Before joining Wittenborg Dr Kaat was the Academic Director at Webster University and brought to the job experience with American, British and European higher education and accreditation systems.
Jacques Kaat was born in late summer, on 14 September 1955, in Amstelveen.  He married Sharon Hayes, a Brit, on 28 September 1985 and the couple had two daughters, Virginia and Lizzie. They lived in Oegstgeest, a Dutch town in South Holland, close to Leiden.

Dr Kaat obtained his doctorandus in English Literature and Linguistics from the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam in 1984 in addition to his Teacher Training Certificate. In 1988 he attained his PhD, Doctor of Philosophy, from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, specializing in comparative literature and reception aesthetics.

The joy he derived from working in education was obvious. “It’s magic,” he called it at one point, describing the satisfaction of seeing new students arriving and watching them develop year after year into young adults. “That is what motivates me.”

In his free time Dr Kaat, who always had an interest in culture and natural history, enjoyed traveling and watching films. He often combined these interests and integrated it in his work, for example when he translated two major works on wildlife, including one of the titles by BBC naturalist Sir David Attenborough (The Trials of Life).

Before concerns about his health took its toll, Dr Kaat gave one last talk in his capacity as Academic Dean when he addressed graduates at Wittenborg’s 2016 Winter Graduation Ceremony in February that year. He spoke intently about the decisive moments in one’s life, calling them “game-changers” and urging students to “never stop creating those moments”.

“The day you choose your life partner or the day when your first child is born, those are examples of decisive moments. You have them right until the day you draw your last breath. These moments don’t just happen. They happen because you create them, you open yourself up to opportunity and act upon them.”

Perhaps his biggest legacy at Wittenborg is that he taught how to lead with integrity – by sharing words of wisdom, but mostly by way of example.

*A funeral service will be held for Dr Jacques Kaat on Monday 27 November 2017 in Leiden.

WUP 24/11/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Wittenborg MBA in Clean Technology: Many Job Opportunities for Young Talent in Smart Industry & CleanTech, says Rabobank's Innovation Manager

Wittenborg MBA in Clean Technology: Many Job Opportunities for Young Talent in Smart Industry & CleanTech, says Rabobank's Innovation ManagerWhen you do an MBA in Energy and Clean Technology at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences there are ample opportunities in the Netherlands for employment in the sector.

This was illustrated by the innovation manager at Rabobank Noord- en Oost-Achterhoek, David van Lynden, who recently said in an interview with Wittenborg News that the Achterhoek region – which is close to Apeldoorn, the city where Wittenborg is located – holds great promise in the field of clean technology and smart industry.

“I visited various higher education institutes along with Wittenborg's business development advisor Ben Prins to learn more about connecting our regional companies with promising, young talent, and also to attract entrepreneurs and start-ups in either smart industry-related business or clean technology that can be aided or supported by existing successful enterprises and networks.

“There is a strong backbone of SMEs in this part of the country, often family-run businesses, which have developed into keen, specialised niche players that are frequently (worldwide) marketing semi-manufactured goods.

Wittenborg MBA in Clean Technology: Many Job Opportunities for Young Talent in Smart Industry & CleanTech, says Rabobank's Innovation Manager“Though highly innovative, lean in management and famous in their sectors, they are often unknown to the general public. In other words, ‘hidden champions’. This results in a poor connection with young talent in higher education – talent these companies desperately need for future development and growth in the transition to smart industry. More and more, these companies work together in Smarthub.

“My goal is to uncover these hidden champions and put them in the spotlight in order for them to be able to contact those promising students with new, innovative ideas and knowledge.”

Wittenborg’s MBA in Energy and Clean Technology sprang from its involvement in the EU-funded GREAT project – Growing Renewable Energy Applications and Technology – in 2014. The project sought to encourage SMEs and collectives of SMEs to develop and apply sustainable energy solutions related to renewable energy, smart grid and distributive generation.

Wittenborg’s degree programme is a combination of technology-based modules covering issues such as sustainability and renewable energy, embedded within a core of traditional management-related MBA modules.

WUP 22/11/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Whisky Burn at International Festival in The Hague

Whisky Burn at International Festival in The HagueWittenborg writer Ben Birdsall’s book Whisky Burn drew lots of interest at the international Whisky Live 2017 Fair in The Hague this weekend, attended by thousands of whisky lovers.  

The event took place at the Grote Kerk in The Hague. Birdsall had a stand alongside one of Holland’s, if not the world's, top whisky writers, Hans Offringa. “It was a great opportunity to connect with readers and network with people who share my passion for whisky. I really valued the experience,” Birdsall said of the event.  

Next weekend on 25 November he will be at the Whisky Live conference in Dublin, followed by Whiskyschiff Zürich 2017 from 30 November – 3 December in Zürich.

Whisky Burn Distilleries of Scotland by Vespa – the Highlands and Islands chronicles Birdsall’s travels in Scotland visiting more than 40 of its well-known distilleries. The book was published by Wittenborg University Press (WUP) in 2015 and is slowly but surely finding its stride among whisky connoisseurs around the world. “Sales are picking up and we are continuously exploring new markets,” said Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall.

Whisky Burn at International Festival in The HagueWUP has teamed up with Whiskyboeken.nl – an online bookseller who was also at the fair - to promote Whisky Burn. Wittenborg also wants to expand the brand Whisky Burn by offering whisky tastings and other products.

In the meantime, Birdsall has just finished the first draft of his second whisky book – the result of visits to existing and upcoming Irish whisky distilleries over the summer, again on his trusty Vespa. He expects the book will be published by the summer of 2018, after it has been proofread and designed. “The second book shares the same format as the first, but the writing process has been very different. With the first one I was something of a novice, while with the second I had more experience and was also able to take into consideration the feedback I got from readers of the first book.”  

Whisky Burn at International Festival in The HagueHow does Irish whisky compare with Scottish whisky? “We should not regard it as one competing against the other,” Birdsall says. “I like to think Irish whisky is complementing Scottish whisky, which has been brewed for more than 200 years, while most Irish whisky is still comparatively unknown. Generally, I think Irish whisky could have a considerable catchment area, with its approachable, sweet and floral lightness.” 

Who are the biggest consumers of whisky in the world? “The French, the Americans and the British.” At this weekend’s whisky festival he was impressed with the quality of the Dutch whisky on offer compared with what it was some years ago. “They are clearly learning to produce good whisky!” 

Whisky Burn at International Festival in The HagueMeeting customers at The Hague fair also gave him an insight into his target market. “Aside from people who genuinely love and want to learn more about whisky, there are also those who like buying whisky books for their spouses, relatives or friends as a great Christmas gift.” 

As a future project, Birdsall is keen to explore the possibility of touring the Japanese whisky distilleries, which is a fast-growing sector of the market.

WUP 20/10/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Wittenborg Celebrates its International Students with Cool New Video Showing its Diversity

The Netherlands has just completed a whole week of events to celebrate its international students. "The Week of the International Student' lasted from 13 – 17 November.

 

 

And that is no surprise given that they are everywhere – more than 100 000 non-Dutch students studying in Holland this year for the first time in the Netherlands' history, as Nuffic’s director-general Freddy Weima pointed out last week at the 30th anniversary gala of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences.

At Wittenborg there is even more reason to celebrate as it is one of the most international institutes of higher education in the Netherlands. Currently there are people from more than 80 different nationalities studying and working at Wittenborg’s 3 locations: Apeldoorn, Amsterdam and Vienna. For the past 3 years there has been more than 100 different nationalities passing through its revolving doors of learning.

The beauty of it all was on show at the gala where international students were asked to dress in their country’s traditional attire. Ahead of the Gala Wittenborg also made a video showing the diversity of its students and staff.

Here are a few cool facts about international study in the Netherlands:

WUP 18/11/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Equality the norm at Wittenborg

Equality the Norm at Wittenborg, says Chair Peter Birdsall"Equality and internationalisation is the norm, not the exception at Wittenborg," the university's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, said at its 30th anniversary gala this weekend.

Birdsall thanked the university's multi-cultural staff who are as diverse as its international student body and said their drive and dedication is what moves the institution forward.

"A higher education institute such as ours - with a focus on management - is not made through prestigious scientific advances or competing with the country’s best and most acclaimed universities. It is made by people. Normal people studying, learning and working together in an exciting and diverse environment, embracing internationalisation, equality and an ethical way of being, not as the exception but as the norm. We can excel in this way."

Equality the Norm at Wittenborg, says Chair Peter BirdsallBirdsall recounted some of the highlights of Wittenborg’s early years. “The seeds of our internationalisation were sown in the 1990s in Deventer, and coupled with the entrepreneurship of higher education, led to the exciting but sometimes bumpy ride that many of us providing English-taught higher education degrees have faced.”

“We learnt that a good student experience was one of the most important aspects of study abroad, notwithstanding the study programme, and we were determined to try and provide this in every way we could.

"I am so pleased that a number of the first graduates of 2005 are here today, Michael having travelled here from Shanghai and Alex from Hong Kong, where they both enjoy good lives and hold good jobs.

Equality the Norm at Wittenborg, says Chair Peter BirdsallIn 2010, Wittenborg moved from Deventer to Apeldoorn, forming a close relationship with the municipality of the city over the years. Today it has locations in Apeldoorn, Amsterdam and Vienna and this year have been recognised as one of the top small universities in the Netherlands and definitely one of the most international in the country.”

Birdsall's full speech can be read here.

WUP 16/11/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Education a Big Export for Holland according to NVAO Director

Education a Big Export for Holland according to NVAO DirectorHigher education is one of the Netherlands’s major exports, but it has to import young talent and that is why educators like Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences are so important.

This is according to Paul Zevenbergen, an executive board member of the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organization NVAO, who was the guest speaker at Wittenborg’s 30th anniversary gala last Friday.

“The Netherlands is well-known for exporting cheese and flowers, but we have something else, something very powerful to export: higher education. And exporting higher education means importing young talent. This is what makes (the work) that educators like Wittenborg do, so important.”

Zevenbergen said the Netherlands is making good progress in achieving its higher education goals, however there is still a long way to go in terms of international orientation although business education is performing well in this regard. “Education should become more student-centred and not have the one-size-fits-all-classrooms approach.”

Zevenbergen congratulated Wittenborg on being ranked as one of the top 4 higher education institutions in International Business Administration (IBA) and on 30 years of making a meaningful contribution to higher education in the Netherlands. “Also congratulations on expanding your activities to Vienna and Amsterdam. This is a confident sign that Wittenborg is doing well and is ready for at least another 30 years!”

Zevenbergen spoke about the “magic of education” and asked guests at the gala to think about how education has changed their lives.

“Education enables us to find our way in life and to help others to do the same. It emancipates in terms of providing opportunities to everyone, broadens our perspective and we learn to think for ourselves. It makes us curious. As Einstein said: ‘I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious.’

“Education also connects people and here at Wittenborg many international connections are made. Connection is what we need most nowadays. Tensions seem to build up. Gaps seem to widen and deepen. But time and time again, when connections are created, tension become detente, gaps are bridged and escalation de-escalates.

“Connection requires mutual understanding, respect, caring for our world and society we live in. Even business boils down to making good deals and good deals are about connecting and delivering mutual benefits. Unless you are in business of exploiting people and Wittenborg certainly does not teach you that,” Zevenbergen told students.

WUP 15/11/2017

by Anesca Smith

©Wittenborg University Press

Wittenborg Adds Value to Dutch Education System says Head of Nuffic, Freddy Weima

Wittenborg Adds Value to Dutch Education System says Head of Nuffic, Freddy Weima'Wittenborg proves that private universities and internationalisation play a very important role in the Dutch higher education system', the director-general of Nuffic, Freddy Weima believes.

Weima was a guest speaker at Wittenborg's 30th anniversary celebration at the Apeldoorn City Hall on Friday. Nuffic is the Dutch agency for the promotion of internationalisation in higher education.

Weima, in congratulating Wittenborg said that international experience adds an invaluable dimension to a student’s training. “International cooperation can really help international relations and peace processes. I think we have to meet the world to understand the world.

Wittenborg Adds Value to Dutch Education System says Head of Nuffic, Freddy Weima"You look at internationalization these days and I think we are doing quite well. For instance, this year for the first time in history the Netherlands welcomed over a 100 000 students – many of them here (at Wittenborg) by the way! The Netherlands is still the non-English speaking country with the most English study programmes.

"Given these realities, I think it is very important that we have institutes like Wittenborg. Wittenborg proves that private universities can also be very important to the Dutch higher education system and internationalisation.

Wittenborg Adds Value to Dutch Education System says Head of Nuffic, Freddy Weima"I am pleased to say that Wittenborg and Nuffic has a very good relationship. For instance, Wittenborg is an enthusiastic participant in our Study in Holland campaign and a welcome guest at the pavilion of the biggest European Fair on internationalization EAIE and an active participant in the Orange Tulip Scholarship. Many more reasons to congratulate Wittenborg again. But I am not only looking backward at those 30 years, but also looking forward to the years to come and cooperating with Wittenborg in the years to come. 'Study in Holland', 'Make it in the Netherlands' and 'Stay in touch, with the Dutch!'."

This week is the Week of the International Student in the Netherlands.

WUP 15/11/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

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