Master of Science in Nutrition and Rural Development

Quality assurance

People who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow, that is what we aim for. That is why education at our university is firmly anchored in six major objectives.

  1. Think broadly. Thinking as broadly as possible and offering the opportunity to question oneself. Not only Dare to Think, but also dare to change the way of thinking.
  2. Keep researching. Research is the foundation of our education. Ghent University keeps linking its way of educating to the dynamics of science.
  3. Support Talent. Everyone starts with equal opportunities. Every students gets the opportunity to develop their talents, regardless of gender, cultural or social background.
  4. Build with us. Students, staff, the government and the corporate world all get the chance to contribute to the contents and form of our high quality education. Ghent University is known for its particularly active students in student participation, of which we are very proud.
  5. Push boundaries. We want to prepare our students internationally and interculturally. We give them the opportunity to gain experience across borders. We also open our doors for students from all over the world and welcome teachers and academic staff from abroad.
  6. Choose quality. Constant quality assurance and improvement is an integral part of our culture and we communicate about it openly. We are proud of the level of our university.

Ghent University sees the quality of education as an internal self-evaluation process, in which faculties and programs compare the goals they have set themselves to the achieved results and adjust the policy accordingly. The portfolios constitute an important link in this process. The achieved results are based on quantitative and qualitative information from relevant stakeholders (students, teachers, professional field, international experts, alumni, etc.).The ‘peer learning visits’, the yearly quality meeting and the Education Quality Office (‘OKB’) make sure the PDCA cycle is closed at various policy levels and help to keep the improvement policy sharp.

A detailed description of how Ghent University is constantly paying attention to quality assurance and quality culture can be found in the Ghent University Conduct of Educational Quality Assurance (ERGO).

 

Quality of this study programme

This quality assurance system provides information on the assets, the strengths and the points for improvement for every study programme. A summary for this study programme can be found below:

 

Assets of the study programme

  1. The program builds knowledge on nutrition and rural development: Both quantitative and qualitative aspects are considered, with a particular emphasis on evidence-based approaches and critical appraisal of research to guide and evaluate population nutrition and develop interventions. As such, the program fosters life-long learning and consideration of knowledge and education for development.
  2. The program has a strong emphasis on hand-on competencies and skills: In various courses, students work in teams and carry out joint planning of proposals and discuss evaluations of interventions. The groups are composed out of students with various nationalities and technical backgrounds. Students learn how to defend group work in interactive sessions and evaluation by peers.
  3. Multi-perspective focus: The course has a comprehensive focus on nutrition in populations and in the context of food security and sustainable development.
  4. Applicability: Guest lecturers are invited to discuss experiences and practical challenges of programs and interventions. In addition through the master dissertation, students learn how to define a problem, collect data and develop research informed interventions. Also, students can choose to do an internship, in which the students are exposed to practical challenges when developing programs. As a consequence, alumni are found at different organisations e.g. national governments, United Nations specialised agencies, local and international NGO’s and research institutions across the globe. A considerable share of the students also pursues a PhD.
  5. Integration of research in education: Lecturers are actively involved in research on food, nutrition and development. This research is conducted in national, European as well as global partnerships. Ongoing research findings feeds into the courses and ensures lectures are up to date with the most recent findings and innovations.

 

Quality assurance: strengths

  1. Students have close contact with the lecturers. This includes the tenured academic staff as well as the teaching assistants that take care of the practical courses. Students interact with the staff on both a formal and informal way to discuss research, as well as academic and practical matters related to studying in Belgium.
  2. Educational matters and quality control of the programme are reviewed and guided by an international advisory board. This board is composed out of representatives from national governments, NGO’s, program alumni, UN agencies as well as academic staff of universities in the south.
  3. Students and assisting staff actively contribute to quality control of the program. The education commission meets on a monthly basis to discuss matters related to the quality and organisation of the program. Student representatives are at least 1/3 of the members and have voting rights.
  4. Motivated lecturers with large research expertise. Lecturers in the program are engaged and motivated and come from a wide variety of disciplines. They are international leading researchers in the area of nutrition and devolvement and combine passion for research with education. (number 5 globally according to Shangai ranking 2017 for Food Science & Technology). The international experience and networks of the lecturing staff are highly appreciated by the students.
  5. Strong support from the faculty educational council. An education commission at faculty level provides strong support for the education commission and brings high quality education on the agenda of the faculty staff. Transparent procedures are put in place and regular workshops around quality assurance in education, exchange of good practices between lecturers are organised.

 

Quality assurance: focus points with action plan

  1. The program considers the internship as an integral part of the master program. Albeit not mandatory, students will be even more encouraged to take up an internship in their curriculum. Supported by the staff of the course, students are stimulated to pursue internship options and empowered to develop personal collaborations and networks.
  2. Exchange with other Master Programs in Europe. The program has identified various linkages with other master programs at UGent and in Europe. Students will be even more encouraged to take courses from other programs and gain additional international experiences.
  3. To ensure further integration with other (international and national) Master courses at the Faculty, the education commission of the Master in Nutrition and Rural Development will promote the involvement of more lecturers in the education commission and management of the program.