International Master of Science in Agro- and Environmental Nematology

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. To academically train future nematologists, providing them with all necessary basic and advanced skills and knowledge in fundamental and applied aspects of Nematology. As such the programme fulfills the international need for highly qualified nematologists with a strong multidisciplinary knowledge in the diverse fields of Nematology.
  2. To be a fully international programme with a strong inter-university accent, focusing on knowledge transfer and capacity building in broad areas of Nematology and related scientific disciplines. The development of technical skills and creative problem-solving strategies, critical analysis of problems, and -in particular- addressing problems and needs in developing countries.
  3. To be a center of excellence in Nematology training, recognized internationally as the best place to get master level education in Nematology. The Nematology coordination office functions as the center to bring students, alumni and the broader Nematology network together.
  4. To provide a stimulating environment in which international students together with Belgian students can function freely regardless of their ideological, political, cultural or social background. These differences are treasured by the master programme, as it gives the opportunity to explore different points of view (cf. Multiperspectivism). The coordination office strives to be a “home and family” for its students and to provide additional social services on educational, administrative and personal matters and to organize several extra-curricular activities.

 

Quality assurance: strengths

  1. The master programme in Nematology is unique in the world and is highly recognized internationally for being the main center for education in Nematology. In every aspect and since its start the programme has a strong and integrated international component.
  2. The teaching staff is strengthened by international guest lecturers. Each lecturer is an expert in his/her field and as such it is ensured that the course is carried by researchers who do cutting edge research in Nematology. As such this master programme is a research-based educational programme, embedded in an international network.
  3. Because of the master’s direct connection with and focus on developing countries, the programme is characterized by the integration of a South Component in the curriculum (Kenya track), but also additionally offers satellite training programmes in Ethiopia and Kenya.

 

Quality assurance: focus points with action plan

1. Select the best candidates for the available grants and prepare the incoming students

Action plan:

  • Improve the communication to future students, for example the communication between candidate students and alumni, so that they even know better what is expected from them.
  • The selection of new candidates for the available grants should not only be based on paper but also on (skype/phone) interviews.
  • Continue to improve and fine-tune the BePrep Summer Course (organized by the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering).

2. To get better acquainted with the “real-world” problems in the south

Action plan (in 2018-19):

  • Organize the course Tropical Crop Pests and Diseases and Extension Service Practice.
  • Appoint a guest lecturer from the south with ample field experience, thus a specialist regarding Nematology in developing countries.

3. Improve the financial sustainability of the master programme. The overall coordination of the programme at Ghent University is done by the administrative coordinator and this function depends on external funding.

Action plan:

  • Apply, next to VLIR-UOS funding, for additional grants such as the Erasmus+ grant ‘Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education’.

4. Improve the outreach of our alumni, thus support our alumni to build on Nematology education and research in their home country.

Action plan:

  • Upload, in cooperation with our partners, web lectures, exercises, virtual microscopy clips, links to further information, demonstrations and informative videos on the Nematology Digital Learning Platform (NDLP). This is a tool on Zephyr and available outside the UGent environment.
  • Organize the course Nematology Didactics and Capacity Building.
  • Support alumni financially to be present at international Nematology symposia.