Wittenborg Bracing itself for Brexit in 2018 while striving to be a "Benchmark" for Internationalisation in Dutch Education

WPeter Birdsall at Wittenborg New Year Dinner 2018ittenborg Bracing itself for Brexit in 2018 while striving to be a "Benchmark" for Internationalisation in Dutch Education

In 2018, Wittenborg will build on its phenomenal successes of 2017, which includes being ranked one of Holland's top small universities of applied sciences, Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall told staff and guests at its annual New Year's reception.

"We have achieved the consistent and guaranteed international classroom, something other institutions are struggling with." Wittenborg reached totals of almost 700 students in 2017 from more than 100 nationalities. "We have achieved complete diversity and internationalisation within our staffing. We stand out, both locally, nationally and increasingly within the 'study in Holland' international circuit. Let's become a benchmark in the Netherlands for internationalisation in education."

A debate is currently raging within Dutch education circles on the definition of a truly international classroom and what the limits are to accepting international students. Birdsall said Wittenborg occupies a unique position in Dutch higher education. "As a private institute we do things that our public brothers and sisters are struggling with – and quite literally means that some automatically assume we are public, because of what we have achieved and what we represent."

 

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Whisky Burn the Sequel!

Second Whisky Book from Wittenborg University Press Expected by Summer

Second Whisky Book from Wittenborg University Press Expected by SummerAfter the success of his first book, Whisky Burn - Distilleries of Scotland by Vespa, Wittenborg writer Ben Birdsall has just finished the draft for his second book, which this time explores the distilleries of Ireland. It will be published in time for the summer season by Wittenborg University Press. 

Wittenborg student, Rousanna Baird, who has done a marvellous job the past few months in marketing the first book, says the team is about to start drafting a strategy to promote the second. Birdsall toured both established and emerging distilleries in Ireland over the summer on his Vespa, repeating the formula of the Scottish trip.

Wittenborg Strengthens Academic Ties with China as it Signs Agreement with Weifang University

Wittenborg Strengthens Academic Ties with China as it Signs Agreement with Weifang University

Following on from a visit to China last year, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has entered into an inter-institutional agreement of cooperation with the Weifang University of Science and Technology in Shandong, China.

The common goal of the agreement is to promote academic exchange between the Netherlands and China, to enhance mutual education performance, and to strengthen collaboration in areas of mutual interest, so as to develop academic and research cooperation.  

Weifang was represented by two delegates, Mr Jianping Wang and Mr Yanhui Chengh. They were welcomed by Wittenborg CEO, Maggie Feng, and the chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall.

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Wittenborg to offer MA in Education from 2018

Wittenborg to offer MA in Education from 2018Want to pursue a master's degree in education? Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences is pleased to announce that from September 2018 it will offer a Master of Arts (MA) in Education, drawing closer to its goal of creating a broad management university with 5 schools in the next 5 years, including a School of Education.

The programme will be offered full-time (1 year) as well as part-time (2-3 years). Students will learn through a mixture of lectures, taught sessions, tutorials, online learning, group work, independent study and through work-related activities.

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A message for Christmas

A message for Christmas

This is the time of year when we all look forward to a few festive days, away from the incredibly busy lives we all lead, looking back at what has gone, preparing for what is to come.
 
As an ancestor is reported to have said, "Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection." 
 
And what an incredible year it has been at Wittenborg, celebrating our 30th anniversary, welcoming many students from the Netherlands and around the world to Apeldoorn, to our entrepreneurship in Amsterdam, and our new location in Vienna!
 
It was a year in which Wittenborg and its team gained home and international recognition for its internationalisation and its diversity, and for its international programmes. It was a year in which Wittenborg was recognised as being ranked 4th Best Small University of Applied Sciences – a proud moment for students and staff.
 
During 2017 - the Wittenborg family reached totals of almost 700 students and over 80 staff members. Building this great team has been inspiring, and while we welcomed lots of new colleagues this year, we also sadly said goodbye to two important members of the team.
 
We would like to thank sincerely our team of colleagues for making our achievements seem so easy, and for our wonderful students for joining us on this journey.
 
We wish everyone happy holidays, however long or short they may be, and however close or far from home you might be. Go safely!
 
And what of 2018? – That’s for another message!

A message for Christmas

WUP 23/12/2017

by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

 

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Students and staff enjoy festivities at campus Vienna, Amsterdam and Apeldoorn

Students and staff enjoy festivities at campus Vienna, Amsterdam and ApeldoornThis week, students and staff have enjoyed Christmas drinks and snacks at the different locations in the Netherlands and Austria. CEO Maggie Feng joined students in Amsterdam for the Christmas party, and chair Peter Birdsall visited students in Vienna for a festive drink at the famous Christkindlmarkt.

Yesterday students and staff at the main campus in Apeldoorn celebrated the start of the festive season with an informal event at the Irish Pub in the towns central bar and restaurant area.

WUP 21/12/2017

by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

 

 

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Dutch Government Tackles Lack of Housing for International Students - Wittenborg Ahead of the Pack

Dutch Government Tackles Lack of Housing for International Students - Wittenborg Ahead of the PackThe Dutch parliament (Tweede Kamer) has accepted a motion calling for the government to facilitate a new action plan dealing with housing for international students in conjunction with other stakeholders, Nuffic reports. The Netherlands is welcoming record numbers of international students to its shores, but the densely populated country has fallen short of finding accommodation for all.

In the meantime, the new minister of higher education, Ingrid van Engelshoven has urged universities and other institutes of higher education to take the lead in ensuring international students have housing by working together with municipalities and other stakeholders such as housing agents.

Shanghai Students all Smiles and Compliments after Week at Wittenborg

Shanghai Students all Smiles and Compliments after Week at Wittenborg“I don’t want to leave!” Chinese student Zhang Yutong exclaimed, as she and her fellow students from the Shanghai Business School enjoyed their last day at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, after a weeklong visit to the Netherlands. They fly back to Shanghai on Saturday.

The group were treated to a luscious, specially designed cake with their photo on, as they said farewell to Wittenborg students and staff. Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, invited them to come back any time, whether for a short or longer study period. “The aim of this visit is cultural exchange. It is about our students going to China and you coming here.”

Wittenborg Praised as "Innovative" on Dutch Public Broadcaster NPO1

Wittenborg Praised as "Innovative" on Dutch Public Broadcaster NPO1Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences was commended on the Dutch public broadcaster NPO Radio 1 for its “innovative” approach to  education and for successfully creating a truly international institute of higher education where different cultures are celebrated.

Wittenborg directors  Maggie Feng and Peter Birdsall were interviewed on NPO 1 Radio on Monday morning, talking to presenter Prem Radhakishun who is a well-known political commentator and public figure in the Netherlands.

And not only Radhakishun, but also his listeners were impressed by what Birdsall and Feng have  created in just over 10 years: running an institute with over 700 students, of whom 89% are international, at 3 locations in Europe. “You are basically making the world a better place,” Radhakishun said.

Feng, who was born in Beijing, and retains her Chinese nationality to this day, said to study at Wittenborg you have to be impartial to race, colour and creed. “In any of our classes you have about 30 - 35 students from 15 different nationalities. Students choose Wittenborg because of its international character. You have to be 'colour blind' to come here, and you’ll find during your studies you make wonderful international friends and business relations.”

Wittenborg Praised as "Innovative" on Dutch Public Broadcaster NPO1Wittenborg’s decision to have six entry dates per year was hailed by Radhakishun and listeners as “innovative”. Birdsall, who has mixed British and Swiss nationality, explained the idea was actually born out of necessity. “Back in 2006 when we started the current international programmes, students from outside the European Union would have to wait long for study visas to be approved. “We found that, say, students who were supposed to start in September, would only arrive the next January. We created the six entrée dates to facilitate that problem.”

Radhakishun also reminded his listeners of the financial contributions that international students make to the Dutch treasury and how they enrich the local culture. One Dutch caller said he believes the mentality of international students is higher than that of Dutch students. Radhakishun added that the drive to succeed is higher among internationals.

When asked by a listener (via a tweet) what Wittenborg’s plans are for the next 10 years, Feng said they want to open branch campuses in more countries. “Perhaps Spain, London and Shanghai.” Birdsall also explained the decision to open a location in Amsterdam, citing that the city is highly competitive and well-known for its entrepreneurial endeavors. “We believed it would be perfect for our IBA programme in Entrepreneurship.”

Wittenborg Praised as "Innovative" on Dutch Public Broadcaster NPO1Prem Radhakishun met Feng and Birdsall at this year's 'Ethnic Businesswoman of the Year' (EVZN) Awards Gala, at which Maggie Feng was announced runner-up. Radhakishun himself received the 'Presidents Award' in 2016 for his commitment to EVZN as an advisor. He himself presented the awards gala five times in the past.

Radhakishun's (Dutch spoken) programme is called 'Zwarte Prietpraat' and the interviews with Feng and Birdsall can be heard online here: https://www.nporadio1.nl/zwarte-prietpraat/uitzendingen (maandag 11 december)
 

WUP 12/12/2017

by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press

Wittenborg Alumnus Starts African-Inspired Clothing Brand

Wittenborg Alumnus Starts African-Inspired Clothing BrandWittenborg alumnus and writer Anesca Smith recently started her own clothing brand We Be Sisters which sells hand-made, African-inspired clothes for women.

Anesca, how did you get started with your clothing brand?
"I have always adored beautiful, well-cut clothes and discovered many great brands when I worked in London, but never dreamed that I would start my own clothing line. It was only this year when I went back home to South Africa – where women dress in beautiful, bold African-inspired clothes – that I realized I wanted to bring some of that magic back to Europe. 

"Also, the information revolution we are experiencing – including social media – empowers individuals like me to start a web shop with a small budget and limited risk. Finally, Dutch people are very entrepreneurially minded and that is so inspiring."

Where does the name come from?
"I was raised by a matriarchy comprised of my mother, aunts and cousins, and always felt immensely supported by women. I wanted the name – which is derived from a poem by Lucille Clifton – to reflect that. Also, I think all women are beautiful and I want them to feel beautiful in the clothes I make. "

 

Wittenborg Lecturer's Book on Islamic Banking offers "Viable Option"

Wittenborg Lecturer's Book on Islamic Banking offers "Viable Option" Wittenborg lecturer Dr Muhammad Ashfaq has a new book out: “Islamic Banking and Finance in Europe: The Case of Germany and the United Kingdom”.

Ashfaq said the book is the first one comparing Islamic banking in the two countries, and contributes to eradicating the lack of data available on the subject in Europe. It was published by the Peter Lang Publishing Group in Germany and was written as a result of Ashfaq’s doctoral studies on the subject.

“After the financial crisis of 2008-09, there developed a need to understand the Islamic financial system as an alternative. It showed itself to be a viable option,” Ashfaq said.

Wittenborg Lecturer's Book on Islamic Banking offers "Viable Option" According to his research, the Islamic financial industry is growing in Europe. “The qualitative study showed that the success of Islamic banking and finance in the UK is mainly due to the proactive role taken by regulators and London’s role as an international financial centre. Germany’s regulatory model is different from that of the UK in that there are no market entry barriers, and the success of Islamic banking in Germany will largely depend on the operating model of Islamic financial institutions.

WUP 5/12/2017

by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

Wittenborg Students Get Career Tips from Top British Sport Coach

Wittenborg Students Get Career Tips from Top British Sport CoachWittenborg students recently had the privilege to get some career advice from Paralympic coach Dr Gary Brickley who knows all about what it takes to win gold at a top international level. 

Brickley gave a seminar at Wittenborg’s location in Apeldoorn entitled “Three decades of change in sport performance and physical activity”. Besides his work with Paralympic athletes, Brickley is also a senior lecturer at the University of Brighton in the UK, Wittenborg’s main education partner.

Brickley talked about the harsh realities and physical obstacles facing Paralympic athletes who want to reach the top, but also the sweetness of their eventual triumph and how it inspires him as their coach. He listed the various roles he has to play as coach - including advising on doping control in sport and nutrition, admitting that it is a fine line between the two. “In sport, when you go to events like the Paralympics, it is very important that you manage your athletes and what they are eating.”

Brickley also had some advice for students aiming to carve out a career in the sport industry. 

“Work hard at your studies and gain as much experience as you can. Volunteer at big sporting events and talk to people affiliated with the sport industry. It is also important that you choose the right university and the right programme for your studies. Finally, developing your communication skills is very important,” Brickley said. 

WUP 3/12/2017

by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

Wittenborg Set to End 2017 on a High as Student Numbers Soar

ittenborg Set to End 2017 on a High as Student Numbers Soar The growth spurt in student numbers that Wittenborg has experienced in 2017 seems set to continue right to the end of the year, with a steady growth of around 15% student numbers overall.

Yesterday, Wittenborg registrar, Santosh Aryal, said almost 40 new students will start classes next week - double the number of those who commenced their studies in December last year. "In fact, we want to remind prospective students that they can still apply right up to 31 December 2017, as the admissions team will only be 'off-duty' on 25 and 26 December," Aryal said. We are looking forward to the next intake which occurs in February 2018.

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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

Maggie Feng Runner Up Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland 2017

In a close race, the CEO of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, Maggie Feng, was named runner-up for the prestigious 2017 EZVN Business Award on Saturday night at a gala event in Rotterdam. The event was attended by many dignitaries in the private and public sector such as the new Dutch minister of higher education, culture and science, Ingrid van Engelshoven and Mariëtte Hamer, former Dutch politician and now chair of the Social-Economic Council, major economic advisory council to the cabinet of the Netherlands.

Dutch celebrity Jörgen Rayma​nn was host for the awards evening.

Maggie Feng Runner Up Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland 2017

EZVN stands for Ethnic Business Woman of the Netherlands (Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland). The winner was announced as Eveline Wu, chef and owner of four top restaurants in the Netherlands, who was also, like Feng, born in China.

Maggie Feng Runner Up Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland 2017The award was presented by Minister van Engelshoven.

Feng said it was an honour to be nominated and an enjoyable process, during which she met many inspiring women who have clearly achieved and stand out as role models for young woman to rise to positions of management, leadership and help drive entrepreneurship.

Maggie was supported by her husband, Peter Birdsall, who is Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board.

The jury said that they were impressed by her 'directness' in leadership and her drive; 'Maggie Feng is a director who is constantly seeking improvement in the service provided to (Wittenborg) students' and she was described as a 'coaching manager'  who holds the mirror up for her employees and stands for an open and honest working environment.

The jury highlighted that Maggie had said that she would like to be an inspiration for Chinese woman in the Netherlands, many of whom work so hard in the family run restaurants and are never seen.  They mentioned her moto 'long life learning is a general good for everyone', as basically meaning that everyone can and everyone should continue to learn and develop throughout their life.

Van Engelshoven congratulated both finalists and also praised all the candidates for their achievements. Also in attendance was the mayor of The Hague, Pauline Krikke and the secretary of Rotterdam City, Ina Sjerps who previously held the same position in Apeldoorn. Dutch celebrity Jörgen Raymann presented the awards.

Feng, who speaks English, Dutch and Mandarin, grew up in Beijing, China. She studied Engineering Management at the Beijing University of Technology and came to the Netherlands as an exchange student where she met Birdsall. She also has an MSc in Facility Management from the University of Greenwich in the UK.

Besides her job as CEO - which includes being head of Wittenborg’s Research Centre and leading a major EU-funded project in sustainable energy – she is also a jury member of the Apeldoorn Business Awards and ambassador for the annual canal concerts in Apeldoorn.

Maggie Feng Runner Up Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland 2017Maggie Feng Runner Up Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland 2017Maggie Feng Runner Up Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland 2017

The winner was announced as Eveline Wu, chef and owner of four top restaurants in the Netherlands, who was also, like Feng, born in China. The award was presented by Minister van Engelshoven. Feng said it was an honour to be nominated and an enjoyable process, during which she met many inspiring women who have clearly achieved and stand out as role models for young woman to rise to positions of management, leadership and help drive entrepreneurship. 

Maggie was supported by her husband, Peter Birdsall, who is Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board.

The jury said that they were impressed by her 'directness' in leadership and her drive; 'Maggie Feng is a director who is constantly seeking improvement in the service provided to (Wittenborg) students' and she was described as a 'coaching manager' who holds the mirror up for her employees and stands for an open and honest working environment.

The jury highlighted that Maggie had said that she would like to be an inspiration for Chinese woman in the Netherlands, many of whom work so hard in the family run restaurants and are never seen. They mentioned her moto 'long life learning is a general good for everyone', as basically meaning that everyone can and everyone should continue to learn and develop throughout their life.

Van Engelshoven congratulated both finalists and also praised all the candidates for their achievements.

Also in attendance was the mayor of The Hague, Pauline Krikke and the secretary of Rotterdam City, Ina Sjerps who previously held the same position in Apeldoorn.

Feng, who speaks English, Dutch and Mandarin, grew up in Beijing, China. She studied Engineering Management at the Beijing University of Technology and came to the Netherlands as an exchange student where she met Birdsall. She also has an MSc in Facility Management from the University of Greenwich in the UK.

Besides her job as CEO - which includes being head of Wittenborg’s Research Centre and leading a major EU-funded project in sustainable energy – she is also a jury member of the Apeldoorn Business Awards and ambassador for the annual canal concerts in Apeldoorn.

Maggie Feng with Mariette Hamer - Runner Up Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland 2017Maggie Feng with Jorgen Raymann - Runner Up Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland 2017Maggie Feng - Runner Up Etnische Zakenvrouw van Nederland 2017

WUP 26/11/2017

by Anesca Smith & 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

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