About Peter Birdsall
Peter Birdsall is President and Chair of the Executive Board at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences in Apeldoorn. Although small, with 600+ students in 2016, growth is around 25% per year, and it is one of the most international privately funded institutes in the Netherlands, aiming to become a top ranking institute in the field of international management and sustainable business development. Around a tenth of students and staff at Wittenborg are from the Netherlands and the other ninety percent have come from over 100 different countries in the past 5 years.
Wittenborg University is developing 5 schools, currently it offers programmes in the School of Business and the School of Hospitality and Tourism. It is currently part of a European Research project in the field of sustainable energy and will launch its first management programmes in the School of Arts & Technology followed by the School of Healthcare and the School of Education.
Together with Tim Birdsall, Peter manages WiNet, the “Brand Incubator” company associated with Wittenborg, in which training and consultancy brands are instigated, for the benefit of the institute, involving students.
Peter’s career started at the age of 16 when he started the Tickled Pink Theatre Company, and has seen him involved in concerns that have activities such as running a bar, a restaurant, a cleaning company, importing furniture, China consultancy, website design, as well as various training initiatives and a language school.
Peter has also (once) been 'properly' employed, at a state University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands - between 1996 and 2002, with an aim to bring international education to the institute, which succeeded, but also sowed the seeds for the Wittenborg University (ad)venture. : -)
The 2017 Update
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' annual 2017 staff dinner, held at Restaurant "De Brugwachter" in Apeldoorn, was attended by around 95 members of staff and partners.
In a relaxed atmosphere, staff enjoyed good food and the traditional speech held by Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, in which he looked back at the highlights of 2016, before presenting the key events planned for 2017.
A highlight of 2016 was when Wittenborg was commended in parliament by the Dutch minister of higher education, Jet Bussemaker. The minister, in an update on her vision statement from 2014 about internationalisation in Dutch higher education for the period until 2025, singled out Wittenborg as a good example of an institute with an unequivocal international character.
Birdsall informed the party that 2017 would see the new School of Education taking shape with the pending validation of a Bachelors' and a Masters' in Education jointly to be developed with the University of Brighton in the UK. The School of Education is expected to launch mid-2017 with classes starting in 2018. Meanwhile, there will also be quality audits of all Wittenborg's Bachelor programmes in 2017.
The key announcement for 2017 was the Celebration Gala that will be held to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the founding of Wittenborg. The Gala will be held at the Apeldoorn City Hall, on Friday 10th November 2017. Another exciting event to look forward to in 2017 is the opening of Wittenborg's Vienna campus in Austria in September. It will be led by Dr Alexander Bauer, currently a senior lecturer based in Vienna. Birdsall also introduced Wittenborg's new interim Academic Dean, Regina Kecht, and its new international sales director, Tim Birdsall.
"There is continued growth in recruitment and new programmes. We now boast 80 + different nationalities at Wittenborg and we made our first investment in student accommodation with a city campus, housing 35 students, in the pipeline."