Our University of Applied Sciences is the only institution in the Netherlands that has received three AISHE stars for all of its bachelor programmes (for all thirteen programmes). AISHE (Auditing Instrument for Sustainability in Higher Education) is an assessment tool for sustainable developments in higher education. A positive assessment leads to a qualification for Sustainable Higher Education.
VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL)'s MVO-audit was rated at 'Approved' level. MVO is a special qualification standard regarding sustainability for Higher Vocational Education, based on ISO26000 - the international guideline for social awareness of organizations. VHL is the first University of Applied Sciences to receive this qualification.
VHL is honoured to have received this qualification, and we see it as a confirmation of being on the right track. Diane Keizer, member of the Executive Board says: 'We believe in a world in which we will continue to make sustainably oriented choices. Topics include climate change, food problems, and the conflicting demands of the natural environment and human communities, as well as of land and water management. All these issues require the attention of professionals whose approach is based on sustainability. In fact, a sustainable approach should come naturally to them.
VHL has an important social role in regard to its teaching programmes and research. This approach will help contribute to a better world, for our current generation as well as for generations to come, through our research, educational programmes and operational management. All of us contribute to this process, including our students. It's great that we now receive recognition for our efforts.'
The degree of sustainable development of every study programme was rated, regarding education, research and organisation management by an audit team from Hobéon. Different aspects of the programme were assessed:
The assessment was based on self-evaluation, a document analysis and consultations with the management, lecturers, students, support staff and people in the work field. They rated to what extent the university is active in the field of People, Planet and Profit regarding its mission, objectives, policies, educational programmes, research, services, operational management, students, professional practice and its culture. No university of applied sciences has ever received three stars for all of its programmes until now.
VHL was rated at 'Approved' level by Hobéon, and received the certification MVO Higher Education. The assessment states that 'The organization is rated at Approved level, because it has developed its social responsibilities in all the areas that were indicated as relevant, and it has achieved good verifiable results, and furthermore they have adequately informed and consulted all those involved.'
Hobéon also mentioned that they were impressed by the competence of our professors and the inspired attitude of professors, lecturers and students when talking about their research projects. The panel was also impressed by the fact that a lot of VHL's projects take place abroad, especially considering the size of the university.
Diane Keizer: 'It's a good start, but we've still got a long way to go. A sustainable approach is not a static process, so we will continue to develop further in this field. Our next objective is to further reduce our waste, CO2 and water footprint. We expect to see results in our future assessments: half of our programmes should be eligible for a four star AISHE rating in three years time.'