ATLAS: How to utilize diversity for Excellence?

ATLAS, the Academy of Technology and Liberal Arts & Sciences, is UT’s University College.

ATLAS, the Academy of Technology and Liberal Arts & Sciences, is UT’s University College. It started in 2013. The UT wants to create a new, selective honours bachelor’s programme: a university college for top-tier students in sciences (‘beta’) and social sciences (‘gamma’) with a broad orientation. For the students to contribute to tomorrow’s society, they have to develop the attitude of thinking differently. Our graduates will be new engineers, and as students they ask for an open outlook and multiple options. ATLAS therefore is a very good example of UT’s motto, High Tech, Human Touch.

Candidates undergo a selection process. Students vary in their ambition and their background. Their diversity is acknowledged in credited Personal Pursuits. The programme principles also include: aiming for the steepest individual learning curve possible; meaningful learning in team projects, related to the ‘grand challenges’; multiple learning lines to acquire academic skills through personal aims; feedback from experts and peers, instead of grading. ATLAS is a residential college, to support community building, and its students have developed an Honour code.

The UT wants to create a new, selective honours bachelor’s programme: a university college for top-tier students in sciences (‘beta’) and social sciences (‘gamma’) with a broad orientation. ATLAS will also act as a ‘demonstrator’ for educational innovation at the UT. 

The student community, which is diverse, aims at creating innovative solutions to real-world issues. 

Students need to learn to learn and to self-regulate.

Competencies to generalise and to conceptualise prove to be crucial.

Students need and expect timely (individual) guidance.

Diversity in prior knowledge and educational background makes for a very diverse student population; as a consequence, monitoring their progress is a challenge.