Project introduction and background information
Since 2016, the PC Animal Sciences is working on a renewal (‘re-structuring’) of both the BSc and MSc programmes, to (1) adjust the content of its training to the state-of-the-art in its research domain (‘education follows research’), (2) attract a wide range of (domestic) animal-oriented students, and (3) safeguard the programmes for the future in terms of financial constraints. Several changes to these programmes have already been made such as a broadening of our MAS-programme towards ‘Animal Ecology’ as well as introducing more study tracks per specialisation. In our BDW-programme, we are in the process of changing our current majors to new (‘aggregation level oriented’) ones (EMC 1718). Finally, we want to achieve well-designed programmes, interesting for potential freshmen (both at BSc and MSc level), finally providing the job market with well-equipped graduates.
Objective and expected outcomes
It is of utmost importance to streamline the current on-going restructuring of our programmes with the desire to internationalise our BSc. Despite an enthusiastic team of lecturers and students in our programmes that can and will do major investments to initiate and implement changes in the programmes, we realize that a young - just graduated - professional is far better equipped to work at a steadily pace, to reflect on the common defined goals and to inform the PC and PD adequately and in time.
Results and learnings
- Active students: Changes in the different courses will focus directly on more active learning concepts (buddy system; feedback fruits; portfolio).
- Maintain quality: The issue is that if the programmes do not innovate, chair groups more easily involve technicians instead of lecturers (UD and UHD) in course elements because decreasing student numbers do not allow any staff investments at chair group level. Such changes normally reach the PC at a relatively late stage (2 yrs post implementation).
- Internationalisation of BDW: The already proposed adaptations to the programme will be developed and implemented in the light of the coming change to an international BSc Animal Sciences.
A few activities are executed:
- embedding aquatic and marine elements in the so-called pre-master courses in B2 (P1-P4); these elements replace the former aquatic major, meanwhile assuring that now all students, irrespective their major choice, get acquainted with marine and aquatic species in these introductory and principle-type of disciplinary courses;
- the courses YAS-33306 (Integrated Course on Pigs and Poultry) and YAS-33406 (Integrated Course on Ruminants)will be combined into a new course YAS-3xx06 Integrated Course Livestock; in this new course, elements of a previous course that disappeared from our programme (APS-21803 GSAP) will be incorporated and modules within this new course (approx. 2 cr) will be dedicated to specific species/sectors in the livestock domain; moreover, a higher aggregation level in terms of food security and food safety worldwide will be pursued;
- further implement and monitor the two new majors in BDW (‘Animal management and care’ and ‘Biological functioning of animals’) and regulate the process of implementation of two new courses: one on ‘Animal Ecology’ (B2; common part) and one on ‘Microbes and Health’ (B2; major B);
- development and implementation of ‘common specialisation courses’ in MAS, addressing the theme of that specialisation, potentially re-arranging current thesis-preparing courses; these new common courses should be relevant for all study tracks within a specialisation (see also www.mas.wur.nl);
We intend to further investigate the potential for an on-line MSc-study track (e.g. the APS-study track in the specialisations C and D).