LEUVEN – 15 October 2014 – The Evangelical Theological Faculty (ETF) in Leuven has received a very positive report from the visitation commission of the Council for Flemish Universities and Colleges of Higher Education (VLUHR). The theological programmes have been rated as ‘good’ for all quality guarantees, which means that they have systematically surpassed basic quality. This puts ETF among the top university theological programmes in Flanders and the Netherlands.
In December 2013, as part of the assessment of their education, the quality of the bachelor’s and master’s programmes in Theology and Religious Studies at ETF in Leuven and the KU Leuven was evaluated by a commission of independent experts. The same high score was awarded to programmes at both institutions. In its report, the commission writes that at ETF, it found ‘a very good learning environment, a ‘customer-friendly’ climate in which students felt at home.’
Prof. Dr Andreas Beck, Dean: ‘We are very pleased with the results of this assessment. Our visitation report in 2006 was positive, and on important points we surpassed basic quality. This meant that the programmes then received accreditation by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). Now we are surpassing basic quality on every point. Of course, as a smaller university institution, we also face challenges, but this new report can give us great satisfaction.’
A clear identity in combination with an open view
The commission praised the way in which the ETF retains its Christian identity ‘and at the same time approaches developments in society with an open view’. In the introductory observations of the report, Prof. Emeritus Dr Henk Witte, chair of the visitation commission, wrote that the two faculties ‘both in their own way deal with the tension between identity and openness, manage to stand firm in this tension and seek to make it fruitful. In this way, they train students who are prepared for the context in which they are going to work.’
The report says that graduates of ETF can be ‘widely deployed’. ‘Among other things, they find positions in Church communities, in education or in Christian organisations.’ ‘It is striking that many students are offered jobs where they have done their internships.’
International Master’s program
The commission expressed high esteem for the in-depth and specialised content of the international master’s programme. In this, it was ‘impressed by the critical content’ of master’s theses and ‘clear methodical reflection’.
The commission calls the international character of the master’s programme a trump card: ‘The group of students is quite varied, coming from Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. There is positive interaction between the different groups. The teaching staff are also distinctively international.’
Prof. Dr Patrick Nullens, Rector of ETF: ‘We see this report as an encouragement, but also an assignment. In contrast to most other university institutions, we still have to obtain a substantial part of our working capital from support by private persons and Churches. This keeps us close to the area of employment of our future students. But it is also a real challenge to keep the pressure of work on everyone within acceptable proportions.’
The visitation report (in Dutch) can be consulted at www.vluhr.be/rapporten.