by Suzanne Unck
When I try to explain my job to people, I notice that everybody has a different view on education in general and especially about honours education. And not just people outside education, but also colleagues from other universities.
It starts with the destinction between ‘honours’ and ‘excellence’. At Utrecht University of Applied Sciences we try to avoid the expression ‘excellence’ for we are talking about an educational concept, based on learning and developing. Our honours education does not exclusively focus on top talents or gifted students. We want to attract ambitious young people who are able and motivated to challenge themselves by doing extra educational activities besides their regular courses. It is the learning process which is the central point.
Honours students are willing to take risks, to explore, to innovate and to create. So it’s not just deepening and intensification, honours education is also about personal and professional development and broadening your scope. Students develop critical thinking skills, entrepreneurial skills and they create value for themselves and society.
Sp please, let’s ban the expression ‘excellence’ or ‘excellent students’ and replace it by ‘honours’ so every ambitious student can develop him- or herself within and above his/her own abilities.