Story of University College Tilburg
Learning things by heart as much as possible. Listening, paying attention, and shutting up. That is what students in the Middle Ages were expected to do. Fortunately, a lot has changed since the establishment of the first universities in the High Medieval Period: from theologically inspired orations in Latin towards lively debates with international students in English. University College Tilburg (UCTilburg) educates students to become critical, inquisitive, and broadly informed citizens of the world. Students of UCTilburg are active and have a broad international orientation.
A medieval university education started with basic training in the artes liberales, sometimes followed by further education in theology, law, or medicine. The basis of University College Tilburg is in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The ‘arts’ do not refer to painting or poetry, but to subjects that require headwork rather than handwork. The ‘liberal arts’ were liberal in the sense that these studies were considered to contain knowledge essential for a free person.
Inspiring founding father
Willem Witteveen was the founding father of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) in Tilburg. Because he loved poetry, he regularly used poems to lend force to an argument. That LAS – and now UCTilburg – is located in Dante Building is no coincidence. The building was named after Dante Alighieri, the thirteenth century poet, author, and politician from Florence. Willem Witteveen was a free thinker whose life ended abruptly when, on July 17, 2014, flight MH17 crashed in the Ukraine. In 2015, Alkeline van Lenning succeeded him as Dean and established University College Tilburg.
Universitas means ‘a whole’. LAS is thus more than a program. It is a community, a stimulating basis in which everyone is at liberty to discuss anything. A place where education and personal development go hand in hand and where professors are accessible because they are among the students rather than always lecturing in front of a large lecture hall. For that reason, increasingly more Liberal Arts and Sciences programs are setting up university colleges. Therefore Tilburg University will open its University College Tilburg on September 1, 2016. This institution provides the LAS program and offers students a home whenever they wish, a stimulating environment and a comfortable place to have personal contact with fellow students and professors.
Thinkers of the future
The focus of the curriculum is Europa since, from the emergence of the first universities to the present moment, as well as in the coming decades, there has been a steady stream of European themes worth studying. LAS is taught using innovative teaching methods like team teaching, distance courses, and virtual lectures. In the future, LAS will continue to monitor innovations in the area of teaching. In this way, the program will develop further into a stimulating learning environment in the Tilburg Dante Building. You can hear the voices of the inquisitive young thinkers debating here. They may be tomorrows Dantes and Witteveens.