Dialogue sessions with students about Tilburg University’s four core values
Like any other business, Tilburg University has a mission statement and a vision. To achieve the goals outlined in them, we operate based on four core values that inspire us and point us in the right direction. This way, we can truly live up to these values. The four core values of Tilburg University are known as the four Cs: Caring, Courageous, Connected and Curious.
“As Tilburg University, we strive to have students experience our core values during their studies and on campus, allowing them to remember Tilburg University as a place that was Connected, Caring, Courageous and Curious. In addition, we hope that this allows students to feel like they have the scope to discover their own values and define them in their own way.”
-Vice Rector Magnificus Jantine Schuit
Importance of familiarization with the core values
Together, we will give expression to these core values, which is why it is important that students know what our four core values are. But how well-known are the four core values? To find out, we decided to organize dialogue sessions with students in consultation with Professor Jantine Schuit, Vice Rector Magnificus. Professor Schuit believes it is important that students experience these values, and states the following: “As Tilburg University, we strive to have students experience our core values during their studies and on campus, allowing them to remember Tilburg University as a place that was Connected, Caring, Courageous and Curious. In addition, we hope that this allows students to feel like they have the scope to discover their own values and define them in their own way.”
Dialogue sessions with students about the core values
Jantine Schuit’s student teaching assistant Janneke Bakkeren organized dialogue sessions to find out how students feel about the core values, what behavior they deem fitting with the core values and what they would like to see from the university. Various proposals were also discussed, with feedback and input from students. Last but not least, students were given the opportunity to submit ideas to be used to help flesh out and develop this project in greater depth. Janneke spoke to a group of Dutch and international students, including board members of study associations SAM, Front IESN and Tigeak.
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More attention to the core values
The sessions proved to be very valuable, as it turns out that students are not very familiar with the institution’s core values at this time. Students actively involved in an association or party are more aware of the values.
Experience of connection with core values
But there is good news too, as students more often connect with the core values, for example through the application process for the Incentive Fund. To submit a proposal you must be able to substantiate how your proposal aligns with the core values. The LGBTIQA+ flag on campus was mentioned as an example of something that fits in visibly with the core values and through which inclusivity is strongly expressed. Night University also contributes to a greater connection with each other and the university. Students indicated that the values can mean different things to different people and as such are personal. Discovering what these values mean to you as an individual and how you can give expression to them is what is particularly interesting.
But we also have our work cut out for us: we need to pay more attention to the values across the board, as reflected in the university’s actions and behavior.
A lecturer’s enthusiasm, also rooted in the core values, can be infectious to students. A lecturer who embodies them well will be able to fill lecture halls even for the most boring courses.
Even more expressions of core values in education
In answer to the question ‘but how?’, students indicate that they expect lecturers to play an important and active role. Ideally, the core values should be implicitly reflected in the education. According to students, a lecturer can encourage students to face up to their challenges and can inspire curiosity about the unknown and their fellow students. Multiple students in the dialogue sessions believed that “A lecturer’s enthusiasm, also rooted in the core values, can be infectious to students. A lecturer who embodies them well will be able to fill lecture halls even for the most boring courses.”
Students are also critical of the university and how we behave. One student indicated that “in certain situations the university would do well to make their position clear. This way, the values will be put to use even more.” We owe it to ourselves and to the connection with the core values to reflect on what we do and whether it fits in with our values each and every time we take action.
Positive examples from the dialogue session
What is a caring, courageous, connected and curious student?
Example from students: A caring student is there for others and offers help and support where needed. A courageous student dares to go that extra mile and out of their comfort zone, for example by going on an exchange, setting up a project that has never been done before or by giving a presentation to a group.
What is a caring, courageous, connected and curious university?
Example from students: The university is caring because it focuses on well-being, for example by sending out emails about training courses on well-being or about grief counselling, for example.
Annual dialogue session
From now on, these dialogue sessions will be held annually, making it possible for students to continue to provide valuable input and work together to shape the core values that are part of our university.
For now, in closing, we would like to pose one important question: When was the last time you felt courageous, curious, connected or caring?
Would you like to find out more about Tilburg University and its four core values? Then please check out Vision, mission, core values | Tilburg University
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