A Broader Mind

Build the education of your future

Our future is an open question. As more and more people struggle with their view of the world, urgent issues such as polarization, climate change and digitalisation challenge us to find innovative solutions. Using only scientific knowledge, the ability to think analytically and classical teaching methods won’t get us there. From students, educational institutions, society and the labour market, there is a call for education that teaches us how to relate to ourselves and a world in transition. A call for people who look beyond their own interests to bring themselves and society to the next level. For leaders who don’t choose for themselves, but start with knowing themselves.

A Broader Mind is supported by the Executive Board of the Vrije Universiteit and is part of one of the profile ambitions. See our VU Formula for more information and contextualisation

A Broader Mind originated from this call. With a growing number of students, teachers and staff members we are building, bottom-up, an innovative educational program for all Bachelor's students at the VU. Central in this are personal development and learning how to deal with social and academic challenges. What are my personal qualities, pitfalls, ideas and ambitions? Who are my fellow students and what can I learn from them? What are the major societal challenges of today? How do I shape my own future and that of others? And what skills do I want to develop to be successful? We are building a program in which you work on your ethical, expressive, enterprising and creative abilities under the guidance of artists, scientists, athletes, politicians and entrepreneurs. In an interdisciplinary, blended program (including both digital and physical learning) you sharpen your academic and professional career, focussing on yourself, the people around you and society. The core of this program is an innovative MOOC in combination with various real-life activities. In doing this we build on the existing knowledge and experience within the VU, For example within innovative educational projects as Gross Academic Value, KnowVU and the Honors program, we use innovative forms of education - ever heard of The Digital Detox, the Taboo Bingo or Servant Leadership? - and do various activities at different locations in the city of Amsterdam.

A Broader Mind is a very ambitious project. In January 2019 we will start with a pilot of 500 first-year students who will take part in the program. The aim is for three programs across the alpha, beta and gamma domains to participate. If the pilot is a success, we will gradually extend the program over the entire Bachelor's phase in all Bachelor's programs in the following years. All Bachelor's students will get the opportunity to follow this extra program and conclude it with an ABM certificate. The VU will share the knowledge and experience that we acquire in the process with universities from all over the world.

In order to realize this ambition, we are developing this pilot with a building team of students, teachers and experts. We are assisted by experienced educational innovators from De Bildung Academie and the program developers of 'A Broader Mind' within the VU.  In recent months, the building team has taken the first preparatory steps. Now it's time to expand. In the building process eight interdisciplinary themes that fit in with personal, academic and social challenges of our time (e.g. Digitization, Rebellion, Poverty, Success and Happiness) are used as guidelines. Each of these themes is approached interdisciplinarily, but is particularly highlighted by one faculty; they show the latest, most exciting and most important developments in this theme, within the discipline. In one joint building meeting per month and in smaller sub-team meetings, these themes are filled in and the coherence is monitored.
Will you experience this educational innovation with us? The VU builds and challenges you to join us and give shape to the education of the future. Together with a diverse group of students and teachers, strengthening your organizational, substantive, creative and entrepreneurial qualities, being part of a broad network of professionals from different social domains.

Joining Building team: 1x per month (+/- 3 hours per month)
Joining Building & Theme team: 1x per two weeks (+/- 10 hours per month)
Kick-off Meeting: 16 May 15: 00h to 18: 00h @ De Kerkzaal HG-16A00

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