Category Archives: research

New publications, positions & projects

by Alexandra den Heijer

We are proud that our 2014 publication “The European Campus” has been distributed to more than 20 different countries (> 400 copies) and has been reviewed by international media like Huffington Post, Times Higher Education Supplement, ScienceGuide (also in Dutch) – see 2014 BOOK more review titles. In the meantime related articles have been published in four different languages (see PUBLICATIONS for downloads and links to publisher’s websites).

recent publications in English, Chinese, German and Dutch - see PUBLICATIONS for links to websites and PDFs to download

recent publications in English, Chinese, German and Dutch – see PUBLICATIONS for links to websites and PDFs to download

This month I have also accepted a new position for 5 months: Guest Professor at Nuremberg Institute of Technology / TH Nürnberg in Bayern, Germany. This is a position for the Summer Term, Studio AEG Campus – transforming industrial heritage – Fakultät Architektur by invitation of Professor Florian Fischer, chair Entwerfen in Theorie und Praxis. For lectures and documentation in German and English, see DOWNLOADS.

At the same time our TU Delft campus team is also expanding with new researchers and together we are exploring some of the subthemes of our Smart Campuses research topic: smart tools on campus (with TU Delft colleagues of Geomatics) and resource-efficient transformation of 60s/70s university buildings (with TU Delft colleagues of Architectural Engineering + Technology). More details will follow!

Leave a comment

Filed under international network, research

Launching our European campus book in Tallinn, Estonia (CESAER seminar)

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today George Tzovlas and I have launched our book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” in Tallinn, Estonia (see cover below).

book "The European campus - heritage and challenges" is available from October 16, 2014

book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” is available from October 16, 2014

About the book and research

The full-colour book (200 pages) contains data of all 28 European Union member states and draws conclusions about the current state of the European campus, highlighting both the heritage and challenges on campus. The target group of our book is decision makers about the campus, from the European Commission and national governments (setting higher education and innovation goals, allocating resources) to policy makers at European universities. The hand-out of our CESAER presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS.

To order the book (price: 29 euro excluding shipping costs), please send a mail to me (a.c.denheijer@tudelft.nl) and provide the following information: (1) name company / person, (2) full address – including (3) reference number customer if applicable and (4) VAT number for companies. We will send you the book and the invoice separately (invoice as PDF by mail).

About the CESAER seminar

We present our research at CESAER’s annual seminar, by invitation of Tallinn University of Technology / Tallinna Tehnikaülikool (TTÜ) and CESAER: the Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research. Every participant (policy makers or board members of European universities of technology) received a book with compliments of CESAER and our university TU Delft. In total 120 copies will be distributed to CESAER members.

impressions of CESAER's annual seminar - CESAER's president Karel Luyben in the upper-left corner, authors Den Heijer + Tzovlas in the bottom-right corner - photographer: Sten-Ander Ojakallas for Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia

impressions of CESAER’s annual seminar – from CESAER’s president Karel Luyben in the upper-left corner to authors Den Heijer + Tzovlas in the bottom-right corner – photographer: Sten-Ander Ojakallas for Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia

Early responses to the book

Many participants welcomed the book with enthusiasm (and wanted a second copy): they are currently rethinking their campus or reinvesting in their facilities and they mentioned that the book is “just in time to support their decisions”. Some offered us to use their campuses as case studies for the next research step or to help with the data collection within their countries (like Lithuania, Belgium and Hungary). Others were proud to recognize their heritage (on the many photos in the book) or their management challenges (coping with underutilization of space, territorial culture, high costs of the campus and energy-inefficiency of buildings). One remarkable fact was that George and I showed a photo of an obsolete lecture hall – without revealing the name of the university – and that more than four (!) universities claimed that it was taken on their campus. The hand-out of our CESAER presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS.

Apart from the management challenges European universities recognized, many are also proud that the book highlights the heritage of European universities and is an invitation to study in Europe, and to enjoy both top-class education and quality of life in European “univer-cities”.

the book "The European campus - heritage and challenges" is available for all participants of the CESAER seminar (board members and policy makers of Europe's universities of technology)

the book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” is available for all participants of the CESAER seminar (board members and policy makers of Europe’s universities of technology) – photographer: Sten-Ander Ojakallas for Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia

Impressed by the TTÜ campus

It is always a privilege to give presentations about university campus at university campuses. In this case we got an opportunity to experience the campus of Tallinn University of Technology / Tallinna Tehnikaülikool (TTÜ). I was impressed by the quality of the facilities, the way this university supports social interaction and how it highlights the academic achievements in the corridors. On top of that, the new innovation and business center “Mektory” (“Modern Estonian Knowledge Transfer Organization for you”) already seems to be successful in connecting starts-ups with industry, investors, the academic community and the many visitors. The building provides many different working environments, including a range of meeting rooms with country themes – each sponsored by the country’s embassy – and aligning with the university’s multinational student population.

IMG_4604

the best alumni of TTÜ in the corridors of the main university building

IMG_4586

group of students working at Mektory, TTÜ’s innovation and business centre

IMG_4587

country-themed meeting rooms at Mektory, sponsored by the country’s embassy

IMG_4589

keeping track of who visited TTÜ’s Mektory – accommodating start-ups – on a world map

Leave a comment

Filed under international network, research

Proud of our European Campus book (almost ready)

by Alexandra den Heijer

Yesterday researcher George Tzovlas and I presented the draft version of our book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” for delegates from the European Commission, the European University Association (EUA) and our own university TU Delft, including our president Dirk Jan van den Berg.

More info about the research project will follow in my next posts – please mail a.c.denheijer@tudelft.nl if you want to be informed, when the book can be ordered.

George Tzovlas and me, just before presenting the preliminary results of our research project "The European campus"

George Tzovlas and me, just before presenting the preliminary results of our research project “The European campus”

Proud of the results so far, and thanking EUA for their support from the start by giving the first copy to EUA's Enora Pruvot (in the background: chairman Hans Beunderman, former dean and vice rector TU Delft)

Proud of the results so far, and thanking EUA for their support from the start by giving the first copy to EUA’s Enora Pruvot (in the background: chairman Hans Beunderman, former dean and vice rector TU Delft)

More about our campus research team @ TU Delft – see CAMPUS RESEARCH TEAM.

Leave a comment

Filed under international network, research

Academic family portrait of the campus research team

by Alexandra den Heijer

Last month we took a photo of the campus research team, which – to our pleasant surprise – resembles a family portrait.

Introducing TU Delft's campus research team - Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, Alexandra den Heijer,  George Tzovlas, Salome Bentinck and Naif Alghamdi

TU Delft’s campus research team – Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, Alexandra den Heijer, George Tzovlas, Salome Bentinck and Naif Alghamdi

Campus team members and their projects:
1. Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel: Technology Campuses in Cities
2. Salomé Bentinck: Knowledge workplace
3. Naif Alghamdi: Sustainable campuses in Saudi Arabia
4. George Tzovlas + Alexandra den Heijer: Managing European campuses

In comparison with the photo that I posted last year – see post Campus team 2013 – Naif Alghamdi joined the group. In his PhD research he will focus on campus management in his native country Saudi Arabia, with lessons from and for many other universities. The following section is a text from his PhD proposal (edited for this post).

“Currently, the government of Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in the higher education sector. Today, Saudi Arabia has twenty-eight universities, of which many are founded between 2003 and 2014. This boom has led to the construction of 16 new campuses in different parts of the kingdom, costing more than €16 billion in total. These campuses are located in cities that have had no history of hosting such institutions. The capacity of new campuses ranges from 10,000 to 90,000 students. According to the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education (2014) more than a million students were enrolled in 2012. The total capacity of the 16 new campuses will be around 776,000 students, increasing accessibility of higher education to a total of almost two million students once these new campuses are fully operational. The total area of campus land is more than 11 thousand hectares. This massive area gives more flexibility for possible future expansions. Such figures send a clear message that these mega-projects should be handled cautiously for the sake of a sustainable future.” (source: Naif Alghamdi, 2014)

comparison NL-Saudi Arabia (source: Naif Alghamdi, 2014)

comparison NL-Saudi Arabia (source: Naif Alghamdi, May 2014) – note: in red “+ 3 last week” (!)

More information about Naif Alghamdi and the other team members can be found on the page CAMPUS RESEARCH TEAM.

Leave a comment

Filed under research

Discussing the campus of the future, in Portugal

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today I was a guest of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Lisbon’s University of Technology. I gave a lecture in the morning, for hand-out: see DOWNLOADS (for more info: see conference website).

After lunch I spent 3 hours with 5 PhD students on related subjects, see photo below.

five PhD students, two professors and (possibly) one student of the future - sharing ideas and space at IST in Lisbon, Portugal

five PhD students, two professors and (possibly) one student of the future – sharing ideas and space at IST in Lisbon, Portugal

It was good to inspire each other with new ideas – this would not have worked so well without meeting each other in person – that is one of my propositions about the campus. And that is also a lesson for the campus of the future.

1 Comment

Filed under international network, research

Campus enabler/disabler for Europe 2020

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today I am giving a presentation about our (European) campus research for delegates of 28 EU member states in Brussels (ERAC network). Below I share the double-sided 1-page summary. Under DOWNLOADS my presentation can be found.

Page 1 of 2 ERAC October 22nd

Page 2 of 2 ERAC October 22nd

More reflections will follow after the presentation. More information about our European campus research can be found on the page RESEARCH: EUROPEAN CAMPUS (2014).

Leave a comment

Filed under research

No clicks without bricks

by Alexandra den Heijer

Last week our president Dirk Jan van den Berg gave a speech in Milan that created a buzz – for the 32nd Conference of Rectors and Presidents of European Universities of Technology. One of his quotes can be found below.

“I would argue that the university system in Europe is at least as determining for Europe’s future as the banking system. We too are too important to fail. So why not conduct a university campus stress test to assess the robustness of Europe’s higher education and research infrastructure. I fear the outcomes will be rather chilling and will call for an extensive overhaul of the existing facilities.”

TU Delft president Dirk Jan van den Berg

He pleads for a university campus stress test to assess both the state of current campuses and the campus strategies, to make sure that the (scarce) resources for higher education are spent in the most effective way. More about this tool and our research “European campus” can be found on the page RESEARCH: EUROPEAN CAMPUS (2014). His speech can be downloaded as a PDF file: 2013-09-28 Milan, Italy – speech TU Delft president DJvdB. A reflection on his speech (in Dutch) can be found on the ScienceGuide website: http://www.scienceguide.nl/201310/te-groot-om-om-te-vallen.aspx

Dirk Jan van den Berg also gave interviews (in Dutch) about the university campus stress test for newspaper De Volkskrant and for radio station BNR – 4-minute interview.

BK city's population is back after summer

BK city’s population is back after summer – working in teams, emphasizing the importance of a physical learning environment, next to all the online learning and online communities

Dirk Jan van den Berg also stated that there will be “no clicks without bricks”, highlighting the importance of a physical place to meet, interact and work. By definition, the university is a market place for knowledge exchange. We can replace some bricks with clicks, but we can’t and won’t replace them all. Without bricks universities are footloose and will neither be rooted in cities nor add value to the regional economy. I would even defend the proposition: without bricks a university can not be world-class (like the proposition: “a relationship can not be very good, when it is only virtual”). The need to physically interact is at the basis of both – see previous blog: “Students become tourists”.

This also became obvious when a combination of TU Delft, Wageningen UR and MIT won the competition for a new Technology Institute in Amsterdam: AMS (Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, but AMS is also Amsterdam’s airport code): see press release website TU Delft. One of the first questions that journalists asked was: “Where in Amsterdam?”. Innovation very much benefits from serendipity and physical interaction between ‘academic acquantainces’, scientists that inspire each other with different perspectives on the same subject (source: research Bentinck 2013 – s.a.bentinck@tudelft.nl) – the success of thinking ‘out of the box’ also reflect this.

In the past weeks – inside our own BK city building – we experienced the importance of physical interaction (next to virtual interaction) in our own curriculum. Physical interaction leads to a higher priority in (the sometimes endless) ‘to do lists’ and to more focus when interacting: non-verbal behaviour is hard(er) to hide and the distraction that a smart phone brings, is easier to suppress when everybody notices.

It has been a very busy period – the end of the summer and the start of a brand new BSc curriculum at our faculty. Nonetheless, the energy of new students is contagious. Certainly when they have a group assignment like making a bridge, demonstrated in the 4-minute movie below. This movie not only makes you want to go back to school – in this case: our own school – it also shows our building BK city at its best.

All of the above made me very proud of my university, my faculty (department) and my colleagues. Yes, our new academic year had a very good start…

Leave a comment

Filed under international network, project BK city, research

Where to study? Students become tourists

by Alexandra den Heijer

If students could study anywhere, where would they go? My theory: they would select their learning environment the same way as tourists do: places with unique qualities – usually cultural heritage – and attractive public space, densely populated areas that encourage social encounters or at least give a sense of place. At the same time many universities in the world are adding new buildings to ‘could be anywhere’ locations – usually isolated campuses – with not much attention for public space or public transport to the city. Of course, researchers that need specialized labs that are only available on specific locations will still come, but more and more university activities become place-independent and flexible to accommodate. Paradoxically, more place independency makes (quality of) place more important. If students can go anywhere, why would they go to your campus or univer-city? Or why would they stay in your univer-city after graduation?

These questions were asked (and answered) in three sessions in the past week:
– June 14, 2013 – 3-hour session about Univer-city Bochum in Germany (see previous post Univer-city Bochum, Germany);
– June 18, 2013 – 2-hour meeting about a common agenda for Delft “Univer-City” with TU Delft’s executive board (College van Bestuur) and the mayor and aldermen of Delft (Burgemeester & Wethouders)
– June 21, 2013 – two 1-hour sessions about the importance of the city for universities at a VSNU retreat for executive boards of all 14 Dutch (research) universities

All three presentations of the past week can be found under DOWNLOADS.

Univer-city checklist, based on TU Delft research (Den Heijer, Curvelo Magdaniel, Bentinck, Tzovlas)

Univer-city checklist, based on TU Delft research (Den Heijer, Curvelo Magdaniel, Bentinck, Tzovlas)

Since the goals of cities (regions) and universities are increasingly similar – attracting and retaining knowledge workers for economic growth or (keeping/improving) their position in the global rankings – the strategic agendas are more and more alike. All the more reason to align them. The lack of resources to plan independently and ‘the brain drain already taking place’ are two more reasons to collaborate – before it is too late (and knowledge workers and their economic value have moved elsewhere).

During these discussions (after my lecture or introduction) the following comments were remarkable:

– in Bochum, Germany (a president of one of the “Hochschulen”): “A substantial group of my employees never visits the city of Bochum – they do not spend any euro here”
– student housing and – after that – alumni housing is crucial (one of the aldermen in Delft): “First house, first child: if you can keep the knowledge worker long enough, they will decide to settle and grow roots”
– in the end “place attachment” depends on alumni finding work – in the meantime: stimulating and accommodating entrepreneurial activities will be one of the collective tasks of university and municipality
– at the VSNU retreat both groups concluded that there are niche Master tracks (i.e. agriculture), world-famous (i.e. Ivy League) universities or unique research institutes (i.e. CERN) that will attract students and other knowledge workers despite their location or quality of buildings, but there are many, many more ‘same quality universities’ that offer similar Bachelor/Master/PhD programmes and compete on other qualities, including their physical (urban) setting.

Studying in Leiden (photo: DUWO)

Studying in Leiden (photo: DUWO)

Students in Delft (photo: DUWO)

Students in Delft (photo: DUWO)

Some facts from research:
EU Study Portals published research (2012) about “reasons to study abroad” – 25% mentioned academic quality, 24% city/culture/country;
– UK research (HEDQF 2012) showed that 1/3 of all students admit to have rejected a university based on the (poor quality of) the physical environment; that does not necessarily mean “buildings in bad condition”, but could also refer to an isolated campus or lack of social space.

Every discussion about the university of the future includes scenarios about increasingly ‘virtual’ universities (also in my own book). Many policy makers state: “Students in 2040 will be completely different: we can not predict how they will behave.” The physical campus will completely disappear? No, because one thing will not change (ever): biology. Let’s face the facts: students are not just attending our universities to learn, but also to meet people, to start relationships – sometimes for life.

Leave a comment

Filed under research

The European campus: Czech Republic

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today I am writing another post from Prague, a city that accommodates more than 120.000 students (data 2013) at least 8 public universities (see map from our research The European campus).

from our European campus research: locations of public universities in Czech Republic (Tzovlas, Den Heijer 2013)

from our European campus research: locations of public universities in Czech Republic – the darker blue, the older the universities (George Tzovlas & Alexandra den Heijer 2013)

I am a guest of Charles University – our hosts are planning extensions to their Albertov campus, close to the old city centre. With more than 50.000 students this university is the largest and oldest (founded in 1348) university of Czech Republic. My presentation can be found under DOWLOADS.

The propositions I ‘defended’ during my presentation, in Czech… (for English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Swedish: see PROPOSITIONS)

flag Czech1. Každý cíl vysoké školy může být zmařen kampusem / infrastrukturou.

2. Kampus budoucnosti je město.

3. Inovativní a flexibilní ekonomika založená na znalostech může vnést nový život do zastaralých průmyslových historických budov.

4. Ke změně akademického pracoviště může pomoci krize – například požár.

For my previous visit to Prague in October 2012, see blog post “Bohemian academic life in Prague”. For a review of my lecture in Czech.

Leave a comment

Filed under international network, research

Introducing my campus research team

by Alexandra den Heijer

This week I proudly added a new researcher – George Tzovlas – to my campus research team. George and I will work on the next publication – “Managing the European campus” – that will be launched at a EUA / TU Delft conference with the same title in 2014.

campus research team: Alexandra den Heijer (associate professor), Salome Bentinck (senior researcher), Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel (PhD researcher) and George Tzovlas (researcher)

campus research team: Alexandra den Heijer (associate professor), Salome Bentinck (senior researcher), Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel (PhD researcher) and George Tzovlas (researcher)

Next to our project “Managing the European campus” the research team is also exploring “Campuses and cities” (Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel) and “The campus as a place to learn, meet and work” (Salome Bentinck).

About the team members:
– George Tzovlas has recently completed my Master thesis “Strategic Management of University Real Estate supported by BIM: An application to the real estate of the Greek University A.U.Th.” (awarded with honours), following his architectural training in his country of origin, Greece. A link to his Master thesis REPOSITORY TU DELFT and to his LinkedIn Profile.

– Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel focuses on the role of the built environment in knowledge-based development. She obtained her BSc degree (Architecture) in Colombia and her MSc degree (Real Estate) in Delft. In-between BSc and MSc she has worked as an architect (4 years of experience). Her Master thesis (awarded with honours) combined both insights from campus management and urban area development. More about her research can be found on this website and through Flavia’s LinkedIn profile.

– Salomé Bentinck has extensive experience as a campus manager in practice (University of Amsterdam) and has been working at TU Delft since June 2011. She focuses on the university campus as a place to learn, meet and work. More about her can be found on Salomé’s LinkedIn profile.

For recent publications of our research team go to PUBLICATIONS.

Leave a comment

Filed under research