Tag Archives: European campus

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.

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Presenting the European campus… but not today

by Alexandra den Heijer

This morning I was looking forward to present my research “The European Campus: an important asset for Europe 2020” in Brussels, for the European Commission (ERAC Working Group on Knowledge Transfer).

this map says it all - source: De Standaard

this map of Belgium says it all – source: De Standaard

But the morning news already showed early signs of the record-breaking traffic jams in Belgium, due to the heavy snowfalls. Maps on the Belgian newspaper website of De Standaard were very graphic (see photo left).

The presentation will be rescheduled, but the hand-out can already be found under DOWNLOADS. The most important message of my presentation is summarized below, based on our research document “Managing the European campus – attracting and accommodating Europe’s knowledge capital” (Dirk Jan van den Berg, president TU Delft and Alexandra den Heijer, associate professor Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft).

“We strongly believe – based on research – that improving (the management of) the European campus is a precondition for attracting and retaining Europe’s knowledge capital, for more competitive EU universities in the global battle for brains and for supporting innovation in the EU economy (strategy “Europe 2020”). In the current European context the university campus can be perceived as a (potential) problem as well as an asset for European universities (and consequently for Europe’s knowledge economy).” The presentation elaborates on both.

from our research "The European campus"

from our research “The European campus”

One of the slides - more propositions about the university campus in 7 European languages PROPOSITIONS

One of the slides – more propositions about the university campus in 7 European languages: see PROPOSITIONS

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Discussing UniverCities in Stuttgart

by Alexandra den Heijer

After two months closer to home – with the exception of an inspiring visit to the European Commission in Brussels – it was time to travel again for a lecture in Stuttgart, Germany. I was invited by Städtebau-Institut Universität Stuttgart, Germany (prof. dr. Helmut Bott), see TOUR or university website for program and speakers.

My last time in Stuttgart – in 2011 – I wrote a post “Managing the Automobile campus” (link), which has some parallels with managing university campuses. I will write more after my lecture, which can already be found under DOWNLOADS.

Geography of Global Top Knowledge base / Overall score - Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, 2012 Data: The Times Higher Education Top Universities rankings 2011-2012

Geography of Global Top Knowledge base / Overall score – Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, 2012
Data: The Times Higher Education Top Universities rankings 2011-2012

PS My presentation also included work of PhD candidate Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel. Some of our publications can be found under PUBLICATIONS. More information about Flavia and her research: FLAVIA CURVELO MAGDANIEL.

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Bohemian academic life in Prague

by Alexandra den Heijer

Yesterday I gave a lecture in Prague, Czech Republic by invitation of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports (Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy) for about 80 representatives of tertiairy education institutions, including many Czech universities.

conference for project EFIN in Prague – two of the three international speakers: Jon File (CHEPS) and Alexandra den Heijer (TU Delft)

The conference was part of the EFIN project (http://efin.reformy-msmt.cz/, only in Czech): promotion and development of effective management principles. I want to thank dr. Aleš Vlk (Alevia) and prof. Josef Basl (main guarantor EFIN) for their hospitality.

Again, it was clear – by the reactions and questions from the audience – that the challenges for universities are the same in many European countries. Struggling with the limited budgets, the increasing demands of students and professors, the low occupancy rates (utilization of space) and the aging campus. However, the cultural heritage and the bohemian quality of place are assets – cards we should play in the global “war on talent”. The trade-off is quantity for quality: less territory, less m2 per user and more quality per m2 and sense of place in return.

During the conference I also learned from the other international speakers Dennis Dunn (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Jon File (CHEPS – Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies). Higher education management – including campus management – is a huge responsibility which requires skills and management information. The latter I hope to supply with every lecture and publication. The hand-out of my presentation – including all photos – can be downloaded (see DOWNLOADS). Below the four propositions that I ‘defended’ during my lecture are translated in Czech, thanks to Aleš Vlk.

1. Each university goal can be frustrated by the physical campus. Každý cíl vysoké školy může být zmařen kampusem / infrastrukturou.

2. It takes a crisis – for example a fire – to change the academic workplace. Ke změně akademického pracoviště může pomoci krize – například požár.

3. The innovative and flexible knowledge economy can bring new life to obsolete industrial heritage buildings. Inovativní a flexibilní ekonomika založená na znalostech může vnést nový život do zastaralých průmyslových historických budov.

4. The campus of the future is a city. Kampus budoucnosti je město.

See PROPOSITIONS for these propositions in 4 more languages – Spanish, French, German and Dutch – translated by native speakers.

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Students bring back life to our campuses, after summer

by Alexandra den Heijer

This week the academic year has started in the Netherlands. I was happy to see the students again for many reasons, including the fact that they really bring back life to our campuses and buildings, after summer. Today, I am in England, enjoying the hospitality of University of Salford. Yesterday I gave a dinner speech (see DOWNLOADS for hand-out) and I got a chance to see parts of their campuses, including MediaCity:UK, a campus they share with the BBC, Adobe and ITV (among others).

MediaCity:UK on a sunny Thursday, 2 weeks before the students arrive

MediaCity:UK is located at Salford Quays on the banks of Manchester’s historic ship canal. The vision is to become a leading international hub for the creative and digital sectors, and a vibrant destination to work, live and play. The students will arrive in two weeks, when the new academic year starts for UK universities. For more information see http://www.mediacityuk.co.uk/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaCityUK.

University of Salford has more campuses and is very much aware of the university’s role in the local economy: “With a turnover of some £180.5m, we take our responsibility towards the city of Salford very seriously. The University is one of the area’s biggest employers and makes a significant contribution to the local economy.” (source: http://www.salford.ac.uk/)

one of the “red-brick buildings” on University of Salford’s campus

In the Netherlands the academic year has started last Monday. I wish our students a very productive and inspiring year. Our building has changed from BK (holiday) village to BK city again…

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Managing the Spanish campus: “El campus del futuro es una ciudad”

by Alexandra den Heijer

Last week I joined the group of directors of estate (campus managers) of Dutch universities to Spain. Together we visited the campuses of 5 universities in and around Madrid and Toledo:

-1- University of Alcalá | Universidad de Alcalá (UAH)
-2- University UNED | Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
-3- Technical University of Madrid | Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM)
-4- University Carlos III | Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)
-5- University of Castilla-La Mancha | La Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM)

Some of lessons and photos can be found below. The title of this post “El campus del futuro es una ciudad” is one of the proposition of my PhD thesis (see PROPOSITIONS). This proposition also applies to (my vision on) Spanish campus development.

University of Castilla-La Mancha, San Pedro Martir building in Toledo

Last week University of Castilla-La Mancha also put a photo and notice of our visit on their website: Noticia UCLM.

P.S. This week I also received a link to a short film that summarized a conference in Barcelona about “Social Learning Spaces” – see post “Inspired in Spain”. The link to the film – on the website of University of Barcelona – can be found below.

Espacios sociales de aprendizaje | UBTV.

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EUA conference “Sustainable Universities”

by Alexandra den Heijer

I really enjoyed the annual EUA conference, hosted by the University of Warwick. I will write more about the content later. My contribution (presentation about innovative campus management) can be found under DOWNLOADS – including a link to my propositions in English, German, French, Spanish and -of course- Dutch: 10 PROPOSITIONS .


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German group in Groningen

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today a German group from HIS (Hochschul-Informations-System) visits Groningen University for a workshop to compare the Dutch and German situation at universities (and university campuses). My contribution to the discussion can be found under DOWNLOADS. Both the inner-city campuses and the Zernike campus looked even more beautiful on this Spring day. As a warm welcome Groningen University added the German flag to the flags in front of their iconic “Akademiegebouw”, see photo below. 20120308-133035.jpg

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Managing the winter campus

Last week in Finland gave me the opportunity to enjoy the first snow of this winter. Every campus looks beautiful covered with snow. Nonetheless, I remember how months of snow challenged all facilities staff last two winters in the Netherlands, to make sure it was “academic business as usual”.


The venue of the seminar was Aalto University’s Venture Garage (Otaniemi campus in Espoo) – see http://aaltovg.com – which also included a “startup sauna”. The topic of the seminar was Future Learning Environments and my keynote merged theory and practice (see downloads) on this subject.

I want to thank Aalto University for their hospitality, especially Suvi Nenonen and Jarkko Leinonen. Something tells me that I will be back soon…

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While students are preparing for exams…

by Alexandra den Heijer

… I am continuing my European winter tour in Scotland and Finland (where I am now, in the snow). Last week’s presentation for University of Strathclyde can be found under DOWNLOADS. This also goes for the spontaneous (thanks to Ana Cristobal) presentation at Page/Park architecture studio in Glasgow (www.pagepark.co.uk), which was the same one I gave in Barcelona early November.

I can not write enough about how blessed I feel to be given these opportunities to meet inspiring people in beautiful cities (and beautiful people in inspiring cities…). I also consider it to be a reward for investing time and money in my own education. I will keep encouraging my students to do the same… and hope they make the best of this semester’s exams.

Note: the photo below was taken last week of University of Strathclyde’s Assembly Hall, just before the students came in.


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