"Accreditation is a valuable moment to evaluate and improve our education"

20 december 2022

After the positive accreditation of the bachelor’s programmes, it is now time for the accreditation of the Masters of Arts in Fine Art and Design: Artistic Research, Industrial Design, Non Linear Narrative and Photography & Society. Huug de Deugd, chair of the Executive Board of the University of the Arts since this academic year, is part of the process. “As a person who is familiar with accreditation processes, but new in the arts, I serve as a critical friend. At the same time, I am also learning a lot myself.”

The word accreditation sounds boring, but it is super important. Thanks to the accreditation, diplomas retain their value and the programmes' funding will be assured for the next six years. Moreover, accreditation allows us to show the outside world that we meet the highest standards and that quality is not in question.

Huug de Deugd
Huug de Deugd, Foto: Co Knol

Interviews with heads, teachers, students, and alums

“At this moment the team is in the phase of finalising the evaluation report. This report is the result of an intensive collaboration between the Quality Assurance team and the heads of the master’s departments. For this document, interviews with students took place. I will approve the evaluation report and then we will send it to the NVAO,” De Deugd says. “In January, a NVAO-panel will visit the academy and interview the heads of the master’s programmes, teachers, students, and alums. It is always an exciting time.”

The NVAO is a quality assurance agency that safeguards the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders. The panel for the Master of Arts in Fine Art and Design consists of five external experts in the field of fine art and design and in art education at a master’s level. A visit takes place once every six years and checks whether requirements are met.

In line

“Accreditation is a valuable moment to evaluate and improve our education,” De Deugd explains. “It is a moment to consider whether all departments are in line with each other. Do we, for example, think the same about research? It is like taking a photo of where we stand in our development, evaluating it and formulate ideas on how to move forward to enhance our quality."

Another important part of accreditation is how the quality of the education is assured. “I have been part of accreditation processes before, but in the arts the question of how to objectify an artwork is an important one. Which criteria do we use to assess an artwork? I am learning a lot from this myself as well, because I am new in the arts.”

For the accreditation final projects of KABK graduated are evaluated to check if the project meet requirements and our alumni are well equipped to find their ways into the professional practice of art and design. This is the Graduation work of Jeroen van den Bogeart (MA Non Linear Narrative, 2022). Photo: Charlotte Brand

Open to critique

“The NVAO always has feedback for us as an institution and this feedback is always concrete and useful. It is important to not lock yourself up in what you think,” De Deugd says. “This counts for everything. It is important to be open for constructive feedback and critique. This isn’t always easy and sometimes I need to grit my teeth, but it makes us able to grow. This is also what we teach our students. The same counts to me as the chair of the Executive Board and the rest of the community as well. We are all part of a learning environment.”

Whether the accreditation of the master’s programmes will be extended for six years, will be known at the end of the academic year. To be continued!