ELS education aims to facilitate the capacity building of individuals and groups with respect to competencies and qualities that address sustainability, responsibility and agency, in particular in the domain of food and life sciences. The broader context and rationale for ELS education is provided by the university and its broader mission. Wageningen University is the only university in the Netherlands with a focus on ‘healthy food and living environment’. It is an international university that contributes to urgent global challenges like climate change and food security by combining scientific disciplines in research and education. WUR students are educated to become academic professionals who have in-depth knowledge and skills in one discipline and additional expertise in at least one other discipline, or in the broader domain of Wageningen University. Students are expected to be able to use various methodologies and approaches, at different scales and levels, and in various contexts and countries. WUR education has a multidisciplinary approach, international and multicultural orientation, and focuses on advanced skills.
Competencies and qualities
ELS education equips learners with a range of interconnected competencies or qualities, namely academic competence, operational competence, and life-world becoming. Academic competence provides the expertise for developing, using and sharing (academic) knowledge and for gaining mastery on a discipline. Operational competence provides the technical know-how to perform well in the world of work. Life-world becoming especially connects learners to the challenges of human life, to what they want to be and can become, and encourages the enhancement of higher order goals for both the individual and society. Next to the mentioned competencies and qualities, ELS education aims to provide learners with state-of-the-art and theoretically sound knowledge on themes such as environmental responsibility, entrepreneurship, HRM/HRD, leadership and the design of teaching and learning processes.
In ELS education a strong theoretical and research-based foundation is coupled with a personal and student centered pedagogy. Theoretical foundation is provided via literature and models or frameworks, by giving operational instructions, by training the students to achieve pre-set learning outcomes, etc. Through a personal and student centered approach we engage students in self-reflexive and critical processes and encourage them to get to know themselves better, to shape their own learning and professional paths and to become self-actualized members of society. Other characteristics of ELS education are that the learning context or environment is adapted to support the personal development of learners, and that technology (ICT), assessment and the role of teachers are seen as supportive to this development. ELS education not only strives for capacity building within the time frame of a particular course, but always embeds or links its education to other relevant WUR domains or programs, and wants to equip learners for life. In ELS education, collaboration with peers and other actors in- and outside education, learning by crossing cultural, institutional or domain borders, personal and societal relevance and innovativeness in learning and education all play an important role.
With respect to education, for the future ELS strives to: