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Education and research

Education and research

Education and research are equivalent activities at Fontys. For example, they are closely linked within each study programme. Even stronger: education and research regularly flow seamlessly into one another, for example in our authentic and hybrid learning and research environments, on our campuses or close to (or even at) the future workplace. Here, students, teachers, researchers and professionals literally come together to learn and do research.

Principles of education

Fontys has more than one hundred different study programmes: from dance to accountancy, and from architecture to physiotherapy. Each study programme has its own unique professional context, its own curriculum, and its own way of providing education. We believe that this diversity is a major strength. No one knows better how a profession should be taught than the professionals who work with us. At the same time, frameworks are needed within which programmes can make their own choices. We have laid down these frameworks in five 'principles of learning'.

  • We challenge students to discover and optimally develop their talents.
  • Learning takes place as much as possible in an authentic learning environment (i.e. a situation that 'resembles' the student’s future work environment).
  • Learning means acquiring knowledge and skills as well as exploring and experiencing together. We take 'together' literally: we work together with fellow students, teachers, researchers, and professionals working in the field.
  • The student takes ownership of their learning process. In other words: as a student, we give you as much control as possible over what, how and when you learn. This not only means that our students are given a great deal of autonomy and freedom; we also expect them to show a strong sense of responsibility.
  • ‘Studyability’ is central. By this we mean that we offer a fair balance between challenge and feasibility.

Want to know more about our vision of learning? Read more on Fontys for Society, our strategy for the period 2021-2025.

Talent-oriented Fontys

Fontys not only focuses on students, employees and professionals, Fontys focuses on society. As a public higher education institution, we have an important social task: we develop talent. First and foremost the students’ talent, but also the talent of our staff and of professionals from the region. We welcome anyone who has the appropriate preparatory education and wishes to develop their talent at Fontys.

Variety of programmes

We are an accessible university of applied sciences, as shown by our wide and varied range of courses. We offer courses in all shapes and sizes: bachelors, masters, associate degrees, and customised courses for working professionals. Of course, we offer a wide range of full-time programmes, but we also have part-time and dual programmes. In the future, we will add the professional doctorate, the higher professional education version of the PhD track. Moreover, students no longer encounter any barriers when transferring from secondary education or intermediate vocational education to Fontys, or when they transfer from a bachelor's degree at another university of applied sciences or university to a Fontys master's degree.

Inclusion and diversity

Accessibility translates not only into a broad range of courses, but also into an inclusive climate. Inclusion goes beyond diversity: we want people from all groups in society to come and study (and work!) with us. We also want all these people to feel at home at a public institution like Fontys. Every person is unique, and we all have unique talents. Those talents are also desperately needed in the world around us. That is why our doors are open to anyone who wants to study with us.

Authentic and hybrid learning

Talent-oriented education also responds to the differences in professional skills and work settings required by the sectors or professions for which we offer preparation. That is why our students often work together with lecturers, teacher-researchers, lectors, and professionals from their (future) professional field. We call this an authentic (similar to real-world contexts) and hybrid (cooperation between Fontys and the outside world) learning and research environment; this is where students develop their professional skills. All Fontys study programmes offer such a hybrid environment: on our campus, at a company, or elsewhere in the vicinity of the professional working environment.

Flexible education

If accessibility and talent-focused education are paramount, we must also focus on everyone's individual ambitions, private circumstances, learning methods, and specific learning questions. This is what we call flexible education. Fontys works hard to make its education – part-time, but certainly also full-time – as flexible as possible. Digitalisation (online learning) plays an important role, but it also demands a lot from the content of the courses (curricula), the examinations and scheduling. In this way, we truly give shape to 'lifelong development'.

Practice-based research

Research is a priority at Fontys. Our practice-oriented research, which is often multidisciplinary, brings us nearer to solutions for social issues. We carry out this research in close cooperation with and for the professional field; we connect as closely as possible to the innovation needs of companies and institutions. Our research is not independent of education. On the contrary: the knowledge we develop through research is reflected in the study programmes. Our students also learn and research together with teachers and working professionals in authentic and hybrid learning and research environments.

In 2020, we defined the following four research principles:

  • Research and education are equivalent. They reinforce and enrich each other and are closely linked. Every student and lecturer comes into contact with research.
  • The knowledge, insights, and products generated by our research have an impact on the outside world. In this way, our practice-oriented research contributes to innovations in the field and in society, as well as to science.
  • Our research is linked to social issues and developments in the field. We do not conduct this research alone; we do it together with the business community, social organisations, and fellow institutes.
  • Our research meets methodological standards and the Dutch Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity and we are committed to the principles of open access and open science.

Education: facts & figures

Fontys has 41 lectorates. A lectorate is a network of researchers led by a lector. This professor and their research group are specialised in a certain theme. At Fontys, the lectorates and researchers are all linked to one institute. Of course, multidisciplinary research takes place, to which several lectorates and their researchers contribute. The latter takes place, for example, in so-called centres of expertise (COEs) and knowledge centres. At Fontys, we aim to have at least one centre of expertise or knowledge centre for each of the six knowledge themes.

Research-based education

In addition to talent, we also develop knowledge – knowledge that stems from practice-based research. Fontys wants to be an inquisitive organisation. We ask students to study and acquire knowledge in an investigative manner, and we do the same. Lecturers, teachers, and students, together with partners from the professional world, investigate how they can innovate professional practice. By collaborating, learning, and researching together from different disciplines – both within and outside Fontys – we contribute to solving complex social issues.

Want to know more about research at Fontys? Read more on Fontys for Society, our strategy for the period 2021-2025.

Connecting research & education

Education and research are equivalent, and they are closely linked within each study programme. In fact, education and research often merge almost seamlessly, for example in our authentic and hybrid learning and research environments, on our campuses, or close to (or at) the future workplace. Here, students, lecturers, researchers, and professionals come together to learn and do research.

Multidisciplinary collaboration

Fontys is a broad-based university of applied sciences. This is useful, as the social issues we are looking to resolve are increasingly occurring where disciplines intersect. These so-called ‘wicked problems’ require a multidisciplinary approach. That is why we make as many connections as possible between the many substantive specialisms we have in-house. In learning communities – the authentic and hybrid learning and research environments mentioned above, but certainly also in our centres of expertise (COEs) or knowledge centres – education, research, and the professional field come together physically or online to conduct multidisciplinary research into complex social issues.

Knowledge themes

In its multidisciplinary research, Fontys focuses on six themes that play a role in regional, national, and global society:

  • Creative economy
  • Enabling technologies
  • Future of learning
  • Healthy & inclusive society
  • Smart mobility
  • Sustainability & circularity