How do you improve all services offered to students, teachers and guests at Hogeschool Utrecht (HU)? That was one of the key questions in the emergence of HU Services, the part where all support services within HU were centralised. The answer to this was a large-scale investment in the development of all approximately 950 employees; the so-called Professionalisation Process HU Services. The consultants of Quintop were not only responsible for the project management, but also for the substantive development of the entire trajectory.
Professionalisation in learning communities
Because of the large number of employees, it was chosen to develop on the basis of roles within this professionalisation process. All employees of HU services were, in consultation, divided into one of the six defined roles: Managerial, Advice, Policies, Monitoring & Control, Project Manager and Operations & Services. Subsequently, within each role, learning communities consisting of up to fifteen participants were formed. Each learning community had its own budget and was supervised by a facilitator, who was connected to the learning community as “travel agent”. During the course of five to six months, the facilitator was responsible for building coherence and elaboration with regards to knowledge and skills for the participants.
Design your own development
For each role, a description and development direction were described. These formed the basis for determining personal learning objectives and the “development menu”, from which each learning community could shape its own development trajectory. Various offerings (blended learning) were included in the menus, such as a collaboration game, a company visit, a boxing clinic, creative workshops and several knowledge & skills trainings. Additionally, the learning communities all had an assigned budget at their own disposal.
The philosophy of the HU is based on working in teams. Developing in learning communities was closely connected. Employees with the same role, irrespective of the differences in content, often face the same themes and challenges. By learning in such communities in which ‘learning with and from each other’, was central to colleagues from different (sub) departments. All participants gained valuable insights and increased interconnectedness and quality awareness within HU Services.