When the latest Choosing Your University Guide was published last Wednesday, the mood was a bit gloomy on the EUR campus, as Erasmus University had dropped more significantly in the rankings than any other Dutch university, compared to last year. This was mainly due to the university’s study facilities being subpar.

“Of course we are not happy with our results as published in the recent University Guide,” EUR spokesman Jacco Neleman said. “Although such studies are useful to us in that they show us what improvements we can make for our students.”

UL renovation to blame

‘Of course we are not happy with our results as published in the recent University Guide’

Jacco Neleman

The Guide, which is published every year to help prospective Bachelor’s students decide which degree programme to choose, assesses universities on several aspects. The criteria include the opinions provided by students in the National Student Survey, experts’ opinions and figures such as drop-out rates and number of contact hours.

According to Neleman, the students’ opinions on the universities’ facilities, and particularly on their study facilities, were the main reason why EUR performed poorly this year. “Out of twenty Bachelor’s degrees included in the Guide, eighteen degrees received much lower scores in 2016 than they did in 2015. These low scores were particularly due to the library and the availability of workspaces.”

UL closed

The spokesman was able to provide an explanation for this drop in the rankings. “It is very likely related to the renovation of our University Library, which has many workspaces. The UL was closed in November 2015, and was re-opened for use this spring, with more workspaces than before. But the National Student Survey was held exactly in the period during which the UL was closed for renovation.”

The authors of the University Guide posited that EUR’s drop in the rankings was probably due to the rate at which the university has grown in recent years. Other universities that have recently seen significant growth (such as Leiden University) did not have a good showing in this year’s polls, either.

Doom and gloom

‘The sharp drop in ranking depends on the degree programme. Some departments are doing very well’

Jacco Neleman

Neleman denies that the university has focused too much on realising growth. “It is true that Erasmus University’s student population has increased in the last few years, and we are doing our best to accommodate all these students. But growth is not an objective in itself. We seek to provide a space for the right students – ambitious students who really wish to make the most of their degrees.”

In closing, the spokesman would like to emphasise that it is not all doom and gloom in Rotterdam. “As for the overall image, the sharp drops in the rankings and lower-than-average scores do rather depend on the degree programme. Some departments are doing very well. For instance, our Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and our Double Bachelor’s Degree involving Philosophy have once again been voted the top programmes in the country.’ Likewise, Erasmus University College was found to be top of the bill.