Over recent years the Dutch government has been calling for attention to be given to ‘excellence’ in both academic research and education. Practice shows that this is being addressed typically in a product-oriented manner – adaptation of studies to market needs, selection of high-potential students and more penetrating intake discussions. ‘Excellence’ however goes far beyond this. Educational institutions can also excel by entering into more intense, involved and valuable relationships with their environment. Such relationships can be with school students, current students, alumni, external partners, subsidy sources and commercial enterprises.
Excellence thus not only impacts the institution and its many products, but is also experienced as such by its many partners. Educational institutions need to identify targets with whom they can develop more intense and productive relationships. The targets which educational institutions usually aim for include a numerous, high-quality student intake, reduction of student fall-out, and good study results. And the use of alumni in establishing and improving relationships with commercial interests and subsidy sources. In so doing they change from being a distributor of human talent, to being partner in deploying that talent.
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The author, Herman Heller has extensive experience in change projects in Customer Relationship Management at Dutch universities and polytechnics. Raymond Sparreboom and Janpieter Boekestijn contributed with their practical experience to this article.
Helder Inzicht (www.hi-education.com, www.crmonderwijs.nl)