A Broader Mind

Enabling tomorrow's leaders to approach complex social issues from a multidisciplinary framework, with awareness of their own moral compass

The world is becoming increasingly complex. Issues such as artificial intelligence, aging, climate change and the unequal distribution of wealth require a multidisciplinary approach by responsible leaders. Leaders who are aware of their own moral compass, who can and dare to act ethically and who look beyond their own interests.

The leaders of the future are largely formed during their studies. That is why it is important that there is room for personal and social development at the university, especially now that students are increasingly being encouraged to focus on their own field and have to graduate faster.

Multidisciplinary solutions
This project, made possible in part by the Goldschmeding Foundation and Porticus < / a>, ensures that students at the VU University Amsterdam develop broadly , academically, personally, socially and morally. By also learning to look beyond their own field, they are enabled to solve complex social issues in a multidisciplinary way.

VU University Amsterdam

To this end, the students will devote themselves 40 hours a year during their bachelor’s to the A Broader Mind educational program with the subjects critical thinking, moral sensitivity and social interaction, and the reflection on this. In the program, students learn to view social issues from different scientific disciplines. The students and teachers of the VU University take the responsibility to build, implement and improve the educational program themselves.

The second part of A Broader Mind is formed by Community Service Learning (CSL) activities. Students voluntarily use their academic skills to solve practical social issues. The ambition is that all students who seek further depth are given the opportunity to participate in these activities within their study program.

Results
After a pilot phase in 2019 with approximately 500 students, all students at VU University will eventually follow the A Broader Mind education program. The project further establishes a framework for Community Service Learning. This will be followed in 2019 by a pilot phase in which this form of education will be offered to students.

In order to make the social effect of the project concrete, there will also be a scientific longitudinal study to measure the long-term effects of the A Broader Mind education program and Community Service Learning on the thinking and acting of VU alumni.

Kirstin de Boer en Nynke Rodenhuis Project manager and board advisor at the VU University