As a university of applied sciences or a research university, how do you achieve co-creation with the professional field? What is the added value for all those involved, and what practical aspects require sufficient attention?

Continuous innovation of education through participation and involvement of the professional field is not evident but can produce impressive results. Involvement of the professional field in consultative groups and educational committees has evolved into a common practice that fosters the generic quality of higher education. However, co-creation with the professional field can be taken considerably further. For example, the professional field and the university programmes may collectively substantiate programme components, working formats, and assessment formats that encourage students to learn and to prepare for their future jobs. Or, a business may have students work on a solution to a specific challenge, acquiring a range of skills and knowledge in the process, which will also be of benefit to the professional field, teachers, and fellow students.

Finding one’s way through the many forms of co-creation and co-creation initiatives may be difficult. How can the various learning pathways of all the partners involved be combined into a collective, common goal? What is required to encourage creativity? How can co-creation with the professional field be evaluated?

In the “CO-CREATION WITH THE PROFESSIONAL FIELD”FOQUS magazine, several (international) hands-on experts share their insights and present frameworks illustrated with good practices from higher education in Flanders. The practices and recommendations can serve as inspiration and thus create added value for, e.g., other higher education establishments and programmes embarking on or intending to embark on co-creation. In short, a magazine filled with tips and tricks for both professionals who are already engaged in intensive co-creation with the professional field and those intending to embark on co-creation. Each chapter commences with a theoretical background and subsequently draws increasingly closer to actual practice, with specific examples and projects.

The magazine has been compiled in a co-creation process involving Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences and Arts, PXL University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Antwerp Maritime Academy, LUCA School of Arts, Odisee University of Applied Sciences, Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, and NVAO.

This publication constitutes the first in a series of theme-based analyses within the Flanders higher education sector. Every year, a group of higher education establishments will analyse a specific theme and compile a useful publication sharing good practices. These “system-wide analyses” constitute a cornerstone of the new quality assurance system in Flanders. By sharing good practices, institutions learn from one another, particularly with respect to themes relating to educational policy and programme quality. Next summer will see the publication of a second edition, focused on “internationalisation in the curriculum”.