FONTYS PROUD HONOURS PROGRAM
Editor: Andreas Meyer, Robert Schirmeyer, Sándor Vajna
Author: van Kollenburg, Peter A.M.; Jeedella, Jeedella; Uzunov, Bozhidar B.V
Institution: 1: Fontys University of Applied Sciences, 2: Student Fontys Electrical and Electronic Engineering
In September 2009 the department of Engineering of Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands has started a pilot honours program for excellent engineering students called Program Outstanding Development (PROUD). Aim of this program is to give those engineering students, who have the ambition, the opportunity to work on extra profession related challenges in their study. By means of this PROUD program Fontys University of Applied Sciences is responding to the wishes of students for extra curricular activities and increasing need from the industry for excellent professionals with an extra level of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. In this paper the courses offered at the Engineering department of the Fontys University of Applied Sciences are discussed. Different study possibilities/routings for students were developed depending on earlier acquainted competences, adaptation abilities to our system (special possibilities for slow starters) and tracking and tracing by intensive study coaching. This resulted in an improvement of the yield of students to 74% of students started in 2008.
After working successfully on reducing the drop out rate of our engineering students the department focused on possibilities for excellent students. The department started the PROUD pilot together with engaged engineering students. In 2008 engineering students have carried out a research among their fellow students, lecturers, other institutes  and industry. This resulted in a quite different approach of an honours program for the department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. In the PROUD program the student is stimulated to personally shape his educational career and to explicitly work on developing his own competences. The PROUD excellent program starts after the first year and extends to at least 3 semesters in the following years.
The student, guided by a supervisor and outside the regular study time, is working on building an excellent portfolio at the university as well as in industry. During this period the PROUD student will work in industry one day a week in average. This is on top of his bachelor educational program. The students will receive an excellent honours certificate together with their bachelor s degree at the end of the study to express their honourable work. Each year about 20 students apply for a place in PROUD but thus far only about 3-4 passed the first interview round. It turns out that student, university and industry are eager to participate in this PROUD program.