Language policy UGent: enhancing academic language skills

UGent wants to develop the academic language skills of its students and lecturers. Language skills are a necessary, but not the only, condition for study success. On 12 October 2017, the Education Council adopted a Language Policy paper (in Dutch).

What is the Language Policy paper? 

In a number of strategic objectives, the Language Policy Paper describes how UGent wants to develop the language skills of students and lecturers for both languages of instruction, Dutch and English. The paper also provides concrete, university-wide initiatives  to achieve the different objectives. Finally, the paper outlines how UGent communicates the objectives and initiatives to the faculties and programmes.

Who drew up the Language Policy paper? 

The Language Policy paper originates from the Language Policy working group, which was formed in the academic year 2014-2015. The working group wants to  promote stronger academic literacy through education. The working group consists of language experts, language policy staff members and representatives of each faculty from all sections. The group meets every three months and is chaired by the Director of Studies. During these meetings, members put new initiatives on the table and evaluate existing initiatives.

Who communicates the Language Policy?

Each faculty sends a professional staff member as representative  to the working group. They are the link between the working group and the faculties. It is their task to inform their own faculty of university-wide actions and to motivate them to get involved . In addition, the language representative can get inspiration from other faculties’ initiatives and apply them to their own faculty. This guarantees language support and guidance for all students.


What objectives does the Language Policy paper pursue at student level?

  • Students know the expected Dutch language starting competencies and compare them with their own language competencies .
  • Students can enhance and further develop their basic Dutch language competencies during their academic careers.
  • Students strengthen their communication skills by working on their language skills.
  • Students whose first language is not Dutch receive additional language support so that their lack of Dutch language skills does not constitute a barrier for study success.
  • Students know the expected English language starting competencies and compare them with their own language competencies.
  • Students can enhance and further develop their basic English language competencies during their academic careers.


What objectives does the Language Policy paper pursue at lecturer level?

  • Lecturers can create a powerful learning environment by stimulating language development in their teaching.
  • Lecturers clearly highlight the language competencies for their course unit in the course sheet.
  • Lecturers can give language feedback.
  • Teachers can assess their students' academic language skills.
  • Programmes implement or optimise a learning path academic language skills.
  • Lecturers meet the expected level of language skills to provide high-quality education.
  • Lecturers have the opportunity to develop their own language skills.


What objectives does the Language Policy paper pursue at the level of communication?

  • Each faculty sends a language representative to the language policy working group. The language representatives serve as liaison between the university-wide working group on language policy and training.
  • The website serves as a standard for academic language skills, both in Dutch and English.
  • Lecturers with questions about language support are welcome to contact the language policy staff members of the Department of Educational Policy.


Want to know more?

Read the full text of the Language Policy paper.


Contact your faculty's language representative.

Last modified Jan. 26, 2023, 10:45 a.m.