Stenden University of Applied Sciences and NHL University of Applied Sciences have merged on 1st of January and is now NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. For the latest information on the university, the courses and application procedure please visit our new website:

Stenden University of Applied Sciences is merging with NHL University of Applied Sciences. Visit

University of Applied Sciences

Internationalisation of Higher Education

Dutch society is becoming increasingly international: our country does business in all corners of the world, we are signatories to many international treaties and agreements, and many of us choose to work abroad – while people from overseas end up finding jobs in our economy. This makes internationalisation all the more important for our education system, and specifically our higher education institutions. Those who want to achieve success in our competitive international society will need to start developing a more international outlook and adapt their actions and attitude accordingly. This, in a nutshell, is the research focus of the Department of Internationalisation of Higher Education. Our objective is to improve our knowledge of how higher education institutions can prepare students for this international role.


Understandably, this process involves more than simply adding an international component to our existing courses or offering students the opportunity to do all or part of their programme abroad. We believe that internationalisation should be integrated into all parts of the curriculum and feel that our students should be aware of how people in other parts of the world work and do business, and should learn to speak new languages and interact with people from other cultures. The role of our university of applied sciences is to foster an environment in which our students learn to adopt this international outlook and develop this sense of awareness. This will enable you as a future employee to take maximum advantage of the positive effects of internationalisation.

If you are interested in the internationalisation of higher education, you may want to look into the opportunity of becoming involved in our research – we regularly invite students to assist with our projects.

Advisory Board

We are supported in our research projects by a number of internationalisation experts, who are all members of the Internationalisation Advisory Board. These members have acquired knowledge of and experience in a variety of disciplines and hail from all corners of the world: they are seasoned professionals with a clear vision of how the internationalisation of education should come about.

Research Group

The Department’s Research Group is headed by Dr Robert J. Coelen, while the other members include many members of staff of Stenden University of Applied Sciences and other educational institutions. The research they conduct on behalf of the Department of Internationalisation of Higher Education tends to be part of their regular everyday work. The members contribute to the Group on an occasional basis, depending on their research needs, and they also serve as liaisons between the Department and students interested in participating in our research projects.


The Research Group currently comprises the following members: Joèlle Hietbrink, Marlies Bockenhauer, Marjolein van der Moolen, Margriet ter Horst, Anja Brandsma, Roelien Bos-Wierda (NHL University of Applied Sciences), Ron Barendsen (NHL University of Applied Sciences), Tialda Dijkstra (NHL University of Applied Sciences), Peter Elting, Marcel Haagsma, Therry Heynemann, Anne Keizer, Diana Leigh, Ellen Maaskant (Pierson College), Inze Meurs, Jellina Timmer, Jet van der Heide, Dymphi van der Hoeven, Wayne Johnson, Maria Angeles Sanchez Carrascal, Caroline de Vries, Uilkje Lageveen, Sirpa Holmström (Haaga-Helia University) and Aleksandra Kovač (Twente University).


If you have any questions about the Research Group or would like to receive more information, please contact the International Affairs Office Manager, Jo Honderd. She can be contacted by telephone at +31 (0)58 244 17 20 or by e-mail at

Professor of Applied Sciences

Professor Robert J. Coelen

Professor Coelen, currently a lecturer and researcher at Stenden University of Applied Sciences, was based mainly in Australia for many years where he worked as a researcher, lecturer and director at various universities. He has been interested in the subject of the internationalisation of higher education for some 20 years, and was and remains a member of various research organisations, committees and advisory boards related to international education, including Club33, a global think tank dedicated to internationalisation issues. He is also the founder of Euroscholars, an association of 12 leading European universities committed to improving international research opportunities for students. He is a regular contributor to national and international conferences.

Professor Coelen has been a Professor of Applied Sciences in the Department of Internationalisation of Higher Education since 2013, where he researches continuous curricular strands (also known as ‘vertical integration’) in internationalisation, from primary education to the workplace, with the main focus being on trends and developments in higher education. His interests form a natural bond with the ITEPS program at Stenden.

Inauguration speech

Professor Coelen delivered an inauguration speech when he was inaugurated as a Professor of Applied Sciences in 2013.


List of all publications by Robert J. Coelen


Cluster Expertise, Services & Research (E.S.R.)
Postbus 1298

Rengerslaan 8
NL-8900 CG Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Professor of Applied Sciences Dr R.J. Coelen
T: +31 (0)58 244 19 52

Office Manager ESR/Academisation Office: Ms Sonja Schuil
T: +31 (0)6 19281329

Stenden University of Applied Sciences and NHL University of Applied Sciences have merged on 1 January 2018 and are now NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences.

For the most up to date information about the university, the courses, and application procedure, we would like to refer you to our new website

The latest news and information about our research activities are both still accessible on