Vision, mission and values

Vision, mission and values



Our core values determine the quality culture of our organization: how we think about Howest and how we act in relation to our stakeholders, how we interact with each other in everyday life. Our core values inspire the mission and the vision of Howest, they are the connecting  thread in the strategic plan, and a touchstone in every process.

Working together on a quality culture implies a shared commitment in which experiencing our values contributes to the improvement of the daily practice and the image of our university of applied sciences and arts. It points to a mutual responsibility, in which we share experiences with one another, are open to a development-oriented dialogue and feel owner of the organization.

Not only our staff members participate in the development of our university of applied sciences and arts, but so do our students. Our approach contributes to their empowerment, we actively contribute to their development process. As a result, our students enlarge their ability to adequately respond to the changing professional circumstances.

On the basis of our social engagement, we are convinced that our values contribute to and are embedded in our valorization-oriented research. They are the powerful lever that lifts business life, the services and care sector to a socio-economic higher level.

We expect our staff members and students to share our values and to experience and convey these in an authentic way.

Our values are:

  • Serve: Act on the basis of a service-oriented commitment.
  • Empower: Reinforce the group and the individual.
  • Care: Genuinely care for the other.



SERVE: Act on the Basis of a Service-Oriented Commitment

A service-providing commitment determines the quality of the inter-professional and inter-human relationships. We are convinced that every staff member who truthfully commits to his assignment, his colleagues and his students really makes the difference. As a role model he inspires them to integrate our values in their own relationships.

Enthusiasm, friendliness, commitment and service are characteristics that give an added value to the quality of our education, research and services. Those who have an open mind for other persons, who are prepared to listen contribute to the development of each talent.

Give back to society is the leitmotiv in doing so.


EMPOWER: Reinforce the Group and the Individual

We believe in teams that act on the basis of a shared vision. Passionate staff members, a powerful learning environment and vibrant campuses constitute an inspiring environment that must make it possible for everyone to be the director of his own life.

Those who empower their staff members and students, offer them the scope to take initiative, within the agreed contours, and to assume liability for their initiatives. That is why it is of utmost importance that every staff member, every study programme, every service constantly ask themselves how innovation and creativity can maximally pay off within the contours of scale and available means in the interest of all stakeholders.


CARE: Genuinely Care for the Other

We care for our stakeholders and strive to fill this value in every contact, in every consultation, in every decision. We ask our staff members and our students to share this caring attitude and to express it in their dealings with each other and with the broad work field.

We have attention for individuality, for the talents and the needs of every student and every staff member. For our students and staff members, we create a warm living and learning environment in which everyone can develop as a human and as a professional.
We are convinced of the importance of social commitment.

Especially, we commit to social projects that offer a durable added value


  • Howest, Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen, is an atypical, creative, innovative and enterprising university of applied sciences and arts.

  • Exploring the talents and passion of each student, Howest coaches its students to become team-oriented, competent, directly employable professionals, able to anticipate the developments in our global society.

  • Howest  is a knowledge partner that works in a close partnership with and for the regional and international work field. Consequently, Howest integrates leading, socially relevant and competence-oriented education, valorization-oriented research and services in its portfolio.

  • Howest is an open and pluralistic university of applied sciences and arts, with respect for diversity

  • Howest inspires its staff members and students to integrate its core values (serve, empower, care) in their personal and professional lives.


Howest wants to be a leading player in the higher education landscape. 

Anticipating the future is its leitmotiv and driving force.

In interaction with the business world, the government and society, Howest helps steer and shape well-being and prosperity.

The organisational model of Howest enables synergy with all stakeholders. The policy is characterised by decisive decision-making and creative connections inside and outside the organisation. 

Howest pursues a culture of quality in which students, alumni, work field and staff members actively reflect and participate.

As an inspiring knowledge centre, Howest wants to be the reference university of applied sciences and arts for future-oriented, innovative and creative study programmes, valorisation-oriented research and entrepreneurship. Its study programme portfolio offers all stakeholders the possibility to continuously refine their competencies or to acquire new ones.

Howest wants to be the preferred partner in the social and economic fabric of its region. A conscious choice for profiles that respond to the regional needs turns the brain drain in West Flanders into a brain gain.

A warm university of applied sciences and arts aimed at the development of each talent

Howest aims to develop the unique talents of each student. This implies that students are seen and accepted as they are. Based on its core values of serve, empower, care, Howest focuses on the well-being of the student, paying attention to individual needs.

Students are guided towards the study programme in which they can develop their talents to the fullest.

Committed study programme teams coach the students throughout their entire study trajectory and feel co-ownership for the learning results. Multidisciplinary projects, international and intercultural (learning) experiences create a clear added value and enhance learning.

Engaged and appreciated staff members

For its staff members, Howest creates a climate in which they are given scope and confidence to take initiative. Howest takes care of the well-being of its staff members and offers them every opportunity to permanently develop their competencies and talents. This implies that staff members can maximally develop themselves both as human beings and as staff members, based on their own intrinsic motivation and in response to the needs of the university of applied sciences and arts. 

The staff members of Howest identify themselves with the mission and vision of the university of applied sciences and arts. They share and propagate the values of Howest. They inspire and strengthen each other and their students within teams composed of complementary team members. Convinced of the importance of lifelong learning, they are role models for their students. 

The expertise of the Howest staff members is appreciated by all stakeholders. They think and act based on an international professional and practice-oriented context. They are broad networkers and bring their professional network into the institution. Engagement, competencies and collaboration stimulate drive and dynamics in the teams.

For this reason, Howest chooses its staff members with care and considers them a critical success factor. 

A broad and future -oriented study programme portfolio

Howest captures trends and needs that appear on the horizon, translates them into innovative profiles and integrates them in its curricula and research projects.

Howest offers an answer to the social need and the individual desire to fulfil one's own passion, to fully develop talents and to acquire new competencies throughout life

The Howest portfolio addresses a wide range of target groups and offers a diversified range of courses at different qualification levels. The promotion of flexible tracks for transfer students, micro credentials and other innovative tailor-made tracks are part of this.

To this end, Howest cooperates with regional, national and international partners.

Valorisable research and services

Howest generates impact by focusing on high-quality practice-oriented research of which the results can be valorised and made widely accessible. 

Howest is the privileged partner in the development of innovative products, processes and services and plays an active role in bridging the gap between innovative practice-oriented knowledge and its actual implementation.

Valorisation supports the sustainability of research lines and provides scope for the exploration of new, (internationally) scalable research and application domains. 

Howest stimulates entrepreneurial spirit and supports entrepreneurship among its staff members and students. Research and service activate a potential where passionate students, staff members and work field partners strengthen the Howest community.

A university of applied sciences and arts for the 21st century

In 21st-century society, the focus is no longer primarily on qualification, but also on socialisation, teaching social values and attitudes, dealing with cultural diversity, connectivity, inclusion, media literacy and the maximum development of talents, with attention to the international dimension.

In a networked knowledge economy, all staff members, regardless of their level of employment, are expected to have not only acquired the required starting competencies, but also to have developed a number of attitudes that allow them to function optimally.

With its students, Howest develops interpersonal skills, such as the ability to work in a team, as well as intrapersonal skills such as open-mindedness, motivation and commitment. As a university of applied sciences and arts, Howest actively focuses on refining attitudes such as problem-solving thinking, the ability to constantly sharpen one's own competencies, to work autonomously, but also to communicate effectively with colleagues and stakeholders.

Sustainability and care for society

Howest realises its mission with an open view of the world. When making policy choices, Howest responds flexibly to the changing needs of society and the talent of its staff members. The Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations are a touchstone

As an organisation, Howest sets an example and encourages its staff members, students and partners to reflect on the impact of their choices.
This attitude is reflected in its policy, its study programme portfolio, the design and implementation of its campuses, the choice of its research domains and the partnerships it enters into.

Vibrant and open campuses

Howest believes in the inspiring power of sustainable and open campuses. They are the vibrant biotopes for the learning community of students, staff members and partners. They offer a place where everyone can be themselves, an inspiring habitat.

Supported by the expertise of its study departments, each Howest campus offers a wide range of flexible learning and meeting spaces with catering and entertainment tailored to the needs of the users. 
Connectivity and interaction, accessibility and ample opportunity for networking create complementary real and virtual living environments. They facilitate and reinforce learning, encourage cross-fertilisation and synergy, and show respect for the symbiosis between studying, working and relaxing. They integrate the alumni, the (local) economic and social partners and the neighbourhood in the Howest community. 

Enthusiastic and committed ambassadors

Howest invests in sustainable contacts with its stakeholders.

Convinced of the importance of enthusiastic and committed ambassadors, Howest carefully composes its Board of Directors and its advisory boards.  

As a reference university of applies sciences and arts, Howest creates a fertile biotope that strengthens relationships, taps into every potential and offers opportunities to all actors.

In particular, Howest invests in its alumni and turns them into inspiring ambassadors. They make the university of applies sciences and arts known in their professional environment and form with the university of applied sciences and arts a powerful network of services and entrepreneurship.