Vision, mission and values

Vision, mission and values

Mission: What Does Howest Stand For?

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  • 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 competent, highly employable, team oriented professionals, able to anticipate the developments in our global society.
  • Howest  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 all its study programmes.
  • 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 in their personal and professional lives.


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  • Howest wants to be a leading actor in the higher education landscape. Anticipating the future is the leitmotiv and the drive. As knowledge centre, Howest wants to strategically anticipate and respond to the needs of society in general and the broad work field. To that end, Howest creates future-oriented study programmes and consciously opts for new profiles. In this way, Howest contributes to turning the brain drain in West-Flanders into a brain gain.
  • Howest is part of the social and economic tissue of its region. In collaboration with industry, the service and care sector and the government Howest constitutes the triple helix that helps to steer and to determine well-being and prosperity. Its study programme portfolio offers all actors the possibility to permanently refine their competences or to acquire new competences.
  • Howest creates inspiring and empowering campuses, meeting places enabling learning, studying, discovering and meeting in a comfortable, inspiring environment and facilitating cross-fertilization and synergy.
  • Howest meticulously selects its staff members. To Howest, they are a critical success factor. Howest has passionate staff members who identify themselves with the mission and the vision. They share and carry out the values of Howest. They inspire and empower each other and their students. They think and act on the basis of an international, professional and practice-oriented context. Their expertise is appreciated by all stakeholders.
  • For its staff, Howest creates a climate in which they get space and confidence to take initiatives. ( Programme) teams are  complementary  taking into account the competences present and the personality of each of the staff members. Autonomy and team work stimulate drive and dynamics.
  • Howest realizes its mission with an open view of the world. When making its policy choices, Howest flexibly anticipates the changing needs of society and the talent of its staff members. This implies that Howest manages the available means in a conscious and durable way. Howest pursues a quality culture in which students, alumni, work field and staff actively reflect and participate.
  • Committed staff members coach the students throughout their study programme. The students develop future-proof competences in a practice-oriented context. In the course of their training, they assume more and more responsibility for their own learning process. With an open mind, they learn from and with each other and with the work field. Multidisciplinary projects in education, research and services create a clear added value and reinforce education. In addition, they also develop international and intercultural competences. Creativity, innovative thinking and acting and entrepreneurship are levers to push their limits and take on new challenges. This makes that Howest alumni are desired professionals.

Our Vision on Society

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In 21st-century society, the focus is no longer in the first place on qualifying, but also on socializing, passing on social values and attitudes, dealing with cultural diversity, connectivity, inclusion, media wisdom and maximally developing talents, with attention to the international dimension.

The transition from a supply-driven to a demand-driven industry caused a turnaround from an industrial society to an information society. In a networked knowledge economy, all staff members, regardless of their level of employment, are expected not only to have achieved the required starting competencies, but also to have developed a number of attitudes that allow them to function optimally.

Vocation-specific competencies are no longer enough to succeed as a professional. Staff members are expected to be team players who adequately and flexibly respond to change and innovation.

Our society attaches a lot of importance to interpersonal skills, such as the ability to work in a team, but also to intra-personal skills, such as open-mindedness, motivation and commitment. Attitudes such as problem-solving thinking, the attitude to constantly sharpen one’s competencies, to work autonomously, but in addition also to communicate effectively with colleagues and stakeholders are required.

Shared Values as a Condition for a Broadly Supported Quality Culture


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 our students also do so. 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-oriented 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.


EMPOWER: Reinforce the Group and the Individual

We believe in ( programme) 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, give them the space to take initiative, within the agreed contours, and to assume liability for their acts. 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.