Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Kulak
|Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Kulak|
|Type||Independent/Partly state funded|
|Students||1479  (2016)|
The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Kulak (Catholic University of Leuven Campus Kortrijk), or Kulak is a university satellite campus in the city of Kortrijk (Courtrai) of the KU Leuven. It is the only university in the Belgian province of West-Flanders. Kulak stands for “Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Afdeling Kortrijk" (Catholic University of Leuven Branch Kortrijk). Although the university buildings were upgraded from a mere branch or dependence to a real campus in the late 1990s, the designation of "Kulak" is still used. The main reason for this is that it rolls off the tongue much easier than the new letter construction with its three consonants ending. Located in the city of Kortrijk in Flanders, the Kulak is officially a Dutch-speaking institution.
As the name implies, it is a university campus affiliated with the Catholic University of Leuven situated on the southern rim of Kortrijk. The idea behind this campus is twofold. First of all, Leuven always had a strong portion of its students coming from the West-Flanders region. Yet, many prospective students are wary of moving to Brabant for an adventure that would involve an almost complete rupture with their familiar surroundings. (Also many parents are uncomfortable with the idea of sending their son or daughter straight out of school to a town known for its student bars and parties.) Secondly, the majority of students who quit university do so in their first year. Typically, depending on the studies, the first two years (which give a general but thorough introduction into the whole scope of the subject) draw two to three times as many students as the last three or four (in which the student specializes in one specific field of his subject).
By giving their West-Flemish students the possibility to complete their first two years in Kortrijk, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) offers them a smaller, easier to manage environment closer to their homes (and to their parents' controlling influence). Leuven also benefits as more students in Kortrijk means lesser students in the chronically overcrowded first year lectures in Leuven. Students that have completed the first two years will still move to Leuven (or to any other university, for that matter) to specialize but by then they will be more mature, confident and up to the challenge of a true university town.
With its primary purpose of getting students through the first years of their studies, the Kulak only offers two years of general bachelor studies for the most popular courses, being languages, law studies and medicine. Almost twenty years ago, economics was added to this list, at first in co-operation with the university of Antwerp. Now many other subjects, sciences and pedagogics, are available as well. With the first two years giving a general layout of the subject, there are no specializations, only general chairs, which again adds to the streamlining of the education process.
While the KU Leuven is a patchwork of chairs, lecture halls and departments spread out all over Leuven, the Kulak campus only consists out of one university park with several buildings located on a shallow hill in the "t'Hoge" (the heights) region just south of the citycentre of Kortrijk. About half of the students live either in the university dormitory or in a rented room nearby. The other half lives with their family in the greater Kortrijk region, close enough to drive (or even bike) to the university in the morning and return home for the evening.
The fist academic year started at the KULAK in 1965. Initially, the courses took place in het 'Vormingsinstituut' for SME's, located at the Hoog-Kortrijk area. The first student administration centre was situated in the King Albert Street, in the city centre of Kortrijk. Later, the 'Guesthouse', known as a meeting and lodingplace for foreign researchers and guest professors, was opened.
From the founding of the university campus till now, the amount of courses has been repeatedly enlarged. In 1965, the Kortrijk University Campus started with "Arts and Phylosphy" ('Letteren en Wijsbegeerte') (including Law). Six years later, in 1971, faculties "Medicine" and "Science" (including Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry) were founded. From 1984 onwards, students could enroll in the "Informatics" (ITC) courses, from 1985 in the "Farmacy" courses and from 1986 in the "Biology" and "Bio-Engineer" courses. In the academic year 1991-1992, the "Economics" department started ('Toegepaste Economische Wetenschappen').
In 1970, the StuHu was built: a student home containing a restaurant, a meeting room and several living units. In 1971, the Groene Mote (or the 'dorm') was finished. That same year, the faculty or Arts and Philosophy was opened (currently Building A). The Medicine faculty building was finished in 1973 while the Interdisciplinary Research Centrum (IRC) was inaugurated in 1975.
In 1982, a new building phase started which comprised the erection of a 'student village' and the building of a new Library, Faculty of Science and administration buildings.
In the early 1990s, the new Building B, designed by architect Stéphane Beel, was opened. In 2007 a new enlargement phase started. This phase consisted in the construction of a new student residence, named Corona, to house 81 students and a new building, Building D. Also, the long corridor between Buildings A and B, the so-called "Spina", was enlarged until the new Building E.
Throughout the years, the Kortrijk University has known several rectors:
- 1971 - 1991: Mgr Guido Maertens
- 1991 - 1992: Frans Van Cauwelaert
- 1992 - 1996: Vic Nachtergaele
- 1996 - 2001: Marcel Joniau
- 2001 - 2009: Piet Vanden Abeele
- 2009 - 2013: Jan Beirlant
- 2013 - now: Marc Depaepe
The Campus Kortrijk organises the first years of the following academic bachelor courses:
- Bioscience Engineering
- Economics and Business
- Arts and Philosophy (including languages)
- Chemistry (+ Farmacy and Bio-engineer)
- Biology (+ biochemics and biotechnology)
The Kulak organises a full (three years) academic bachelorcourse in
- Educational Sciences
The Kortrijk University Campus is located in the Hoog-Kortrijk area, in the 'Etienne Sabbelaan'. The campus consists of several buildings, which are all connected with the 'Spina'.
- The Spina is a 120-metre-long volume which connects all faculties.
- Building A
- Faculty of Arts
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
- Campus Library
- Student Administration
- Central hal
- Faculty of Science
- 'Impulscentrum voor Onderwijsvernieuwing'
- Building B
- Faculty Business and Economics
- Postacademic Education (PAV)
- Welcome Desk
- Building C
- Faculty Educational Science (Onderwijskunde)
- Interdisciplinary Research Centrum
- Building E
- Students centre
- Students House with restaurant and bar
- De Groene Mote
- Students Village
The Kortrijk University houses the "Library of the French Netherlands (French: Pays-Bas français; Dutch: Franse Nederlanden)", containing a collection regarding the literature and history of the French Netherlands, and an "Archive French Netherlands" containing documents about the regionalist movements in Northern France.
- More information about higher education in Flanders/Belgium (in English)
- Find an officially recognised programme of this institution in the Higher Education Register
- Website van KU Leuven Campus Kortrijk (KULAK)
- Studentswebsite KU Leuven Campus Kortrijk