top of page
Chapters Cycle.png


Published within the Tilburg Series of Academic Education

Tessa Leesen & Alkeline van Lenning (eds.)


Common understanding suggests that our age is dominated by a “religion of success”: in human endeavors, failure is either not an option or a major embarrassment. Success brings recognition and entitlement, failure brings ostracism and shame. The religion of success has affected our educational landscape. In order to be successful, universities and academic programs strive to obtain high scores in a wide range of rankings. Study success is often defined in terms of study pace, grade point average and study completion, insufficiently acknowledging the element of learning gain and academic growth. In the recruitment of students for university programs, “excellence” seems to have become a buzzword.


The twelve essays within this book critically reflect on the current discourse on failure, success and excellence within higher education and society at large and illuminate the complexity of these concepts. The book also presents and discusses (educational) initiatives that intend to increase students’ resilience so that they are able to stand ground in the competitive environment of higher education.  


The chapters of this volume are thematically interlinked, and together they form a cycle to underscore their interconnection: 1) Society and Success; 2) Success in Higher Education; 3) Higher Education: Failure and Resilience; and 4) Empowering the Resilient Society.

Order a free copy of the book here 

bottom of page