Bullet Points 2018

asap has committed itself to making sure your voice is heard for almost a decade already. Each year, asap works with a bullet list consisting of ten concrete points to help students make a well-informed decision for the elections. In the coming year (2018/2019), the chosen representatives of asap will do everything they can to achieve these ten points. Extensive explanations can be found on the bottom of this page.

#1 Prioritise personal development
Society puts a tremendous amount of pressure on students to get their diploma within the official allotted time without any delays, because of this, there is increasingly less time and space for personal growth. asap is strongly committed to making sure that the university puts the personal growth of its students first. It is the university’s task to challenge and stimulate students to be their best selves without getting stuck in thinking about maximum cost efficiency, like raising the threshold of the binding study advice (BSA). This does not mean that study delays should be encouraged, but it should be acknowledged that personal growth also happens outside of the university and that this particular form of personal development provides a good base for the student to find the life that suits them and makes them happy. Personal growth comes in many forms and can be achieved in an infinite number of ways: it can come in the form of practical skills, of relationships with others, and of learning about oneself. This personal development also ensures that the student is more prepared for the rest of his or her life. Every student must, during and alongside their education, be able to be their best self and must get the recognition he or she deserves for this. Even if this means they will have a study completion delay. 
#2 Weblectures: part of good education
Weblectures have become an indispensable part of the modern education environment. It is about time that the Radboud University also recognizes this and makes clear regulations about the use of weblectures. Though the discussion about weblectures has been going on for quite some time, a significant part of the lectures is still not recorded and made available online. We are going to change this in the coming year by using a different approach and making agreements with the university about our target percentages. Technical capabilities should not be a problem: recording equipment is already available in several lecture rooms and recorded material can easily be distributed via Blackboard. asap believes that weblectures can benefit the quality of education: if a student, due to circumstances, cannot make it to class, this currently results in them irrevocably missing course material. By providing the lectures online, students do not have to fall behind.

In addition, following extra courses will be easier. Two courses that would normally be scheduled at conflicting times can then both be followed anyway. Moreover, weblectures can contribute immensely to the possibility of flexible studying: if students that, for example, have a large number of extracurricular activities or run their own business want to plan the lecture at another time, they now have a way of being the boss over their own schedule.

Besides that, asap is convinced that students can get more out of their lectures if the course material they have to process is available for a longer time. There will be more opportunity to actually listen and process the material. The possibility to consult the course material at a later time can also be beneficial when preparing for exams. If a student has not quite mastered a certain subject, the recorded weblecture can serve as a good reference tool.

The faculty of law has already proven that this form of digitalization is achievable. About 80% of the lectures of that faculty are already being recorded. asap demands that the university takes on a proactive attitude towards weblectures and would like to see the university help instructors realize that weblectures are part of proper education. 

#3 Make sustainable options more accessible
The Radboud University has to fulfil an important societal role, especially when it comes to sustainability. Though the RU has already made steps towards a more sustainable university, asap sees that a lot more has to happen and that students, until now, have not been sufficiently involved in this process. According to asap, there are still many opportunities to exploit in this area. By delivering students that are aware of the positive consequences of a sustainable way of life, the RU ensures that it also reduces the impact on the environment off campus.

To achieve this, asap would like to see the RU facilitate the sustainable choices its students make. This can partially be achieved with education, but also with proper organization of the university. Education provides the opportunity to make students more aware of the impact that different fields of study can have on sustainability. In addition, the university as an organization has an obligation to make sustainable choices more appealing to students, employees and faculties. It is currently the case that, for example, faculties have to buy their own separation bins for trash. We need to take a critical look at the sustainability of departments and employees. The university should encourage sustainable travelling. 

#4 Integrate international students
Over the past years, the number of internationals that are full-time students at the Radboud University has significantly increased. A big part of the group would like to be more active in the Nijmegen student life but is often confronted with (language)barriers or is poorly informed about the things Nijmegen has to offer. asap would like to see the university offer more support and facilitate integration, for example, by providing intensive language courses for free. On top of that, the available information services need to be expanded. International students are often less familiar with student life than Dutch students who start their education in Nijmegen.

In addition, there is room for the university and student-run organizations to help with welcoming international students. This goes beyond the switch to bilingual communication alone: student-run organizations are, generally speaking, itching to actively involve internationals, but lack the resources or channels to do so. Not only international students benefit from the increased attention to integration. For Dutch students, contact with international students can also be enriching. Together we can make the most out of their student days. 

#5 Protect the free-choice electives
asap also believes it is of great importance for every student to be able to look into different fields of study. Every curriculum should have a minimum number of EC that is free for the student to fill in. For years, the university has been aspiring to be a wide-ranging university and this touches the core: providing space for broader development or even deeper specialization. Though space for free choice of electives should be obvious, there seems to be a trend in which students are more often discouraged to follow courses at faculties outside of their own. A worrisome development that asap wants to bring to a halt.

However, this is not the only barrier that currently has been raised: The choice may be free on paper, but if schedules from different faculties conflict with each other, interfaculty education is hindered. Harmonizing the education schedules plays an important role in facilitating the optimal utilization of the elective space that is offered. Interfaculty education is something that has to be fostered: the best innovations start with a free exchange of ideas. It is of great importance that students from different fields of study get in touch with each other, in this way every student at the university can follow courses from all different faculties. In order to help students orientate themselves, every faculty could make a list of courses that they are especially proud of (best courses guide). This bundle could make education at a certain faculty more comprehensible. In addition, study guides should be created and made available in a uniform format.

Since asap really values the bridging of the gap between education and the job market, asap would like to see the university encourage faculties and departments to arrange the curriculum in a way that the space for electives falls in one and the same semester. In this way, students who want to serve an internship as a part of their job orientation will not experience any problems with the rest of their curriculum. 

#6 Student counselling: not from pillar to post
In the past, more and more positions have been added in the field of student counselling. Often this action has been problem-based: every problem was solved by creating a new position. This makes the student counselling experience less transparent and more clustered. asap would like to see a decrease in the number of employees in the department of student counselling. In this way, asap wants to make student counselling more transparent and thus more effective, without losing essential components of student guidance.

asap envisions an important role for the student advisor: he or she should be able to easily refer a student and make sure you get where you need to be. This will reduce waiting times and makes the help for student quicker and more effective. Student advisors need to be kept informed about the support that the Radboud University can offer to her students, in order for them to fully exploit these resources. Considering the importance of the role of student advisors, asap believes that the quality of counselling should be monitored and students should be able to contribute to the process. The fact that student advisors should provide quality work, is not up for dispute. 

#7 More proper study workspaces
The number of students at the university has strongly increased over the past years. Aside from this, faculties have begun harmonizing their calendars, making proper study workspaces even less widely available during the exam weeks. It has become increasingly clear that there is a shortage of workspaces. Therefore, agreements have to be made about the number of study workspaces that have to be made available per student. asap would like to make a case for sufficient availability of study workspaces. Ideally, these workspaces will be evenly distributed across campus and make accessible during the week.

Furthermore, study workspaces are not always healthy and proper workspaces. In many cases, there is a lack of electricity outlets and the workspaces often do not comply with the minimal requirements to work ergonomically. For students that spend most of their day in one of these spaces, this is unacceptable. When creating new workspaces, primary needs and ergonomics will be seen as priority conditions. 

#8 Good English, but not at the expense of Dutch
The university invests a lot to be able to present itself as an international university. For years, the focus has been on attracting international students. Currently, 11% of the students are full-time international student who aims to complete a master’s or bachelor’s degree at the Radboud University. The internationalization of our university is in full swing. This has several consequences: ever more often the language of choice in the lecture rooms is English. asap noticed that students often have to deal with language barriers. This has to be avoided at all time, no matter what, especially in education. Therefore, instructors and employees that often come in contact with students, should be aided in developing their English language skills. In addition, instructors should also be supported in their educational tasks when they have to teach in English. Students should not be forgotten, as they also benefit from a proper use of English and the absence of language barriers.

In some cases, switching to English is the better solution. However, the importance of Dutch language skills should not be passed by either. asap is committed to only introducing the English language in situations where this is most valuable for students. 

#9 Create order in funding possibilities
 The university offers many different possibilities to support students, student-run organizations and activities. Think of, for example, travel grants, organization and project grants and loans. Unfortunately, applying for a grant or subsidy is often unnecessarily complicated and cumbersome. It turns out that students miss out on a lot of funding and many innovative ideas are not developed due to lack of funding. As a result, the university keeps the resources that could have been spent in a better way. Moreover, the opportunity to use these same resources expires.

asap argues for clear-cut conditions, a clear procedure and transparency in the allocation, so students know where they stand and no money is lost. With clear conditions, there is more room for innovating initiatives that benefit all students. 

#10 Excellence is not the standard
More and more students struggle with burn-out-related problems due to stress and high work pressure. According to asap, this is an undesirable development. One of the most important factors that contributes to this development is the performance pressure that students experience: everything a student does has to be done perfectly. The students who excel are often put on a pedestal, and this proves counterproductive for the other students. The university awards prizes to the best student and put increasingly more time pressure on students by, for example, raising the threshold of the binding study advice (BSA). This focus on return on assets raises the performance pressure among students and reinforced the performance focused culture that they experience. The university refines their emphasis on excellence.

asap argues that a culture change is necessary, one in which excellence in the form of high grades is not the standard that students should have to live up to. It is not about measurable performance, but personal growth and the skills one acquires during their days as a student. By putting less emphasis on high grades and reducing time pressure, the overall pressure to perform that students experience will decrease, and thus student wellbeing and health will improve and will remain improved. Students do not have to compare themselves to other students or the standard of excellence anymore, only to themselves and their own personal development.