Bullet Points 2019 (EN)

Extensive explanations can be found on the bottom of this page.

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 (2019/2020), the chosen representatives of asap will do everything they can to achieve these ten points.

#1 A proper study workspace for every student.
The number of students studying at the Radboud University is on the rise while the number of study spaces remains unchanged. Studying on campus is becoming more popular. Student party asap believes that there should be a sufficient number of study spaces and that these study spaces must be of good quality. This entails that an ergonomic chair and a power outlet should be present at every study place. During the past year, student party asap has been committed to increasing the amount of study spaces as well as the quality of study spaces. However, asap still believes that not enough proper study spaces have been made available yet.

During the past year, student party asap has also been working on making empty classrooms available as study space to avoid congestion during peak hours in the University Library. Next year, student party asap wants to make more efficient use of the available study spaces and increase the accessibility of these spaces by making the availability of free study spaces visible in realtime.

By doing this, rooms with study spaces can be opened up to students based on demand, in term causing less empty spaces to be needlessly heated and lighted. To relieve pressure on existing study spaces on campus, student party asap wants to expand the possibilities for studying at home: student should be able to have access to university software (i.e., SPSS, R, etc.) from home, without additional costs.

Aside from expanding and improving physical study spaces, student party asap believes that there should be better facilitation of on-campus studying. This can be done by, for example, opening the Refter on the weekends during exam periods.

Student party asap has worked on installing gates in the University Library, but the university is not yet willing to accept this proposal. This does not mean that student party asap stops demanding suitable solution for the lack of proper study spaces from the Radboud University, as students should be able to find an adequate study space on campus at all times. That is why student party asap will unabatedly continue to work on providing proper study spaces for Radboud students.

#2 Exams: from hinging point to learning experience.
The Radboud University wants to educate students to become critical thinkers and researchers so that alumni can contribute to society with thorough substantive knowledge. This means that it is not the goal to teach little tips and tricks to get a passing grade on exams. Thus, is not the test result that is the focal point, but the process of learning itself. To achieve this goal we need exams that complement the courses and study materials, exams that test both understanding of the material as well as factual knowledge. Results must provide more insight into the students status in the learning process and what skills and subjects should be further explored and developed. In this way an exam will not become a defining moment, but a learning experience. Student party asap want to invest in the knowledge and skills of the instructors when it comes to testing and providing feedback. Many professors have much experience with creating written exams, but have little experience with testing knowledge and understanding of materials in other ways.

At our university, different curricula have already been restructured to the ‘feedback culture’ instead of the ‘test culture’. In these study programs, learning from your assessments has already been put into practice. Here, measuring the progress is subsidiary, self-reflection and learning from assessments is central.

This is a worthwhile addition to the existing methods of taking examens which, in some cases, consist of too many exams and deadlines. Student party asap believes that the Radboud University has to spend the coming year on applying this experience and knowledge to other study programs.

#3 Meaningful internationalisation.
Over the past years, the number of international students at the Radboud University has increased. Internationalization can be a great enrichment of education, research and culture on our campus. In addition, it is important that internationalization forms a logical addition to education and meets the criteria of an international classroom. Students with different backgrounds (be it culturally, linguistically, on an educational level or on the basis of experience) can improve education by learning from each other, providing that the educational material maintains a universal and international perspective on a subject. To make the international classroom and internationalization at the university a success, asap will promote to the following aspects. The Radboud University  has to: a) properly support and facilitate international students, b) ensure better integration of international students, and c) pay attention to the role of language

a) The Radboud University has to stop recruiting more international students than she can support and facilitate. The arrival of more international students must not lead to a shortage of student accommodation, as is the case in Groningen. In addition, the growth of the international student population may not strain the support for these groups of students

b) An important part of being a student is having contact with other students. Results from the International Student Barometer point out that 37% of the international students does not succeed in building friendships with Dutch students. The university has to put more effort into integrating international students by guiding them in the Dutch student life and by supporting student organizations with welcoming international students.

c) When international students want to study in Nijmegen, an assessment of English language proficiency is part of the application. For a multilingual, inclusive campus, English and Dutch proficiency are not a necessity, but it is desirable. Student party asap commends that the university pays more attention to the Dutch proficiency of international students so that international students can better understand conversations, both inside and outside of the classrooms. Asap specifically wants the Radboud University to expand the Language cafe on campus, as has been initiated by ISN, and start providing free Dutch language courses to non-Dutch speakers (NT2-courses).

In addition, student party asap wants to raise attention for the academic English proficiency among Dutch students. It is not a given that Dutch students, at the start of their academic career, are comfortable with speaking English. Student party asap believes that the improvement of the English proficiency among students should be supported by the university. Even though language proficiency is the student’s own responsibility, paying attention to English language proficiency might contribute to the overall quality of education and the success of purposeful internationalisation.

#4 Well-being, precondition for studying well.
Student well-being has been, partly thanks to previous efforts by asap, recognized as an important focal point by the Radboud University.  In 2015, based on advice of the asap fraction, a survey was sent out among students. The results showed that a big part of the students at the university experiences too much stress and pressure. Following this survey, the university has made many steps to support students with mental health issues over the past years. Student party asap is positive about the support and guidance that students receive, but it still sees points that could be improved.

To avoid mental health issues, it is important that students are able to recognize when they experience too much stress and pressure. A certain amount of stress is normal, but long periods of stress can cause problems.

Student party asap believes it is important that students learn to recognize possible problems and to handle them. Not only do we have to invest in support for students that already have mental health issues, but such problems must also be avoided.

This can be achieved by, among other things, making students aware of the symptoms of such issues and how to cope with stress related issues. In addition, asap believes that students must be properly informed at the beginning of their studies about the range of advisors and support; still  too often it is unclear for students where they can go with their problems.

Student party asap argues that mental health and well-being is a prerequisite for a successful study process. The Radboud University believes it is important that students study in a pleasant way and feel comfortable. Their own well-being is still the student’s responsibility, but according to asap the university has to keep supporting their students in this process.

#5 A pick-up point on campus.
Students can often be found on campus and therefor it can be hard to be at home when online purchases are delivered. Student party asap wants to provide students with the possibility to get your package delivered on campus. This way, students can avoid missing the delivery moment, pick up their package on campus and thus avoid extra delivery attempts of the delivery company. The Radboud University is already working on reducing traffic and greenhouse gas emissions on campus, with the goal: ‘Last Mile Zero Emission’ (to a campus without traffic emissions).

By opening a pick-up point on campus through the existing logistic system of the Radboud University, the new service will not cause extra traffic or emissions on campus. Indeed, both traffic streams in the city as well as emissions will be reduced.

Creating a pick-up point on campus fits within asap’s broader vision tp expand facilities and strengthen the position of the Radboud University as a campus university. In doing so, one could think about broader opening hours of study and catering facilities and an expansion of sports and cultural services.

#6 Improve digital services.
Partly thanks to the program ‘ICT in Education’ ,realize ICT possibilities for lecturers have increased immensely over the past years.  Unfortunately, many tools and innovations have not been sufficiently put to use yet. Possibilities like linking grades in Brightspace and Osiris, building a digital portfolio in Brightspace and using the safe online storage as an alternative to Google Drive are rarely used.

Student party asap has been working on improving these digital services over the past years. Now, student party asap wants to focus on providing beter and more accessible support for lecturers, in order to ensure that lecturers and students can make use optimal use of the opportunities that they are provided with.

During the coming year, student party asap want to realize this by creating a central advice and decision-making body regarding the further development of Brightspace. In this body, both the lecturers and student population have to be represented; after all, they are the primary users on Brightspace. This body has to ensure that there is continuity regarding the development of Brightspace, as well as a consensus between faculties about the development of the online learning environment. By doing this. Brightspace will remain structured and optimally enhanced for all students at the Radboud University and faculty-based differences will be kept at a minimum. In addition, this body can provide advice about the optimal arrangement of courses. On the basis of this advice, support staff could then provide lecturers with individual feedback about the way the online environment is put to use for every course.

Furthermore, the university should provide facilities where the lecturer can commission changes to the online environment; according to student party asap, this could greatly improve the use of the online learning environment.

Student party asap also wants to raise attention for the digitalization of education regarding processes like obtaining an educational qualification for lecturers. Knowledge and practical skills regarding the digital learning environment should be a standard part of obtaining the Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO) and the Comprehensive Teaching Qualification (UKO) for lecturers.

In addition, regular assemblies for lecturers should be organized on department level regarding digitalization. During these assemblies, support staff could share new insights, best practices and opportunities for the future with lecturers. Lecturers should, when they feel these innovation can be of use in their courses, send a commission to the support staff to apply these changes.

#7 Sustainability: practice what you preach.
Within the theme of sustainability, student party asap will be focussing on four points during the coming academic year two that will be visible and two behind the screens. The visible changes can be noticed quickly and will be able to inspire others. The changes behind the scenes will be focussed on the University’s operational management practices and will be less easy to notice, but will be equally important in the process of making the University more sustainable.

Student party asap wants:

Visible changes:

  • A campus that literally and figuratively becomes greener, by letting plants grown on university building roofs (green roof) and by using more plant pots on campus. In addition, studying outside, in, for example, covered outside study spaces with WiFi, should be made possible and attractive.
  • Student associations have to be able to buy resources on a central and sustainable point on campus. This could include sustainable drinking cups, that university already buys in large amounts. Associations should also be able to organize sustainable activities and trips with the support of the university.

Behind the scenes:

  • The Radboud University has to actively research the possibilities to (partly) invest their assets with a bank that has little to no ties with the fossil energy industry, within the applicable rating requirements of the ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).
  • Attention for transparent reporting of the state of the Universities sustainability. For example, currently, the university does not report on the basis of Sustainable Development Goals, even though this could provide new insights. When it comes to sustainability, the Radboud University has made great steps over the past years. Student party asap believes that it is important to keep making steps in the coming year, and, in addition to this, continue monitoring the universities sustainability ambitions to check if these ambitions are sufficient and fit the university’s actions and decisions. This will be based on comparisons with other sustainable universities (and their policies).
#8 An answer to your questions more easily.
Student party asap is committed to providing fast and effective support for students. Over the past year we did this by putting the referring role of the study advisors on the agenda (‘not from pillar to post’). Next year, student party asap want to focus on clarifying the university’s information services, so students can get an answer to their questions more easily.

Currently, the Radboud University website is poorly structured and therefore it takes a lit of effort and time to find an answer. Luckily, a new website is in the making, and asap will keep monitoring the usability of this website for students. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page created by study advisors and other student support staff, would be a worthwhile addition to the current information services, according to student party asap. Such a function is easy and quick to implement and prevent students from going to their study advisors for minor issues.

In addition, student party asap would like the University to develop a chatbot, to complement the new website. A chatbot can help students and staff to explore the new website. It could be an effective way to, at any point of the day, find the right information online. Furthermore, a chatbot could give a quick answer to frequently asked questions and quickly refer someone to the proper contact person by using preprogrammed and automated answers.

Sometimes the information services on the website are not enough and personal online contact is needed. Online consultation hours with student supervisors could be a solution to this. In this way, students do not have to visit the study advisor for minor issues, but personal contact will still be provided. The University already has the right system, but it has not yet used is sufficiently for students. Student party asap want to try this out with study advisors.

If students wish to have a physical appointment, this should also be easy to arrange. Therefor, student party asap wants to provide study advisors with an online agenda for appointments. This has not yet been possible for students of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious studies and the faculty of medical sciences.

An online agenda for appointments also makes it easier to fill-in gaps with students who needs advice at short notice. In addition, student party asap wants to implement an ‘appointment duration indicator’ in the online agenda. Currently it is only possible to make appointments of 15 to 30 minutes, however, with this tool an appointment’s duration can be based on the average duration for appointments on specific issues. The study advisor’s time and the online agenda can then be put to better use.

In short, there are many possibilities to enhance the information services at the Radboud University, so that students can get a quick and easy answer to their questions; creating FAQ pages, implementing a chatbot, setting up online consultations and providing all faculties with an online agenda with appointment duration indicator.

#9 Stimulate broad development.
Since the introduction of the student loan system in 2015, students have been more incline to finish their studies as quick as possible. Finishing your studies without a delay should not be the defining factor in a student’s academic career (or the support a student get). Students should get the time and space to develop themselves in a broader sense.

The university is a place where students can develop themselves and prepare themselves for the rest of their life. Students have many ways of actively engaging with activities outside of their studies and these efforts should be acknowledged. Examples are, among others, informal care, athletics and entrepreneurial efforts.

Student party asap want to provide students with more opportunities to ensure individual growth within the curricula, focussed on the student’s (academic) future. Asap believes, for example, that as of next year, students should be able to develop themselves in the field of education. In many study programs it is standard to get educated on research skills and management skills, but educational skills are often left behind. Next year, student part asap wants to provide students with the opportunity to start developing their educational skills by obtaining their teachers degree during their studies. Asap also want to raise attention and acknowledgement for members of student boards, by maintaining and expanding the board certificates, as they are now included with a student’s degree if the student has been a member of a board.

As mentioned above, there are many possibilities for students to further develop themselves, within and outside of the academic environment. Unfortunately, the curriculum has not yet been designed to make this possible. Broader development can entail many things, such as becoming part of a student board, following a second study program or extra curricular courses, practicing sports at a high level or taking part in cultural activities.

When a student deviate from the standard path, there is a chance that they will run into obstacles which they have to overcome themselves. Examples are study delays, uncertainties about opportunities and possibilities, planning your studies in combination with other activities. Student party asap started working on the pilot ‘flexible studying’ and will keep on doing so. The pilot helps to create time and space for students to combine their studies with broader development. Asap believes the target group for flexible studying should be expanded by, for example, opening it up to students who follow more than one study program.

Student party asap believes in a university where the student’s development is the central concern and where policies are designed to actively stimulate activities outside of a study program. Next year, asap will be focussing on breaking down the barriers that make broad the development harder.

#10 Further reduce schoolish measures.
Mandatory attendance, not having the possibility to have webmeasureslectures, and ‘homework checks’ are example of schoolish measures within the study programs at the Radboud University. Student party asap believes that the Radboud University should remain critical of the purpose of these schoolish measures. The university has to stimulate the values of self development and hunger for knowledge. Student party asap, believes that this environment can only be created by giving the students the responsibility to develop their own learning moments and methods.

Students at the university should get the time and space to create their own learning and study strategy. This is a part of becoming an adult. Student party asap is against these schoolish measures. They believe students should study to develop themselves and not because the ‘have to’. Schoolish measures are a way to fight the symptoms of a lack of guidance when it comes to developing an effective study strategy.

Student party asap realizes that the Education and Exam regulations are determined by the faculty and its student representation. Therefor, asap, in agreement with student representatives, wants to work on reducing schoolish measures. In this way, all students at the Radboud University will have an equal opportunity to develop themselves without being impeded by patronizing rules.