Election program 2021: Stronger forward

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In the coming year, asap will continue its efforts for the student community in general and the active student in particular. To start with, asap will advocate future-proof and innovative forms of education. Next year, we want to put all our efforts into a good and flexible study climate, so that space is given to personal development. Furthermore, student guidance must be in order to increase student welfare. After all, welfare is an essential condition for personal development. Finally, the campus must be laid out in such a way that it invites students to take part in a wide range of activities.

In the election programme, you will find what asap wants to achieve per key point. With the strong participation of asap, by being constructive, professional and at the same time critical and solution-oriented, we can most effectively represent the voice of the Nijmegen student. Do you recognise yourself in this vision and do you want us to represent your interests in the University Student Council next year? Then vote for asap from 31 May to 3 June via this link.

You can read or download the programme below. Do you have any questions about the election programme? Send an email to secretaris@asapnijmegen.nl and we will get back to you.

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The program in parts

Learn from the experiences of online education

Due to the corona crisis, teaching at Radboud University was largely online last year. This switch requires a great deal of agility and adaptability from both students and lecturers. Now that plans for reopening higher education are on the table, it is good to take a look at what we can learn from the past period and at what forms of education students have experienced as pleasant.

In the past academic year, many lecturers have chosen to record their lectures. Recording these lectures and making them available has been a very positive experience for many students. Although the interaction of the moment is missing, the possibility of looking back at a lecture later on is a great way of adding flexibility to education, which every student can follow at his or her own pace; it also makes following education accessible. asap therefore argues that making lectures available online for every discipline, also at times of physical education, should remain the standard. In addition, recorded lectures must contain clear and enforceable privacy guidelines. A good combination between education and privacy is the motto here. Recording lectures on campus must not become a barrier to (active) attendance. In connection with this, asap appreciated the multiple flexible ways of testing during the period of home education. Whenever possible, exams could be taken on campus, which was appreciated by many students. Home tuition demanded a certain amount of adaptability from each student, but it also provided a great deal of flexibility. However, the options for flexible examinations, both in terms of location and examination format and content, differ enormously per faculty. asap therefore wants all faculties to make the options for flexible examinations available to all students where possible, even when the corona crisis has ended.

asap therefore wants:

  • Record lectures and make them available as the standard;
  • Continue to investigate in and make use of flexible forms of examination;
  • Continue to call on the university to innovate with different forms of teaching and, where possible, to use them equally at each faculty.
Examinations: from assessment to development

The current method of testing is often characterised by the reproduction of previously acquired knowledge. These knowledge tests focus on checking whether a certain preselected set of information can be absorbed and reproduced in the short term. Successfully passing these tests, however, does not always indicate whether a student has mastered the material. This current method of testing therefore overshoots the mark; it creates a lopsided relationship between reproduction and testing skills. asap wants to see change. The role of teachers is central in this. If lecturers are encouraged to draw up a different way of examining, tests and examinations will become less a matter of primary reproduction of the material.

By focusing on innovation in the manner of examinations, asap is trying to say goodbye to a culture of judgement. By testing the application of conceptual knowledge on the subject matter, students are given more freedom to demonstrate their level of knowledge. A new way of testing could be academic papers based on important cases or the construction of a portfolio. The ability to apply knowledge and skills should be central. This can be done individually, but also in groups. Especially interdisciplinary possibilities should be considered a serious option. Teachers must be able to deal with this, which requires adaptability and training. The possibilities of this type of testing also depend on the type of programme and the faculty.

Tekstvak: asap therefore wants:
●	To support the teacher in using innovative ways of examining;
●	Research into problem-based learning

For this reason, asap advocates taking a close look at the way in which examinations are carried out throughout the university and working together on a future-proof method of examinations. This can be done, for example, by using a learning method in which students and lecturers deal with certain material together. This is a learning method according to the ‘problem-based learning’ model. Students work in small groups on practical problems under the guidance of a teacher. This learning method offers an active way of learning, motivation and personal development.

asap therefore wants:

  • To support the teacher in using innovative ways of examining;
  • Research into problem-based learning
Encourage interdisciplinary education

One way of deepening and broadening students’ knowledge and skills is interdisciplinary education. In interdisciplinary education, the focus is on integrating the knowledge of students from different programmes/faculties, whereby it is a condition that there is a mix of students from different programmes. The subject of the course is at an intersection between two disciplines, and the intention is for the students to learn from each other and thus arrive at creative solutions to complex problems and to gain more in-depth insights.

Interdisciplinary education is in full development at several universities. However, the number of interdisciplinary courses at Radboud University can still be counted on one hand. Despite the fact that funds have been made available for the development of interdisciplinary education, this has hardly led to an increase in such education. asap advocates increasing the range of interdisciplinary courses available at Radboud University, whereby it is important to properly supervise the lecturers in the development of such education. Many future problems will require multidisciplinary solutions. The education of the future will therefore have to adapt to this. Also in interdisciplinary education, it is important to solve the restrictions for taking courses at other faculties.

asap therefore wants:

  • Greater development of interdisciplinary education as a valuable addition to the standard study programme of the various faculties;
  • To support teachers in developing interdisciplinary education.
Real freedom of choice

Every student in his or her study programme has the need to shape their own personal development. Minors and choosing different ‘free space’ courses offer students the opportunity to deepen or broaden their knowledge in a particular subject. Students often deepen their knowledge by taking elective courses within their own programme or faculty. In order to broaden their knowledge, however, students often want to take courses at another programme or faculty. Unfortunately, these opportunities are still limited.

asap therefore argues for the equalisation of the moments in the timetables reserved for minors/free choice. The moment at which minors and electives can be chosen in the study programme differs between programmes and faculties. This makes it difficult for example to follow interdisciplinary minors. It should also be made more clear which possibilities there are for following minors, by offering a clear overview of the minors.

asap also believes that there should be a minimum number of ECs in free space in each study programme, so that students have the opportunity to shape their own development and education.

asap therefore wants:

  • Equalising the moments when minors and electives can be chosen;
  • A clear overview of the minors;
  • A minimum number of ECs in free space in each programme.

Support active students

Active students are not only members of a board or a participation body. In our opinion, the term ‘active student’ covers everyone who does something extra within or outside his or her study programme. In all cases, students deserve appreciation and space to give this work the appropriate content. According to asap, Radboud University can play a greater role in supporting active students. We would like to see the extra step taken so that an active contribution to student life is not only facilitated but also rewarded.

asap wants a minimum number of board months per association to be made available, so that smaller associations are also fairly compensated for the work that every association has to do by default. In addition, it is also possible to halve the tuition fees of board members, for example. asap also notes that the compensation that student board members and co-directors receive at the RU differs greatly from other universities. asap wants the RU to investigate how the compensation at the RU compares to other universities and to ensure that (possible) differences are reduced.

In addition, according to asap, it is important that students receive proper guidance from Radboud University during their board year or position of student participation. Although this guidance already exists for participation members and students with a heavy administrative burden, it should be expanded, for example with a student dean. The regulation must be made more accessible so that the boards of smaller associations and volunteers can also make use of guidance that meets the needs of these students. Intensive guidance from a specially appointed student counsellor can prevent excessive study delay, but more importantly; it ensures that the active student experiences success. The university could also offer training courses to further support student administrators, such as a training course in bookkeeping.

Finally, asap wants to work on expanding the Flexible Study pilot. This scheme must become available to a broader group of students.

asap therefore wants:

  • Better compensation for all board members and members of a student participation body;
  • Guidance and support for all active students;
  • To expand opportunities for active students to participate in the Flexible Study pilot.
Facilitate career orientation: courses and practice

Discovering what interests, you and what is possible during your time as a student is important, as is what you want to do after your studies. Students are entitled to good guidance. Career Services can help students with this, but this is not enough for many students. Every student should be able to benefit from good guidance from student to young professional. To achieve this, career orientation must be given an important place on the agenda.

In the eyes of asap, an internship can be a valuable addition to a university study, it fits in with a developed career orientation. After all, internships provide insight into the professional field in which many students start working as young professionals. Students who want to do an internship during their bachelor’s or master’s studies benefit from thorough internship guidance. According to asap, in the coming period, intensive investments can be made in well-developed internship guidance so that internships become a valuable addition to your studies at the university. This can be achieved by organising a more intensive reflection and portfolio-building process and embedding it in the curriculum of the study programme. Radboud University could also cooperate more intensively with the business community and social organisations.

asap encourages the expansion of the range of courses on offer with regard to career orientation and to make them more accessible. In asap‘s opinion, it is desirable that career orientation is part of the educational curriculum in the future. Broadening the range of events offered by Career Services leads to better career guidance, which really should receive more attention at the university.

Likewise, asap believes that Career Days should be organised structurally and more often in cooperation with companies and social organisations. These partners bring in a wealth of work experience and offer students a glimpse of the professional field. Students must be given more opportunities to expand their networks and orientate themselves in the field; Radboud University must facilitate this more intensively. They can do this, for example, by cooperating with student associations. They generally have a lot of experience with career orientation and the university should make use of this.

asap therefore wants:

  • An expansion and improvement of the opportunities for internships;
  • To expand the range of career orientation courses and making them more accessible, and eventually making them part of the curriculum;
  • A frequently organised Career Day in cooperation with the professional field.
Use and strengthen the alumni network

An alumni network is not only useful for alumni of Radboud University, also the current generation of students can benefit from it. The network can be used by Career Services to provide students with insight into possible career paths and to offer a more accessible networking option. In both situations, students are better guided towards their social career. On the other hand, when better use is made of this network, alumni can contribute to education in the form of guest lectures or practically-oriented work seminars. With the strengthening of the alumni network, lecturers have access to a large group of potential guest lecturers. asap would therefore like to see the alumni network strengthened and used more frequently.

In order to improve the alumni network, investments are needed at both central and faculty level. asap believes that a central online platform is needed, where students, alumni, lecturers and social partners can find each other for information, internships, vacancies or guest lectures. The network can also be strengthened by means of the networks of the study associations; they often already have a strongly developed network and can therefore offer a good basis for a university-wide alumni network.

asap therefore wants:

  • An online platform where students, alumni, teachers and social partners can easily connect with each other;
  • A strengthening of the alumni network with the help of the study associations;
  • More frequent use of the alumni network by Career Services for career orientation and teachers for guest lectures.
Encourage entrepreneurship

The public responsibility for solving relevant and complex social problems no longer lies solely with the government, but is also in the hands of our entire generation. The need to solve these problems is growing all the time. This requires innovative entrepreneurship. asap believes that Radboud University can play a greater role in supporting entrepreneurial students.

asap believes that the university can provide a platform to bring the business community and the academic world together. In this way, students can apply the knowledge they have gained to their own businesses, immediately build a broad network and learn by meeting other entrepreneurs.

In concrete terms, therefore, asap advocates for a Radboud Entrepreneur Centre or an expansion of Mercator Launch, so that more attention is paid to the entrepreneurial student. Such a centre should provide expertise and offer courses in which student entrepreneurs can learn about bookkeeping, website management, etc. With this support, students would have a better opportunity to set up a successful business alongside their studies. asap wants to achieve this by approaching important actors within the region. An example of this is RvN@, which already connects entrepreneurs and students.

In addition, it is important that students are given the facilities they need to be entrepreneurs. The university should facilitate workspaces and meeting places for student entrepreneurs. In addition, the university could provide a post box at a reasonable fee to make it easier for students to start their own business.

Finally, asap advocates an interdisciplinary minor on social entrepreneurship that combines business, legal and social aspects. This offers students a broad palette of knowledge to adequately solve social issues. The RU must make full use of its predicate ‘best broad university’!

asap therefore wants:

  • A platform for (student) entrepreneurs, business and social partners;
  • Supporting students with a business in the form of facilitating work and meeting spaces and a PO Box;
  • Interfaculty minor in social entrepreneurship.
Student welfare remains on the agenda

The corona crisis brings long-standing problems to light, it hits home, of course, but it does lead to student welfare being a lot more open to discussion. asap sees that the first steps are being taken towards improving student guidance and welfare. Radboud University has entered into an ambitious three-year plan in which student guidance will undergo considerable development. From student advisors to skills courses; everything is being scrutinised. This is a good start. The three-year plan Student Welfare 2023 must be in line with the guidance demanded by students today. asap wants to keep motivating Radboud University to realise the ambitious goals in this three-year plan. The taboo that seems to rest on contacting a study advisor, according to asap, should not exist; a study advisor is closest to a student and consulting this advisor should be encouraged. We must remain alert to whether the counselling is in line with the student’s needs.
In addition, student organisations and initiatives can make an extra contribution; after all, these are the places where students can join in an accessible way. It is important for the university to proactively support and consult student organisations about student welfare; what can the university offer them?

asap therefore wants:
●To keep the university focused on the agreements made in the three-year plan;
●To provide more support to student organizations and initiatives inaddressing student welfare.

A better and clearer guidance structure

We are currently working hard to clarify the care structure. asap encourages this and is satisfied with the fact that it was able to fulfil this election promise. Nonetheless, we are committed to continuing to pay attention to clarifying the guidance structure. At the moment, students have to consciously look for guidance and care possibilities. It is not always clear who to approach when a student is looking for help.
Students generally know how to find their way to the study advisor of the study in question, but when a specialist on a particular subject is needed from the university, it is still not always easy to find that way. Steps have been taken to improve the Radboud University website and we must continue to optimise it. In addition, asap would like to see the RU communicate more actively and more frequently its possibilities with regard to guidance and care; a more proactive attitude. In this regard, communication towards international students should not be overlooked either, because in the current situation they do not always know how to find the right guidance.

asap therefore wants:

●Continued attention to clarify the care structure;
●Active and frequent communication about the care offer.

Learn to guide through reflection

In addition to developing the guidance structure, asap believes it is necessary for the RU to continue to evaluate after the renewal; the university must continue to learn and reflect. This is the only way to create a guidance structure that stays up to date. By using surveys on a regular basis, the quality of the guidance can be mapped out, but above all, what is needed to fulfil the students’ demands can be examined. We also have to remain critical in making sure that no students are overlooked. Evaluations can take place after a trajectory with the study advisor and other supervisors or through frequent university-wide surveys.

In addition, asap noticed that the queue for the student psychologists is still far too long. asap found the solution to this problem in a triage system. In this way, it is relatively quickly the student’s turn for an initial consultation and, from this perspective, the next steps, as well as the urgency, can be examined together with the student. This can have a relieving effect and at the same time a broader group of students is seen by the care provider

asap therefore wants:
● Regular reviews of the care (structure);
● Lowering of the threshold for the use of care;
● A triage system for the student psychologists.

Extend the mentor track

At Radboud University, mentors are available, to whom students can turn with questions about all kinds of issues, both study-related and non-study-related. asap sees an important role for the mentor track in student guidance. At the time of corona, the mentor track was already extended to the second year of some studies, instead of only the first year. These mentors can be seen as an extension of the study advisor and are often a (partly) more informal alternative. Because of this fact, it is often easier for students to ask for help when they need it, especially when the contact with the study advisor is less smooth. asap therefore argues for an extension of the mentor trajectory in each academic year, if a student feels the need. As in the first year, asap wants the mentor trajectory for students to be voluntary. Mentors should also be supported by the university in carrying out their mentoring tasks. Special attention should be paid to training and education of mentors, so that they can guide students better.
According to asap, the mentor track is also a good opportunity to actively introduce students to the care structure of the RU. asap would like to see the active introduction of the care and guidance possibilities become a fixed part of the mentor track and for the mentor to continue to help students find the right help.

asap therefore wants:
● To extend the mentor track to every academic year;
● Active introduction of the care structure into the mentor pathway;
● Investing in training and education for mentors.

In search of a new inclusive identity

Not only in our society but also at Radboud University we strive for an inclusive and safe community. With the disappearance of the Catholic predicate, there is a need for a reorientation of the identity. The most important thing for asap is that everyone can participate in the discussions that follow concerning our renewed identity.

We believe that inclusion should play a major role in these discussions. Of course, when redefining identity, it is important to preserve the pillars that the university represented, namely compassion and charity. We will remain the same university, and what works does not need to be reinvented. Yet our new identity will be diverse and more inclusive. As a result, Radboud University will appeal to an even larger group of students, with a special focus on international students, a specific group who bring with them valuable insights into diversity and inclusion.

asap therefore wants:
● Radboud University to engage in a dialogue with a representative group of students and staff members about the reorientation of the university’s identity;
● Radboud University’s renewed identity to be an inclusive reflection of its students and staff.

Give social safety more attention

Social safety is an important theme in society and at the university. Decisive action must be taken against discrimination, sexual violence, intimidation, misogyny and other forms of misbehaviour. asap welcomes the arrival of the extra counsellors, but at the same time calls for the university to continue to invest and to never stop improving.
In order to get a precise and complete picture of social safety and its improvement at the RU, only looking at the complaints and procedures is insufficient. Many forms of misbehaviour go unreported and therefore do not appear in the statistics. Research shows that one fifth of students experience sexual harassment. This is in no way commensurate with the number of complaints.
An evaluation of the confidants and the entire complaints procedure is in order. In order to adequately tackle misconduct, there are a number of important issues, according to asap. First of all, it must be possible to submit a complaint in an easily accessible way. asap believes that this can be improved and therefore calls for an investigation into whether it is possible to proactively investigate anonymous complaints. It should also be investigated whether adding students to the confidential advisor system could make it easier to submit a complaint. According to asap, this could be done in various ways, for example by introducing a buddy system. Both anonymity and the addition of students must be investigated as options for making it easier to submit complaints about misconduct.

Secondly, it is important that attention is paid to the fact that a complaints commission and/or the confidential counsellors are independent and diverse, so that possible power relations and social identity do not play a role in the process. This does not imply that they are not independent or diverse, asap just wants to make sure that this is not lost sight of.
asap therefore wants periodic research into the status of social safety at the RU, research that actually provides insight into misbehaviour and not just the incidents that are reported. asap thinks that these aforementioned matters can also be improved by appointing a Social Safety Ombudsman, who can independently conduct research into all forms of misbehaviour. This could be into individual (anonymous) allegations or general patterns or culture. Also, the evaluation and improvement of the complaint’s procedure as the above-mentioned periodical investigation should be part of the tasks.

asap advocates for:

  • Continued investment in improving the work of the confidential counsellors;
  • An evaluation of the degree to which students are satisfied with the handling of complaints and the possibilities for submitting a complaint;
  • Investigate the possibility of proactively investigating anonymous complaints and whether the complaints process can be made more accessible with the help of students;
  • Periodical research into the state of social safety at the RU;
  • A social safety ombudsman
Innovate and improve workspaces

It is important that there are enough workstations for studying in every building at the university. All workplaces, indoors and outdoors, should be equipped with power supplies as much as possible. The university also needs to take the creation of workspaces for online work, and group work spaces into account. The spaces must be flexible. In 2021, these workplaces must have modern facilities and be in good working order. It must be attractive to study at the university. New buildings and renovations must allow for space for new study workplaces, so that enough places are available for students. In addition, opportunities to create more study workplaces should be sought within the existing buildings and in the open air.

asap also wants to promote ergonomic workplaces. These kinds of places are better for both your physical and mental condition as a student. In concrete terms, asap advocates ergonomic chairs and standing desks. Ergonomic workplaces on the campus ensure that students can study in a healthy manor.

The infrastructure in and around the lecture halls must be improved. asap thinks it is important that there are enough power outlets in the lecture halls, because almost every student uses a laptop to take notes during the lectures.

asap therefore wants:
● An expansion of (group) workplaces, indoors and outdoors, with power facilities;
● An investment in ergonomic workstations;
● Additional sockets in the lecture halls.

Stimulate the circular economy

Sustainability is a theme that has taken up an important place at the university. asap is pleased that the RU is paying more and more attention to it in its policy. An important aspect of sustainability is circularity; raw materials are not infinite. It is not tenable to keep buying new things that subsequently end up on the scrap heap. Radboud University must also embrace the circular economy. According to asap, a big step in that direction is to start buying light instead of lamps. You then make the producer responsible for providing the lighting; they become responsible for the maintenance and repair of the lamps. Producers then benefit from the lamps having a long life, low power consumption and being fully recyclable. Sustainable is then the most advantageous option for them.

The lamps are just one example; we could also look at the possibility of setting up a similar project with the computers or constructing new buildings with circular materials. asap would like to encourage the Executive Board (CvB) to investigate where at the RU the circular economy can be stimulated even further. Or in other words, what opportunities are there for the CvB to stimulate sustainable behaviour from purchasing to sustainable use?

asap advocates:

  • Stimulating the circular economy by buying light instead of lamps;
  • Further exploration by the BoE of where RU can embrace the circular economy.
Create a vibrant living & studying environment

Erasmusplein and the square near Linnaeus should be greener and more modern. Green should also play an important role in new buildings and squares. Outdoor study facilities should be offered at each square. In addition, the campus must become more inviting, for example by installing table football tables and football fields. In this way, the campus can be made into a living environment. Formal activities such as studying in groups and informal activities such as sports can take place side by side on the campus: a place for every student.

The catering industry should also be given a prominent role in the campus as a living environment. asap would like to see cooperation with the catering industry in the city centre in order to bring successful concepts to the campus. It is also important for the campus as a living environment that the catering establishments and other businesses are also open at the weekend; after all, students are there then too.

Discussions will be started with SSH& to expand the supply of student housing on the campus. The Spinoza building would be a suitable location to realise student accommodation. When this building becomes vacant, it could be used entirely for student housing. The Erasmus building is in need of complete renovation. The top floors of the building need to be cleared for a congress centre and sky bar. Here university parties and external parties can organise their conferences or other activities. The middle floors can be used for start-ups and enterprising students. This will create liveliness and more opportunities and guidance for students who want to set up a business. In addition, spaces can be created for interfaculty and interdisciplinary projects. The lower floors can be used as rehearsal rooms for culture, but also stages and theatre halls can be created there, so that culture gets more space on the campus.

asap therefore wants:

  • Attention to greenery in the layout of the campus;
  • A more prominent role for the hospitality industry with longer opening hours;
  • Expanding housing options on the campus;
  • Increasing the cultural offerings and facilities on the campus.

If you have any questions or comments about our program, let us know below!