Election programme: powerful and active

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Next year, asap will once again devote itself to the student community as a whole and the active student in particular. First off, asap calls for future-proof and innovative educational methods. In addition, we want to make an effort towards a good and flexible study environment, so that there is room for personal development. Furthermore, student support should be in order. After all, well-being is an essential condition to develop yourself. Finally, the campus should be arranged in a way that invites students to participate in a broad spectrum of activities.

In our election programme, you can find what asap wants to achieve for each of our four key points. With asap’s powerful co-determinuation, by being constructive, professional and critical and solution-oriented at the same time, we can represent the voice of the Radboud student the most effectively. Do you recognize yourself in our vision, and do you want us to represent your interests next year? Vote asap on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of June! Do you have questions about the election programme? Then you can send an e-mail to secretaris@asapnijmegen.nl and we’ll provide you with an answer.

 

Acceleration in digitalisation

Improvements in innovation of education were already desirable, but because of the corona crisis it became an absolute necessity to speed up innovation and digitalisation of education. In the area of digitalisation, big steps have been taken the last few months, which allowed us to switch from a university that was (almost) entirely a physical place, to a university that is entirely digital. The university should get to work to further exploit the digital possibilities. 

At the moment, teachers have to shape the set-up of their course, the contact with students and the way they explain certain subject matter, in a different way. asap wants all the (new) digital possibilities to be used, so that education will go ahead online in the best possible way. At the platform by ICT in education, best practices should be shared, so that teachers can learn from each other and can use different digital teaching methods.

In addition to that, there are gains to be made in the use of Brightspace. Teachers set up their course randomly, which can make it unclear. asap wants templates to be made at the central level of the university, that can be used by teachers to set up their course in Brightspace. This will lower the workload for teachers and create uniformity and clarity for students. 

That is why asap wants:

  • Good support for teachers in setting up digital education 
  • A platform where best practices can be shared
  • Standard templates for courses in Brightspace 
Secure digitalisation

Creativity and innovation in education are necessary to ensure the continuation of education and experiments with distance education are badly needed for this. asap cheers for innovative applications of digital means in education, especially during the corona crisis, but the privacy of students should stay the first priority. 

Methods as ‘proctoring’ can only be used as a last resort, and even then only under strict conditions. It is not desirable that the university enters the personal sphere of students. asap does not want teachers to linger in traditional methods for education and examination. Smart innovations offer chances to prevent study delay, without compromising the privacy of students. 

The university has a responsibility regarding the safety of students, also online. asap is for good education in a safe environment. The Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) should offer knowledge to teachers in the area of online education that meets the highest standard of privacy. Personal data that is collected during an exam, can only be kept when the exam proctor has suspicion of fraud. In addition, all students should be well informed about the way their personal data is processed. 

That is why asap wants: 

  • Privacy to be a priority in digitalisation
  • Communication with students about the processing of personal data 
Better education with blended learning

Education can be shaped in many different ways. As a teacher, it is important to think about the ways students are activated and stimulated to actually work with the subject matter, in class as well as at home. This can be facilitated by blended learning. Blended learning consists of a combination of face-to-face and online education. The goal of education through blended learning is to increase the learning efficiency of students, by making learning more effective, more efficient and more flexible. 

A growing number of programs at the university uses the facilities for weblectures, and a smaller number uses knowledge clips. The recording of (short) audio classes is another, underused initiative. As opposed to knowledge clips, this does not require video recording equipment and the preparation for the teacher takes less time. Furthermore, asap wants concepts such as simulations and serious games to get a more central place in education. Currently, these options are not stimulated enough and asap thinks an effort should be made here.

That is why asap wants:

  • Forms of blended learning to be stimulated in education 
Education from multiple disciplines

At Radboud University there is room to delve into other disciplines, next to your own field of study. This is for example possible by choosing elective courses at different faculties or to do a minor in a different discipline. For asap, however, this does not go enough. The university should strive for more interdisciplinary education, where different disciplines are actually integrated into one programme component. 

Interdisciplinary education is focused on creating an educational setting where the perspectives, knowledge and concepts from different disciplines are combined. The Radboud university already has a few forms of interdisciplinary education, for example within the Radboud Honours Academy and the master’s programme Information Sciences, a collaboration between the Faculty of Science and the Nijmegen School of Management. asap thinks it is important that this range is expanded. 

Knowledge of different fields of study allows students to establish links between problems of different disciplines and to come up with solutions that are outside the scope of one discipline. Interdisciplinary education gives students the opportunity to gain more inside in the complexity of problems and can contribute to the optimisation of their own reflection and of critical thinking.

That is why asap want:

  • More interdisciplinary courses, minors and master’s programs 
Digital RU-facilities on your device

The consequences of the corona crisis will be felt for a long time, also at the university. It is important that following courses, as well as participating in a committee or a board is facilitated properly. Working from home is a reality that we are all going to have to get used to. Virtual Desktop can be very helpful here. 

In order to follow courses or do work for your committee or board, it is sometimes necessary to use paid programs like SPSS, R, STATA or Photoshop. The university has licences from programs like that, and students can use these when they work on university computers. Virtual Desktop can help students here, because this allows them to log into the ‘environment’ of a Radboud computer on their own device. 

This way, students can access their documents in a convenient way, as well as use the programs that the Radboud University has a license for via the known, user friendly environment. asap thinks it is important that the Radboud University gives students the possibility to use these facilities at home, as well as outside the opening hours of the university. 

That is why asap wants:

  • A Virtual Desktop for students 
MOOC’s, online courses for widely interested people

The education at the Radboud University is becoming more and more flexible, and the options for students to choose from are increasing. Students appreciate these diverse choices, but are finding it hard to make a good and informed decision. A wrong choice can easily result in a lot of study delay. 

At the moment students pick their electives based on information from course guides, stories of other students and sometimes advice from student advisors. To really experience whether a course or a field of study fits the student’s interests, there is currently no other possibility than registering for an entire course. 

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can provide a solution. These short courses are designed specifically to follow online and can be made accessible for students with an interest in the subject matter. A course like that could consist of a short series of weblectures and a practice exam. In this way, students can assess for themselves whether the subject matters fits with their interests. This allows for an informed and deliberate choice, before starting a minor or a pre-master. 

asap would like to see that the Radboud University develops high-quality MOOC’s and that the university makes existing MOOC’s accessible for the students, to make wide-ranging development more accessible for them. The Radboud University could do this herself, but could also do this in collaboration with organisations like FutureLearn, EdX or Udacity. In this way, a wide-ranging development for students is facilitated. 

That is why asap wants: 

  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to be offered to students 

 

No study delay, but study enrichment

Outside of the study programme, students can learn skills and gain experience that can be used later, but that they cannot develop in class at the university. This sometimes results in study delay, but asap sees this as study enrichment and not study delay. A lot of students are already active next to their studies, for example doing committee work, student representation or as a board member. asap thinks the university does not stimulate and support this enough. The compensation that students get from the university for this work, is meagre in Nijmegen in comparison to other universities. With the current compensation the effort of students is not rewarded enough. That is why the compensation for active students should be higher: a compensation that does justice to the effort that is made and the contribution to the student environment in Nijmegen.

Furthermore, at the moment it is very hard to combine a full time study programme with for example committee or board work, an extensive part time job, or the role of caregiver. asap thinks that every student should have the possibility to be active next to their study programme. At the moment, a pilot is running that is called ‘Flexible Studying’: this project makes it possible to make adjustments to your education if you cannot physically be at your classes. This pilot has been prolonged, which means it is still in the ‘try-out phase’, and cannot be implemented properly yet.  Students that have been accepted to the pilot are not formally entitled to anything. That is why it should be documented what exactly the students are entitled to, so that every programme can properly execute this. 

That is why asap argues for:

  • An appropriate compensation for students that do work in a board or in student representation
  • Flexible Studying for every student 
Promoting interfacultary possibilities

Societal problems increasingly ask for interdisciplinary solutions that have to be found outside of the boundaries of one’s own discipline. This makes it important that students have the opportunity to access education in other faculties easily. Students should not encounter any unnecessary barriers. Students should not be constrained by classes or exams that are planned at the same time. asap thinks that students should not be forced to choose between courses or exams because of problems with scheduling. To prevent this, measures are needed that offer flexibility to take courses at other faculties, such as a central exam regulation. 

That is why asap argues for:

  • Measures for more flexibility when students take courses at a different faculty 
Good replacement for the orientation

The introduction week is a good opportunity for new students to get to know the range of activities and student organisations that are on offer. For student organisations it is also thé time of the year to recruit new members. Because of the current corona crisis, the introduction week will not take place in its entirety the coming year and this will be a big hit for students, as well as student organisations. asap wants to look at a replacement for the orientation together with the student organisations and Student Life.  

Furthermore, asap wants a second orientation moment to be organised later in the year, with these organisations. Here, study- and student associations, but also other student organisations, can have another chance to present themselves. In addition, Career Services, the International Office and the different bodies in student representation within the university can increase their visibility during this second orientation moment. 

So, asap wants:

  • A good replacement for the orientation week at the beginning of the academic year 
  • A second orientation moment later in the academic year 

 

The right help within two weeks

asap wants students to find the right help easily and fast. At the moment, a referral to the right kind of help takes longer than two weeks. asap thinks this is too long and wants the growth in student support to become proportional to the growth in the number of students. To provide every student with the right support, more manpower is needed. That is why asap argues for an increase in the number of fte (full time worked workweeks) across the entire staff for student support. 

To be able to offer students the right support, the quality of the advice has to be monitored as well. Next to the National Student Survey and (sporadic) questions by the study advisor, this hardly happens. asap wants the quality of the advice to be monitored, based on anonymous evaluations of the guidance, so that it can be improved. 

asap argues for:

  • The right help, within two weeks
  • More hours and manpower for student support 
  • Monitoring the quality of support via evaluations 
Available and accessible workshops

The Radboud University organises (training) courses and workshops, that for example help with studying, coping with stress and personal development. These workshops are very successful and there is a lot of demand for them from students. Unfortunately, there are long waiting lists and a number of workshops are only offered in Dutch. asap wants the workshops to be available and accessible for every student. For that, a bigger range of courses is necessary, in Dutch as well as in English. 

Furthermore, asap wants the registration for the workshops to become easier. For now, the registration is mostly via the student psychologist. asap would like to see that every student, possibly on the advice of the student psychologist or study advisor, can register him- or herself. The registration should become easier and more visible, by organising it for example through Brightspace or Osiris. 

asap thus argues for:

  • Available and accessible workshops for every student
  • Workshops in Dutch ánd in English
  • Easy and independent registration for workshops 
Professional career guidance

According to asap every student should be able to engage in career orientation in a balanced way. In a coaching fashion, career officers could help students to think about their future career in a healthy and valuable way. It is of the utmost importance that this support fits the wishes and study phase of the student. For example, for first year students it can be relevant to explore future career options to get a better idea of whether their current study programme fits their interest, while in a later phase of the study orientation on a master’s programme is more relevant. Using an optional, professional career orientation trajectory from career services, students can get the option to gain relevant experience within their study programme, to get to know themselves better and to develop specific qualities.

Career Service organises diverse career orientation activities, among which the Career Days. These are only organised a few times per year; asap would like to see that these Career Days are offered every month, and that the communication regarding these events is intensified. For these (university wide) events, but also for the implementation of the previously mentioned career trajectories and for the development of a platform with training courses and internships, central  management is desirable.  

Furthermore, asap thinks it would be a valuable addition if alumni are involved in these events, so that they can share their experiences and to allow students to get a good idea of the employment industry. Some serious effort should be put into expanding the alumni database (with experience and jobs of alumni) and more attention should be given to the contact and ties with graduates. 

That is why asap argues for:

  • A coaching role for Career Officers
  • Professional career orientation trajectories and monthly Career Days
  • Central management of the Career Service
  • A good network of alumni for career orientation activities 

 

A green and sustainable living environment

According to asap a lively campus consists of a green living environment, where there is enough room to study and to meet each other. asap thinks we can get much more out of our campus and sees potential to turn the Erasmusplein into a meeting place for students of all different faculties where different facilities come together: the Spar, the entrance of the Erasmus building, the Refter, the Cultuurcafé and a new entrance to the University Library. This should not only make sure that the campus facilitates meeting each other better, but also that new facilities add more to sustainability, biodiversity and the well-being of its users. 

At a lively campus, it should be possible to actually live. To ensure this, asap wants the university to look at the possibilities to free up more land for residential building or repurposing of old buildings. This can be executed in collaboration with the SSH&.

That is why asap wants:

  • A greener Erasmusplein as a central meeting place
  • More student housing on campus 
Increased amount and diversity in workplaces

Despite the Corona crisis, all students should be able to get to the campus without worries next year. The university will have to take a lot of measures to make sure education can be offered in a safe way. asap would like to join the process of thinking about preparing the university for a society with one and a half meter distance.   

The crowdedness of the University Library (UB) and the shortage of workplaces has been a problem at this university for years. This problem will be bigger in the coming year, when there will be less available workplaces due to the corona measures. asap has been arguing for gates at the UB for a long time, and the coming year asap wants to start a pilot with these gates, so that in peak time only Radboud students can use the available workplaces. 

In addition to enough and more diverse workspaces, asap also wants workplaces to be created outside in a natural environment. This is a way to increase the number of workspaces and to provide the possibility to study for exams in open air, like students want. 

That is why asap wants:

  • A pilot for gates in the library during peak times
  • A more diverse and bigger range of workplaces 
Sports capacity that matches the demand

The number of students at the Radboud University has increased a lot the past few years: from 19.000 in 2015, to 24.000 in 2020. Students extensively use the elaborate sports facilities of the Radboud Sport Centre (RSC) and because of the growing student population, the RSC is bursting at the seams. 

asap is happy with the steps that the RSC is taking at the moment, such as making the occupancy rate of the fitness area visible real time. However, this does not solve the problem of overcrowdedness. asap wants more attention for creative solutions of the capacity problem at peak times. 

To allow sports associations to reach their ambitions, it is necessary that another sports hall is built. asap wants the possibility of a multifunctional hall to be considered, so that as many associations as possible can benefit from the new hall. 

That is why asap argues for:

  • Tackling the capacity problem of the RSC
  • Building a new multifunctional sports hall 
A culture card next to your sports card

The RSC has been experimenting for some time with offering cultural courses and ticket hours, such as painting, musical and theater. These courses appear to be in great demand. asap wants such options for cultural activities to be expanded, by introducing a culture card. The advantage of this card, would be that students no longer need a sports card to participate in cultural activities or lessons. Furthermore, the range of activities and courses can be displayed clearly, and all culture associations and (small scale) cultural initiatives in Nijmegen can join.  

Additionally, the university should offer high-quality spaces to facilitate such cultural activities. The creation of theater hall C in the Elinor Ostrom Building definitely was a step in the right direction. asap thinks that it should be possible to establish more appropriate smaller rooms that can be used for rehearsals and performances.

That is why asap wants:

  • A cultural card for cultural activities, courses and workshops
  • A bigger range of appropriate room for cultural associations 
Expansion of catering facilities on campus

At the moment, Heyendaal Campus is not yet a place where you take your parents, brothers and sisters, or friends from another city to catch up and have a drink. asap would like the university to collaborate with successful entrepreneurs or formulas from the city center, to provide good and extensive lunch as well as drink options, so that it does become a place to bring people. asap wants new and existing campus catering establishments to contribute to the university’s sustainability ambitions.

In addition, asap believes that we can make the campus a place where students can not only study, but also relax. To this end, the opening hours of the campus area and associated facilities, especially during the weekend, should be extended.

Therefore asap wants:

  • More catering on campus 
  • Catering that meets the needs
  • Longer opening hours, especially during the weekend