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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 30 May to 2 June via this link.
The ten points
What asap wants:
Students are under enormous pressure to graduate nominally. Although the university already indicates in its vision that four years is normal for the bachelor’s and two or three years for the master’s, asap sees that there is still enormous pressure to do it faster. This not only leads to a lot of stress and the poor state of student welfare, but also to limited space for personal development. This personal development is an enrichment of the student’s time. However, personal development is under pressure. The pressure is caused, on the one hand, by financial incentives and, on the other, by the cultural taboo of study delay. To tackle the pressure, a cultural change is needed – and this takes time. Student party asap wants the university to work on this change step by step. Under the pressure of the loan system, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in three years has become the norm. The introduction of the new basic grant creates opportunities for a cultural change in higher education. Although the key to the financial issue largely lies in The Hague, the university can also contribute to the change.
A good first step in this culture change is to focus on student success and development outside the study programme. It is crucial that students are given the opportunity to develop personally, as broadly as they wish. At our university, there is a fantastic range of different associations. In order to make use of this, it is important that students know what development opportunities are available. Student Party asap believes that more attention should be paid to the orientation of students when it comes to development opportunities. For example, there needs to be a cultural change: not study success, but student success should be central. The university must communicate more actively, for example on Brightspace, about the possibilities of personal development and must give students the opportunity to orient themselves. During the introduction market in the first year, students get a chance to get to know all kinds of student organisations. At that time, however, it is still very overwhelming and a good orientation is sometimes difficult. Student party asap wants the university to at least invite second-year students to the introductory market as well, so that they will once again come into contact with all kinds of ways to develop broadly at the university.
Within this broad development of students, there is also the possibility of entrepreneurship. Creative entrepreneurship brings the academic and business worlds closer together. The entrepreneurial ability of students should be encouraged. To this end, asap has already made some steps, but more work remains to be done. Entrepreneurship allows students to apply the knowledge they have acquired to their own business, immediately build up a broad network and learn by meeting other entrepreneurs. Student Party asap wants entrepreneurial students to be supported with the necessary facilities, such as a PO Box or work and meeting space. In this way, it will be easier to start up a business.
In order to make it more attractive to serve on a representative body or as a student representative, the financial compensation should be improved. That is why asap believes that student board members and members of the USC, FSC and OLC must be better compensated. At the same time, the board months must be divided more fairly. Every board has a number of basic tasks that they must perform, regardless of the number of members. The number of members of an association does not say everything about the amount of work student board members have to do and should therefore not be decisive. Student party asap, therefore, wants the amount of money per administrative month to be increased and a higher minimum number of administrative months to be introduced.
In concrete terms, asap wants:
- A step-by-step culture change with regard to nominal study;
- Frequent and active communication about development opportunities;
- An invitation to all students for the introductory market;
- Supporting students with the necessary facilities to run a business;
- Better compensation for student board members and for members of the co-determination body;
- A fair distribution of the board months.
The conclusions from the report by the RIVM, Trimbos Institute and GGD GHOR Nederland are clear. It is frightening to see the state of the students’ well-being. Student party asap believes that this problem should be tackled in all possible ways and on all fronts. This starts with acknowledging and discussing the very serious problems that exist, such as mental health and stress. The university must then ensure that in every way possible, the well-being of students is improved by combating stress and loneliness and encouraging personal connection, among other things.
To promote student welfare, asap will continue to work on making it as clear as possible to students which care and support the university can offer to students and associations. This can be done by means of a conveniently arranged care map for students, in which the care offered by the university and regular health care are shown in an integrated way. This is especially important for international students who are not always familiar with the Dutch healthcare system. With a clear and findable healthcare map, every student should be able to find the right help.
In addition, asap wants it to be clearer to student organisations what support they can receive from the university with regard to combating loneliness and stimulating personal connections. Student party asap believes that the university should provide more support to student organisations in this area.
Well-being and (physical) health are closely related. It is therefore important that students get enough rest and are able to play sports. That is why asap wants more accessible sports facilities on the campus and good supervision for top talents in sports.
In concrete terms, asap wants
- Recognise the problems experienced by students and make them open for discussion;
- An integrated care map of the care possibilities of the university and the regular health care system;
- Clear and comprehensive support, information and training of student organisations in combating loneliness;
- Extending facilities for student counselling;
- Expansion of the buddy system to combat loneliness;
- Better help for and integration of international students;
- More campus-wide and accessible sports facilities.
Examinations at the Radboud University are still too often moments of judgement based on reproduction. Student party asap wants to move towards a system in which primarily the conceptual mastery of knowledge is tested. This does not have to be done through exams alone; indeed, asap wants the university to encourage programmes to innovate with different methods of testing. Although in many places the call for innovation is already being answered, it is not happening everywhere consistently.
A concrete example of new forms of testing that can be applied is the so-called problem-based learning. In this form of assessment, students work on a project with the aim of applying the test material to a real or fictitious case. This is not possible in every course; it is suitable for some subjects. The study programmes have to provide customised solutions here and see what is possible. It is important that these kinds of methods are researched and shared among lecturers. Student party asap sees an important role for the Teaching & Learning Centre (TLC) in this. The wider use of open-book exams is an important first step in the right direction. In this form of examination, insight and application have the upper hand. Another option is the use of shorter assignments in which the material is applied throughout the block and which count for a certain percentage in the final mark. This removes the pressure at the end and the perceived critical moment of judgement.
In concrete terms, asap wants to:
- Stimulate new ways of examining in all study programmes;
- Support lecturers in innovating their assessment methods;
- Research into the application of problem-based learning and how this can be applied university-wide, with an important role for the TLC.
Radboud University must be a liveable and safe environment. As far as asap is concerned, social safety will remain high on the agenda in 2022. The university must stimulate a diverse and socially safe culture, where every form of harassment, discrimination, (sexual) violence and abuse of power is counteracted. In a socially safe climate, inclusion should be promoted. In this way, we create and maintain a safe, socially sustainable study and working environment where everyone can be themselves and develop. To this end, asap believes it is important that complaints and reports of abuse can be submitted anonymously and in an easily accessible manner. In addition, the visibility of the confidential advisor must be improved. The existence and role of the confidential advisor are still unknown to many students. The confidential advisor helps students in the complaints process and in finding the right help and is therefore crucial in creating a socially safe environment. For this purpose, it is important that the confidential advisor is well supported in his or her function. For this reason, asap wants a sufficient number of FTEs to be made available.
To promote social safety, the state of social safety and the complaints procedure must also be evaluated on an ongoing basis. To this end, asap wants an annual survey to be conducted and an external investigation into the complaints procedure concerning undesirable behaviour to be carried out.
In concrete terms, asap wants
- The possibility to report misconduct anonymously;
- Encourage Radboud University to participate in the national social safety ombuds pilot;
- Periodic research per faculty into the state of social safety at Radboud University;
- An external investigation into the complaints procedure concerning undesirable behaviour;
- Sufficient FTEs available for the confidential counsellor;
- The route to the confidential advisor for each student.
Life on the campus has finally picked up this year. The corona crisis has made many students appreciate the campus more, not only as a place to study, but also as a place to develop yourself, to meet others or for a walk during the lunch break. In this way, we have all come to appreciate a lively campus. Our campus already has a lot to offer, but there is certainly room for improvement. Think, for example, of the closed, grey Erasmusplein or the square in front of the Linnaeus building, the many cars on campus and the limited opening hours of many of the buildings. Student party asap, therefore, wants the university to actively work on creating a lively campus for an optimal study and living environment for its students.
In order to create this lively campus, it is first of all important that the campus becomes greener. In particular, the locations that have been completely closed off must be tackled. In addition, asap wants the university to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists. By making the campus less car-friendly, it can become more walk- and cycle-friendly. In addition, there are a large number of underground bicycle parking places on the campus, for example under the Refter and the lecture hall complex, which hardly anyone uses. The university must ensure that better use is made of these facilities, then a number of above-ground bicycle parking spaces can be replaced by outdoor workplaces, picnic tables, greenery and recreation.
On a lively campus, there must also be enough space for sports. The expansion of the sports centre has long been under discussion and asap will continue to fight for this. In the short term, asap wants to create more sports opportunities outside the sports centre. A good first step would be to construct a running track across the campus and outdoor fitness equipment so that people can also exercise outside the sports centre.
Finally, asap advocates longer opening hours for the campus buildings, so that more workspaces are available, more can be organised more easily and student life on the campus is not limited to around six hours.
In concrete terms, asap wants
- More greenery on the campus with a priority for tackling the grey, congested locations;
- Fewer cars on the campus;
- Better use of underground bicycle parking facilities;
- Creative expansion of sports facilities on the campus;
- Longer opening hours of campus buildings.
University education is about more than attending lectures and working groups. Group work and self-study are important parts of coursework. This requires a certain infrastructure of workplaces. In many Radboud University buildings, the necessary facilities are not yet in place. The distribution of workstations across the buildings is suboptimal. There is also no proper distribution between quiet, whispering and group workplaces. Student party asap wants to urge the university to invest in better workplaces that at least meet the standards set by occupational health and safety legislation. This means that students can work in one place for a longer period of time without suffering from back problems, for example.
In recent months, the university has been developing an application that can provide insight into the current occupancy of the university library. This allows students to see in real time where workplaces are available. It is also clear what kind of workplaces are available. This is called the mazemap. Student Party asap wants to expand this pilot quickly to all study areas at the university. We also want to make the mazemap easily accessible. Then it will be possible to make better use of the current offer of workspaces.
In addition, asap wants the workspaces to be evaluated and modernised where necessary. There are large differences in the facilities between faculties. Modernisation should include the installation of power outlets, ergonomic chairs and sufficient daylight and fresh air, which are still too often lacking. In addition, asap wants more attention to be paid to the different needs of faculties and faculties themselves must also have influence on the workstations, for example in the software offered on computers. This must be in line with the needs of the student, which differ per faculty.
Finally, asap wants the university to continue experimenting with so-called zoom workstations, where students can follow hybrid education. These workplaces should give students the opportunity to follow hybrid or digital education on campus. This will prevent group workplaces from being taken over by individual students who cannot follow hybrid education in the current silence and whisper rooms.
In concrete terms, asap wants:
- A better distribution of quiet, whispering and group workstations;
- Expand and offer the pilot mazemap;
- Evaluate and modernise study workstations where necessary;
- Take the different needs of faculties into account;
- Experiment with zoom workstations.
Topics such as the corona and the climate crisis show that the problems students have to think about have become increasingly complex and interdisciplinary. To be able to function in this increasingly interdisciplinary reality, it is important to learn interdisciplinary knowledge and methods during the study. Student party asap wants the university to encourage courses and faculties to expand their offer of interdisciplinary subjects. Student party asap also sees interdisciplinary minors as a good way to introduce students to interdisciplinary education in the bachelor’s phase.
Another way to introduce students to more disciplines and perspectives is interfaculty education. Student party asap believes that students should be able to easily take courses from all faculties for their personal development and to tackle complex problems. Although this is already partly possible, at the moment there are many practical barriers, such as unequal timetables and money. Student party asap wants the timetables to be equalised, a minimum amount of ECTS to be made available for free choice, and a central fund for interfaculty education that all faculties can make use of.
In concrete terms, asap wants:
- The university should encourage courses and faculties to increase the number of interdisciplinary courses;
- That existing interdisciplinary courses be better publicised;
- Encourage faculties to develop interdisciplinary minors;
- That the practical barriers to inter-faculty education are removed.
Student party asap considers sustainability and circularity of paramount importance and is pleased to see that Radboud University shares this view. Student party asap encourages the university to keep innovating and experimenting in the field of sustainability. It is important that students know how they can contribute to a sustainable university. The university can still make gains here, by better informing students about current initiatives, such as the reusable coffee cups at FNWI, the so-called Billie Cups. In addition, asap believes that the university should limit the use of single-use plastic products as much as possible.
Student party asap wants the university to make it more attractive to reach the campus by bike. This way, fewer cars will drive onto the campus and our living environment will become cleaner and safer. By making room for a cheap bicycle shop on campus and improving the facilities for bicycles on campus, cycling will be made more attractive.
Sustainability is more than just the environment. By using materials and facilities in a sustainable way, Radboud University will be ready for the future. One way to deal with facilities in a sustainable way is to be more flexible with workspaces. A classroom can also be used as an individual study space when there are no classes. Student party asap wants to work with the university to find innovative, sustainable new applications for the existing infrastructure.
Although asap considers sustainability very important, the accessibility of the facilities and products for all students should not be overlooked. The options in the Refter and the Culture Café, for instance, which must remain accessible for students, both financially and dietary. In this way, everyone can participate in the transition to a more sustainable university
In concrete terms, asap wants:
- That the university informs students about how they can contribute;
- Limit the use of single-use plastic products;
- Make it more attractive to come to the campus by bike;
- The university should look for sustainable applications for the existing infrastructure;
- Keep sustainability accessible for all students.
The lessons of the corona pandemic are still fresh in our minds. After an almost completely forced transition to online education, university education is back to the “old normal”. The transition to online education demanded great adaptability from both students and teachers. Many courses made use of already recorded lectures or live streams. The disadvantages of online education have been extensively mapped out. Nevertheless, asap sees opportunities in the progress that has been made in the field of online education: it offers students flexibility and a greater diversity of learning opportunities.
By recording all lectures and making them available to students, education can become more flexible for students. Being able to study more flexibly allows students to spend more time on personal development, either within or outside the study programme. This flexibility also ensures that students who cannot find a room in Nijmegen due to the housing shortage do not have to travel long distances every day for an educational activity.
A further enhancement to the way education is offered at the university is the use of knowledge clips. Short, pre-recorded videos explaining the theory can supplement existing didactics. Knowledge clips can also serve as thorough preparations so that lectures can be more interactive and in-depth. These knowledge clips must not take on the form and length of a full lecture and must not increase the workload of students and lecturers. The university must continue to encourage and support lecturers in the use of flexible and diverse teaching methods.
Student party asap also wants the university to continue to innovate in the area of Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs). A SPOC is an online course in which students from various disciplines learn together. SPOCs can be used as an innovative and flexible opportunity for (interdisciplinary) learning. Student party asap also wants the university to support lecturers in setting up pilot SPOCs so that both students and lecturers can get the most out of this form of online education.
In concrete terms, asap wants:
- Apply lessons about online education now;
- Record lectures and make them always available;
- Widen the use of knowledge clips;
- Support in setting up the pilot SPOCs.
Student party asap believes that the student experience is about more than just passing your exams. Whether you choose to spend a year on a board, be an active member of a representative body, play professional sports or spend your time outside of study in any other way, asap believes that the university should facilitate your development. Even if students are involuntarily prevented from studying full-time, for example, due to illness or caring responsibilities, the university must make it possible for them to study more flexibly. These facilities exist within the ‘flexible study’ programme at Radboud University.
In addition, asap advocates the so-called ‘flex study’, in which the student pays per credit point. This gives students the space to arrange their study programme more freely and, where necessary, to devote attention to activities outside of studying. It is a way of facilitating study enrichment; students are given more freedom to choose their own path, without this being made unnecessarily expensive. As a rule, this should be possible for everyone, but in any case it should be made available to students who, for example, participate in top-level sports, are active as carers or suffer from a (serious) illness. The national pilot, which has taken place at other universities, has led to positive results. Student Party asap wants ‘flex-study’ to also be possible at Radboud University, so that students can afford to be active. The university would then become more accessible to everyone.
Another way to make studying more flexible is the ‘soft cut’, which asap strongly supports. The soft cut allows students to start a master’s programme without having completed all the points for the bachelor’s degree. In this way, there is a flexible flow and students do not have to follow an extra year of study for a limited number of ECTS. Whether the ‘soft cut’ can be used again in the future depends on The Hague. Student party asap, therefore, wants to continue to put this subject on the agenda, both at the national level and at Radboud University.
In concrete terms, asap wants:
- Apply the results of the national flex-study pilot and integrate them into the current facilities;
- Make the possibility of flexible studying clear to students and lecturers;
- Innovate in new possibilities to make flexible studying possible;
- Reintroduce the soft cut.