Every month we will share an update from the group on the website. In this update, the group explains what is going on within the USR, which issues have come up in the Joint Assembly and what asap’s opinion is.
The new month has started, so time for an update of the group. Last month was a fairly quiet period for the University Students Council. The week of carnival was a week without appointments, which resulted in many meetings being postponed. In this update, we discuss the workload among employees, the interfaculty education memo, safe space conversations and the zachte knip/soft cut.
The fact that there was no Joint Assembly doesn’t mean we have been idle. In recent weeks, the USC and the works council have had extensive consultations with the Executive Board about the workload among staff, a topic that already played a role before COVID-19 and has reached a peak with the current crisis.
The workload is so high for teachers that even with setting priorities, not all goals are achievable. If a solution is not found quickly, it can have a negative impact on the quality of our education, something the group of asap really wants to prevent. That is why we as USC had a lot of consultation with the members of the works council to discuss this problem in detail. Partly to think along with the staff of our university, but also to ensure that the interests of students are not pushed aside.
At certain points a middle ground has been found in the Joint Assembly. Together we have come to the conclusion that teachers have a lot of paperwork of reflection and quality assurance tasks, which, in our opinion, can be somewhat less. Performance appraisals are somewhat scaled back, PhD students can qualify for a contract extension and the data from the teacher evaluations with regard to education can wait for a while. It was important to the USC that the students’ educational evaluations are still used and discussed. This is an important means of giving students the opportunity to provide feedback on the quality of education. This is a resource of such importance to the student that the USC is happy to maintain it.
Memo Interfaculty Education
Within the USC committee Education and ICT, the group has been busy writing a memo to further promote interfaculty education at Radboud University. The university states in its strategy that every student must be able to develop well on campus. Educational programs are becoming increasingly flexible, so that students’ learning needs can be better tailored to their own needs. Radboud University also aspires that every bachelor’s program offers room for electives, which can also be followed outside the study.
The USC supports the vision of the university, but sees points for improvement to further encourage and support students in broadening their knowledge and better aligning their studies with their own interests.
To achieve this, the USC calls for the following actions to be taken:
- Creating a facility for students to take overlapping exams without having to deviate for one of the courses to the resit period.
- Improving and expanding information to students about the possibilities for taking courses outside their own study program.
- Creating an easily searchable overview of the full range of courses at the RU.
By solving these bottlenecks, students will have more opportunities to take courses outside the faculty as well.
Safe space conversations
The USC has started organizing a series of safe space conversations in collaborations with the strategist diversity, equality and inclusion. Students and employees can share their personal story or experience in a safe and judgment-free place and enter into a dialogue with each other about difficult topics. It is precisely to start a conversation with each other and to talk about the things you encounter, can help you to move forward. The series has now started. The first meeting was all about courageous conversations. Various meetings will be organized throughout the year. The next meeting will take place on April 13 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM!
Zachte knip/soft cut
Last year, due to the corona crisis, it was decided that a soft / flexible cut was introduced at Radboud University. Students who could not obtain their Bachelor’s degree before the end of the 2019/2020 academic year could still be admitted to a Master’s program in a slightly different way. Students who met certain conditions could still start their master’s program with the permission of the Examination Board by means of the soft cut scheme. Different rules applied per program.
Given that the corona crisis is still not over and students are still facing the same problems, it raises the question of whether a soft cut will be allowed again for the 2021/2022 academic year. asap thinks the soft knip offers students such support at this time that we believe that this is also necessary for the next academic year. In a meeting with the rector, the USC asked what the university views on this and what the VSNU (Association of Cooperating Dutch Universities) and the ministry think of the scheme. The rector indicated that he was open to the introduction of the soft cut in the same way as last year, where the study program determines the conditions. The VSNU also supports the introduction of the soft cut. Ultimately, the ministry has to commit and this is expected to happen in mid-March. We will keep you informed!
If you have any questions and/or comments after reading the update, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or approach one of the group members personally.
Jasper, Rick, Jesse and JorisGroup asap 2020-2021