The second council meeting of this academic year took place at the 8th of November. We met our new dean (Boudewijn Haverkort) who introduced himself and attended a part of the meeting to get more involved in the processes the faculty is going through.
Questions to the board
The first topic on the agenda was the questions asked to the board. Student Party Dante first wanted to receive an update about the process of the implementation of videolectures within TSHD. The board responded that they talked with the project manager of educational development about this initiative, but concluded that there is no priority to this plan. The motivation was that video lectures do not increase the amount of people that will pass a course. However, the board also considers video lectures as a service and thus Student Party Dante can talk to the project manager of educational development.
The second question we came up about was the topic regarding the possibility to provide training sessions for the program committees. In the last few weeks a draft was made about the competence of the program committees, but there still is a conversation required to ask the members of those committees about their needs. In the upcoming weeks the faculty will start this dialogue and will inform Student Party Dante about the input they receive.
Paperless is more
In last year university council new plans were accepted according to the possibility to submit assignments digitally. We received some information about the struggles of teachers with those new plans. Some reasonable arguments they gave were that they do not get informed well enough about the facilities they can use to let students submit their assignments digitally (such as TurnItIn). Besides this, the workload of the teachers will increase because they might print the assignments after they received it in a digital form. Student Party Dante understands the troubles of the teachers and did conversate with the teachers in the council. We agreed that the ‘paperless is more’ initiative is only going to work if the teachers get well informed about TurnItIn and how to give feedback digitally. However, everyone agrees that students are allowed to submit assignments digitally if students prefer that.
The internal budget
The next topic on the agenda was about the internal budget of the faculty. Some of the council members felt that they did not have the opportunity to fully understand the budget plans. The board did understand the confusion, so they will delay the advise for the budget (given by the council) by a few weeks to give us more time to better understand the budget. To get some more clarification, we asked about the targets that are imposed for each department. Each department needs to save a total of 95k and come up with a plan on how they want to do this. Student Party Dante asked on how the board will evaluate those plans and what will happen when a department cannot meet to those criteria. The board responded that a dissatisfaction of the imposition will be problematic for the faculty and will mean that there will exist a shortage on the budget.
The internal distribution model
The last subject we discussed was the internal distribution model. For many this might still be an unknown item so here is a quick summary of what this model entails. The internal distribution model is basically the distribution of the money available to and within our faculty regarding the first cash flow. This first cash flow implies the money our university received from the Dutch government which again is divided over the faculties at TiU. Our faculty is changing some of the structures of this model since we divided one department into two separates. Besides, the University as a whole is changing their structure as well. Another change is that the reserves of the various departments will be collected under one account instead of the previous accounts allocated to the department itself. These are the most important changes, among others. However, we as Student Party Dante (together with the teachers) do hold some objections to these changes and will discuss this further with the Faculty Board.