On Thursday the 6th of September, the first faculty council of TSHD (Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences) took place. The agenda of this council included the budget of the faculty for the upcoming five years as well as the investments in each department of TSHD. Those investments included the SV-budget given by the government to improve the quality of education (studievoorschotmiddelen). The goal for Student Party Dante was to check the plans given by the board and represent the interests of the students.
The meeting started with all the members voting in favour of Jeroen Aben as chairman for the faculty councils in 2018-2019. Besides this, Max Spotti will be the chairman of the teachers representation, and Mathijs Leenheer will be the chairman for Student Party Dante.
Questions about the SV-budget
Then the decisions made in the last council were approved, so we could start asking for clarification about the SV-budget. The SV-budget is a budget subsidized by the government to improve the quality of education. In our opinion, all students should notice an improved quality of their education. Student Party Dante asked for more clarification about the decisions of the board and the process. The board responded that the entire SV-budget would be used for hiring more professors (4,5 fte in two departments) because of the increasing student population of TSHD in the upcoming years. It remains a question how the respectively small studies like Philosophy and Online Culture would notice an improvement of the quality of their education. We can say that the response was quite unclear. In addition, students were not involved in the processes for determining the SV-budget.
Because of the unclear information of the investments using the SV-budget and the purpose of this investment (improving the quality of education for all students), Student Party Dante did vote in favour of the investment only on specific conditions:
- The board needs to give more motivation and clarification on the investment
- There needs to be a specific answer on how other studies of TSHD will notice the improvement of the quality of education
- The student council will be more involved in the process regarding the SV-budget within TSHD, as defined in the law regarding the SV-budget. For the next budget we can ask students what they need and how their money can be spend.
After clarifying the SV-budget, the council got the opportunity to ask more about the general information provided in the budget. Some highlights:
The expected first year student population for the coming three years will almost be doubled. This expectation is of course a very positive prospect for TSHD, but we need to pay attention that we can handle this amount of students with regard to the amount of professors and the ideals of the faculty. Some examples of those ideals are the small study groups and the personal education.
Students do profit from certain facilities on the university, such as the scriptorium (who gives feedback on your papers). We need to keep an eye on the future prospects of those facilities and make sure that students are able to take advantage of those facilities.
The new mastertrack called ‘Data Science and society’ will start in February 2019. This will be a great asset for our faculty. Because of the vision of the university, namely ‘understanding society’ and the new focus on digitalization of TSHD, this new master will be an interdisciplinary study within those ideals.
The upcoming year multiple studies within TSHD get an inspection to check the quality of the education. This will be a visitation of a committee that will focus on the quality of the programs within TSHD. They will also talk with a panel consisting students of each educational program.
In the next few weeks, Student Party Dante will focus on the policy plans and the plans as posed in the elections of April 2018. Besides this, we will strive to improve the communication between de students of TSHD and the faculty.