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82, October 2013

28 February 2014

Newsletter University Council Edition 2013 No. 82 (meeting October 31)

Index English
- The University against the yardstick..
- The end of KVI (Nuclear Physics Accelerator Institute)
- Choosing a programme of study at the RUG to change: Matching
- International Student Barometer: room for improvement
- Who’s afraid of Google-apps?
- University College Groningen to go for New Programme Test.
- Satisfaction of RUG students with disabilities.

The University against the yardstick..
In the spring of 2013 an external committee assessed whether or not the RUG complied with the quality requirements applicable to Dutch universities. The assessment is important in view of a quality mark, the accreditation of our University. The RUG did not fully comply, hence the  RUG quality assurance system is being analysed at central level this year. The University Council (UCouncil) also plays a role here, as evidenced by the recommendations of the external committee and the Dutch Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO).
The RUG Board has already taken measures, for instance, by placing greater emphasis on the bi-annual meetings with the Faculty Boards. Results of these meetings will be shared with the UCouncil. The UCouncil furthermore wishes to assume a clearer role in the university quality cycle: a policy methodology typified by the stages of Plan, Do, Check and Act. In any case, the UCouncil wants to be able to exert more  influence on the Plan and Check stages.
The external committee is due to return in the spring of 2014.

The end of KVI (Nuclear Physics Accelerator Institute)
After a heated exchange of ideas with the RUG Board the UCouncil fractions reluctantly agreed with the proposed reorganisation of the KVI. The Institute is to be split up into a Centre for Advanced Radiation Technology (CART) and a part will be transferred to the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The main reason for closing down the KVI is of a financial nature.
The fractions are, in particular, concerned about the viability of CART as a new unit. As a result of the intervention by participation the scientific basis of CART will be strengthened, however, the UCouncil expressed its concern in respect of the financial basis. For that reason the staff fraction informed the University Board that they will closely follow the coming budgets of CART.
In its choice to give the green light to the University Board for this split the UCouncil relied on the advice given by the Service Council of KVI.

Choosing a programme of study at the RUG to change: Matching
Next year, all prospective students will take a study-choice check before registration. Without this check you cannot register as a student. The objective is to check whether student and programme match. The study choice activities will be an intake form, a study choice day and a study choice recommendation. Following this (non-binding) advice a potential student makes a definitive decision on the eventual registration. This route of matching should reduce the high drop-out rate.
The UCouncil from the perspective of staff and students will closely monitor the preparations of the RUG’s matching activities. What will this mean for the various groups of aspiring students? How much increased work pressure does this entail for the RUG staff? How much does it cost? What will the results be? The UCouncil is clearly keeping a close eye on things.

International Student Barometer: room for improvement
The annual satisfaction survey ‘International Student Barometer’ was scrutinized by the UCouncil. It is noted that satisfaction of international students is not optimal in all faculties. The fractions therefore find that satisfaction should go up further. The University Board will discuss this issue with the faculties. In addition, pilots will be started up for the implementation of the international classroom. The UCouncil awaits the results of the pilots.

Who’s afraid of Google-apps?
Students and alumni have already moved to Google mail. RUG staff will follow in the foreseeable future. The University Board is aware of the fact that not all staff are comfortable with this, in particular because of privacy reasons. Certain members of staff will be offered to be excepted from this. The UCouncil has made a case for an opt-out possibility for any  member of staff who wishes to do so – and without having to give detailed reasons.
Staff themselves should decide whether or not to participate in Good-apps and not the Faculty Board or management, in the opinion of the UCouncil. The Board states that the various boards of management must channel this process. The UCouncil has indicated its wish to monitor this.

University College Groningen to go for New Programme Test.
The University College Groningen (UCG) is under construction and hopes to open its doors in September 2014. However, before it can actually start under the leadership of Dean Hans van Ees, the RUG will have to pass the New Programme Test. In this Test, essential parts of this new Faculty will be assessed, such as learning objectives, learning environment and testing policy. The University Board explained the document to the UCouncil and (student) fractions  have put forward their points of attention and concern. For the time being, the Council is the participation organ of the UCG until the actual start of the programme.

Satisfaction of RUG students with disabilities.
The National Students Survey (NSE) shows student satisfaction in respect of various aspects of quality of education at the RUG. In Groningen 32% of students filled out the NSE survey. The survey shows that the RUG scores reasonably well on many aspects. However, students with a disability appear to be less satisfied than in previous years about, for instance, supply of information, information sessions and understanding of their impairment by lecturers and staff. Student representatives in the UCouncil used the agenda item “any other business’ to ask whether or not the University Board was aware of the drop in satisfaction and what it intends to do about it.  The Board had not yet clearly observed this point, but will investigate this matter in response to the question by the UCouncil.

UCouncil on Twitter :
PersoneelsfractieRUG @PfRUG
Personeel U-raad RUG @PersoneelUraad
Lijst Calimero@lijstcalimero

For further details please contact the UR Presidium.

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Disclaimer: The text above is an impression of topics discussed in the UR and should not be regarded as official statements with regard to decisions taken in the UR.

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