Newsletter University Council January 2014 edition 84
Information from the UCouncil on:
- Report on analysis of reciprocal transfer RUG - HG- E-learning- Google-apps- Annual staff survey - Board Meetings - University Library - Exam penalty
Report analysis reciprocal transfer RUG - HG
This month a report on the analysis of the reciprocal flow RUG - HG was discussed. The success rate of the various groups was also considered, such as those who, on the basis of an HBO propaedeutic diploma (prior education Senior General Secondary Education – HAVO) embark on a university programme. In response to these data the University Executive Board intends to deny automatic admission to the RUG to the group of HBO propaedeutic students from the academic year 2015 – 2016. The legal basis for this is provided by the act on Quality in Diversity which makes it possible for universities from the academic year 2014 – 2015 to set admission requirements for HBO-p students. Student and staff sections expressed concern about this proposal. They find the new measure too rigorous and find that the new measure is being introduced too fast: HAVO students should be able to prepare for the new regulation. Moreover, there are many other ways to overcome the dropout rate. The Board has promised to discuss the proposed decision with the FacultiesThe UCouncil awaits the outcomes of these discussions.
Is the RUG increasingly moving towards E-Learning? The vision of the steering committee E-learning was discussed in the Education and Research Committee. The steering committee takes advantage of the possibilities of ICT to reach out to the students in a different manner. Not only new groups but also new teaching methods are encouraged. The vision is aimed at advancing high quality of academic education. Some pilots on e-learning have already started, e.g. web classes, flipping the classroom, e-lectures and video conferences. For the time being MOOC's will only be used as a recruitment and information tool for would-be students.
The UCouncil views the development that is made in the area of E-learning with favour. The UCouncil, however, does ask for attention to be drawn to the creation of a broad staff base and a solid evaluation of the pilots. All members view the exchange of experiences among the Faculties as important.
The UCouncil wants the University to postpone the transition to Google Apps for staff. The Board is asked to present a memorandum which clearly explains the security and privacy aspects. According to the Board , the benefits in terms of reliability, functionality, security and privacy reason are reason enough to start with Google. The UCouncil questions the policy to let a Faculty Board decide which member of staff is excepted, resulting in an opt-out regulation. According to the staff section this choice should lie with the member of staff. The Board sees no reason to postpone the planned transfer on 26 May 2014. It did promise the UCouncil to write a memorandum clarifying the problems.
Annual staff Survey
In last year’s survey 40% of RUG staff cited increased workload as a negative point. For that reason, the staff group in the Council expressed concern on this issue which is also caused by the increase in the number of promotions and increased bureaucracy involved in obtaining research funds. The staff section surmised that those who failed to fill out the survey probably were too busy or did not trust the outcome to have any effect on their well-being. In relation to the observed increased workload the Board pointed in the direction of the Minister of OCW (Education, Culture and Science) . "There will be no more money from The Hague, but staff are expected to put in more effort.” Another survey will be carried out in 18 months .
Meetings between RUG Board and Faculty Boards
The results of meetings between the RUG Board and Faculty Board, in a revamped format, were received by the UCouncil with interest. It is a tool enabling the UCouncil to keep a finger on the pulse in respect of quality control at the RUG. During the meeting it transpired that the UCouncil’s expectations were different from those of the Executive Board in respect of the monitoring role of the UCouncil in respect of the results of these meetings. The Executive Board did not think it advisable to discuss faculty developments with the UCouncil. In answer to various questions about RUG-wide development, such as learning communities, the Board replied that this was still work ‘under construction”. In a separate committee meeting of the UCouncil with the Board the UCouncil wishes to make the role of the UCouncil concrete in the procedure of the management meetings. This should contribute to an improvement in the quality care (PDDCA cycle) of the RUG.
The student sections have enquired frequently about the pending renovation of the University library. The master plan renovation University Library has been adopted in the meantime by the Board of the University and that means that from September 2014 the renovation period will start. The number of places of study will be increased from 1700 at this moment to 2200 in the future.
Penalty for late exam registration
In January there has been national commotion about the penalty students have to pay for enrolment in an exam after the registration deadline has passed. Also, at some RUG Faculties students have to pay this ‘penalty’. The Education Inspectorate let it be known that each student must be able to sit for an exam for free once the college fees have been paid. Also, the national student organisation ISO shares the view of the Education Inspectorate and has written letters to the Boards of several universities. The RUG Board indicated that the payment of 15 euros in its opinion is not in violation of the law. Nevertheless, the UCouncil urged the Board to find a solution, for instance, by automatic enrolment for exams on participation in a course.
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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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