Considering a master in psychology? You’ll have to apply

Considering a master in psychology? You’ll have to apply

Students who want to do a psychology master programme at the UG will have to go through a selection procedure, starting the 2021/20222 academic year. The department cannot handle the influx anymore.
29 June om 13:15 uur.
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29 June om 13:15 uur.
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‘The clinical master programmes are particularly popular, says Klaas van Veen, vice dean at the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. ‘There are no funds to expand our capacity, which means we’ll have to start making a selection.’ 

The influx problem started a few years ago. Last year, the clinical programmes had room for one hundred students, but 180 students registered. 

Cutbacks

‘We’re right at the limit of our capacity’, says Van Veen. ‘We worked really hard to accommodate all those students, but at the same time, we’re dealing with cutbacks. Otherwise we’d expanded our capacity.’

The selection procedure will be implemented for all psychology master programmes. Students will be tested on their general knowledge of psychology and they’ll have to write a motivation letter. 

Quality

Van Veen understands that students are worried this will mean they won’t be able to do their preferred master. ‘We don’t want to have to do this either, but we have no choice. If we keep going like this, we won’t be able to provide students with the quality education we want.’

The news follows the announcement that the psychology bachelor’s capacity will be increased from 600 to 650 students. The department is admitting more students since it’s expected that more students will drop out due to the corona crisis.

‘We’ve made careful calculations’, Van Veen says. ‘Approximately half the bachelor students decide to do a master programme outside of Groningen, so it shouldn’t cause any problems.’

Laboratories open for longer to make up for lost research time

One of the researchers in Bert Poolman’s group at work in the lab.

Students can’t come in yet

Laboratories open for longer to make up for lost time

For the first time since the corona crisis started, people are allowed back into the UG labs, albeit under strict conditions.

19 May om 20:00 uur.
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om 20:01 uur.
May 19 at 20:00 PM.
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19 May om 20:00 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 19 May 2020
om 20:01 uur.
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May 19 at 20:00 PM.
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For PhD student Marco van der Noort, it’s both nice and strange to be back in the lab. The molecular biologist studies how substances are transported in bacterial cells. ‘I’m thrilled that I can continue my experiments. But it’s also weird because I’m here alone all day.’ 

He doesn’t interact with any colleagues, because there aren’t any around. ‘My lunch break is so boring. My day is just eight hours of silence. At least I’m getting a lot of work done.’

Prepare at home

All the labs at the Faculty of Science and Engineering reopened on May 11. Before that, they could only be used for corona-related research during the two months of the lockdown. ‘But all that research was on an extremely small scale’, says biochemistry professor Bert Poolman.

He supervises a group of approximately twenty researchers, mainly PhD students and postdocs. Van der Noort is part of his group, as well. ‘They’re slowly allowed into the lab again, but there are some strict conditions’, says Poolman. The research has to be prepared at home and the scientists have to reserve a time slot.

The lab can only be used for the necessary equipment measurements. Only two people are allowed in labs over twenty-five square feet; under that, only one person is allowed in at a time. ‘There’s a maximum occupancy of 25 percent.’

Cleaning

PhD student Eleonora Bailoni, also part of Poolman’s group, thinks it’s all very strange. ‘I’m alone all the time and even when my co-workers are here, we have to stay away from each other. We have to thoroughly clean everything. That’s stressful since we’re working with time constraints. But I’m mainly happy, obviously.’

Poolman realised back in February that the UG labs would probably be closing. ‘I was reading the news and figured it wouldn’t end well.’ He had his group speed up their experiments. ‘It helped a little, but we’ll probably have to make up for lost time.’

The labs will stay open for longer to allow the researcher to get as much work done as possible. ‘We start at seven in the morning and keep going until eight at night’, says Poolman. The labs are also open on Saturdays, and the Sunday is being considered. ‘I love watching how hard everyone is working. I really appreciate that.’

Lost time

Regular students aren’t allowed into the lab just yet. ‘We hope to hear more about that soon. As it currently stands, they’ll be allowed back in September.’ 

Everyone has lost valuable research time, says Poolman. ‘That’s especially bothersome for PhD students who’ve nearly finished their research, or postdocs whose contracts are ending.’ 

The shutdown won’t affect Van den Noort or Bailoni much; they only just started their PhD studies. ‘It could have been much worse’, says Bailoni. ‘These two months haven’t been great, but at least I have plenty of time left to finish my research.’

Shutdown UG buildings works out for renovation projects

Shutdown UG buildings works out for renovation projects

Renovation projects at the UG have not been hampered by the corona crisis. It has its advantages, although it doesn’t necessarily mean the work is going faster.

21 April om 13:11 uur.
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21 April om 13:11 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 21 April 2020
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‘The good news during these bizarre times is that the renovations aren’t disrupting any educational activities’, says Marleen Iemhoff, facility manager at the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences (BSS). The large-scale renovation of the old extension at the Heymans complex is nearly finished. 

‘Normally, the builders would have to cease drilling and demolition activities by nine in the morning, but now they can keep going all day. They don’t need to be quiet because of students and staff. They’re getting a lot of work done’, says Iemhoff. ‘Plus, they can blast the radio all day long’, she says, laughing. ‘They couldn’t do that before.’

Delay

In order to obey the distancing rules, the builders don’t carpool as much and stagger their lunch breaks. ‘It’s all being monitored by the site manager.’

The building was originally supposed to be finished in April, but the deadline has been moved to early May. The delay would have happened with or without the coronavirus, says Iemhoff. When the renovation’s done, it’s time for the internal infrastructure. ‘We hope everything can be delivered on time, but the virus could pose a problem, for instance if certain factories are shut down.’ 

Asbestos

The Linnaeusborg is also being renovated. ‘Because the building is closed, no one is bothered by the activities’, says FSE housing manager Andrys Weitenberg. ‘The builders have much more freedom.’ 

Nevertheless, the project, which involves the creation of two new laboratories, has suffered a three-week delay. ‘The contractor has less staff because of the coronavirus.’

One advantage of the shutdown is that there is now time for projects that would have presented a challenge otherwise. Extra asbestos has been removed at Nijenborgh 4, says Weitenberg. ‘Now is the ideal time to do that. There are few risks involved and it bothers no one.’

Quiet roads

The advantages are also evident at the Zernikelaan project, where bicycle paths and sidewalks are being renovated. ‘The roads are much quieter’, says grounds management head Mark Bloeming. ‘There are fewer pedestrians and cyclists, and the buses aren’t as full. We’ve been able to move up several projects that would have otherwise caused a lot of nuisance.’ 

FSE appeals to students: Donate your safety goggles and masks

FSE appeals to students:

‘Donate your safety goggles and masks’

If you have any safety goggles, disposable gloves, or face masks lying around, Theo Jurriens is asking you to hand them in. Healthcare facilities need them.
25 March om 10:07 uur.
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om 10:07 uur.
March 25 at 10:07 AM.
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25 March om 10:07 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 25 March 2020
om 10:07 uur.
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Using the hashtag #allebrillenverzamelen (#collectallthegoggles) Jurriens, communication adviser for the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), is trying to reach his students online. ‘I can guarantee you no one is using their safety goggles right now’, he says. In the meantime, healthcare facilities in the north of the Netherlands are suffering a shortage of medical equipment due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

‘Please give your equipment to people who need it’, says Jurriens. Students can drop off their things at MartiniPlaza, where a central collection point has been set up. In addition to face masks and disposable gloves, people can also donate surgical masks, and even goggles to protect against fireworks.

Distributed as needed

All the materials collected at MartiniPlaza will be distributed to the healthcare facilities as needed. ‘Please hand in what you have; they really need it’, says Jurriens. 

FSE has donated four hundred pairs of safety goggles. ‘The biologists showed up with disposable gloves and disinfectant. I hope the students follow in their footsteps and take their stuff to the MartiniPlaza.’

The medical equipment can be handed in at MartiniPlaza every day between noon and six p.m., including on the weekends. UMCG staff is on hand to approve the materials.

Faculty council: FEB wait for study advisers should be shorter

FEB wait for study advisers should be shorter

The waiting list to get an appointment with the study adviser at the Faculty of Economics and Business is too long. The faculty council says this has to change.
4 March om 11:45 uur.
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om 12:14 uur.
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4 March om 11:45 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 4 March 2020
om 12:14 uur.
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‘Students are made to wait three or even four weeks before they can get an appointment’, says Reender Reenders, faction chair with De Vrije Student. After complaints, his party investigated. They found that for nineteen weeks out of the academic year, the average wait time is just under three weeks. ‘That’s only the average; the maximum wait can be much longer’, says Reenders.

Difficult to plan

A memo by Student Support, which was discussed during last week’s faculty council meeting because of Reenders’ questions, says that students aren’t sufficiently available for appointments, among other things. ‘But planning classes is also difficult. I get the feeling that the faculty is trying to make the problem look smaller than it is.’

But the board says it’s not that simple. Vice dean Manda Broekhuis knows that students don’t always pick the first available time slot because they aren’t available, and sometimes deliberately select a later time slot, which makes it look like the wait time (between making an appointment and the appointment itself) is longer. ‘But that’s the students’ choice, which changes things.’

Reenders was also told that student could send an e-mail or phone the adviser. ‘But that’s not entirely fair. Also, the phone line is only for quick questions.’ Reenders says this doesn’t solve real problems.

Improvements

Any e-mails sent go to the Student Support account and not to study advisers directly. The board acknowledges that there’s room for improvement here and will look into whether they can add the study advisers’ e-mail addresses to their website.

Reenders points out that the number of students at the faculty has increased, while the number of study advisers hasn’t. ‘It’s no wonder, really.’

If it’s up to the faculty council, the maximum wait time will become ten days. The board said they’d start thinking about a plan of attack to shorten the wait times.

‘Faculty councils should translate meeting documents’

‘Faculty councils should translate documents’

Faculty councils exclude internationals by making meeting documents available only in Dutch. This should change, says Daan van Gulik, vice president of the Behavioural and Social Sciences faculty council.

19 February om 12:01 uur.
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om 12:21 uur.
February 19 at 12:01 PM.
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19 February om 12:01 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 19 February 2020
om 12:21 uur.
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‘This is no longer in line with a university that wants to be internationally oriented’, says Van Gulik. He feels that faculty councils do not accurately reflect the makeup of the faculty. Until January this year, there were no international students in the BSS faculty council.

‘I feel like the participation councils aren’t properly accessible to them’, says Van Gulik. International students are officially allowed to run for council, but they often don’t because they don’t understand the Dutch meeting documents. ‘I grew up with Dutch as a native language and even I have trouble understanding the documents sometimes.’

Translation program

There is a translator present at the BSS faculty meetings, but Van Gulik has proposed to release the documents in English from now own. The faculty board was not immediately enthusiastic about this. ‘I understand, because it costs time and money. But the university has a big internationalisation budget, so they should invest in these kinds of things.’ 

The board will now be looking into a professional translation program. ‘That’s an intermediate solution that I can live with’, says Van Gulik. ‘But ultimately, we should have them professionally translated. After all, we’re a professional international organisation.’

Nephew’s teeth could give definitive answer about count Adolf’s fate

Lammert Doedens (centre) with the coffin belonging to Adolf’ cousin. Photo: Tjerk Bekius

Nephew’s teeth could tell us about count Adolf’s fate

For years, University Museum historian Lammert Doedens has been looking for the missing count Adolf van Nassau. The solution to the mystery appears closer than ever.
18 February om 16:41 uur.
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om 9:52 uur.
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18 February om 16:41 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 19 February 2020
om 9:52 uur.
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Adolf, brother to William of Orange, was killed in the Battle of Heiligerlee (1568), but no one knows what happened to his body. In Oldenburg, Doedens found remains that might belong to the count, but if he wants proof, he needs a DNA match. 

On Tuesday, he went to Dillenburg in Germany to open up the coffin belonging to one of Adolf’s great-nephews in the town church. Originally, he’d also planned to look inside the coffin belonging to another nephew; both are descendants of Adolf’s brother Jan van Nassau. However, this second coffin was sealed too tightly. ‘We would have destroyed it, which is obviously not something we want’, says Doedens.

The original, wooden coffin – sealed in a metal tomb – was in great condition: ‘We were really happy with that alone.’ The discovery he made upon opening the coffin made him even happier: ‘The body was practically mummified’, he says. ‘This means we’ll have a great chance to extract a DNA profile.’

Relatives

Years ago, Doedens found the remains of an unknown male in the St. Lamberti Church in Oldenburg. Research showed that the man was between twenty and thirty years old, that he wasn’t related to the counts of Oldenburg, and that he wasn’t born in the surrounding area. Could this be Adolf van Nassau? Attempts so far to find DNA from one of his relatives have failed

Anthropologist Birgit Großkopf with the University of Göttingen, who is part of the research team, took DNA material from two teeth belonging to the nephew in Dillenburg on Tuesday to compare to the Oldenburg bones. Now, after all these years, Doedens’ search for Adolf van Nassau might come to an end. ‘In eight weeks, we’ll know if we succeeded’, he says with a sigh. 

Party for internationals gives up seat in BSS faculty council

Party for internationals gives up seat in BSS faculty council

After more than three months, the empty student seat in the Behavioural and Social Sciences faculty council has been filled. But not by the party that won the seat. Daan van Gulik, the faculty council’s vice-chairperson, explains.
27 January om 14:10 uur.
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om 14:11 uur.
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27 January om 14:10 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 27 January 2020
om 14:11 uur.
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The seat won by STUN (Student United) has been taken over by PSB. Isn’t that deceiving the voters?

‘If you put it like that, sure. But you could also say that standing as a candidate who wants to represent international students and then not turning up is deceiving them even more. I think this can be seen as the lesser of two evils.’

Why did the previous student member quit?

‘The student was an international from STUN, the party representing internationals. We realised that he had trouble participating in the meetings. That’s why he didn’t always show up. The same thing happened last year, so we’d been having a conversation with him in the hopes that he’d be more motivated this year.’

‘But earlier this academic year he said that he wasn’t able to do it anymore. I had a talk with him and together we decided that we’d look for a different international for the council.’

You’d think he knew what he was getting into?

‘You would. But I understand where he’s coming from. The meetings are all in Dutch. We’ve tried to have them in English, but it just didn’t work out. His studies were also taking up a lot of his time. I told him I thought it was great he was on the council, but that it couldn’t go on like this. We reached this decision.’

How did the process of switching the seat go?

‘We made sure to really talk about it with STUN. We didn’t just ask them if we could take their seat. First, we asked if they couldn’t just come to the meeting, but that was not going to happen. It was a shame, because it does waste the students’ vote.’

We asked them how they would feel if we looked for a representative international student in our party. They were fine with it. Next, we went to the central polling committee, to see if this was actually allowed. It’s unusual, but it was okay.’

All this happened back in September. It took you guys until January to find a replacement. Why did it take so long?

‘Finding a new student member was really difficult. We had a lot of interviews, and it’s not an easy decision for the student, either. It was also an unusual procedure, since we weren’t having any elections for the position. We underestimated the search a little. Turns out it’s pretty difficult to explain to students what the council does exactly.’

Linnaeusborg closed around Christmas

Andrys Weitenberg, housing manager of FSE, in the Linnaeusborg. Photo Felipe Silva

Work on ventilation channels

Linnaeusborg closed around Christmas

The Linnaeusborg will be closed on December 23, 24, and 27. The central ventilation system needs a lot of work.
17 December om 14:38 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 18 December 2019
om 10:13 uur.
December 17 at 14:38 PM.
Last modified on December 18, 2019
at 10:13 AM.

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17 December om 14:38 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 18 December 2019
om 10:13 uur.
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December 17 at 14:38 PM.
Last modified on December 18, 2019
at 10:13 AM.

‘The planned operation will prepare the main air ducts for the expansion of these channels’, says Faculty of Science and Engineering housing manager Andrys Weitenberg.

According to him, the maintenance will make it unsafe for people to be in the building, since the lack of ventilation greatly increases the chance someone inhales something harmful. ‘We can’t take that risk.’

The work is needed to make room for the prestigious Chemical Building Blocks Research Centre (CBBC), which should be finished in April. The CBBC is a collaborative project between the universities in Groningen, Utrecht, and Eindhoven. Big companies such as Akzo Nobel are also involved. The centre will be doing fundamental chemical research to find out how the world should handle the demand for resources.

Quiet

‘We specifically picked the days around Christmas’, says Weitenberg. It’s usually really quiet around that time. ‘If we did it at a later time, a lot of research would get in trouble.’  They’ve already come up with a solution for the people who will be affected by the building closing. ‘We mainly adjusted the planning.’

It’s possible that the Linnaeusborg will have to close again before the CBBC opens in April. Weitenberg currently can’t say much about that since the definitive planning hasn’t yet been completed. It will be finished in early January at the latest. ‘But’, says Weitenberg emphatically, ‘we’ll try to do as much as possible around Christmas, so we don’t have to close again next year.’