New organisation tasked with saving FSE educational quality

New organisation tasked with saving FSE educational quality

The structure of education at the science faculty is a mess. Reorganising it should solve the issue. But the changes are drastic and are being implemented quite hastily, the faculty council says.

11 February om 17:20 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 11 February 2020
om 17:21 uur.
February 11 at 17:20 PM.
Last modified on February 11, 2020
at 17:21 PM.

Christien Boomsma

Door Christien Boomsma

11 February om 17:20 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 11 February 2020
om 17:21 uur.
Christien Boomsma

By Christien Boomsma

February 11 at 17:20 PM.
Last modified on February 11, 2020
at 17:21 PM.

Last year’s report didn’t mince words. The educational quality at the Faculty of Science and Engineering was in danger. Work stress was high, people didn’t quite know who was in charge of what, and in some places working conditions were ‘impossible’, said the report, written by a special committee that investigated the situation. Now, there’s a plan to change it. Last week, the faculty council voted in favour of the main ideas. 

The biggest change is the introduction of one big educational institute, a merger of the current Education Support Centre (ESC), the undergraduate school (USSC), and part of the graduate school (GSSE), managed by an education management team. Each research institute will get its own director of education, who will be in charge of communicating with researchers. 

The thirty-seven study programmes at the faculty will be put into six clusters. This should decrease the distance that employees from the educational organisation and the research institutes feel exists between them. A committee of faculty educational experts will be advising the faculty board and the research management team. 

Organised

‘We really needed a change’, says education coordinator Eva Teuling, who will be keeping an eye on the operation on behalf of the faculty council. ‘We consider clustering and education director a good solution. It makes everything a little smaller and more organised.’ 

A graduate school will focus on the PhD programme and will be separate to the educational organisation. ‘There isn’t much overlap between the master programmes and the PhD programme’, the plan says. ‘There’s no reason to think this will change.’ 

Teuling is essentially in favour of the plan, but she’s critical of how quickly it’s being implemented. The implementation team will start working this month, and the new organisation should start work in September 2020. ‘There are many people who wouldn’t have minded postponing it for another year’, she says. ‘But the board didn’t want the staff to have to wait another year for answers about what was going to happen. I feel differently about that, but it’s fine, I guess.’

Stress

The plan doesn’t solve another pressing issue: the work stress. ‘It’s an entirely different problem’, says Teuling. ‘People still have to teach just as much in the same amount of time.’ She does think the new organisation might make people less frustrated.

The faculty council may have agreed to the plan’s basic ideas, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change during the implementation phase. The faculty board wants to see if it’s possible to decrease the number of exam committees. They might want just one exam committee per cluster, or even just a single large committee consisting of ‘chambers’ providing expertise on various courses. 

The council was especially hesitant about this plan. If the faculty board wants to make any changes in this regard, they have to go past the faculty council. 

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