Faculties can’t accommodate students

The unexpected influx of student at the social sciences department and the science faculties has led to problems. The lecture halls are packed and the schedulers are working overtime to figure everything out.
By Evelien Hofman and Christien Boomsa / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

This year, 1,024 students enrolled in the psychology programme. That number was at 450 a year ago. And while it’s not clear exactly how many students have started the programme, the increase is clearly enormous.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is also dealing with a large influx. After several programmes switched their teaching language to English, faculty enrolment increased by almost 30 percent.

Double classes

This means faculties have to use every single inch of space available. Psychology professors have to teach their classes twice. Contracts have been extended to have more staff available to help with seminars. Because the large lecture halls at the Academy building aren’t available due to renovations, lectures have been held at the Stadskerk at the Friesestraatweg.

Even small work groups don’t always fit in the seminar rooms. ‘Occasionally we’ll have groups of twelve in a room that can only hold ten people. We can just manage to fit everyone in’, managing director Rita Landeweerd said during the faculty council meeting on Tuesday. ‘But when a group is disbanded and its members have to be divided among the remaining groups, that creates problems.’

Shopping

It also turns out that psychology students ‘shop’ for popular lecture times. Lectures are divided among three groups and are at three different times. ‘But they’re not all at moments that suit everyone’, says Landeweerd. ‘So what happens is that people start switching. When too many people do that, it creates a problem with the available space.’

The faculty board doesn’t yet know how to solve the problem at BSS. ‘We can’t just create new, larger lecture halls out of thin air’, says Landeweerd.

Puzzle

At FSE, the problems mainly revolve around scheduling. Lecturers aren’t clear on which facilities and rooms are available to them. The schedulers themselves can’t be reached by phone or through e-mail, allowing them to fully focus on their main job: figuring out the scheduling puzzle.

‘It’s all hands on deck’, faculty board member Klaas Poelstra admitted in a faculty council meeting. ‘We’re looking for solutions and rooms.’ ‘Things will probably run smoother during block 2a than they did during 1a and 1b.’

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