An email to FSE lecturers about night classes has led to dismay. The lecturers feel that they’re bearing the brunt of the shortage of classrooms, a long-standing issue.
‘They’re asking lecturers to be available for at least three nights a week to teach classes’, says Susanne Täuber with the personnel faction of the university council.
‘It’s apparently necessary because there isn’t enough room. But the staff feels as though the responsibility for this long-standing problem is being shifted to them.’
Lack of space
FSE has been suffering from a lack of space for years, while their student numbers keep rising. The UG board of directors has been continually informed of this, says director of education Dirk-Jan Scheffers.
He received various responses. ‘Some people were angry, while others figured it probably wouldn’t be that bad’, he says. ‘But the latter also say that they’ll make arrangements so it does work out for them if they ever have to teach a night class.’
While he understands the staff’s position, he thinks it’s important to consider the underlying cause of the measures. ‘The reason people can’t “make arrangements” is because there’s no room. A few years ago, they might have been able to find a classroom somewhere, but these days it’s impossible.’
Most people were dismayed by the tone of the email. It said the collective agreement permits working at night and that every lecturer is expected to do so.
‘Suddenly, everyone gets an email telling them what they’ll be doing next year, when everyone has been working so hard for the past two years to keep classes up and running no matter what’, says Floor Kuipers with the personnel faction. She works at FSE.
Scheffers acknowledges that communication could’ve been better. ‘But the faculty board is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If the UG won’t give them the extra room, they have to make some hard choices. Apparently they’ve decided we have to teach on campus as much as possible.’
No more to give
At the same time, Scheffers and Kuipers know that employees don’t have much more to give. ‘An email like this severely impacts their work-life balance’, says Scheffers. But since the schedule won’t be made until next year, they have no idea what to expect. ‘If they’re more in control of that balance, they can take much more than when someone else keeps telling them what to do.’
Besides, the question remains whether this measure will even have the desired effect, says Scheffers. ‘If it does work, we’ll be able to fit in all the students only just’, he says. ‘But the real problem is that the university just keeps growing and there’s no way to stop it. We keep putting out fires without making any of the necessary underlying changes.’