Law faculty to unburden lecturers with extra teaching staff
The Faculty of Law will be dealing with large numbers of new students next academic year. The civil justice course, for example, will grow from five hundred to seven hundred students. They’ll have to wait and see exactly how many students will register, says Kolkman, ‘but we’re expecting it to be quite a lot’.
A new survey among UG employees about working from home shows that lecturers are having a hard time already. Nearly 60 percent of participants experience extra work stress because of the pandemic. Another 60 percent says their mental health has worsened.
Kolkman fears the already overworked lecturers will completely shut down if they have to shoulder another change themselves. This would lead to other lecturers, tasked with taking over their stressed-out colleagues’ work, falling over like dominoes. ‘Some people are happy that we’re returning to normal. But others might not be able to handle another change.’
The dean is happy, therefore, that innovation has taken a back seat in the final version of the Ruggesteun plan, which was approved by the university council last week.
‘It’s impossible to do everything in small groups if the student-to-staff ration is nearly fifty.’ With that, he means that there is one lecturer for every fifty students.
In order to keep everything balanced, the faculty wants to hire 20 FTE worth of teaching staff. This will be partially paid for by the funds from new students, and partially from the Ruggesteun support plan.
The faculty will also spend some of its own money on the support. These are mainly funds left over from last year’s cancelled events due to corona. ‘Ultimately, I think it will improve the student-to-staff ratio a little’, says Kolkman.
Is there even enough room for all these new people? Well, no. Certainly not if all teaching activities return to campus. The faculty board has sent a letter to the planners asking for more space.
But Kolkman warned the faculty board that the faculty will probably have to make concessions, perhaps by letting fewer students attend lectures in person and directing them to watch them online.