Reform at arts faculty disappoints, board admits mistakes

Staff and students of the Faculty of Arts are anything but satisfied with the way the faculty board is implementing education reform. The board admits it went too fast.

Partly prompted by the budget cuts facing the entire university, the faculty board wants to significantly reduce the number of subjects at the Faculty of Arts. Currently, there are more than 1,200, almost half of the UG’s entire teaching catalogue. Of the more than 1,200 courses, 70 percent have fewer than 20 students.

The board wants to drastically reduce the number of courses by turning 5-ECTS courses into courses of 10 ECTS. According to the board, this will reduce the workload for staff and students. Employees will have to teach fewer courses and test less, and for students the competition between courses will be less.

One size fits all

According to the faculty council, a one-size-fits-all approach does not suit the wide variety of subjects taught under the umbrella of arts. While the council understands the need for action, it considers the plans insufficiently substantiated financially and educationally.

Moreover, the council members argue, these reforms require a huge effort from all staff. Converting subjects is not just a matter of ‘merging subjects’ but means that programmes have to be rearranged on all fronts. In other words, it will only lead to more work.

No input requested

What bothers the council most is that it’s been hearing from all sides that the board has asked for little or no input within the faculty. The board acknowledges that it didn’t involve the council and programme committees early enough in the process.

The board has therefore proposed taking a step back in the process to better inform the faculty council, clusters and programme committees, in the hope that everyone will cooperate after that. ‘Because doing nothing is not an option,’ said board member Wouter Heinen.

Dutch

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