Research theme for Friesland

RUG bachelor-level courses will not start in Leeuwarden until 2018, but the RUG/Campus Fryslân undergraduate programme has already identified a research theme: Global Responsibility and Leadership.
By Traci White

The theme is still pending approval, however: the programme must first go through the so-called CDHO (Committee of Efficiency in Higher Education) before being officially accepted, but the University Council praised the plans last Thursday.

Providing the theme is accepted, there will be three different ‘majors’ that students in the broad bachelor can choose from: responsible economy, responsible planet and responsible humanity. According to Piet Bouma, managing director of the faculty, RUG/Campus Fryslân Graduate School already has a similar research theme: Global Challenges and Local Solutions.

Eleventh faculty

Plans for the eleventh faculty of the RUG – RUG/Campus Fryslân – were made public in early 2015. At that time, dean Jouke de Vries stated his goal that the bachelor level, which was announced as a second university college, would focus on a PPPE (politics, philosophy, psychology and economics) curriculum. The Global Responsibility and Leadership theme is meant to be an interdisciplinary effort which includes those topics, as well as earth system science, health sciences and technology.

In the meantime, an eventual home for the academic facilities for the intensive bachelor programme, master’s programmes and the Graduate School has been found in the Beursgebouw in Leeuwarden. But since students and staff of the residential programme will not be living in the same building, the search continues for housing for the bachelor students, says Bouma.

Renovations

The building – which currently houses a public library – will have to be completely renovated by the summer of 2018. If that goes according to schedule, it will be just in the knick of time, finishing up a matter of months before the first bachelor students would begin studying there. Bouma says that upon completion, the building will feature a restaurant, lecture halls, rooms for small group work and project spaces.

For a little while at least, it may also feature a branch of Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB), which is also currently housed in the building: ANWB’s rental contract runs through 1 January 2020. But Bouma says that until a floor plan is created for the renovations, it is not clear whether the faculty will need the space occupied by the traveller’s association from the start.

The Property and Investment Projects department of the RUG is in discussion with the municipality of Leeuwarden about whether or not the university will rent or buy the Beursgebouw. Potential modifications to the area outside the entrance of the building, such as adding more space for students to gather between classes, are also being considered. The deadline for those negotiations to conclude is 1 January, 2017.

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