Reward for best ‘freshman’

The faculty board of the University College Groningen (UCG) wants to reward excellent performance. The first-year student with the highest average grade will be crowned Freshman of the Year and gets a 500 euro reward. Students and staff are sceptical about the plan.
By Tim Bakker / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

The UCG board wants to create three prizes. In addition to the best first-year student, the best instructor and the best group project should also be rewarded. The best group project will also win 500 euros. According to the faculty board, the performance rewards are in line with the tradition at the RUG, as well as top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge.

Students and staff are reticent about the proposal, especially the 500 euro reward. Students should study because of intrinsic motivation and not to make money. It sends the wrong signal, according to faculty council member Maarten Trip.

‘A prize also engenders competition among the students, which is contrary to the values we have at UCG. It may be tradition at the RUG, but we’re perfectly capable of deciding our own traditions around here.’

Study results

Besides, not everything is about study results, says faction president Nora Achterbosch. ‘A wider contribution to the UCG community is not taken into account in the set up of the plan. Maybe another prize can be created, in addition to Freshman of the Year.’

Dean Hans van Ees disagrees with the criticism. ‘After all, we judge everyone by their study results, as they do everywhere. If you want to pursue a master’s degree, a lot of universities look at students’ grades. There are plans to instate this at the RUG as well. We will take the council’s remarks into account, but the decision is ultimately up to the board.’

When it comes to instructor of the year, Van Ees says it is up to the students to decide the election process. This should be determined over the course of the year. The UCG will send the elected instructor to participate in the RUG-wide Teacher of the Year election next year. The faculty is not represented this year.

Nederlands

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