Posted in Education, Students

Board Erasmus School of Economics: “Mistakes were made.”

Almost two years ago the board of the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) decided to terminate Economics & Informatics for which up until this day not even one good reason has been valid. The dean promised the Vice-Chancellor Lamberts the quality of E&I would remain steady, and Lamberts made the same promise to the University Council. Now, the promise appears to be broken. But who will take responsibility?
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

(Rotterdam) – Today’s council meeting did not end with good news to say the least. I saved up many complaints from students and spewed them all out during the final round of questions. The total of four individual points were all related to the quality of education of Economics & Informatics, which has drastically declined. The ESE-board confirmed mistakes were made, but has yet to come up a proper solution. The complaints are briefly addressed below.

1 Last year an external teacher was hired to teach a course that needed a new instructor, because a substantial amount of teachers for E&I left the School. The students evaluated this new teacher and from what I have heard this would have been the worst teacher ever – worse was simply not possible.

  • Example 1: The course changed a lot and the course material didn’t exactly match the course substance.
  • Example 2: The students had to give lectures themselves – the teacher would give a lecture to several students, who in their turn needed to give the same lecture to the other students unsupervised.
  • Example 3: A trial exam is compulsory but was never provided. Teacher: “If you want a trial-exam, sue me.”

To the students’ astonishment, the same teacher has been hired once again to teach this course. Question: Will the course quality be of the same level of crappiness and can we trust the way the ESE handles with course evaluations? The board claims ‘they did not notice this particular evaluation’ while at least one student has provided this information with the course evaluation last year.

2 At the beginning of this year a serious mistake has been made in the planning of the academic calendar for Bachelor 3 E&I. Block 2 held 8 credits while block 5 accounted for a total of 16 credits – as a ground rule for the new block-system (introduced in 2007) each block should account for 12 credits. It is therefore unclear how this mistake could have happened. To solve this the ESE simply moved Advanced Software Architecture (ASA) from block 5 to block 2, creating another and maybe even bigger problem: to be able to successfully complete the ASA-assignment, knowledge is required from Distributed Systems (DS) which is scheduled for block 2. This causes problems for all students because they cannot properly work on their ASA-project without the knowledge from DS.

3 The third complaint has to do with the previous one. Methodology of E&I has always been scheduled in block 2, but is scheduled for block this academic year. Another crucial mistake that never should have happened, because this course is needed for the Seminar in block 4 and thesis in block 5. Rumors are that in the planning of all academic calendars E&I has the lowest priority and always comes in last, which caused these ‘capacity-problems’ of not having the right teachers available at the right times or not having the proper teachers at all!

4 The fourth and final complaint is also very, very sad. It has to do with a course for which the quality has drastically dropped. The course always included homework which the teacher then corrected and an exam with all open questions. Now students can pass the course if they just do their homework and will receive a sufficient grade. This means not only the quality has dropped, students are practically receive their grade as an early Christmas present. Similar practices have been found at Hogeschool Inholland earlier this year.

Earlier this year the ESE notified all E&I-students that any suggestions and complaints could be directed to a certain employee of the ESE who will collect them and act on them. I have evidence of at least one student who sent in a complaint never received a reply from that employee. The same employee was also the one who would help guard the quality of the E&I-education, but never did any research on the actual quality. In my opinion this person expected a perfect world in which every complaint would directly reach him or a world in which everything is just perfect. But why not reply to a complaint? Does the ESE really take us seriously? Does the Erasmus School of Economics care about us students?

So can we trust the way the ESE uses course evaluations? Can we trust any new promise from the ESE? How well did they try to keep the quality of E&I on the same level, as promised? Why did the ESE-employee never reply to a complaint – NOTE: he was even appointed to guard the quality of E&I-education! Who is responsible and will the proper persons be held accountable for their actions?

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