On this page you can read what the policy regarding the seat in the School’s Council has been.
From the beginning I have focused on personal contact with you, the student. It has come to my attention many students are not even familiar with the existence of the School’s Council or don’t know what its tasks & competencies are. This on one hand I found odd as the Students in the Council should represent the whole student population, but on the other hand I found it logically as the exposure of the Council is limited. There is no promotion and in the beginning didn’t have the feeling I was there for the students and I honestly felt a little helpless. Apparently there is a (unnecessary) threshold between the student population and the Students in the Council. That’s why I started to encourage students to talk with me by telling them I am just an ordinary student that wishes to represent the student population properly. Guess what: that threshold is about to disappear!!
My job as a representative requires input from as many students as possible and that’s why I am trying to get into contact with as many students as I can. That’s why some days (even when I have no lectures) I am just walking around on the campus to meet and talk with students and find out what’s happening. Personal contact is my most important rule to execute my job as a representative properly. With some study associations at the ESE I even have personal contact with the association’s board as such an association is well organized and can retrieve and distribute information more structured. It is not unusual for me to drink a cup of coffee with a board member while we discuss issues that concern parts of the student population. This is also often the way how I acquire information about problems and issues that exist with a particular study program.
To conclude on this matter, I am doing my best to get into contact with students. That’s also the reason I have launched this website: students can read and stay informed about what’s going on, ask questions and contact me about anything. The website should significantly narrow the threshold that exists to contact the student representatives. I often mention that any idea or problem (anonymous or not) is mostly welcome and I will try to do something with it. So don’t hesitate to contact me if you have an idea by going to the contact page.
ESE Worldwide (Internationalization)
The ESE is trying to act as an International institution but according to many students this effort is not enough. It is quite clear that many students would like to graduate having had an international experience during their studies. There appears to be a lack in information provision towards students but also the opportunities are quite sad. Students often don’t even know they can go on exchange, study somewhere else for a short period and then come back. The most problem is it’s not clear when there’s an opportunity in the academic calendar to participate in an exchange or other type of international adventure. All these and other things need a promptly change which is what I’m currently occupied with. In the last Council meeting we had a discussion about these international adventures based on the statistics of the past years. I will be putting this topic on the agenda of the coming meetings and am also interested in your point of view so don’t hesitate to contact me by going to the contact page.
The ESE is on the right path though, there’s a full English Bachelor (IBEB) which is running quite successful. A downturn is that only half of the students in IBEB are international students and this amount should be well above 70% if you ask me. The ESE doesn’t have enough exposure and/or quality to compete with other universities and gain more international students. It’s quite interesting that the School’s Board shows of their ‘good’ performance but if you’re objective that’s not really justified. There is no such evidence, other than some biased studies in which for example large and small universities and studies are compared to each other which is not fair.
Ethics in Academics
The credit crisis has brought a lot of destruction to the banking sector. Tragedy struck many banks, and many fell. An important reason that caused the credit crisis was (very simply said) that ‘bad credit was sold as good credit’, just like selling a car full price but without an engine. Regulations are not tough enough or don’t work good enough. That’s why I have come up with a solution that attacks the problem from the other side: adjust the people.
If you introduce Ethics in Academics you will learn students to choose right over wrong, act good and not bad, sell the car with the engine! The ESE has a whole finance program which should also include ethics. Ethics will cause students later in their career to think it through before doing something sinister. The country needs a future workforce that will act responsibly, and responsibility is taught by ethics. Current students are the future so you should start there. The ESE should follow the smart moves already made by other universities over the world. Even without those examples, the ESE should choose responsibility and embed ethics in academics!
New Academic Calendar and Block System
The new block system (JaarPlanSysteem) ran a pilot in 2006-2007 and was immediately adapted by other programs at the ESE in 2007-2008. The new system received a lot of criticism by both students and teachers. Students most often complained about the week off in between the end of the lectures and the examinations in the former trimester system. Another popular complaint was filed by students and teachers: the same amount of substance had to be taught in a significant reduced amount of time. To make things worse the board promoted the new system as just a ‘technical timetable adjustment’ that didn’t influence the content of the education at all. This caused many teachers to encounter problems: they didn’t have enough time to cover all of the substance causing some to dropped parts.
There has been more criticism but it’s not worth to mention on this page. The system was adopted together with several key components and goals that have to be reached as soon as possible. What I’m currently working on is to ensure those goals are reached the proper way. I have noticed not everything that was envisioned has been realized and decided to warn the School about that. A way I tried to find out what needed improvement was by just experiencing the ‘new and improved’ education style myself so I joined several Bachelor 1 & 2 workgroups from different courses. Another way was to talk with students and try to get their constructive feedback. Some of my conclusions are the workgroups are not efficient and effective enough. Often the student-assistant is not skilled enough, the workgroup size is well above the promised 30, the workgroup teaching style is similar to a common course lecture and students are not challenged enough to do their homework and participate during the workgroups. Some course lectures in the first year are overcrowded which is unnecessary and has a negative effect on the concentration of both students and the teacher.
So I am currently advising on how the workgroup sessions can be improved so they become more efficient, effective and fun for students. A lot of academic and governmental research has been done in this field and a lot of my ideas simply come from sources that have been empirically proven. Over the past year I have tried to discuss my ideas in specific parts to make it easier to cope with for the Faculty Board. Unfortunately the board sometimes couldn’t accept criticism that came from you, the students, which concerns me. A bad development is the board focuses too much on averages from their ‘statistics’ without asking for concrete verbal criticism from the students which is exactly what I am trying to do. So please continue to help me and contact me via the contact page.
In the past I regularly met up with different teachers to talk with them about education and how it can be improved. In those conversations it has come under my attention that a significant amount of teachers would like more cooperation between each other on course level. What I mean by that is that courses can add value to each other by identifying the fields in which they are similar and cross-functional You have probably noticed that some courses share some of their substance and several teacher explain exactly the same thing to you. That means repetition on subjects from different courses occur and this is not for no reason, on the contrary it has a very good reason. The reason is the courses can add value to each other which causes the repetition to be actually valuable instead of boring. In the context of adding value this idea has been named cross-pollination
To make matters concrete, cross-pollination is meant to identify how different courses can contribute to each other in a valuable way so students get the feeling of cohesion between the courses they follow within their study program. They will also be able to link the different courses better to each other and actually use and apply those relations in the real-world.
- With the concept the student will be better prepared for the real world, have a better understanding of what he or she has learned, hold a more valuable diploma and without increasing the workload.
This concept of cross-pollination I have put on the agenda of the 82nd Council meeting that will be held on May 19, 2010.
Stronger Internal Advisory Committees
Some people may or may not know there is a thing called the Education Committees and unfortunately the second group is the largest. The Dutch Law on Higher education and Scientific research prescribes the existence of such committees and their tasks. Their task can be summarized to one simple sentence:
the Education Committee can at any point provide advice, either upon request or voluntary.
Each study program has its own education committee:
- Economics & Business Economics 10 members
- Econometrics & Management Science 6 members
- Economics & Informatics 4 members + 2 vacancies
- Economics of Taxation 4 members
There are basically two major problems with these committees:
1. They are nearly inactive and hardly ever voluntarily provide their advice to the board or council. Resources like these committees are really needed and welcome to maintain and improve the quality of education.
2. Interaction between the 4 committees is very limited compared to what’s going on at other universities in The Netherlands. More interaction is needed so they can discuss matters that concern more than 1 committee together, resulting in better results.
That’s why I am trying to improve the interrelations between the committees and encourage them to be more active. There are several ways to accomplish like: personal contact with the committees and the council, help them with resources and join their meetings.
Case Economics & Informatics
An important reason why I decided to run for this seat in 2009 has been the abolition of the Bachelor E&I and all its consequences: all students have to get enough time to finish their courses that they have due, informatics is being introduced in the first year of the Bachelor Economics, teachers are leaving that taught informatics, the quality of the education has to remain equal if not better etc etc.
If you think about this, it’s quite a challenge for the ESE to accomplish this in good order. That’s why it’s important that there is someone present in the Council that will keep a close eye on those developments and if needed to act immediately and properly. All this will also have a large impact on the Master Economics & Informatics which will slightly have to be adjusted so students with a different background can access this valuable Master as well. That’s why I also regularly discuss this issue with professors and other ESE employees that have influence and valuable knowledge on those developments.