/ #education #faculty council 


My name is Maarten Bonnema and since the start of this academic year I had the honour to become the chairman of Scintilla’s Taskforce for University Developments and Improvements (STUDI), Scintilla’s education committee. For seventeen years the committee was called StOEL, but due to internationalisation and recognisability of the committee we decided to change it. Although I am pleased with the new logo and acronym (and full name), the old logo (a spider in a web) had some strong symbolic meaning. Educational committees are in the centre of numerous educational bodies, safeguarding, evaluating, and protecting the quality of education at the university. This article will describe an on-going hot topic in education that closely bonds all these educational bodies and institutions.


Since September 2015 the Dutch government decided to reduce the total study financing by terminating the study grant, a monthly payment of multiple hundreds of Euros for up to four years. In order to partly compensate for this, the government grants all universities a budget of multiple hundreds thousands Euros per year (WSV-money). This money should be used to enhance the quality of education for the students, through themes like; teacher quality, educational facilities, guidance of students, and some more. The main idea is that (at the end) the students receive the original money through the university and its education. Such that not everything is spent on beer and parties, as if this would be remotely possible with these cheap beer prices.


“But what has STUDI to do with this?” I can hear you think, well, as the educational committee we have received various complaints over the years. Some complaints that we receive more common are; lack of study places, over-crowded Edu-Café (thanks Starbucks), improper level of English of teachers, high study costs, etc. Complaints of these types are complex to resolve on the short-term as they often require structural changes and loads of money, and thus stick around for years. Issues with teachers, examinations, and course content are easier to resolve, which is what we are primarily busy with through many conversations and evaluation sessions.

In the Faculty Council

As the Faculty Council (FC) we monitor the activities of the Faculty board, by means of (unsolicited) advise and right of assent. The WSV-money is part of the financial plan of the faculty, and therefore extensively (being) discussed in the FC. My aim, together with other members, is that students benefit from this budget as much as possible. The annual total budget comprised of approximately €385,000, to be distributed over all five Bachelor programmes and their Masters in the faculty. Of course there are structural changes that will positively impact multiple, if not all, programmes. Some ideas have already been presented; in order to compensate for the loss of quiet work space in Edu-Café (the merciless jazzy, hipster jams of Starbucks, sigh), the faculty has reserved €10,000 to create new, quiet, working spots. Another plan is to subsidise faculty wide courses, which could be organised by the study associations or other parties, to enhance the soft-skills (no relax, this has nothing to do with philosophy) of the students. These courses could address topics like; scientific writing, paper writing in LaTeX, presenting, making a proper Curriculum Vitae, job application courses, and many more. We also have proposed various plans specifically for the Electrical Engineering programme. First of all, and perhaps also the most concrete one, is the sponsoring of the myDAQs. I can remember in my freshman year we were unpleasantly surprised that we had to buy the myDAQ ourselves, for a whopping €250. Nowadays the programme receives €20,000 each year to buy the myDAQs, and they lend it to the students for a simple deposit. Money will be reserved to hire more EE lecturers while providing them with more training in both didactics and language, but also the Student Assistants trainings will receive extra money for professional skills and competences. Furthermore, the limited capacity of the Westzaal is being addressed as the study keeps on growing, multiple plans have been raised. One plan is to upgrade the existing Westzaal with more workspace, in my opinion only a short-term solution. Alternatively, with the large scale move of faculties and institutions, think of the renovated TechMed Centre, Hogekamp, and Drienerburg, buildings like Carré and Citadel will be reclassified. This could lead to a relocation of the Westzaal (well, at least its equipment) to the Carré building in the near future. For these issues and more, the FC asks the programme committees to formulate a list of potential ideas for which the WSV-money can be used.

Back to the Programme Committee

The programme committee (PC) is responsible to uphold and secure the quality of education in EE, reviewing module evaluations and come up with plans to improve them. During one of the previous monthly PC meetings, the chairman asked STUDI to formulate a list with potential ideas, as we could best resemble and mandate the interest of the EE students. This finally brings back this entire (high-level) topic back to where it belongs, the students. In the coming STUDI meetings (March onwards), we, while keeping all the feedback we have gotten until so far in our minds, will discuss this and formulate a list of topics and issues which best coincides with the wishes of the students, and forward this to the PC. This whole issue has made a whacky (bureaucratic) rollercoaster ride through all levels of the university, but has eventually arrived in the hands of the students. In all the participatory councils, the progress will be tracked and, were needed, students will intervene and improve. In brief, the goal of this article is to give insight in the educational system on three of the four main levels (the last and highest one is the University Council), its entanglement, complexity, and importance, but also how interesting it can be. As a member of multiple educational bodies I try to provide transparency for my fellow students, translate the formal and solemn policies into simple words, closing the gap between all the management levels in the university and the ‘ordinary’ students. I hope that, through this intriguing (but though) financial topic, you have picked up some understanding what we do in the educational bodies and perhaps become inspired to let your voice be heard. If not, you can always still turn to the picture page and have a laugh at (drunk) Scintilleans 😉.