Independents for TiSEM in the Faculty Council
'I am happy with how our Faculty Board works,' says Marjan Groen, Academic Director and lecturer at the Management department. Together with Bob van den Brand from the Accounting department, she is a member of the Faculty Council on behalf of employee party Independents for TiSEM. ‘We act as a business partner for the management team. We give advice from an employee perspective and propose topics'.
‘Our input is really being used to do something’
The Faculty Council is a participation body comprising seven staff members and seven students. Independents for TiSEM is a party with five members, divided over the departments. ‘If we get more seats, we will be able to represent the departments even better,' emphasises list leader Marjan. Among other things, her party is committed to PhD's, 'a vulnerable group of employees'.
She explains: 'Students in the research master's have no guarantee that they can subsequently become PhDs. That uncertainty is undesirable. Partly thanks to Independents for TiSEM, an experiment is underway in which students with a master's degree can directly become PhD students. ‘We will continue to monitor that.
In addition, of course, the workload of PhDs has our attention: they teach, do research and follow courses. Keeping that many balls in the air at the same time can be difficult and there are also differences between departments.’
Fortunately, TiSEM employees do not have to work in open-plan offices after the renovation of the Koopmans building. ‘As the Faculty Council we have also been involved in the layout and furnishing of the rooms. Independents for TiSEM, for example, has advocated ergonomic workplaces with sitting-stand desks and these have been created'. This party also initiated a plan to adapt the premaster program. ‘About half of the 900 premaster students drop out. This causes stress and work pressure for both teachers and students. We think we can design this programme more intelligently by separating the selection from the education. For example, by having the students first take an admission test and only then teaching them how to prepare for an intake to one of our master's programmes. This plan is now on the table in the Faculty Council.’
Do more for internationals
Marjan is also committed to improving the functioning of her party. ‘For some time now, I have been studying the differences between us Dutch and our international colleagues and international students. I notice that we in the council and school often quickly ignore these differences. While it does make a difference, especially now: I am at home, but many others are not. The council would do more for internationals, for example by making all documents available in both English and Dutch at the same time.’
Making optimal use of technology
Just like a large part of the Netherlands that works from home, Tilburg University is now in a huge experiment when it comes to working online. ‘It's nice to see that we have the technology to continue working, but the disadvantage is that we can't take the time to think about how we can make the best use of this technology and how we can set up courses in the best possible way.’ And then there is the request from students to set a target for the number of lectures to be recorded. ‘Students keep us focused, that's positive, they insist on innovation. But we don't think it's best to haphazardly start to record all lectures. Recording knowledge clips is probably better, because they can be used for a longer period of time. That's something we need to focus on in the coming months.'