- Every student must be heard.
- Students must be able to grow and mature without hindrance.
- Studies should be able to not follow the 884-system.
- The transition from Dutch to English should not hinder the quality of education.
- Honours courses should be opened up for all students.
- EC from different studies should count for the BSA.
- Extra admission requirements for masters should be abolished if possible.
- Unused studying rooms should be available for students.
- Information before quotums for a diverse faculty.
- More vegan, vegetarian and biological options for a sustainable canteen.
LIEF sees quality of education as its primary goal. This stems from our party’s pillars: Decentralization, Interdisciplinarity and Accessibility, DIT, abbreviated in Dutch. Decentral decision-making is necessary for conducting a policy that favours everyone within the faculty. Interdisciplinarity is essential for students so they can get more broadening and deepening subject matter in their study. Interdisciplinarity gives students a more critical and creative eye for scientific and social problems. Accessibility makes the faculty open for everyone, regardless of study related achievements, sex, ethnicity or nationality. Besides this, LIEF finds sustainability very important. The importance of sustainability is recognised more and more and LIEF wants the faculty to take a lead in making society more ecologically sustainable. All the subjects discussed above will be further explained with suggestions of more specified policies.
Sustainabilty, Quality of education, Decentralization, Interdisciplinarity, Accessibility: DO DIT.
Nowadays, the importance of sustainability is being more acknowledge. LIEF wants Science Park to become more sustainable and inform students more about the sustainability of Science Park. The past year there have been many changes in the canteen, with a new caterer and more variable offers in warm meals. Although, most people can find themselves in the food quality, LIEF would like to see this changed. LIEF wants to continue making the canteen more sustainable by offering more vegetarian, vegan and biological products. LIEF wants that the vending machines of the Academical Quarter (Sjeel) also have a soymilk option besides regular milk. LIEF thinks that many people don’t regularly think about issues like the sustainability of food, but would not mind these changes if everything is offered more explicitly. Additionally LIEF wants to commit itself more for the reuse of tableware and cutlery in the canteen.
It is relatively unknown that Science Park already does a lot in regard to sustainability. LIEF wants that the FNWI to profile itself more as a sustainable faculty and spread its knowledge about sustainability more. For the public of Science Park this can be realised by organising a sustainability week. Above all this, LIEF wants to see if it is possible to collaborate with the UVA Green Office to change initiatives about sustainability into policy.
Interdisciplinarity and extracurricular activities
Interdisciplinarity and extracurricular activities are highly valued by LIEF. That is why LIEF wants to commit itself again next year to make interdisciplinary and extracurricular education more accessible for everyone.
The possibility to enjoy interdisciplinary education and extracurricular activities gives students the change to delve deeper into what they find interesting. When students get a clear view on the way things go in other studies and are introduced to different views of solving problems in different areas of expertise, it contributes to any interdisciplinary research to be carried out. Apart from that it also contributes to the personal scientific development of students in interdisciplinary areas. A broad education prevents straightforwardness and could give new creative insights. With this, interdisciplinarity and extracurricular activities do not only contribute to the personal development of the students, it gives the skill to discuss and reason from a social point of view, which is an indispensable quality for passing on scientific knowledge which is of great interest for society as a whole.
Well-known forms of interdisciplinary education are studies like Bèta-Gamma and Future Planet Studies. LIEF finds it of grave importance that the faculty makes it as easy as possible for the students to broaden and indulge in their disciplines, for example by doing a minor at another study. The Honours program, international and national exchanges and internships are all examples of extracurricular activities. LIEF wants to commit itself next year to ensuring easy procedures and providing clear and sufficient information concerning such activities.
LIEF wants that students experience less barriers before they can develop themselves more broadly. Following extracuricular activities can be a reason for students to take more time for their study. That is why LIEF wants EC’s gained from other studies to count for the BSA. Honours courses also have something to do with this. Right now it’s only allowed for Honours students who comply with all conditions of the Honours track to follow these courses. LIEF wants to commit itself to enabling every student with enough motivation and knowledge to follow these courses as long as Honours students get priority in following these courses so they can finnish their program. The value of the Honours predicate should be preserved. Even so, Honours students now have a choice between disciplinary and interdisciplinary honours courses. LIEF advocates the preservation of both courses, so students can choose between delving deeper into subject matter and broadening their knowledge considering what students find interesting.
To decentralise the university means to put the power of decisionmaking at a lower level. LIEF believes that a lot of decisions should be made by people directly influenced by that decision, and not at the highest management layer of the university. The central management often has no direct knowledge of what is going on in the lecture halls. Often this goes at the expense of the quality of education and that’s why most decision should be taken here at the FNWI. Because of this, LIEF wants to decentralise the university. The same basic principle of decentralisation holds for the faculty and programs. Programs should be able to decide what works best for them because they know what is best for them.
Programme Committees monitor the quality of education within their program. Last year a new law was introduced by the government (Wet Versterking Bestuurskracht that gave the Programme Committees more possibilities and participation rights). They are now official representative advisory bodies. This means they now have official participation in decision-making in the Teaching and Examination Regulations (OER). LIEF thinks the Programme Committees are important and believes that the Student Council should support the committees to the best of their ability. LIEF wants to continue the Forum for Programme Committees. These are monthly meetings were the Student Council talks to the student Representatives of the Programme Committees about cross-educational affairs. Programme Committees are in direct contact with students and the teaching staff of a programme. Often they are the first to know what’s happening within their programme. So it’s essential for the functioning of the Programme Committees that they are visible and accessible to students. That can and should also contribute to recruit new members for them.
Participation in decision-making
LIEF believes that the representative advisory bodies are accessible, also for everyone who is not a part of any of these bodies. The Faculty Student Council consists of only 12 seats, but tries to represent every student of the faculty. For this to work it is important you let your voice be heard! Even though previous Student Councils already worked hard on this, LIEF wants to commit to making it easier for students to participatate in decision-making at our faculty. This can be achieved by digital participation and surveys, but also by improving the visibility of the Student Council and the Programme Committees at the FNWI. It should be clearer for students where they can voice their complaints, so that they won’t remain unheard. Finally, it is very important students know what happens with their feedback. This gives students more confidence in the system and will motivate them to keep giving input and feedback.
The current evaluation forms are a pleasant way for students to to give back to their courses. LIEF, however, believes that these forms are not quite enough to really influence a course for the better. Organising feedback panels would be a good addition to this. This way students can actually come into contact with their programme director and/or the programme committee. With these possibilities the opinions of the students about their programme and its organization can be heard.
The current way a semester at the fnwi looks like is the same for all programmes. A semester has two study periods of eight weeks, followed by one of four weeks. This system isn’t ideal for every programme. This is why LIEF wants programmes to decide for themselves if they want to keep this system, or move away from it. In the current situation the 8-8-4 system ensures that some students are forced into rushed courses or courses that aren’t really complete. The 8-8-4 system can and does also lead to unnecessarily high workloads for the teaching staff. If the 8-8-4 system becomes mandatory each programme can decide what the optimal length of a course should be. LIEF wants the decision about the duration of the courses should lay with programs themselves.
Language of instruction for programmes
The UvA is internationalizing and as a result, more and more courses are being taught in English. LIEF thinks that the possible transition to English for programmes should not be a top-down decision, but rather one that should be made at the level of the programmes. Each programme must determine for themselves whether a transfer to the English language is beneficial is possible and wanted and if the quality of education is guaranteed. This can improve the quality of English in programmes as no decision has to be made in a rush. Also lectures in substandard English are prevented by this.
LIEF stands for accesibility in the broadest sense of the word. The candidates of LIEF are commited to spend the next year making the FNWI as accesible as possible for everyone.
Inclusiveness and diversity
Access to education is human right that LIEF wouldn’t dare go against. Although the FNWI is required by law to be accesibly for everyone, more diversity wouldn’t suit her ill. The lack of diverity, of course, doesn’t have a single cause, but suggesting solutions in everyones duty, including the FNWI. LIEF believes that the faculty should step forward as a diverse community, open for everyone, so that this itself will stimulate more diversity. This can be concretized in application committees consisting of a diverse group of people, informing students in high schools a varied group of student information officers. Diversity as a result of quota could come at the expense of the quality of education which LIEF finds unacceptable. However, this option shouldn’t be wiped of the table completely, as it could function as a last resort to offer disadvantaged groups a fair chance in the face of structural discrimination.
In the context of accesibilty, the facilities at the FNWI play a big role. LIEF pleads for a larger amount of facilities and an extension of the exisiting workplaces at the FNWI. Ways to achieve this goal are the addition of new workplaces at Science Park. It should be easier for students to access unsused seminar rooms as a workplace; unsused rooms should be openable with a student card. LIEF also wants to more lockers to keep up with the growing amount of students. In addition, LIEF wants more computers to become available to students and more power sockets to be added in lecture halls.
The above points address the current lack of space at Science Park. There are, however, rumours of a new building being built at Science Park. LIEF wants to lead the development of this building in the right direction, and wants to keep the students involved in the decision making. Finally, LIEF would like to see the opening hours of Science Park extended. Recently, Science Park has been opened earlier in the weekends prior to exams. LIEF wants to continue these developments and keep the buildings open longer into the evenings.
A faculty which is accesible for everyone, should take good care of students with a disability. This includes students with AD(H)D, an Autism Spectrum Disorder and dyslexia, but also students with a physical disability, such as the visually impaired, or students in a wheelchair. The university should provide all these students with enough support to be able to study like everyone else. Since the UvA agrees with this sentiment, they offer a wide range of support for disabled students. LIEF will continue to dedicate her effort next year to create more awareness among the students about these possibilities. In addition, partly because the student counselors and student psychologists are not situated at Science Park, many students will reach to their studyadvisors with their problems and questions, resultings in an unnecessry high workload for the studyadvisors. Starting in may, the student psychologist will get a biweekly consultation hour at Science Park. The current student counsil is working on creating a consultation hour with the student counselor at Science Park. LIEF is commited to continuing this effort next year.
Accesibility of education
LIEF believes that a master should be accesible for anyone with a suitable prior education. Every student who finishes a Bachelor programma at Science Park, has a right to follow a suitable Master programma at Science Park as well. However, many Master progrmamas have introduces additional qualititative requirements (AKT’s) which stand in the way of this. LIEF advises against the wide-scale introduction of these requiremens. We believe they should only be introduced if it is absolutely essential to guarantee the quality of education. In addition, LIEF wants a combination of factors to play a role in the selection of candidates, such as a motivation letter and an interview, instead of a binding GPA requirement, which is often the case right now. Besides that, LIEF wants every student to get the best out of the student time. This means that every student must have room to take part in extracurricular activities, even if this causes study delay. The requirements for Masters, as they are now, are contraproductive to this goal.
The accesibility of education also concerns individual courses. Among students, there is often ambiguity on the specifics of the course: deadlines, contactinformation, attendence obligation and even clear information on the exam content. These things are often not clear. LIEF wants all this information to be contained in a clear manner in the course manual. Finally, lecturers and TA’s sometimes perform below the expected level, which is demotivating for students. LIEF notices that many TA’s are overloaded, causing their performance to drop. We want to prevent this. In the coming year LIEF will continue the existing work in providing additional training to get all teachers up to standards.