• Front

University Council 14th February

Quality Agreements – Positive

In 2015, the study grants for new students were abolished to open up funds for extra investments in the quality of education. By abolishing this grant, a large amount of money became available, starting in 2018. This money is meant for investments in the improvement of the quality of education and are the so-called ‘studievoorschotmiddelen’. For Tilburg University, this amount amounted to around 2,4 million Euros in 2018 and this amount will continue to increase in the years until 2024. For the spending of this funds quality agreements have been made on where can faculties can invest these funds. For example, money can be invested in appointing more staff with an educational assignment, implementing the action plan for student wellbeing, implementing learning analytics and embedding of labor market orientation in the programs. Furthermore Front submitted an initiative proposal to make sure that the faculty participation can be properly and timely involved in the spending of the ‘studievoorschotmiddelen’.

Tuition Fees and Sports Card – Withdrawn

The Executive Board submitted a proposal to stop charging non-EEA students for their Sports Centre membership. This proposal argued that this would stimulate the inclusiveness of those students in the academic community of Tilburg University. In order to finance this measure, €78,000 will be made available from Facility Services to be allocated to the Sports Centre.

However, the student parties Front and SAM identified that there was a growing problem concerning the capacity at the Sports Centre. The current pressure on facilities and crowdedness will only continue to grow as long as the University keeps on growing in student numbers. In the Strategic Plan, the exepcted number of students in 2020 will be 17,000. The first planned expansion of the Sports Centre is scheduled to be conducted in 3 to 5 years. This means that in the coming years, the Sports Centre will only experience more capacity problems than what is now the case. Every student that adds to the current total, before capacity is expanded, is one too many in the opinion of the student parties.

Front and SAM have also argued that allowing new international students to make use of the Sports Centre withouth charge will evoke a sense of inequality and unfairness towards regular paying students as long as there are crowds at the Sports Centre.

Therefore, Front and SAM asked the Board to first commit to finding short-term solutions for these problems before allowing any more students to make use of the facilities without charging them. The Board agreed to look into this and has withdrawn the current proposal from the agenda. Hopefully, this means that concrete porposals to solve the problems concerning crowdedness will be submitted in the coming weeks.

Registration and Tuition Fee Regulations 2019-2020 – Positive Advice

Changes in enrolment and tuition fees are submitted to the council for advice. The enrolment and tuition fees for the bachelor’s programmes are fixed for three years, including an indication for the fourth year, the enrollment and tuition fees for the Master’s programmes are fixed for the next two years, including an indication for the next two years. There will be no major changes in enrolment and tuition fees for the coming period. Furthermore, it is stipulated that students from the United Kingdom who are currently already studying at Tilburg University will pay the same amount of tuition fees if the Brexit continues. All parties have given positive advice on this point.

Common Agreement JADS – Positive

In cooperation with the Executive Board of TU/e and the Management Team of JADS Mariënburg, the Executive Board has drawn up a Common Arrangement concerning JADS Mariënburg on various subjects such as research, education, finance, business operations and participation. All groups were satisfied with the vast majority of the Common Arrangement, but Front proposed suggestions on the agreements on employee participation that will be taken into account in determining the framework for employee participation. Front has compiled a process plan in the form of a timeline on how the decentralized student participatory bodies, program committees and Faculty Councils can be properly and timely involved in the spending of the ‘studievoorschotmiddelen’ for the upcoming years and thus making it possible to easily monitor if these parties are properly involved. Furthermore, major changes arising from comments that are placed on the University Council of TU/e will be submitted to the University Council in Tilburg for advice.

Budget JADS – Positive

The Steering Group of JADS Mariënburg has presented the long term budget for 2019 – 2025 to the Executive Boards of both Tilburg University and TU/e. The University Council is asked to provide a positive advice on the JADS Mariënburg 2019 budget. The Executive Boards have taken a number of joint decisions that are described in this memo, with respect to the current budget. The parties have asked some questions, for example regarding the direct government funding (eerste geldstroom) for education and PhD’s because of a difference between Eindhoven and Tilburg. All parties advised positively on this document.

Budget Request Low-rise Simon – Positive

During the renovation of the Simon building it was deliberately chosen not to renovate the low-rise building yet. In this council a budget proposal was filed concerning the renovation of the low-rise Simon. The sanitary and catering facilities will be improved, installations will be replaced, the ceiling and floor covering will be renewed and the lecture hall will be refurbished. The Executive Board has asked the parties to agree to these adjustments with a worth of €435,000. This renovation will take place during the second and third quarter of 2019 with the aim of making the room available again before the start of the new academic year. All groups have agreed to the proposed renovation. Front has asked the Executive Board to look into the possibility of installing recording material during this renovation and the Executive Board has promised to consider this option.

Reaction to the Initiative Proposal of Front about Traffic

Front has submitted an initiative proposal on traffic safety on campus. In the University Council, the Executive Board responded to various proposals made by Front in its initiative. These answers are as follows:

  1. The Executive Board indicates that Front’s proposal to clear the axes of the campus of motorised vehicles can be accepted.

  2. An extra parking space for motorcycles and scooters will be built next to building A, so that students and employees do not necessarily have to go to Koopmans to park. Furthermore, the Board indicates that the communication regarding these parking spaces must be improved.

  3. The campus has three main entrances for vehicles and according to Facility Services these can be modified to exclude motorised vehicles from the campus. By modifying various roads and contacting delivery personnel, FS can ensure that no trucks will drive over the campus after 08:00. The three roads that will be altered to exclude vehicles from the campus are the roads at Koopmans, Restaurant and Esplanade. Small electric vehicles are allowed on the campus during the day like Sodexo and Maas Coffee but larger vehicles are not. Should it be the case that larger vehicles still enter the campus after 08:00 the security will give them a warning. In the event of several violations, access to the campus may be refused for a specific period.

  4. A communication strategy will be established for the new regulations, this will be done in cooperation with the Marketing & Communication department. Furthermore, all contracted suppliers will be informed.

The Executive Board states in its memo that it acknowledges the problem and would like to solve this problem in cooperation with Front. Front’s proposal is accepted and a budget proposal will be made in the first half of 2019. Facility Services will invite Front to discuss the implementation of the plan in order to take into account the opinion of students.

Reaction to the Memo of SAM about International Housing

Student party SAM has presented a memo asking the following three questions to the Executive Board:

1. Is the number of international students admitted to Tilburg University not too high? 2. In general, is there sufficient accommodation in Tilburg for international students? 3. Is there anything to do about the ‘Dutch-Only’ policy that many landlords and students complain about? The Executive Board has answered these three questions from SAM. The answers are as follows:

1. Tilburg University has a strategy based on growth. Tilburg University can cope with this growth in the field of education, but more space must be made available for housing. Tilburg University does not invest in housing itself and is dependent on housing corporations, private investors and the municipality. Tilburg University does not want a shortage of housing either and has therefore already set up a working group some time ago that has contacted the aldermen. 2. All international students currently have accommodation. Tilburg University has a working group in this area for some time now that is actively pressing the municipality to tackle this problem and will continue to do so. 3. The Executive Board acknowledges this problem but indicates that the International Office has been promoting intercultural living for a long time. But the International Office indicates that they can cooperate in this area with Front, I*ESN and SAM. The Executive Board concludes that it is not necessary for SAM and Front to be part of the working group because both parties are already members of the council. The Executive Board does indicate that the Housing Office will contact Front and SAM to discuss the “Dutch-Only” problem when it is necessary.

Quality Assurance PhD-trajectories – Positive

Tilburg University has drawn up an action plan to guarantee the quality of the PhD trajectory and the quality of the PhD thesis. The action plan focuses on three parts of the PhD trajectory with the aim of improving the quality of the trajectory and the thesis:

  1. Supervisors and PhD candidates

  2. Assessment procedure and

  3. Other

To improve guidance, information should be provided better to PhD candidates and an environment should be created in which PhD candidates can also help each other. In addition, the independence of the PhD committee must be increased, the assessment procedure must become more transparent and, lastly, the number of feedback moments for PhD candidates must be increased. The Executive Board assumes that this action plan can be implemented.

All parties have agreed on the condition that the requirement for a minimum or maximum number of PhD candidates is removed from the document and, in addition, the establishment of a quota for a minimum number of female PhDs with a cum laude diploma is removed from the document.

Any Other Business

Front has asked the board to take notice of some developments that are occuring at the Language Center. At the beginning of this year the language courses were open for registration. Once again, Front noticed the fact that many students can’t join a language course, because they are full, after which they are put on the waiting list. Front has had conversations with the Language Centre about this issue and they indicate that the Language Center is currently using reserves and commercially earned money to invest in the voucher system. Bearing in mind the vision as stated in TEP and the intercultural awareness that Tilburg University wants to create, Front would like to emphasize the importance of these vouchers. Front finds it a worrying development that more and more students are studying at our University, but the budget for the voucher system is not being increased. The main concern is the loss of the opportunity for students to follow language courses.

Therefore the question was whether the Board is aware of these developments and what they will do to tackle this problem.

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