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University Council May 23rd

Annual report Occupational Health, Safety and Environment 2018 

The annual report provides the a brief evaluation of the most important occupational health, safety and environmental issues that were addressed at Tilburg University in 2018. A number of goals were formulated, for each goal the most important results and activities are reported in the document. The following goals are mentioned in the document:

  1. Risk Inventory & Evaluation

  2. Studying without Hindrance and an Accessible Campus

  3. Optimization of the Emergency Response Organization

  4. Information to students and staff about Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) / Complaints Arm Neck and Shoulder (CANS)

  5. Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle and Prevention of Absenteeism

  6. Promoting sustainable and environmentally conscious business operations

Three of the four consented with the document, but were concerned about the absenteeism of employees and the increasing work pressure they experience. Tilburg University implemented an action plan last year to prevent the problem of absenteeism. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Service (ArboUnie) concluded that the two most frequent complaints were psychological and of the musculoskeletal system.

After questions of Front, Tilburg University will report sexual harassment, starting next year, in the annual report occupational health, safety and environment.

New scenario implementation real estate strategy

Because the original relocation of TiSEM and TSHD in Koopmans is not feasible, due to the increased need for space of both faculties, an alternative planning is proposed. This gives the opportunity to include as many other wishes as possible regarding the housing situation. The Executive Board proposes to adjust the planning of the execution of the projects on basis of the progressive insight.

The reason for change of planning is that the growth of the university goes faster than expected. As a result, there is a growing need for space at various faculties. Furthermore, the need for rooms will remain high, because a growth of 1500 students seems possible for 2019/2020 as well. At last, the real estate market is under great pressure, which results in high prices, unavailable staff, and materials are hard to deliver.

The Executive Board proposes to postpone the renovation of Dante, Tias, and Montesquieu by four years. This action provides opportunities on several fronts:

  1. Possibilities in teaching schedule

  2. Possibilities with regard to the offices

  3. Financial possibilities

Postponement of the renovations partly means a limited heavier burden on the maintenance budget and the reserves for Technical Replacements. The postponement also may have consequences for planned changes of the fire alarm systems and the reduction of energy consumption. Not all consequences are currently known but they are not expected to be significant.

All four parties agreed with the presented postponement.

Student Board Grants’ System 2018

In the spring of 2018 the evaluation of the Board Grant System took place. After that, a working group was installed to advise the Executive Board on a future-proof Student Board Grants’ System. The working group made the following recommendations to the Executive Board:

  1. To establish a new system of board and committee grants, determined per 3 years and also to establish an incentive fund. Furthermore, a provision will be created for training students who receive a scholarship.

  2. The working group advises not to establish Tuition-free board membership for the TiU and is still waiting for the Ministry of Education about admitting student board members into the pilot project “flexstuderen”.

  3. The working group recommends setting up a new committee which (1) advises the Executive Board on the distribution of grants and (2) the granting of incentives and (3) is responsible for the training courses.

  4. The working group advises to organize an annual administrative cycle as described in this memo.

  5. The working group advises with regard to the finances that from 2020 onwards:

  6. The amount of the administrative grants in 2020 to be maintained at € 639k, from 2021 annually indexed in accordance with CBS-CPI.

  7. Maintain 50% of the 100 internationalization grants awarded in the evaluation and structurally add € 15k to the officer/rep bursaries. Add the remaining 50% to the incentive fund.

  8. Grant the promised indexation of € 30k structurally for the incentive fund from General Provisions, not being the Profileringsfonds.

  9. In addition, transfer 50% of the internationalisation grants awarded, i.e. € 15k, to the Incentive Fund and allocate them structurally from the General Provisions, not being the Profileringsfonds.

  10. An amount of € 16.5k to be structurally allocated from General Provisions for theprovision of training.

Furthermore the Executive Board intends to introduce the new system as of academic year 2020-2021.

Front had several remarks regarding the document. We received word that the workgroup never advised to not establish Tuition-free board membership for the Tiu and therefore we asked the Executive Board to remove this comment from the document. Furthermore, several questions were asked about the incentive fund and the financial compensation of board members. Therefore, the Executive Board proposed to separate the financial part and discussion of this document from the administrative part and discuss the financial part with the student parties after the University Council. After the meeting, a new  plan will be drawn up about the financial compensation of board members and will be put back on the agenda of the University Council on the fourth of July. All parties accepted the proposal of the Executive Board and the financial part of the document will be discussed in the next University Council.

New Assessment Policy Framework 

This document is about the new assessment policy framework. This Assessment Policy Framework aims to provide Tilburg University with clear guidelines regarding the processes of assessment, including digital assessment as one of the assessment forms. In the near future, the Framework will be accompanied by the Assessment Policy, which translates it into procedures to guarantee assessment quality. The Framework indicates what should be done and the Policy indicates how it should be done.

Front has made a more general remark about this document with regard to digital testing. Front is of the opinion that every student should be able to experience the advantages of digital testing and asks the board whether the capacity will be expanded in the future. The Board said that they were unaware of these problems and has promised to look into it.

Market shares 2018 + pre registrations 2019 

The report gives insight in the market shares for education for the years 2011-2018. The market shares for education are the main factors for government funding. It also provides insight in the popularity of academic institutions and their academic tracks. Efforts that have been made to promote the enrollment of students have been effective. There is an increase in the number of students. Tilburg University is also performing better than other institutions, which means an increase in market shares.

The growth in the number of new first-year higher education students at TiU is 9.1% versus 7.6% nationwide. All five schools are showing increasing numbers. The enrollment of foreign students in the Netherlands is still growing. Equal to last year, the growth for TiU is higher than it is nationwide, 21.7% versus 14.3%.

Concerning degrees, TiU still faces the decline in registered students during the period 2011 to 2014. Because of the recent developments in the enrolment for new students, the expectation is that numbers will increase in the short term. Because of the strong increase in pre-master students, this trend can already be observed for the master degrees.

Annual Report 2018 

The university is obliged to present the minister of Education, Culture, and Science with an annual report, yearly before the first of July. The report exists of the annual account including the budget, the report of the board and the other financial data. It also provides accountability on the sector code of good governance. The report has the obligation to account for a proper execution of the activities for which Tilburg University has received government funding and of an efficient use of these resources, also in the light of the institutional strategy.

The document was discussed during the CFI meeting, but no comments were made by the four parties. The document was clear to all members of the University Council.

Analysis annual financial statements Schools and Divisions

The schools and divisions of Tilburg University have prepared their annual financial statements. The financial year 2018 has been closed and the annual report has been drafted. The budget and result came closer to each other. However, according to the statement of income and expenditure, this is the result of an early repayment of a long-term loan of €10 million.

In 2018, the decentral housing reserve of Facility Services was at a  €1.5 million deficit. The Executive Board has agreed on the proposal of Facility Services to add €1.5 million to the decentral housing reserve.

The document was discussed in the CFI meeting and none of the four parties had questions in the University Council.

Reaction initiative proposal SAM workplaces, memo Front

Both Front and SAM submitted proposals regarding the growth of the university and more specifically regarding workplaces during the examination period.

In the initiative proposal of Front, some solutions for the pressure were given, for example: opening the restaurant during weekend exams, open CUBE on weekends, make the digital test rooms in CUBE available as study areas during exam periods, improve communication on availability PC workstations or find alternative locations.

SAM proposed that, as long as the app that is being developed to indicate free workplaces is not yet available, students should be hired, they should be made recognizable by wearing blue shirts, in order to point out the free places to students. Furthermore, SAM proposes to open CUBE during the weekend during the exam period. To address the problem that workplaces are often occupied for hours, but remain unused, SAM proposes the introduction of ‘share cards’, where the user indicates how long he or she is away so that someone else can use the space during that time.

Due to the memos, building CUBE will be opened in the weekends starting on Saturday May 25th and ending on Sunday July 7th. If this does not succeed the university will again open up the practice rooms in the Goossens building during this examination period.

Reaction to Initiative proposal Front Quality Agreements

In the University Council of 14 February, the Quality agreements were discussed and approved. Even though that Front was positive about the content of the agreements, there was one thing missing and that was proper monitoring: both of the involvement of the decentral bodies and on proper spending of the funds in the upcoming years. Front is of the opinion that the suggestions mentioned in this initiative ensure proper monitoring. This opinion was shared by the Executive Board and therefore they agreed to all our suggestions.

Furthermore, since the Quality Agreements of Tilburg University are in line with the strategic plan which is monitored with a Strategic Dashboard, Front proposed to implement the monitoring of the Quality Agreements into this dashboard. This allows us to closely monitor the improvement of the quality of education through for example the improvement of the Student/Staff Ratio.

Response to the initiative proposal Front extension Flexible studying pilot

In this initiative Front asked the Executive Board to examine the possibility to extend the pilot on flexible studying to student board members, since in the current pilot only 10 of the 75 spots were filled. The Board decided to expand the pilot in two ways:

  1. The minimum amount of ECTS that students have to attain will be lowered to 18 ECTS.

  2. The limits of eligibility will be extended to include chronically ill students.

Front is happy to see that the minimum of ECTS has been lowered, thus making the pilot available for more people. However, Front was disappointed to hear that the Board decided not to expand the current pilot to board members. However, as a result of the discussion that took place during the daily board meeting of the University Council, the Executive Board and Front came to the agreement to look into this again and a meeting for this has already been planned. Since the document was for up for advice, Front gave a positive advice and is looking forward for the meeting with the Board.

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