I have served on the University Council for the VLAM group since 2021. In recent years I have experienced that the council manages to achieve a lot in active and constructive consultation with the Executive Board. But sometimes that takes a long breath.
Academic – support staff
In September 2022, after five years of teaching/management within the Faculty of Social Sciences, I made the transition to the University Administrative Service.
I lead Team Student Development. We are all about supporting students through additional curricular offerings in the areas of student wellness, career orientation and academic skills.
We have a lot of contact with the guidance chain to coordinate with student advisors, tutors, tutor coordinators and lecturers on current developments in student development.
There is much focus on student well-being and development opportunities. It is good as UU to actively manage to strengthen the well-being of our students, especially from a solution-oriented mindset and attitude. We need to promote and normalize discussion on mental well-being issues, with and through the students themselves but certainly also through faculty and supervisors.
But there are also external factors acting on student well-being that limit our options, think of developments regarding social media, the climate, geopolitical relations, drug use or competitive pressures in primary and secondary education. The corona years have had a tremendous impact on multiple cohorts of students.
Growing student numbers
Another important issue related to student well-being is the expected growth in our student numbers. Can we expand without compromising the quality of our education, (educational) housing and the well-being of our students? In the coming years, we and the Board of Trustees will have to think intensively about how much we want to grow and how we can manage this ourselves.
Community building, safety and appreciation
After years of teaching and working online, we are increasingly returning to campus. For me, it is particularly important here to pay attention to the importance of close community building.
I stand for an inclusive university where students and staff alike find a safe and challenging working and learning environment, and we have an ongoing focus on work and performance pressures.
We must continue to work on the innovative way of Recognizing & Valuing employees. The first steps in this have been taken, but the biggest battle still has to be fought: breaking down the academisc staff/ support and administrative staff distinction.
We must continue to work on the innovative way of recognizing and valuing employees. The first steps in this have been taken, but the biggest battle still has to be fought, the removal of the WP/OBP distinction.
By embracing the Recognition & Appreciation program, the university will have to demonstrate ‘being a good employer’ more than ever before. VLAM’s starting point in this regard is: structural work requires a structural contract. With the extra resources that have recently become available, this should be possible and room should be made for promising careers for (young) teachers, among others.
In the coming period a strengthening program will be deployed to facilitate and promote participation within our university in a very focused and active way. This is sorely needed given the increasingly low voter turnout rates in university elections
The University Council has an important role in helping to determine university policies and decisions regarding the budget, educational policies, housing and human resources policies, sustainability, EDI, etc.
If few people vote in co-determination elections, it may mean that the council is not representative (enough). As a result, decisions may be made that do not reflect the wishes of the supporters.
So do vote!