TOF stands for a critical, qualitative and decentral Faculty of Humanities (FoH). As the biggest student party on faculty level, TOF is dedicated to preserve the unique character of the humanities and the quality of education. Therefore, we do not engage in the making of central policy, but focus on the Faculty of Humanities. We enter the debate with the administrators of the faculty with a strong and decent argumentation. TOF represents all students of our faculty, together we will safeguard the intrinsic character of the humanities.
As a student, you want to engage in high-quality education. This is why the excellence of education comes in the first place for TOF. Every reform, revision and reorganisation has to aim to secure the quality of education, even when cuts have to be made. To ensure good quality of education, it is important that matters of education are managed in the most decentralised way. That way, specialists have the responsibility and the intrinsic character of every programme can be secured. According to TOF the semester layout (8-8-4) must be flexible, so the departments can determine the size of courses themselves and shape them in the best way.
It is important for TOF that students can outline their programme in the way they envision. Therefore, TOF attaches great importance to elective courses and finds it important that students can fill in these courses in the way they want. Of course, there needs to be good academic student counselling that fits the students needs. At the moment, the University of Amsterdam tries to stimulate students to broaden instead of deepen their studies by offering minors. TOF thinks that both the broadening and deepening of studies are important. Neither the faculty nor the university should hinder the student in forming his elective programme.
The proces of ‘anglicisation’ is becoming more present at the Faculty of Humanities: more and more study programmes are offered in English. TOF sees this anglicisation as a complicated issue. English education has both benefits and disadvantages in comparison to the current Dutch education. Therefore, it is important that the downsides of English education are acknowledged and that a risk assessment is made when a study programme transfers to English as language of instruction. The disadvantages need to be contained as much as possible, so tutors and students don’t suffer too much damage from the language change. The quality of the study programme always needs be in first place, instead of the financial benefits that the change of main language might have.
TOF finds it very important that student representatives can participate enough in decision-making. After the occupations and demonstrations of 2015, the student representation had already been extended a little, for instance by the instatement of the ‘Wet Versterking Bestuurskracht’ (Law of Reinforcement Executive Power), that has increased the rights of the Boards of Study (BOS) regarding education-related affairs. TOF sees room for more improvement. For instance, members of the BOS should get more hours in order to execute their new tasks in a better way. Furthermore, TOF believes that Boards of Study should get better administrative support. The ways in which BOS’s can measure the opinion of students, like the system of course evaluation, should be improved as well.
TOF believes that the involvement of students must be stimulated and therefore supports a bigger role of the Faculty Student Council and the Boards of Study. However, TOF does not support referenda. Although TOF wants as much students as possible to engage in the making of policy and the problems of the faculty, it does not mean that all students should be obliged to know all policy papers and have a clear standpoint on these matters. This is the task of student representatives.
TOF thinks that an important task of the university is to stimulate students in the process of self development. The critical minds that the Faculty of Humanity creates are essential for the functioning of our society. Unfortunately, the social view on education has gone through big changes in the last decades. Knowledge is no longer a goal in itself, but is seen as the engine of our economy. This especially has negative effects for the humanities, since the ‘utility’ of these programmes cannot always be measured in a quantitative way. This economic view on education is problematic and TOF believes that the faculty should aim to change the image of humanities in society.