TOF is a decentralized party that consciously chooses to focus solely on the FGw. The unique character of the Faculty of Humanities can only be guaranteed when the decisions are made at a Faculty level as much as possible. TOF chooses subsidiarity: decisions must be made at the lowest possible level. Ideally, this is the level of the programme itself, where experts can keep an eye on the high quality of education. Our credo: decentral where possible and central if necessary.
Faculty wide deliberation
TOF believes students and teachers know best what is good for their programmes. It is crucial to involve students in shaping policy as much as possible at the Faculty of Humanities. Decisions should not be made behind closed doors, but in public meetings. TOF would like to see the opinion of teachers and students be heard and taken into account wherever possible. We believe that everyone must be able to give input on the vision of the faculty by making public policy documents open to critique through denkmee.nl. When it comes to developing long term plans, consulting all members of this Faculty must be a requirement.
Programme Committees (OCs), which consists of an equal number of students and teachers, are the most decentral body of decision-making at the Faculty of Humanities. OCs advise the programme directors of their respective studies, and guarantee the quality of education at the smallest scale. Because it is important for the programmes that the OC is as strong as possible, TOF believes that the following changes should be made:
- OCs must be better informed on the new rights that they have acquired since the legislative amendment of September 2017. Not just the new student members, but also the teachers who have been long time members should be informed on the rights of OCs, for example through workshops.
- OCs must obtain right of consent on the budget of their respective programmes.
- OCs must receive better official support. Although all OCs now have an secretary, they do not get assigned enough hours in practice.
- All OCs must receive a training budget.
- Teacher members of OCs need to get more hours for the task.
- Each year, the suggested alterations for the Teaching and Examination Regulations (OER) must be translated into English as quickly as possible so that English-speaking OCs have sufficient time to give their advice.
- All OCs must have a canvas page in order to reach students and teachers of the programme.
- All OCs have a right to a reaction term of 6 weeks.
The clustering of Programme Committees
At the moment, our faculty is discussing a green paper which suggests the clustering of certain programme committees. TOF is against the clustering of Programme Committees for purely budgetary reasons. Even when the clustering is done, as is said in said green paper, to improve the communication between the programme committees and the programme directors, TOF does not think it is always the solution for this problem. Options to improve the communication between programme director and OC need to be explored before drastic measures like reducing the number of programme committees are made. TOF is against the clustering of OC’s altogether if the maximum of ten representatives per OC is maintained, since it is not good for the quality of education if not every programme is represented in the OC.
Programme Committee elections
Since a legislative amendment in 2017, the programme committee has officially obtained the status of a representative advisory body. Due to the expansion of rights granted to OC’s, they are now expected to represent teachers and students of their respective programmes. TOF thinks that the election of Programme Committees will motivate the members to listen to students and perform its tasks to their standards. For this reason, TOF advocates resolving the practical difficulties regarding the election of OC-members as quickly as possible. Although elections are preferred, practice has shown that there is often not enough enthusiasm among aspiring OC student members to participate in elections, which leads to vacancies in OCs. TOF is therefore of the opinion that OCs should also be filled with enough student members who are qualified (if there have been no elections). OCs that are not elected should pay more attention to involving the students and teachers from their programmes. The Faculty Student Council and the Faculty Board can help OCs to establish contact with their supporters.
A democratic curriculum
Because students and teachers must be able to influence the content of the curriculum, TOF believes that the programme committee should be actively involved in curriculum changes. Their concerns can be actively addressed earlier in the process, giving the programme committee a chance to consult their peers.
A decentral Central Student Council (CSR)
The Central Student Council of the UvA currently consists of fourteen members. Half of these members are directly elected by the student population of the UvA, the other half are delegates from the seven faculties of the UvA. TOF believes that all fourteen members of the CSR should be delegates. Only then will the CSR truly be in service of the faculty, and the central UvA policy will be checked by students who always keep the best interest of the faculty in mind.
When it comes to decentralising the CSR, TOF believes that a number of central dossiers should be appointed at the faculty level. This includes, for example, rules concerning decentral selection, numerus fixus arrangements, and regulations that apply to specific programmes. The Executive Board (CvB) should also be cautious when implementing changes that affect the UvA as a whole. In addition to the right of consent which the central council has on the budget, TOF believes the Faculty Student Councils must also approve the central budget before it can be adopted.