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 (PCs), which consists of an equal number of students and teachers, are the most decentral body of decision-making at the Faculty of Humanities. PCs 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:
- PCs 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 PCs, for example through workshops.
- PCs must obtain right of consent on the budget of their respective programmes.
- PCs must receive better official support. Although all PCs now have a secretary, neither the PC members nor the secretary get enough hours in practice.
- All PCs must receive a training budget.
- Teacher members of PCs need to get more hours for their 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 PCs have sufficient time to give their advice.
- All PCs must have a canvas page in order to reach students and teachers of the programme.
- All PCs must have a right to a reaction term of 6 weeks and this should be specified in the Faculty Regulations.
- All PCs should get consenting rights when it comes to the digitalization or flexibilisation (e.g. flex studying) as well as any language change of their programmes.
The clustering of Programme Committees
The faculty is in the process of discussing a green paper that suggests dramatically restructuring programme committees by implementing clustering of PC’s. This would drastically reduce the number of PC’s. TOF is against the clustering of Programme Committees for purely budgetary reasons. Options to improve the communication between programme director and PC need to be explored before drastic measures like reducing the number of programme committees are made. Furthermore, TOF rejects the current top-down approach to clustering where the Daily Board takes the initiative. TOF believes changes to medezeggenschap should only be taken by PC’s themselves, because this guarantees the autonomy and decentrality of PC’s. If clustering does occur, TOF is against the clustering of PCs altogether if the maximum of ten representatives per PC is maintained, since it is not good for the quality of education if not every programme is represented in the PC.
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 OCs, 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 therefore believes 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.
University Quarter (UK)
A large number of changes are currently taking place regarding the (future) housing of the faculty. TOF recognizes the importance of improving our housing situation in the University Quarter, in particular in the Oudemanhuispoort and BG5. TOF is also pleased with the development of a new University Library. However, some complications have also come to light that, according to TOF, will have a major impact on the course of education. Because of this, TOF has the following requirements with regard to the construction of the new University Quarter:
- The FSR and Work’s Council (OR) must be included in the decision-making process on this very far-reaching process in a timely manner. That is why TOF wants both the FSR and the OR to get a seat in the University Quarter stuurgroep; after all, we are the end users, not just the dean.
- The University Theater will be retained and remains the centre of education for theater studies and musicology. Any change to the accommodation of these study programs can only be made with the explicit consent of the relevant PCs. Moreover, in case a new theatre hall is built, it should have a primarily educational function, and the representative function should be secondary.
- The PC Hoofthuis and Maagdenhuis will be retained. If the Executive Board and the management staff nevertheless wish to leave the Maagdenhuis, it will be retained and an alternative use will be sought, for example a position à la Spui25 or VOX-POP.
- BG3 will be retained and will not be demolished: renovating this monument is not only a wise choice financially but also preserves significant architectural historical value within the UK.
- Any revisions to the UK budget should focus on non-primary processes such as representative halls, storage areas and logistics.
- TOF wants to maintain the thorough sustainability ambitions. These must not disappear as a result of blind budget cuts.
- Residents should be seriously involved by the UvA and the municipality in the formulation of the final plans. They should be given a genuine place in the discussion.
- During the realization of the UK, any great shortage of seminar rooms and lecture halls should be avoided at all cost. Partly for this reason, the PCHH is retained. Limiting the impact on the primary process (i.e. education) should be one of the core objectives of our building policy.