Every year, AKKUraatd writes a new Election Program. The whole program is thoroughly worked out by everyone involved within AKKUraatd. The new candidates for the elections create the Election Program and the fine tuning is done by other AKKUraatd members and members of AKKU, with different backgrounds and studies. This way, we create a Election Program that contains the most important points of improvement for the Radboud University. It’s not too long, but no too short either. It prepares us for all things to come during a year in the University Student Council. The whole Election Program can be read below.
Download the Election Program here
Good education has priority at AKKUraatd. We believe that students deserve high-quality and challenging education. AKKUraatd values the opportunities the university offers in terms of broadening and deepening knowledge and wants the university to offer this to all students. We support improved study facilities, a qualitative digital learning environment, and high-quality education. This is why we argue in favour of customised education and an individualised treatment for every student.
- More study workspaces
1) Chameleon rooms
AKKUraatd argues that empty classrooms should be transformed into study workplaces in exam periods. However, merely unlocking the door of a classroom doesn’t make it a study workplace, yet. We want to adjust the set-up of tables, ensure that there are more comfortable chairs and add some plants and screen dividers. This way, we can easily and quickly create a bunch of pleasant study workplaces.
2) Construction of new study workplaces
AKKUraatd advocates for considering the lack of study workplaces in all of the university’s on-campus real estate plans. In the upcoming years, there are plans to renovate the Erasmus Building and build a new building next to the Maria Montessori Building to replace the Spinoza Building, for instance. Aside pressing matters, such as student housing, AKKUraatd
feels that new study workplaces should be a central part of the university’s real estate plans.
- Privacy proof online exams
The goal of these online surveillance methods is to prevent students from committing fraud. But do these methdos warrant students’ privacy? And are students allowed to object to such an online exam? AKKUraatd believes that online exams with privacysensitive programmes such as online proctoring and Zoom should only occur under the exception that the university critically evaluates these programmes, points out what students’ rights are, and offers alternative exams to students who have principal objections against these programmes.
- Flexible Binding Study Advice (BSA)
Currently, it is too often the case that students are spoken with only at the end of the academic year concerning whether or not their programme suits them. AKKUraatd thinks this conversation should take place earlier as well as more extensively by means of comprehensive support before, during and after your BSA. This reflection should commence even before the programme starts by means of providing a good and honest study check. Unfortunately, this check does not occur in every programme yet. Next, first-year students should be guided, for instance by a mentor or a study advisor, at multiple instances during the year to help answer the question “Does this programme suit me?”. This support should not end after the first year. Even students who have secured their BSA can still find out their bachelor’s does not suit them at a later stage and should then be guided to a suitable alternative.
2) Personal norms
The current BSA’s rigid ECTS boundary does not take into account students’ developments in the first year at all. It is for instance often the case that students underperform in the first semester due to long travelling times, problems making new social contacts, getting used to university itself, etc. AKKUraatd does not believe that students should be reproached for a bad first semester. Therefore, AKKUraatd argues for an urging instead of a binding study advice. There should be space for a personal plan to show that the study indeed fits the student, but the choice should ultimately be the student’s.
3) Decrease of stress
The BSA causes a lot of stress in first-year students, given that they are potentially not allowed to finish their studies. This stress is in many cases unnecessary, however. Students who have passed nearly all of their courses in the first semester generally secure their BSA. AKKUraatd thinks that the university can alleviate their stress by providing a positive BSA for all students who have received 24 ECTS at minimum after half a year already. For students with personal circumstances, AKKUraatd feels that the university should provide clarity earlier in the academic year about the possibilities for a reduced BSA norm due to their personal circumstances.
4) BSA policy during the Corona-crisis
The Corona-crisis has caused study delay for many students. This can have radical consequences for a first-year student’s BSA. AKKUraatd thinks that these it is odd that these modules are only offered to honours students. These skills are valuable in every programme, after all. In regular programmes, most students are not offered similar extensive courses for these competences. Instead, they are often only assessed during exam opportunities. AKKUraatd thinks that such skills courses are valuable to every student, not just to those who excel. Especially students who have difficulties with such skills can benefit from said courses. AKKUraatd proposes that every student should have free access to (at least one of these) skill modules in their programme.
- Remote desktop: digital campus facilities at home
- Skills courses for all students
include writing essays, debating, presenting skills, as well as other academic skills. AKKUraatd thinksit is odd that these modules are only offered to honours students. These skills are valuable in every programme, after all. In regular programmes, most students are not offered similar extensive courses for these competences. Instead, they are often only assessed during exam opportunities. AKKUraatd thinks that such skills courses are valuable to every student, not just to those who excel. Especially students who have difficulties with such skills can benefit from said courses. AKKUraatd proposes that every student should have free access to (at least one of these) skill modules in their programme.
- Well-organised and extensive interdisciplinary education
AKKUraatd believes that education programmes have a lot to offer to one another. If we look at society, we see that alfa-studies can’t function without betastudies and vice versa. That is why AKKUraatd wants to devote itself to a higher degree of interdisciplinarity in our education. This can be stimulated in multiple ways. On the one hand, the information supply regarding minor programmes should be improved. It would do well to provide a clear and well-organised web page with a university-wide overview of all minor programmes as well as a reference to the corresponding study advisor. Caution should be taken to ensure that the information is correct, as there are too often mistakes left in the study guide.
Next to that, the number of joint courses could be expanded. There are currently some courses which emphasise the importance of cooperating disciplines, yet students from different faculties often do not work together for the same course. Should students from various programmes work together, this would not only improve the results by combining students’ forces but also help envision the interdisciplinary work field after university.
- Balanced internationalisation
AKKUraatd thinks it is important that education is accessible to everyone, both Dutch and international students. However, AKKUraatd feels that the process of internationalisation should occur in a balanced manner. Quality of education needs to stay the top priority and should after all remain uncompromised.
That is why AKKUraatd thinks that studies should only be offered in English on the basis of intrinsic educational reasons. AKKUraatd thinks that the expertise of students and teachers should serve as a basis for the consideration of whether or not the official language should be English or Dutch. We therefore advocate in favour of reconsidering the language choice of education programmes via a poll amongst students and teachers, amongst other things.
When a study programme remains or switches to English, it is of importance that teachers’ English is adequate. Should course evaluations point out that this is not the case, the teacher should be stimulated to take a free English course.
- Small-scale education
Currently, there are a lot of different approaches between faculties about the way they use the possibilities for weblectures. AKKUraatd therefore thinks that there should be a university-wide weblecture policy to take away these differences.
- Weblectures for all students
In these hectic times, we notice just how crucial the internet is to us. But even outside of this crisis, there are enough cases in which students who cannot physically attend lectures, however. AKKUraatd therefore believes that weblectures should be made available for all studies, without exceptions. Currently, smaller studies are often skipped because they do
not have the facilities for it. Many students can profit from weblectures. They allow for more independence and flexibility should the student have a need for it. Even when students are not able to attend lectures, weblectures ensure that they can study independently from their peers’ notes or teachers’ PowerPoint presentations. This may prevent unnecessary arrears. Currently, there are a lot of different approaches between faculties about the way they use the possibilities for weblectures. AKKUraatd therefore thinks that there should be a university-wide weblecture policy to take away these differences.
- Optional internships in every studyprogramme
Student life is about more than just studying. The university is an environment in which you can develop yourself in various ways. It is important that students who dedicate themselves to the student community are supported and that facilities are continuously being improved. Next to that, AKKUraatd wants more attention for students whose well-being is not at best. Students’ well-being is an important condition for a good student life. AKKUraatd therefore argues in favour of improved facilitation of counselling and support for students. This way, students can both enjoy their student days and acquire experience outside of their studies.
- Useful and accesible support
1) Accessible support
It is quite a big step to approach counselling for students who are in need for it. To reduce this, AKKUraatd argues in favour of the possibility to contact someone who immediately answers any questions surround your well-being. We insist on a clear overview of all support possibilities that are offered by the university for students with a functional disability, carers, pregnant students etc., preferably on a user-friendly site. The flow of information about studying at Radboud University as well as the affairs that should be settled before starting a course of study should also be sorted out, especially for international students.
2) Mentor guidance for all students
AKKUraatd wants students to be able to get in touch with an approachable and confidential advisor who can support them in their studies, their lives as students and other education-related affairs. Currently, these mentors are only available in the first year of study in most studies. AKKUraatd believes that mentors should not just be available to students in the first year but also in later stages of their studies. Therefore, AKKUraatd suggests to hire additional mentors who are (financially) supported, prepared and educated so that they can concern themselves with students during the course of their entire study programme. From the second year of studying, all students will be provided optional access to a mentor. Next to that, AKKUraatd thinks it is important that the university takes an active position with regards to promoting this guidance. Given the potential shortage of teachers as mentors, AKKUraatd proposes to take on student employees as student mentors.
3) Improved accessibility of student psychologists
AKKUraatd believes that student psychologists should be accessible and approachable for every student. However, several matters undesirably raise the threshold for contacting the student psychologist. Firstly, the waiting period for an appointment is too long given that this period is currently about four to five weeks. Additionally, it should not be the case that students should play for their first appointment, which is the case at present. This service should be something the university offers to help students. The fact that there is currently a registration fee and that the waiting time is so long entails that the threshold to approach the student psychologists is now too high. It is essential to lower this threshold so that every student receives the timely and professional help they need.
- Suitable compensation for active students
- Fair selection processes (numerus fixus)
- Financial contact person for the student loan system
- Free language courses
- Stimulating self-fulfilment after the first year
AKKUraatd believes that students should receive information about the possibilities of self-development next to their studies after obtaining their BSA. Examples include contributing to student representation, engaging in volunteer work, joining the board of a study association or doing an honours programme. This information may be supplied via a digital letter written by Radboud University rector, for instance. It is important that students are redirected to the corresponding information pages on Radboud University’s web pages and the study advisor. Next to that, this information should be provided to students on a central level, so that all students are granted the opportunity to develop themselves outside of their studies.
- A student lounge at every faculty
space in the form of a generally accessible coffee corner or canteen. This space should have sufficient facilities as well as the possibility for students to set up their own initiatives such as a student bar or joint dinner. That is why it is essential that this space is run by students instead of by a commercial establishment. AKKUraatd believes that the campus is not just a place for studying, but also for bonding with other students.
- Accessible admittance from and to university
In addition, the transition from university to the university of applied sciences is too often considered a taboo, for instance when you find out that your current programme isn’t a good fit. AKKUraatd believes that the university should see to it that students also get a fair picture of whether or not the university of applied sciences would be a match for them. That is why we feel that higher professional programmes should also be included as a valid option whenever students’ current study does not seem to suit them. This can occur during the extensive BSA supervision, which AKKUraatd also advocates. It is therefore essential that Radboud University and the Hogeschool Arnhem Nijmegen (HAN) cooperate.
Climate change is one of the most serious challenges society has nowadays. This issue asks for a different kind of policy than the current one. The field of education ought to coach future generations to take on a relevant role in society in which sustainability occupies a key position. AKKUraatd believes that Radboud University should lead the way in the field of sustainability. We argue in favour of integrating sustainability within the core business of universities: education and research. Building on the university’s available knowledge, AKKUraatd wishes to contribute to making the university more sustainable. We also want to strengthen the university’s position as a platform where innovative ideas in the area of sustainability are formulated.
- Towards a greener campus
- Affordable vegetarian/vegan food
Craft should, for instance, be offered as a vegan meal by default. This way, the meal is better for the environment and people who eat vegan have an affordable and healthy option to choose from.
- Less plastic on campus
1) A ban on single-use plastics from 2021 onwards
Catering facilities at university still often wrap their products in plastic. Some catering facilities even double-wrap their products. Within on-campus catering facilities, the consumption of single-use plastic should be reduced to zero. Disposable articles should be replaced by sustainable alternatives if necessary.
2) A ban on new plastic merchandise
On the university’s Open Days, a lot of merchandise is distributed which does not have a lot of added value, according to AKKUraatd. All these plastic products are damaging to the environment. Therefore, AKKUraatd wants the university to manage ordering new merchandise sustainably.
- Sustainability in education
- Restrict wasting study materials
To reduce waste, AKKUraatd advocates making such study materials digitally available. This way, oncampus paper consumption is reduced. Should it be impracticable to make study materials digitally available, the university should stimulate and facilitate recycling. AKKUraatd argues for a web page where second-hand study materials can be bought and sold. For instance on the university’s website, which is already the case for employees at university, or via the website of the faculties in question.
Recycling should be further stimulated in the form of an annual or twice-yearly second-hand study book market which can be facilitated by faculties. This way, students are granted the opportunity to exchange books on campus, buy or sell them, and contribute to the conservation of study materials at the same time.
- More structure for sustainability initiatives
For the organisation of good education, student representation is of the utmost importance. Especially at universities where students and employees make improvements together, it is important that consultations run smoothly. AKKUraatd dedicates itself to the structural improvement of the student representation climate. We focus on programme-specific, faculty-wide and university-wide student representation.
- Accessible student representation for internationals
- Towards a fairer student participation
1) Equal vote for students and staff
Currently, we are the only university that has a voting ratio of 60% for employees and 40% for students on faculty level in the Faculty Joint Assemblies (Dutch: FGV’s). By law, this voting ratio is 50% for employees and 50% students, however. This rule stems from times in which employees were more involved in religion than students and therefore had more voting rights. AKKUraatd thinks this rule is out of date and therefore argues in favour of establishing this ratio to the national level: 50/50. However, this should not be at the cost of the already full voting consent regarding the Education and Examination Regulations.
2) Democratisation of the USC
At our university, 8 out of 14 seats in the University Student Council (USC) are elected democratically via elections. The remaining six seats are appointed to the umbrella associations who act in the interests of specific associations. AKKUraatd thinks it is essential that these umbrella associations’ opinions are considered in policies that have an influence on
their associations. This way, it is guaranteed that these policies come about via (indirect) approval of students who are affected by them. These seats, however, currently also have a deciding vote regarding concerns that are not directly relevant to the umbrella associations’ members. AKKUraatd therefore argues for a separate umbrella association consultation, whilst the USC exclusively consists of democratically chosen members. In this consultation, the umbrella associations’ representatives have far-reaching influence on policies thatconcern their associations. This way, they can focus on more pressing matters that are important to them, whilst the vote of every student via chosen members in the USC weighs equally in matters concerning education and sustainability. This way, we ensure that we act in the interests of all students in the most powerful and suitable way possible.
3) Buying study materials
It has been determined by law that no extra costs ought to be charged for compulsory study materials. Unfortunately, we still see that a lot of studies charging extra costs for study materials, for instance microscopes. AKKUraatd wants to see to it that this law is observed more strictly. Next to that, we do not wish for these unnecessary costs to be landed on students.
- Student participation in housing plans
- Improved communication between students and student representation
We want to achieve this by means of facilitating student participational bodies by writing up surveys or other methods to poll students’ opinions. Next to that, student participation communication towards students should also be improved. Especially for smaller bodies, such as Faculty Student Councils and Programme Committees, this is often difficult. AKKUraatd wants to improve this by standardising means of providing feedback to students, for instance via a direct newsletter or information sessions. This way, the student representation can obtain more contact with a diverse group of students. A sideeffect is that students are up to date of the current affairs at their university. This way, all students can be