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Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

Photographer:Fotograaf: archive Observant

Great interest from future students for third FASoS bachelor ‘s

MAASTRICHT. There is still one hurdle to take, but everything is pointing in the direction of the new bachelor's of Digital Society at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences starting in September. There is plenty of interest: 282 prospective students have already shown serious interest.

Commissioned by education inspector NVAO (Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders), a panel recently looked into whether the Digital Society programme was set up properly from a content and educational point of view. The panel was enthusiastic, said dean Sophie Vanhoonacker to the Faculty Council last week. “We are hopeful that the NVAO will accept this positive advice and the study programme can start in September.”

Digital Society - which is supposed to become FASoS’s third bachelor’s programme, alongside Arts and Culture and European Studies - will be an interdisciplinary programme providing an answer to a variety of ethical, political, cultural and social issues that are emerging in our increasingly digitised society. “It is a proper FASoS bachelor's, in which both the humanities and the social sciences play a major role. Furthermore our students will also take technical subjects. We will not train them to be programmers, but if you really want to understand what goes on in the very depths of the digital world, you will need to know, for example, how programming works,” says professor Sally Wyatt, who is in charge. Graduates are expected to end up in positions where they will act as intermediaries between technicians and companies, municipalities, ministries and cultural institutes, such as museums. “They will be dealing with questions such as: what does the customer need, and what can technicians offer, but also: can we steer digitisation in a direction that is better for society? They will need to be knowledgeable in various disciplines, yet at the same time be able to collaborate and communicate well.”

The new bachelor's, developed by Wyatt together with eight colleagues (“a highly interdisciplinary team”) from all FASoS departments, will (in varying degrees) work together with different faculties, the university library, EDlab and the institute for Data Science.

There appears to be a great deal of enthusiasm among prospective students. The faculty started recruiting last autumn, after a positive ‘macro-efficiency test’ in July by the national CDHO, which looks at the labour market for graduates, among other things. In the meantime, 282 prospective students have enrolled. At the end of last week, they received a message saying that it is highly likely that DS will start after the summer.

What if all of them actually come? Wyatt: “In our plans we worked on the basis of sixty students in 2019, increasing to 150 in 2023. Years ago European Studies started with plans for sixty students and they ended up with two hundred first-years. We can easily handle a hundred. Two hundred would be a challenge, but we would manage.”

 

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