How many extra courses can a student do on top of the regular bachelor’s programme? Three, as the students of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences wanted? Or just one, as the board argued? Last Thursday the council and board had a heated discussion on this topic during an extra Faculty Council meeting on the Education and Examination Regulations (OER). The outcome: one extra course, only for the best students; those who have no resits, no study delays and an average grade of 7.5 or higher.
Students called for three additional courses to allow them – especially those from the multidisciplinary European Studies programme – the chance to specialise in the field of their future master’s programmes. This would raise the chance of being admitted, they argued.
According to study adviser Pia Harbers, invited by the board last Thursday to discuss her experiences, “It’s not that we want to prevent students from preparing for their master’s programme. Not at all. We want to help you. But it doesn’t have to be through taking extra courses. There are enough other possibilities.” Extra courses on top of the regular programme increase the chances of a study delay, she told the council. “The risk of it going wrong is quite serious, we found out. Students not only fail their extra courses, but also their normal ones. For most students it’s not doable. Even for very good students it’s a risk.” The council agreed that preventing a study delay is advisable, but was still not convinced.
Dean Rein de Wilde pointed out that, legally, FASoS doesn’t have to offer extra courses. “That’s not a legal right for students. It’s in the interests of students to limit the extra courses.” But it’s also in the interests of the faculty, which has to pay for the extra courses taken at other faculties (last year €80,000) and will be punished for students with study delays by having to pay the so-called langstudeerdersboete. And as De Wilde added at the end of the meeting, “for this part of the OER we don’t need the approval of the council. It’s up to the board. But we have a tradition of listening to the council and trying to reach consensus.”
After a break of ten minutes, requested by the students, the council had a secret vote. With four people in favour and five abstentions, they said yes to one extra course, on the condition that this topic will be evaluated by the council in spring 2013.