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Governance

FPN forced to make cuts of 3.1 million over 5 years

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences needs to cut costs to the amount of 3.1 million over the next five years. Jobs are not at risk; the faculty will take a critical look at all other expenses. Some of that money (about 1 million) will become available automatically: over the next few years, some older (and hence more expensive) ...
“Fine, I’ll be the token woman from time to time”

“Fine, I’ll be the token woman from time to time”

A charming rector’, ‘the embodiment of UM’, ‘ambitious’, ‘authentic’: Dutch media outlets were very generous with their praise in recent articles about ‘Top Woman of the Year 2019’ and current rector of Maastricht University Rianne Letschert. Her own reaction to winning the annual competition fo...

Research master's of Health Sciences to stop in 2020

MAASTRICHT. The Health Sciences Research Master (HSRM) will be discontinued with effect from September 2020. The University Council approved the request for discontinuance last week. The master's didn't attract enough students to be cost-effective. The current students will be able to complete the two-year programme.
New University Council chairperson left a visiting card

New University Council chairperson left a visiting card

MAASTRICHT. The first plenary session of the new University Council and its newly appointed chairperson, Amanda Kluveld, immediately caused fireworks. At the request of the Council, she put the new procedure for the appointing of deans as an additional item on the agenda. The Executive Board wanted to prevent this, but Kluveld stuck to her gun...

Putting the brakes on English in higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven has announced plans to introduce more stringent language policies for Dutch higher education. This could mean that a number of programmes currently being taught in English will have to switch back to Dutch. But how likely is that to actually happen?
Successful Career Woman Rianne Letschert: maybe female professor quota in 2020

Successful Career Woman Rianne Letschert: maybe female professor quota in 2020

MAASTRICHT. Long articles in newspapers such as Het Financieele Dagblad, de Limburger, Eindhovens Dagblad, an appearance on the TV show Jinek and numerous reports in other media. Only those who were completely shut off from the world could have missed it this week: rector Rianne Letschert won the Successful Career Woman of ...

Executive Board reinforces its grip on dean appointments

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board will get a much bigger hand in the appointment of new deans. All three members will from now be part of the Appointments Advisory Committee. This is one of the aspects of the new procedure for the (re)appointment of deans, recently decided upon by the Executive Board.
Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

MAASTRICHT/NETHERLANDS. On the day of the King’s speech, last Tuesday, the cabinet presented its budget for next year. Higher education is in for a bad time, with another round of cutbacks. This is on top of the disastrous plans recommended by the Van Rijn committee, which wants money to be transferred from general universities to techni...
Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. On the day of the King’s speech, last Tuesday, the cabinet presented its budget for next year. Higher education is in for a bad time, with another round of cutbacks. This is on top of the disastrous plans recommended by the Van Rijn committee, which wants money to be transferred from general universities to technic...
Maastricht 127th in top 200

Maastricht 127th in top 200

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has risen one place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 and is now at number 127, in front of Nijmegen, Amsterdam (VU), and Eindhoven. There are a total of eleven Dutch universities in the top 200 of best universities worldwide. The highest-ranking Dutch university is Wagenin...
Green light for new animal-testing centre

Green light for new animal-testing centre

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has been given the green light for the new animal-testing centre. No objections have been lodged against the permit application, said the spokesperson for the Maastricht city council in response to questions. Apart from that, there is a letter from Animal Rights to the Executive Board with the request to stop anima...

Foreign students are an asset to the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. Foreign students generate substantial revenues for the Dutch treasury, especially university students from outside Europe. However, the scale of this influx may pose a risk to the quality of education.
“You have to ask yourself with every item on the agenda: why could this not be public?”

“You have to ask yourself with every item on the agenda: why could this not be public?”

MAASTRICHT. For two whole years, Dr Amanda Kluveld was chairperson of the Faculty Council at Arts and Social Sciences. As of 1 September, the Maastricht historian is the new chairperson of the University Council. She is an advocate of transparency and likes to give council members their space.
The first batch will be “spoilt rotten”

The first batch will be “spoilt rotten”

MAASTRICHT. Two guinea pigs appear on the screen in the Gymnasium. “You are now our guinea pigs, or as we say in Dutch proefkonijnen‚” says Sally Wyatt, programme director of the new bachelor's programme of Digital Society at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “Sometimes, guinea pigs have a hard time and they ...

Leiden ‘host’ lashes out at minister

THE NETHERLANDS. Carel Stolker, rector magnificus of Leiden University, believes the relationship between our politicians and our universities is at a low point. He has directed some harsh words towards Minister of Education Van Engelshoven, who he will be receiving as a guest at the university later today.
Judge ruled against Law dean

Judge ruled against Law dean

MAASTRICHT. The dean of the Maastricht Faculty of Law, who suspended five law students last spring because of racist and anti-Semitic remarks in a WhatsApp group, found himself ruled against by the Appeals Tribunal for Higher Education. He should have first given a warning. With this, the Executive Board that supported him were also given a ra...
Fraud in UM spin-off VitaK

Fraud in UM spin-off VitaK

MAASTRICHT. Two Maastricht University researchers, professor Leon Schurgers and professor Cees Vermeer (the latter has by now retired) have apparently enriched themselves through the university subsidiary company VitaK. De Limburger and De Groene Amsterdammer in collaboration with the Investico platform reported elaborately...
Eindhoven University opens academic jobs to women only

Eindhoven University opens academic jobs to women only

THE NETHERLANDS. For the next 18 months, all academic jobs at Eindhoven University of Technology will be open to female candidates only in an effort to improve the balance between men and women on the permanent staff.
Dope once again big winner in the student elections

Dope once again big winner in the student elections

MAASTRICHT. Just like in all previous elections over the past four years, Dope is again the big winner. They have claimed no less than 25 of the total 47 seats and in doing so are represented in both the University Council and all faculty councils. Novum follows at a distance, with eight seats. Turnout among academic staff varied tremendously: the ...
University Library should have open access for everybody

University Library should have open access for everybody

The University Library’s new access policy - only to UM students and staff - is a mistake, argue Stephanie Blom, Giulia Frinzi and Saskia Stolk from the Law Faculty. They call the policy elitist, unsympathetic and in clear contrast with the historical background and founding principles of Maastricht University.

Harassment, scientific sabotage widespread at Dutch universities

THE NETHERLANDS. Intimidation, bullying and ‘scientific sabotage’ are common among staff at Dutch universities and colleges, according to two separate reports, both published on Monday.
Why “warm sweater week” does not work

Why “warm sweater week” does not work

Climate change is not a personal but a political problem, says Martin Unfried, senior researcher at the Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross border Cooperation and Mobility. Good policies are needed, just raising awareness is not enough. It may not even help at all.
Divest Our Pensions

Divest Our Pensions

Pension fund ABP should stop investing in fossil fuel giants like Shell and ExxonMobil, says PhD researcher Sarah Thin, on behalf of Fossil Free Maastricht, in this opinion article. She asks UM staff to speak up.
Digital exams in MECC from June

Digital exams in MECC from June

MAASTRICHT. The first digital exams are planned in the MECC for June, for up to eight hundred students at a time. The first day of testing this week with 864 Chromebooks, exam software and Wi-Fi installation went well.
Rambam tinkered with footage, apologies from BNNVARA

Rambam tinkered with footage, apologies from BNNVARA

MAASTRICHT. Two Maastricht professors were unjustly accused of ‘dishonest’ behaviour in the television broadcast Rambam in January. They were portrayed as scientists who could be bought. BNNVARA eats humble pie now that they have reviewed the raw journalistic footage together with a delegation from Maastricht University. The broadcastin...
UM starts fundraiser for university in Mozambique

UM starts fundraiser for university in Mozambique

MAASTRICHT. Three faculty buildings were completely destroyed, as were the small hospital and training clinic that belonged to it. Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in the city of Beira, Mozambique on Thursday 14 March, destroyed a large part of Universidade Católica de Moçambique (UCM). Maastricht University has close links with UCM and has starte...
Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

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.
Laudatory report from NVAO on UM's quality of education

Laudatory report from NVAO on UM's quality of education

MAASTRICHT. Good, good and good again. This was the oral judgment of the NVAO committee that visited Maastricht at the end of October to audit the education (InstellingsToetsKwaliteitszorg, ITK), quality agreements and internationalisation at Maastricht University. The report that was officially handed over to the Executive Board last week, is no d...
Rector: “Three-year sabbatical for the person who solves distrust from politics”

Rector: “Three-year sabbatical for the person who solves distrust from politics”

Over forty thousand people protested against budget cuts in education at the Malieveld in The Hague last Friday. Protest movement WOinActie did so on behalf of the universities. Their demands are about money, but it’s about more than just money. It’s also about work pressure and distrust. Those are the conclusions of the debate that too...
We don't want to be an exclusive club, but be open to everyone in Europe”

We don't want to be an exclusive club, but be open to everyone in Europe”

MAASTRICHT. Open, not elitist but inclusive, concerned with society, innovative, focussed on the future, with and for students, and - last but not least – working together towards a better Europe. These are a handful of the ‘core values’ of the YUFE alliance (Young Universities for the Future of Europe); a European University...
UM and Groningen best general universities of the Netherlands

UM and Groningen best general universities of the Netherlands

MAASTRICHT. According to the Keuzegids Masters 2019, Maastricht University, together with Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, is the best general Dutch university. Eight Maastricht study programmes received the award Top Rated Programme. What's more, the master's of Learning and Development in Organisations at the School of Business and Economics ...
University Council: chairman Van Tilburg had to resign

University Council: chairman Van Tilburg had to resign

MAASTRICHT. Chairman of the University Council, Jonathan van Tilburg, has stepped down as of 1 March. The University Council had asked him the day before “to reconsider his position”. The reason for his departure is unclear.
Open letter to all students and staff: "We need to act"

Open letter to all students and staff: "We need to act"

On March 15th the entire Dutch education sector will go on strike. The chances are that you’ve heard something about this, since the initiative is supported by the Executive Board of our university. However, we can imagine that many of you are thinking: a strike? Is that really relevant to Maastricht University? Is that something I should sup...
Majority of staff is satisfied; assistant professors experience most work pressure

Majority of staff is satisfied; assistant professors experience most work pressure

MAASTRICHT. Most employees of Maastricht University are satisfied about their work and feel they have the qualities required to perform in their jobs properly. This is one of the outcomes of the Sustainable Availability Monitor that more than 2,800 employees completed last autumn.

Green light for FPN's quality agreements

MAASTRICHT. The University Council endorsed the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences' quality agreements last week. All faculties have now been given the go-ahead.
Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

MAASTRICHT. The head of UM Sports, Nico Freriks, has handed in his notice as of 1 February. He had the position since mid-June 2018. A difference of opinion concerning the “expectations, vision and future” of UM Sports was supposedly the underlying reason, says Pascal Breuls, director of Student Services Centre and Freriks' imm...
 “I feel so at home here”

“I feel so at home here”

Just before Christmas, Fabienne Crombach received an e-mail from rector Rianne Letschert telling her that she had been nominated for the Wynand Wijnen education prize. “Really nice, but I never actually expected to win. With my background as a student from a university of applied sciences, I was competing against scientists with doctorates an...
Flying tax for researchers

Flying tax for researchers

MAASTRICHT. As of January, researchers from the UNU-Merit institute pay a flying tax when they book a domestic flight or a flight abroad. The tax is deducted from the project budget. “I was slightly apprehensive for the reactions,” says director Bart Verspagen, “but the plan went down well.”

Experiment with pass/fail assessment at FPN

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences are going to experiment with a pass/fail assessment. In the upcoming second-year block of Man and Machine, students will not receive a grade for their exam, but just a pass or a fail. Block co-ordinator Herco Fonteijn, initiator of the experiment, hopes that because of this students will ...
‘Don’t take academic freedom for granted’

‘Don’t take academic freedom for granted’

MAASTRICHT. Whether it was about the approaching Brexit, climate change, the school children demonstrating in Brussels, or the attack on the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest: never has Maastricht University's founding day celebration - the theme this time being Global Challenges - been so full of political statements.
“I can’t remember one pro-EU story in the media”

“I can’t remember one pro-EU story in the media”

MAASTRICHT. The impending Brexit, whether it’ll be a hard or a soft Brexit, will come with a lot of uncertainty and misery. This was one of the conclusions drawn during Bridges over Brexit, the morning programme of the Dies Natalis celebration held in the Feestzaal (Bouillonstraat) last Friday. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom...
York President: “It prevents us from darkness”

York President: “It prevents us from darkness”

MAASTRICHT. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is increasing, which is precisely the reason why Maastricht University has started a close collaboration with the University of York. The two universities will jointly invest more than three million euros in research and postgraduate education over the next three years. This ‘Maastricht Treaty&rs...
UM professors examine ‘parking policy'

UM professors examine ‘parking policy'

MAASTRICHT. After the University Council had returned the mobility plan - commonly referred to as ‘parking policy’ - back to the drawing board last autumn, a large opinion poll will now be held within Maastricht University: what do people think when it comes to cycling, public transport, cars, parking spaces, or a cycling bonus? Three b...
British students keep their rights after ‘hard’ Brexit

British students keep their rights after ‘hard’ Brexit

If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal, British students studying in the Netherlands need not worry. They can continue their studies under the same conditions. Chances of a ‘hard’ Brexit have increased, after a big majority of the British parliament voted against prime minister Theresa May’s proposal on ...

Smoking ban at Health Campus from 2021

Smoking ban at Health Campus from 2021

MAASTRICHT. As of 1 January 2021, smoking will no longer be permitted throughout the Health Campus in Randwijck. Smoking will not be allowed in and around the hospital from as early as 2020. Those are the aims, at least. The UM supports the hospital's plans, says President of Maastricht University Martin Paul, and the Executive Board will soon ...

FPN: plugging the gap is unrealistic

MAASTRICHT. Both the board and the Faculty Council of Psychology and Neurosciences were completely taken aback when the University Council did not approve their quality agreements. The University Council could not look past the gap of 1.8 million euro between the income and expenses for education. But this deficit has always been there and never be...

University Council gives go-ahead for quality agreements, except for Psychology

MAASTRICHT. The University Council did not approve the quality agreements for the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences in its last meeting before Christmas. The controversial issue was the fact that Psychology would not actually spend all their funds for education on education. All other faculties were given the go-ahead, even if it was a strugg...
The Middle East in Maastricht

The Middle East in Maastricht

For decades now, life in Maastricht has been enriched by butchers, bakers and grocers from the Middle East. First-class lamb meat, Turkish and Lebanese bread and an abundance of herbs have vastly improved the quality of life, or at least my life.

UM budget: more students, more buildings, fewer reserves

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is going to spend 2.2 million more next year than it receives. This has to do with previously planned investments in faculties and sustainability measures at Tapijn. Money has already been set-aside for this (designated reserves).

University Council is critical, quality agreements not a formality

MAASTRICHT. The quality agreements, which were on the University Council's agenda yesterday afternoon after Observant had gone to press, are not likely to be approved without a struggle. This was apparent last week during the joint meeting of two University Council committees.
“There is a lack of political awareness and solidarity among staff and students”

“There is a lack of political awareness and solidarity among staff and students”

MAASTRICHT. Has structural underfunding brought higher education in the Netherlands to a breaking point? That was the question of the panel discussion organised by the New University Maastricht and PINE Maastricht (Pluralism in Economics) last Monday in the Statenzaal at the Faculty of Law. Looking at the small audience of twenty people who attende...
“This is not just any project, it takes top priority for me”

“This is not just any project, it takes top priority for me”

MAASTRICHT. Quality above quantity, a clear path for teaching careers, and last but not least, team science instead of the age-old hierarchical structure. If it is up to rector Rianne Letschert, there is about to be a revolution within the world of academia. The assessment of researchers is about to be changed. The toughest hurdle is convincing Eur...
Seven intensive contact hours is pressure point

Seven intensive contact hours is pressure point

Maastricht University will receive millions of euros - money becoming available from the abolishing of the basic grant system - to improve the quality of education. The first faculty plans are on the agenda of next week's University Council meeting. For approval. The plans include items such as small tutorial groups, a mentor programme (lecture...
University Library only for the UM from 1 January

University Library only for the UM from 1 January

MAASTRICHT. From 1 January, the University Library will only be open to UM card holders. Turnstiles will be installed in spring of 2019. Until that time, users will be checked manually.
Faculty Councils and University Council: more often ‘conversationalist council’ than a monitoring body

Faculty Councils and University Council: more often ‘conversationalist council’ than a monitoring body

MAASTRICHT. More and more items on the University Council’s and Faculty Councils’ agendas are confidential. Usually at the request of the board that wants to brainstorm about new plans in seclusion for fear of rumours and unrest. Occasionally, a council closes the doors because there is no pressure from the people they represent (&...

Walloon students in a fix

MAASTRICHT. The number of Walloon students at Maastricht University has grown explosively over the past years. This has given rise to additional problems because the Walloons cannot produce their secondary school diplomas on time. The UM now settles for a provisional declaration.
Keuzegids 2019: University Colleges score much better than other UM bachelor’s

Keuzegids 2019: University Colleges score much better than other UM bachelor’s

MAASTRICHT. Just like last year, the three young, broad bachelor's programmes at Maastricht - University College Maastricht, University College Venlo and the Science Program - are a cut above the rest of the UM bachelor's. Their resounding results, all eight plus, cast a shadow on the fives, sixes and the odd seven of the rest.
Opinion: Maajid Nawaz’s Ode to Despair

Opinion: Maajid Nawaz’s Ode to Despair

Tans lecture speaker Maajid Nawaz needs to get his facts straight, says Lana Sirri, assistant professor at the Centre for Gender and Diversity. In this opinion piece she fact-checks some claims he made during his lecture and warns for the dangers of downplaying Islamophobia.
“Let women speak first and men hold their tongues for a minute”

“Let women speak first and men hold their tongues for a minute”

Female Empowerment, or FEM for short. The name of this new network at Maastricht University – which was launched with a panel discussion and workshops at the Jan van Eyck Academie last Tuesday – is criticized by many in the audience. By women as well as men. While the first say, “it is setting us apart”, the latter feel &ldq...
‘Parking policy’ postponed, further investigation among staff and students required

‘Parking policy’ postponed, further investigation among staff and students required

MAASTRICHT. The introduction of the UM’s new mobility policy, also referred to as ‘parking policy’, has been postponed. The University Council and the local consultative body have advised the Executive Board to first consult a larger group of employees and students. “We want a solid plan that creates more support among those...
Led by the hand or trip and fall

Led by the hand or trip and fall

A single educational institution with six faculties, all of which pride themselves in the same education system. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is Maastricht University's showpiece. In tutorial groups, twelve to fifteen students discuss a case from actual practice in order to get to grips with the subject matter. For a successful debate with diff...
Good, good, and good again

Good, good, and good again

MAASTRICHT. “Do you know what the committee said: ‘If we were eighteen now, we would all want to study at Maastricht University’.” Rector Rianne Letschert repeats with a broad grin the words of the chairman of the NVAO committee that investigated the education, quality agreements and internationalisation at the UM last week....

Launching Women's network

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has another network: Female Empowerment, or FEM for short. The starting signal will be given during a launch event in the Jan van Eyck Academie on Tuesday, 13 November.
Form is no longer sacred, but the philosophy behind PBL is

Form is no longer sacred, but the philosophy behind PBL is

MAASTRICHT. The Problem-based Learning system of the future is flexible, adapted to individual study programmes, and with room for lecturers' personal interpretation. The inescapable seven-step approach is no longer sacred, but there is a framework within which everyone at Maastricht University must work.

PBL 2.0 is on its way: flexible, creative and tailor-made

MAASTRICHT. It is time for a flexible PBL system, one that provides room for creativity, a personal interpretation by lecturers, and one that may differ per study programme. Those were the most important outcomes of the EDview project. Rector Rianne Letschert announced last Tuesday that a steering group would now implement the recommendations in th...
FSE faculty to be split

FSE faculty to be split

MAASTRICHT. The department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE) will remain part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), but the ICIS institute and the School of Governance will be incorporated in the School of Business and Economics. That is, if the tentative talks go down well. And the three Colleges? Their future place i...
24/7 opening library quashed after protests

24/7 opening library quashed after protests

MAASTRICHT. The 24-hour opening of the university library during the exam period in October has been cancelled after protests by local residents. Whether the scheduled pilot projects during the other XXL weeks will go ahead, is not certain yet.
Viva España

Viva España

My colleague Juan Francisco Palacios Temprano has a large family in Asturias, Northern Spain. This region boasts a rich tradition of making cured meats from a famous Spanish breed of pig. Every winter, when the weather is forecast to be cold and dry, the men in the family slaughter a pig after having spent more than six months raising it with love ...

Integration Maastricht School of Management and UM: sixth attempt

Integration Maastricht School of Management and UM: sixth attempt

MAASTRICHT. Another attempt is being made to integrate the Maastricht School of Management (MSM) into Maastricht University. For the sixth time since the turn of the century. The last fiasco dates from three years ago. It was MSM that pulled out of the deal at the last minute. And that when they had never been so close to an agreement, said Philip ...
Sustainable Employability Monitor participation rate so far: 43 %

Sustainable Employability Monitor participation rate so far: 43 %

MAASTRICHT. The UM Sustainable Employability Monitor went online on Monday, 24 September. After one and a half weeks, 43 per cent of the employees have completed the survey. The organisers had hoped beforehand for a response rate of 60 per cent. This appears not to be impossible with another week and a half to go.
Maastricht drops in new THE Rankings

Maastricht drops in new THE Rankings

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has dropped 25 places - to 128 - in the 2019 Times Higher Education Top 200 World University Rankings. Other Dutch universities have also seen their positions go down in the rankings.  
Catering system reviewed – ideas invited

Catering system reviewed – ideas invited

MAASTRICHT. What is Maastricht University's catering going to look like in the future? Will  there be lots of small and large university restaurants, will local businesses be given an opportunity, will you still be able to buy a ' kroket ' or will the selection be purely vegetarian or even vegan; these types of questions were ...

The Netherlands: 70 thousand foreign students by 2023

NETHERLANDS. The number of university students is going to rise considerably in the coming years, says the Ministry of Education in its latest forecasts. The ministry looks ahead as far as the end of 2060
Language proficiency not up to scratch? Then take a course

Language proficiency not up to scratch? Then take a course

MAASTRICHT. To what extent academic and support staff have mastered the required languages will be mapped out in the coming months. Anyone who does not meet the required English and/or Dutch language skills level will have to start working to improve.
Why do you (not) come to work with a spring in your step?

Why do you (not) come to work with a spring in your step?

MAASTRICHT. Why do you (not) come to work with a spring in your step? We feel that the balance between private life and work is important: tell us how that is for you! The UM is international, but is it also inclusive? This is a small selection of questions from the new sustainable employability monitor that will go online on Monday, 24 September. ...
President Martin Paul renews contract for another four years

President Martin Paul renews contract for another four years

MAASTRICHT. The President of Maastricht University, Professor Martin Paul (1958), will remain the highest university official until 2023. By then, he will have been President for a total of twelve years, while eight years is the standard.
“Students, learn Frans Timmermans’ speech by heart”

“Students, learn Frans Timmermans’ speech by heart”

MAASTRICHT. Five lecturers, a quiz, a brief panel discussion, two awards, an appeal to participate in the Green Impact competition, videos, vegan biscuits and a lot of beautiful music by the Famara Quartet. This is the overfull programme of the Opening of the Academic Year in the Mecc last Monday. “Sorry that it took so long,” said Pres...
Launched: Green Impact

Launched: Green Impact

MAASTRICHT. Green Impact, launched by the Green Office during the Opening of the Academic Year last Monday, is a change and engagement programme that awards university teams for sustainability efforts at the workplace. It’s already being implemented in several Dutch universities. Now Maastricht University is one of them. Encourage your team ...

A mother of nine thousand leaders

A mother of nine thousand leaders

Students who say that they will ‘do their best and have a good time’ at university make her very angry. “Do your best?” emphasizes Kate Robertson in her speech during the Opening of the Academic Year. “Doing your best means something. Not a sloppy, middle-of-the-road ‘it’s okay’. See it as a joy and a...
Ensuring accessibility for everyone

Ensuring accessibility for everyone

MAASTRICHT. Riding a bus, using a tablet, accessing a public building; most people perform these activities without even thinking about it. For people with disabilities, though, they may be obstacles that are impossible to overcome.  As of 2008, United Nations law establishes the right to accessibility. But what does this mean in practice? Wha...
Carrot or stick

Carrot or stick

Most attempts to change behaviour fail, like the UM's unsuccessful measures to separate waste into three bins. That is what Gerjo Kok, UM professor of Applied Psychology, said in a debate during the morning symposium in the auditorium, organised by the Green Office.
Students blackmail, threaten and put pressure on lecturers

Students blackmail, threaten and put pressure on lecturers

MAASTRICHT. The misconduct by students at the School of Business and Economics hit a wrong chord with two lecturers: partly because of this, one has left and the other is considering to leave the faculty. It also appeared recently that SBE students complain in an organised fashion after an exam and go in search of questions that could lead to ...
Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

MAASTRICHT. A colourful oasis in an endless plain of mud. That is how one could describe the Tapijn Garden, the way it stands out in the corner of the churned-up barracks grounds. The “city vegetable garden” itself looks very well cared for, except perhaps for the section where everything is growing together. “That looks like a me...

Psychology dean: BON foreman Verbrugge is a “Scary Man”

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. After years of columns and debates, the association 'Beter Onderwijs Nederland (BON, or Better Education Netherlands)' has filed a lawsuit to stop the advance of English in higher education: the association feels that no other study programmes should be allowed to be taught in English until more thought has been ...
Former top volleyball player head of UM Sports

Former top volleyball player head of UM Sports

MAASTRICHT. He played as many as 347 times for the Dutch national volleyball team, including at the 2004 Olympic Games. At the moment he is putting the finishing touches to his thesis for the executive MBA Sports Management at the Maastricht School of Management. Nico Freriks (36) started as the new head of UM Sports last Monday.
25 years of knowledge engineering: time to look ahead

25 years of knowledge engineering: time to look ahead

The Knowledge Engineering programme has wind in its sails. It is ranked as a ‘top programme’ in the Keuzegids (the Dutch guide to higher education), is increasingly called on by other faculties, and is benefiting from the current popularity of data science. Still, recruiting new staff remains difficult.
Commuting by car if you live close by? Higher parking rates

Commuting by car if you live close by? Higher parking rates

MAASTRICHT. The UM is going to introduce paid parking for UM parking spaces, albeit differently than outlined in the plan presented in January. The new proposal will abolish the 15-kilometre limit, so everyone can come by car. Only, the closer by you live the higher the rate you pay.
GDPR imposes more careful attention

GDPR imposes more careful attention

MAASTRICHT. “No need to panic, but make sure that you are prepared.” This is what Raoul Winkens, the mandatory data protection officer says about the consequences of the introduction of the new European data protection regulation at Maastricht University, on the 25th May.
Dope again the big winner in university elections

Dope again the big winner in university elections

MAASTRICHT. As was the case in the past three years, Dope came out of the university elections - this year only for students and service councils - as the big winner. The party lost a seat, but with a total of 22 seats in the faculty councils and the University Council, it is the largest.

No UM-wide resit policy

MAASTRICHT. Resits: one faculty organises them one way, another faculty some other way. A single extra chance, or more often. Or no resits at all. The setup may even differ within faculties. The University Council discussed the question whether the policy on resits could be harmonised across the university. Rector Rianne Letschert promised to inves...

“Was I the only one who felt so rotten?”

“Was I the only one who felt so rotten?”

They have to perform. Be the very best. Do a great internship, get high marks, graduate cum laude. Oh, and sit on a student board if at all possible. Little wonder that students are crumbling under the pressure and end up depressed. Walking around like zombies, if we’re to believe the newspapers. Are things in Maastricht, too, all that bad? T...

Professor Heringa: lawsuit against the UM for anglicisation “stands no chance”

MAASTRICHT. The lawsuit filed by the association 'Beter Onderwijs Nederland (BON, or Better Education Netherlands)' against the education inspectorate and the universities of Maastricht and Twente, seems to “stand no reasonable chance”, according to Professor of Public Law, Aalt-Willem Heringa. The UM's Executive Board has a...
Minimum of €15,000 for Refugee Project Maastricht

Minimum of €15,000 for Refugee Project Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Ten thousand yellow plastic ducks floated along the Jeker in the Stadspark during the annual Duck Race last Sunday, which was opened by André Rieu. For the first time in history, all ducks – the proceeds of which go to two different charities every year – were sold. The Refugee Project Maastricht by the University Chaplaincy...

Higher education wants more foreign students

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities and schools of higher professional education are looking forward to welcoming a lot more students from abroad. But for this they want more money and to be able to select their students better.
Additional rooms on Annadal Campus

Additional rooms on Annadal Campus

MAASTRICHT. There will be 329 temporary student rooms  realised  at the  Annadal  complex on the Brouwersweg. This is to prevent students from still searching for decent and affordable accommodation weeks after their studies have started, as happened last year. With the choice falling on  Annadal , the alternative - contain...

A food court or allow students to cook for students?

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University needs a new caterer or caterers in 2020. The project team behind the tender is using roadshows to gather input from the entire university community. Observant is following the project closely. In this second edition, the project team is operating on both sides of the Maas – in Randwyck and at the Sc...

Stricter language policy

MAASTRICHT. As of next September, lecturers will have to pass a test to prove that they are highly fluent (level C1) in the foreign language in which they teach. In addition, Dutch students can do a course in academic writing, in Dutch. These are a few elements that catch the eye in the new language policy. If this policy doesn't get off the gr...
Brussels calling

Brussels calling

The metro stop is a stone’s throw away. By car you’re there before you know it. There are several good restaurants within walking distance and a bronze statue of Field Marshal Montgomery stands guard by the door. Not far away is the city’s European Quarter. The new premises of UM Campus Brussels could not be better located.

First UM-wide bachelor’s programme being created

MAASTRICHT. If all goes as planned, the first real university-wide bachelor's programme will open its doors in September 2019. It is called Global Studies and is developed and produced by all of Maastricht University’s six faculties. The plan is about to be put before the University Council, after which the education minister will also ha...

Unacceptable behaviour: 240 employees suffered from it in 2017

MAASTRICHT. At least 240 employees at this university encountered an instance of ‘unacceptable  behaviour’ at least once last year. Approximately 50 of them can call themselves victims of repeated improper treatment. The Executive Board feels “every case is one too many”.
XXL weeks at University Library

XXL weeks at University Library

MAASTRICHT. It is time for the XXL weeks at the University Library again. This means that the library is bursting at its seams with students studying. Elise Abraham, second-year student of Economics from Belgium and Mimi Ahlsrog, second-year student of International Business from Finland, can be found at the Inner-City University Library every day....

Psychology awarding grants again

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences is going to award seven scholarships annually to bachelor's students. Three of those will be for Dutch students, three for students from within the EU and one for a student from outside the EU. They will either be exempt from paying tuition fees for three years or will be reimbursed.
“What would put you on cloud nine when it comes to food at UM?”

“What would put you on cloud nine when it comes to food at UM?”

MAASTRICHT. The contract with Maastricht University’s current caterer  Albron  will expire in 2020. A new tendering process would usually involve project teams and steering groups, but this time Facility Services want to take a different approach. The entire university community will get to have its say during ‘roadshows&rsquo...
UPDATE: Eleven Maastricht master's programmes in the top ranks

UPDATE: Eleven Maastricht master's programmes in the top ranks

MAASTRICHT. Eleven Maastricht master's courses are among the very best in the Netherlands, is the opinion of the Keuzegids Masters 2018, which took a close look at 43 UM master's. The research master's programme of European Studies with a grade of nine is the very best. At the very bottom are Movement Sciences and Epidemiology. Tho...
About the challenges of a young tutor

About the challenges of a young tutor

Three actors play a short scene for the audience. We see a female student who is waiting for her friend in a pub. In the meantime, a young man offers her a drink. She declines. ‘Ah, don't be like that,’ he says, and before she knows it, a beer has been put in front of her. She takes it without looking at him. She goes onto the dance...

Greater absenteeism during blocks leads to lower grades

MAASTRICHT. First-year students who faithfully attend all tutorial group meetings, perform considerably better than those who just about meet the attendance standard. This was one of the outcomes of a survey carried out by Patrick Bijsmans and Arjan Schakel among first-year students of European Studies, which was recently published in Higher E...
“I hear there are some communists in the room”

“I hear there are some communists in the room”

“Why did Napoleon never attack Geneva? Napoleon: ‘Geneva? Why would I attack Geneva? Everybody speaks English there.’”, according to ringmaster Teun Dekker, using these words to present the introductory video that accompanies the evening’s fourth proposition: ‘The city council should offer free Dutch courses to e...

Age is often forgotten when we speak about diversity

Age is often forgotten when we speak about diversity

A student who is 48, a professor who is eighteen and someone defending his or her thesis at 70 years of age. Intuitively we know what ‘fits’ with what age. So age is much more than the actual years on a calendar, there are numerous cultural connotations attached. “It is not just what you are (four, sixteen, fifty or eighty), but a...
“I’d rather have been called Chief Happiness Officer”

“I’d rather have been called Chief Happiness Officer”

She studied at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), completed her PhD there too, was a lecturer there and now, at 33, she has become Diversity Officer at Maastricht University. But Constance Sommerey would have preferred a different title. Something with happiness in it.
New SBE dean: “I won't be a bull in a china shop”

New SBE dean: “I won't be a bull in a china shop”

MAASTRICHT. The 54-year-old Danish economist Peter Møllgaard is to become the new dean of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) on 1 April. For the past three years Møllgaard has been ‘research dean’ at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS).
FHS faculty to split, the question is how

FHS faculty to split, the question is how

MAASTRICHT. One thing is clear: The Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS) is going to be split up. The science side will form a new Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), the sections that cannot be included, will go their own way.
Annadal Campus or Randwyck

Annadal Campus or Randwyck

MAASTRICHT. On Tuesday evening, Maastricht University presented to the city council a second solution for the shortage of affordable student rooms: expansion of the Annadal Campus. In December, the university already argued in favour of 250 container units in Randwyck. Asked which option was preferable, Nick Bos, vice-president of the UM’s Ex...
Student associations dissatisfied with city accommodation policy

Student associations dissatisfied with city accommodation policy

MAASTRICHT. The present Maastricht city accommodation policy is useless. Students are too often depicted as a necessary evil. The three large Maastricht student associations Circumflex, Tragos and Koko have written a letter to the city council this week to express their discontent. In doing so, they are involving themselves in the discussion about ...
“I never knew there was a chance I was in for it”

“I never knew there was a chance I was in for it”

MAASTRICHT. His enthusiastic co-operation with researchers, the quality of his thesis, and his contribution towards better treatments for cancer patients, were three reasons why the Dissertation Prize 2017 went to Dr Mark Podesta, postdoc at MAASTRO clinic, last Friday. The faculty deans nominated a total of five theses, but Time dependen...
New language policy: (good) English where necessary, Dutch must improve

New language policy: (good) English where necessary, Dutch must improve

MAASTRICHT. The choice of English or Dutch in classrooms should depend on the content and the objective of the study programme. If it is for the international labour market, English should prevail. Dutch students should also pay more attention to their proficiency in Dutch. Foreign staff should also learn to speak Dutch.
Smooth, amusing, and things to be learned too

Smooth, amusing, and things to be learned too

MAASTRICHT. An education prize, a dissertation prize, a series of student prizes for master’s theses, a couple of honorary doctorates, as well as the speeches and the music that are all part and parcel of the anniversary celebrations: the programme was overloaded, but last Friday's session in the St. Janskerk ran more smoothly than ever b...
Nynke de Jong: for all your questions on technical innovations

Nynke de Jong: for all your questions on technical innovations

MAASTRICHT. The Wynand Wijnen Education Prize 2017 was awarded to Nynke de Jong during the anniversary celebration last Friday. She is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, the faculty with an extraordinary number of nominees this year. A coincidence. De Jong won, being praised by the jury as a “decisive...
From tax benefit to the secret of charisma

From tax benefit to the secret of charisma

MAASTRICHT. 24 Student Prizes were awarded this year for the best master’s (9) and bachelor’s (15) theses. Observant asked two of the winners to tell us more about their research. 

Do’s, don’ts and don’t knows of PBL

MAASTRICHT. Is Problem-Based Learning the best methodology that exists in the field of education? Or should we return to the classic system with lectures in which the lecturer is able to elaborate uninhibitedly about his research? The EDview project is looking for the PBL system of the future and hopes that the entire UM will think along.
Petition to make UM fossil free

Petition to make UM fossil free

MAASTRICHT. Fossil Free Maastricht has started an online petition to ask the Executive Board to commit to a fossil-free and ethical financial strategy. So far they have gathered 185 signatures.
UM Star Lectures

UM Star Lectures

MAASTRICHT. Thirteen cities, four countries and 900 alumni. In order to maintain the relationship with former students, Maastricht University (UM) will organize the fourth annual UM Star Lectures on 1 February.
Extra student rooms: UM is waiting on the city council

Extra student rooms: UM is waiting on the city council

MAASTRICHT. Before the start of the next academic year, Maastricht University want to place 250 renovated container dwellings for students on their own premises in Randwyck, where once the Calatrava campus should have been built. The units previously stood in Amsterdam, but need to be removed after a designated period of ten years. The UM sees it a...

Discouraging cars, encouraging bicycles

MAASTRICHT. Paid parking everywhere; cyclists receive a bonus; public transport paid for by the university. The UM's ‘mobility policy’ is to undergo a change. Reactions to the proposed plan are being invited. A University Council committee found little to criticise.
No more student rooms in another sixteen streets

No more student rooms in another sixteen streets

Last year, the city council ‘locked down’ 71 streets, meaning that in those areas the number of student rooms could not be increased. This week, another sixteen streets have been added to the list. This now concerns a total of 6 per cent of all Maastricht streets.
UM sounds alarm about shortage of affordable student rooms

UM sounds alarm about shortage of affordable student rooms

MAASTRICHT. Great concerns in Maastricht about the shortage of affordable student rooms. Both Maastricht University and the Maastricht Association of Living Accommodation Letters (Vereniging Verhuurders Woonruimtes Maastricht, or VVWM) sounded the alarm in a letter to the city council before Christmas. The UM proposed some solutions – expansi...

UM budget 2018: no concern, room for investment

MAASTRICHT. Next year, Maastricht University intends to spend 3.9 million more than it will receive. This is according to plan and has everything to do with investments in educational innovation, research facilities and the improvement of the employability and supervision of students. The extra expenses will be paid from the reserves.

ROA: even more work for academics

NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Engineers and IT experts are sitting pretty: in the coming years they will easily find employment. But the outlook on the labour market for psychologists and university lecturers has also improved.
Top lawyer to chair UM Supervisory Board

Top lawyer to chair UM Supervisory Board

MAASTRICHT. With the arrival of Amsterdam lawyer Annelies van der Pauw (57) as the new chairperson of the Supervisory Board, another powerful woman has been appointed to the top of the Maastricht university board. 
What do mums and dads do at an Open Day?

What do mums and dads do at an Open Day?

Last Saturday, the Maastricht faculties opened their doors to school students – and their mums and dads. There were special information sessions and parent cafes, and tips and tricks from a real parent information officer. Observant did the rounds and asked parents whether they were meddling or merely involved.  
Psychology students and board clash about switching tutorial groups

Psychology students and board clash about switching tutorial groups

MAASTRICHT. Psychology students do not agree with the measure taken by the Faculty Board to prohibit students from joining a different tutorial group. The student fraction brought the issue up during the latest faculty council meeting.
UM researcher secures both a Vidi and an EU grant

UM researcher secures both a Vidi and an EU grant

MAASTRICHT. It has never happened before in Maastricht: a researcher who manages to obtain a Vidi grant from NWO and at the same time an ERC grant from Brussels, and that with a similar research proposal. It happened to Vera Schrauwen-Hinderling, researcher at Radiology and Human Biology. The question now is: will NWO withdraw the Vidi grant?
"In my country everyone wants to be right; here we agree to disagree"

"In my country everyone wants to be right; here we agree to disagree"

More than fifteen nationalities in a single study programme? For a number of Maastricht master’s programmes, such as Media Culture, Public Policy & Human Development and International & European Tax Law, this has become the norm. Observant looks inside one of the ‘international classrooms’ that do justice to the name: the ...

Not for profit, but for people

​MAASTRICHT. Make medicines for people, not for profit. That is the message from Universities Allied for Essential Medicine (UAEM), the worldwide organisation that also has a Maastricht department. For next week, these students have organised Access to Medicine (A2M) Week.

New SBE dean: women are not jumping at the chance

MAASTRICHT. Of the approximately fifty regular professors at the School of Business and Economics (SBE), only five are female. At this moment, the faculty (or rather, an external headhunting agency commissioned by the Executive Board) is searching for a new dean, both within and outside the UM. Will it be a woman? It is going to be exciting.
Meet our big boys and girls

Meet our big boys and girls

We all know the stereotypes about ‘he-men’ and ‘she-women’: they eat chicken all day long, their IQs barely crack 100 and they drop their weights hard enough to make the floor shake. In the run-up to the Dutch Student Nationals Powerlifting Classic, Observant asked five gym buffs about these stereotypes, their motivation, di...

More first-year UM students

MAASTRICHT. The preliminary figures indicate that the number of first-year bachelor's and master's students has risen by 4.7 per cent to a total of 7,114, after a minor dip last year. Almost all faculties have contributed to this increase, except for Psychology and Neurosciences (minus 2.4 per cent).

1,000-euro discount for first-year students

THE NETHERLANDS. In the hot-from-the-press Dutch coalition agreement, political parties have agreed that first-year students will receive a 1,000-euro tuition fee reduction. Will universities have to pick up the tab?
"Without sexy master’s programmes, it’s going to be difficult"

"Without sexy master’s programmes, it’s going to be difficult"

SBE dean Philip Vergauwen himself agrees that he is leaving prematurely. The strategic overhaul of his faculty is still in full swing. But the offer from the Solvay business school in Brussels was, he says, simply too good to turn down. Observant talks with him about his toughest moments as dean, SBE as an outsider, and the ‘selling...

Tackling teachers’ workload with a game

MAASTRICHT. Who is your research interesting for, and why? This is the question that the researchers participating in the first Maastricht University Impact Course have tried to answer in recent months. Last Tuesday five of them presented their proposals for making a bigger impact with their research to a jury at the Brandweer Kantine, in the hopes...

Summer School experienced a dip because of “transitional phase”

MAASTRICHT. The last Maastricht Summer School had just over half of the number of participants of the 2016 edition. The reason was the new approach: an earlier enrolment date, a minimum number of seven participants, higher fees and stricter language requirements.

End of free parking

MAASTRICHT. Free parking at university buildings for employees has had its day. The Executive Board is planning to introduce paid parking in Randwijck and will include the city centre when doing so.
FASoS research review: much praise and food for thought

FASoS research review: much praise and food for thought

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was showered with praise late last week by the committee that came to assess its research. Plaudits went not only to the quality of the research (“very good”) and the PhD programme (“very professional”), but also to the “focus on people”. However, the workl...

Sport's cafe Time Out in financial difficulty

MAASTRICHT. Sport's cafe Time Out in the UM Sports’ centre is in financial difficulty. The Tax Office, where the manager of Concepts&More has a debt, had already ordered the forced sale of the inventory on Wednesday, 13 September, but this was called off at the last minute.
“It is not the school that makes the student, it’s the student that makes the school”

“It is not the school that makes the student, it’s the student that makes the school”

MAASTRICHT. If one thing is important in this world, then it is education. This statement was proven by the young (27) Libyan-Canadian doctor and freedom fighter Alaa Murabit, keynote speaker at the opening of the academic year, adding lively anecdotes from her own life.
Opening of the academic year: lots of praise for UM, by UM

Opening of the academic year: lots of praise for UM, by UM

Could it have been intended as a service to the female professors and rector? A small gesture to help them navigate the cobblestones in their stilettos? Last Monday afternoon, the Minderbroedersberg was draped for the first time in a long green carpet. Well-intentioned, perhaps, but not particularly effective: now there was no way at all to steer a...

One meal a day for every patient

One meal a day for every patient

These are exciting times for Victoria von Salmuth. In early November, after she graduates, the sixth-year medical student from Germany will be heading back to the Shirati KMT hospital in Tanzania. Two years ago she set up the Food Programme there. For her efforts, she was presented during the opening of the academic year last Monday with the Studen...
“Research in unfamiliar territory is the most exciting. And the most frustrating”

“Research in unfamiliar territory is the most exciting. And the most frustrating”

A predictive machine is what you might call the brain, because it is constantly trying to predict what will happen. In a conversation, for example, it tries to ‘guess’ which word will follow and when. Cognitive neuroscientist Sanne ten Oever wants to unravel exactly how the brain does this. She won the Edmond Hustinx Prize, but unfortun...
“Don’t write academic papers for your own glory”

“Don’t write academic papers for your own glory”

MAASTRICHT. “This morning we had six people on stage. All women. It shows that women are actually more action-driven than men,” says Rob Bauer, professor of Finance. He points to himself and his fellow female jury members, joking: “I’m the only man. And as men are probably better speakers than women, I’m doing this tal...
You have no control over the weather, but you can control your mood

You have no control over the weather, but you can control your mood

We have only just sat down in the Tribunal pub when RTV Maastricht phones. No, he is in the middle of an interview at the moment, but he will be available in a little less than an hour. The local TV station will give a lot of exposure to PAS 2017: Pleasure, Art and Science, in the run-up to 8 and 9 September. The UM festival is organised by Studium...
How to abolish a numerus fixus

How to abolish a numerus fixus

MAASTRICHT. The numerus fixus for the study programme of Economics and Business Economics has never been reached. So, let’s get rid of it, says the SBE Faculty Board. The students think this a bad idea. The restriction works as a mark of quality and that scares off unmotivated students. In the Faculty Council meeting, the students unanim...
UPDATE: Student protests against sharing of personal details

UPDATE: Student protests against sharing of personal details

MAASTRICHT. The UM provides personal details of students to external parties such as Flycatcher and Studiekeuze 123. Is that allowed? And if so, why are students not informed about this and asked for their permission? FHML student Patrick Pilipiec has demanded access to university documents on the basis of the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act. Th...

No letter about HP from the University Council to the Executive Board after all

MAASTRICHT. Are the students in the University Council going to send a letter about HP to the Executive Board, requesting further investigation into the company, or not? It is becoming more and more unlikely.

University Council students: “HP's role in Israel needs to be investigated”

MAASTRICHT. Students from the University Council expect the Executive Board to carry out an investigation into the role of IT manufacturer HP in Israel and the occupied territory. The Board will receive a letter on this the matter in the next few days, says Thomas Vaessen from Novum.
UM drops to place 200 on the QS World University Ranking

UM drops to place 200 on the QS World University Ranking

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has plummeted 27 places on the QS World University Ranking, which was published today. The UM is now in place 200.

A ‘fishing expedition’ for sustainability at SBE

MAASTRICHT. A lot is happening in the field of sustainability – in the broad sense of the word, so including issues such as social equality – at the School of Business and Economics, but what exactly? And by whom? To discover this, a Sustainability Research Theme was set up from within the Graduate School. Co-ordinator Rob Bauer, profes...

Green light for academic staff policy after ‘elephant pregnancy’

MAASTRICHT. Applause for the tenure track policy and broad consent for the professor scheme. Last week, the University Council showed that it was satisfied with the adaptations implemented by the rector after criticism from the council.
More intensive UM supervision during hazing

More intensive UM supervision during hazing

MAASTRICHT. “I haven't received any signals that things happen during hazing here in Maastricht that shouldn't be allowed,” says rector Rianne Letschert. But she admits that things aren't all that clear. Also, the SSC director will carry out unannounced visits.

Dope is the largest student party again

MAASTRICHT. With a total of 23 seats - spread out over various councils - Dope is again the largest student party in Maastricht, while Novum, with fourteen seats, takes second place. The new party WE R SBE acquired two seats in the School of Business and Economics council, but was left empty-handed when it comes to the University Council. The seats...
“An open discussion about sexuality is taboo”

“An open discussion about sexuality is taboo”

Her life is at risk in Nigeria, because Judith (whose surname will be withheld for privacy reasons) is quite open about her sexual orientation in her home country. She is a lesbian, living and working as a human rights activist and who is now in Maastricht for three months. The Faculty of Law will take care of her as part of the Shelter City Progra...

Research at Law “very good”

MAASTRICHT. The unique profile claimed by the Maastricht Faculty of Law – international, multi- and interdisciplinary – that should distinguish this faculty from the other ones in the Netherlands, is no longer all that unique. All law faculties in the Netherlands now have the same ambition, emphasised an external committee that investig...
A friend with a framework

A friend with a framework

MAASTRICHT. Imagine you’re a first-year who is feeling a bit lonely. You’d like to make more friends, but don’t know where to start. This is where the new peer support system that the student guidance team at the Student Service Centre is developing comes in. Student volunteers will be trained to help their peers in various ways, ...

Regulations adapted, rector may now be an outsider

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University’s internal regulations will be adapted in such a way that the rector no longer needs to be one of the UM’s professors. This intention is expressed in a proposal submitted to the University Council by the Executive Board this week. In the case of the appointment of deans, however, the rules remain unchan...

“If those over sixty work less, there are more permanent jobs for young people”

MAASTRICHT. The Lokaal Overleg (Local Negotiations between Maastricht representatives of the unions and the Executive Board) wants senior employees (60+) to be given the chance to work less for a slightly lower salary, without affecting the level of their retirement benefits. The hours that become available this way can be allocated to younger empl...

New policy for academic staff careers: transparent and nonsexist

MAASTRICHT. There will be a tenure track policy throughout the UM that should give researchers a reasonable chance to get promotion and receive a permanent appointment, as long as certain well-defined conditions have been met. Women will receive extra encouragement.

Students: introduce video recording of lectures across UM

MAASTRICHT. It is high time that all compulsory bachelor's lectures are recorded, say students in the University Council.
Salaries up, workload down

Salaries up, workload down

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. It was not an easy task, but unions and universities have reached a new collective labour contract. One of the most important agreements is that the workload will be addressed. The UM has already invested millions, but the University Council thinks that this is not enough.

From ‘very good’ to ‘world-leading’

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht institutes ICIS and UNU Merit received much praise after a joint VSNU research audit. In the area of ‘relevance to society’, they are ‘world-leading’. There are weak points too, such as the small number of research grants and the complicated organisational structure.
How research became part of a bachelor’s programme

How research became part of a bachelor’s programme

MAASTRICHT. How do you give students the chance to do research during their bachelor’s degree? This was the question Maastricht University asked in 2008. The answer: the Maastricht Research-Based Learning programme for Excellence (MaRBLe). If there were initial doubts – should it really be only for excellent students? Will researchers b...
Shelter City programme to be continued

Shelter City programme to be continued

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht intends to continue the Shelter City programme. This was decided by the city council after a trial period of two years. This initiative by Justice and Peace Netherlands enables foreign human rights defenders to recover for a period of three months, to work and study in a Dutch city. At the moment, eight cities are participati...

Unemployment among UM graduates drops, but not for all

MAASTRICHT. Things are looking up for graduates of this university: unemployment among them is dropping steadily, although Psychology and especially Law graduates are lagging behind considerably. The latter faculty is surprised at the results.  

Executive Board does not convince SJP students

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht department of the Students for Justice in Palestine organisation says that they are “extremely disappointed” with the viewpoint and the argumentation given by the Executive Board regarding SJP’s proposed boycott of IT company Hewlett-Packard.
A licence to kill ... and to hug

A licence to kill ... and to hug

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics now has communities of sixty students, pools in which tutors collaborate and a new set of research themes. The “strategic renewal” will reach into every corner of the faculty – and it is already in full swing.

Eight master's programmes absolutely top notch, one or two below par

MAASTRICHT. Eight Maastricht master's programmes belong to the absolute top ranks in the Netherlands, says the Keuzegids Masters 2017, which was published last week and investigated 42 of the 51 Maastricht master's. One or two UM programmes score below average. Maastricht University as a whole is in second place in the category of ‘ge...

HP issue lies with Executive Board again

MAASTRICHT. Can the UM do business with a company that is involved in the violation of human rights? This is one of the questions asked by former student member of the University Council Michael Dijkstra in a letter to the Executive Board.

Match: students sharing their knowledge with the city

MAASTRICHT. Foreign students giving computer lessons to people in Witte Vrouwenveld, while brushing up on their Dutch at the same time. Medical students, members of Taskforce QRS (Qualitative Resuscitation by Students), giving resuscitation lessons at secondary schools. These are just two examples of how Maastricht students serve the community.
Journalist: “Sir, those are not the facts.” Minister: “That’s how I feel it”

Journalist: “Sir, those are not the facts.” Minister: “That’s how I feel it”

“A liar cares, in spite of everything, about the truth. A bullshitter cares only about the effect of his words. And that’s what was going on when Donald Trump mentioned Sweden last Friday. He suggested that something terrible had happened there. Trump doesn’t care about the truth – he’s only interested in the effect.&r...
Busiest spring Bachelor's Open Day ever

Busiest spring Bachelor's Open Day ever

MAASTRICHT. With almost 2,300 prospective students, the Maastricht University’s spring Bachelor's Open Day last Saturday had more visitors than ever before. Especially the Dutch study programmes of Medicine and Health Sciences were popular (both more than four hundred visitors). During the Open Day last autumn, on the other hand, there wa...

"What on earth is a Brexit?"

"What on earth is a Brexit?"

In 2015, all hell broke loose when professor Jaap Bos changed the first-year subject Finance. Bos even decided it was better to stay away from the faculty for a few weeks to avoid aggressive students. Emotions don't always run so high, but complaining seems to be in the SBE students’ blood. In the latest edition of the Finance test, it ha...
“Ten complaints are not more important to the faculty than one”

“Ten complaints are not more important to the faculty than one”

The one grumbles among friends (or on Facebook), the other complains to the lecturer – answer key in hand. Sometimes just to get a better grade for themselves, sometimes to improve the education programme. Whatever the reason, complaining is normal for most students. Observant asked 25 students about their experience. The following are a few ...
Threatening e-mail for lecturer after a fail

Threatening e-mail for lecturer after a fail

MAASTRICHT. Students who collectively come to seek redress, parents who protest and call the dean, threatening e-mails and a lot of unpleasant rumblings on Facebook. It all happened to professor Jaap Bos in the past two years. To be more precise, after he adapted his exam for the first-year subject of Finance and 400 students failed.
Beatrix: “Careful” Gauck: “Ja, ja”

Beatrix: “Careful” Gauck: “Ja, ja”

After the ceremony, during the reception in the lobby of the Vrijthof theatre, Professor Nanne de Vries is still panting. Why was he in such a hurry to present the Dissertation Award, the final item on the agenda of the Dies celebration? “I had to do it fast!” he bursts out. “We were already running late and the government people ...

Standing ovation for President Gauck

Standing ovation for President Gauck

MAASTRICHT. A passionate defence to help the ‘European project’ onwards, to not allow Europe to disintegrate, without turning a blind eye to what has gone wrong in the past twenty-five years. German president Joachim Gauck received a standing ovation for his speech last Tuesday during Maastricht University’s foundation day celebra...
On gravitation waves and 500 years of renting history

On gravitation waves and 500 years of renting history

MAASTRICHT. A total of 26 students, from various study programmes, received a prize for their theses last Tuesday. The (17) bachelor’s students did so in the morning in the auditorium on the Minderbroedersberg, the master’s students in the afternoon during the foundation day celebrations in the Vrijthof Theatre. Observant spoke to two o...
Education Prize for Jeannette Hommes

Education Prize for Jeannette Hommes

MAASTRICHT. During the Dies Natalis celebrations on Tuesday 7 February, the Wynand Wijnen Education Prize 2016 was awarded to Jeannette Hommes, assistant professor at the School of Business and Economics. The jury, chaired by Rector Rianne Letschert, praised her contributions to the educational development of the faculty and professionali...

Dissertation Award: Even maps are political

Dissertation Award: Even maps are political

MAASTRICHT. How Israelis and Palestinians make maps – it’s not the most obvious of research topics. Surprising, too, is the proposition that your physical place in the world, with all its historical and political baggage, largely determines what you see and thus also how you are likely to draw a map. Yet this is the core of the PhD rese...
“Germans of my generation saw how hatred was turned into state policy”

“Germans of my generation saw how hatred was turned into state policy”

There are worse nicknames than the ‘German Nelson Mandela’ or ‘Grandpa Obama’. The man set to receive an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University on Tuesday 7 February, German president Joachim Gauck, is so popular than many will be sad to see his term come to an end. But not everyone.

European universities warn against US entry ban

THE NETHERLANDS. European universities are calling on US president Donald Trump to immediately revoke the entry ban on nationals from seven Muslim countries. His executive order could have far-reaching consequences for the academic world.

FHML wants a binding contract with Kuwait about students

MAASTRICHT. From now on, the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences wants binding, and in particular signed, contracts with foreign governments concerning organised groups of incoming students. They want no more surprises like the one in September, when a batch of Kuwaitis simply left.

Recorded lectures; students do it themselves

MAASTRICHT. Policies concerning whether filming of lectures is or should be allowed or not, are unclear. In the meantime, students themselves have been recording lectures. Sometimes even distributing them.

Work pressure too high for academics

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. A Dutch Trades Union Congress (FNV) survey shows that six in ten university employees are so busy that they develop physical and mental complaints. The Executive Board and the University Council have been crossing swords for some time over the issue of work pressure at the UM.
On secret plans and the love of dachshunds

On secret plans and the love of dachshunds

MAASTRICHT. That Maastricht has a university at all, let alone one with a fairly solid reputation, is often said to be a miracle. For much of its history the Rijksuniversiteit Limburg (RL) (later Maastricht University, UM) was fighting an uphill battle, as the anniversary book given to all employees this week testifies once again.

Dutch bachelor’s of Arts and Social Sciences discontinued

MAASTRICHT. The Dutch programme of the bachelor’s of Arts and Social Sciences is to be discontinued. As of September 2017, students will only be able to choose the English variant of Arts and Culture. Although the language used during the course is English, Dutch students can choose to do their exams in Dutch, just like their papers and these...

Debate on teaching load dies away in numerical mess

MAASTRICHT. Where is the extra staff meant to relieve the pressure of work but especially ‘teaching load’ for academic staff? Members of the University Council are racking their brains over the continually changing figures and are bickering with the Executive Board about ‘standard hours’ and ‘task loads’. A workg...
Fewer Dutch students choose a UM programme

Fewer Dutch students choose a UM programme

MAASTRICHT. For the first time in the history of Maastricht University, fewer than half of the students are from the Netherlands (48.2 per cent). The number of Dutch students coming here for the first time to study, is even lower than that: 35.5 per cent. In particular Dutch bachelor students are less inclined to choose the South Limburg university...
BMJ editor in chief becomes UM professor

BMJ editor in chief becomes UM professor

MAASTRICHT. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the top medical journal BMJ (British Medical Journal), will become a professor at Maastricht University. The chair was set up by the national research school CaRe, of which the Maastricht institute Caphri is a part. “I think our PhD candidates now have a greater chance of writing a top publication....

"ISN will have to show that they are capable"

MAASTRICHT. The International Students Club that will be housed in the Timmerfabriek halfway through 2019, has been given a name: Kaleido. In addition the setup has been changed. The International Student Network (ISN), the intended primary operator of the club, is no longer the biggest player.

Good matching and a mentor

MAASTRICHT. Adequate information beforehand and more supervision during the course. These are the measures that faculties plan to implement in order to reduce the number of first-year dropouts or keep dropout numbers low. At the request of the Executive Board, every faculty investigated why students drop out and what they could do to prevent this. ...
Privacy and cybersecurity research centre

Privacy and cybersecurity research centre

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht European Centre on Privacy and Cybersecurity (ECPC) is a new research institute at the Faculty of Law.

B-Glocal: the new bachelor’s in law

MAASTRICHT. The law faculty has plans for a new, multidisciplinary bachelor’s programme, Global Challenges and Law. With the approval of the Executive Board, the faculty is now conducting market research. The new programme is likely to run alongside the existing Dutch Law and European Law School (ELS) programmes as of September 2018.
Open Day: English study programmes popular

Open Day: English study programmes popular

MAASTRICHT. More than three thousand school-leavers visited the Bachelor’s Open Day last Saturday, which, just like the one in 2015, was the busiest ever.
Praise for the Sports Centre, criticism for the university restaurants and feedback

Praise for the Sports Centre, criticism for the university restaurants and feedback

MAASTRICHT. The new UM Sports Centre, officially opened in April, is very popular among Maastricht students. No less than 92 per cent is pleased with the sports facilities, shows the latest UM Student Monitor, which was distributed in April and May. Students are more critical about the price-quality ratio of the university restaurants, just as they...

Dutch Association of Psychologists: ‘Invest more in student guidance’

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Interstedelijk Studentenoverleg (ISO) and the Dutch Association of Psychologists (Nederlands Instituut van Psychologen, NIP) have concluded that there are too few psychological counsellors for students at a number of Dutch universities and other institutes of higher education. There are long waiting lists especially at u...

“Let’s shoot less, but hit the target more”

MAASTRICHT. A third bachelor’s degree by 2019, 2100 students in 2021, more time for research, a reduction in work pressure and more opportunities for career development, not only by means of promotion to more full and associate professorships, but potentially also through the introduction of teaching careers. These are some of the plans set d...
Psychology in the lead, Medicine at the bottom again

Psychology in the lead, Medicine at the bottom again

MAASTRICHT. In the latest Elsevier ranking, the best and the worst bachelor’s programmes in Maastricht are exactly the same as last year: University College and Psychology come out as best in the country and Medicine as one of the worst, just like Biomedical Sciences. The best UM master’s in the country are: Psychology, M...
Films to enrich the curriculum

Films to enrich the curriculum

The “1970s living room” on the Bogaardenstraat was recently traded in for a hundred-year-old boilerhouse with style. But the new Lumière is not about to start showing James Bond films. Definitely not. What the cinema would like to do is cooperate in a more structural way with Maastricht University: “UM will have free use of Screen...

New smoking policy at FASoS

MAASTRICHT. Smoking is set to be banned at the entrance to the Turnzaal, on the terrace behind Bandito and around the entrance to the Grote Gracht 76. Smokers will have to go to the area near the fire escape stairs of Grote Gracht 76, where a new covered smoking zone is to be created. These are some facets of the new smoking policy that will come i...

UCM wants to expand its grants programme

MAASTRICHT. The five full scholarships that University College Maastricht awards annually to students from outside the European Union is not going to disappear. In fact, UCM is making plans to expand its grants programme so that students within the EU can benefit from it too.
‘Let’s get wasted’

‘Let’s get wasted’

MAASTRICHT. Rubbish was an item on the agenda at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) council meeting last summer. The following dialogue developed:  “I have heard a rumour that wastepaper baskets are going to disappear from offices and classrooms,” says council member and lecturer Marc van Ekert. “And that we would ...

More understanding, poorer facilities

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. While lecturers do have more understanding for students with dyslexia, chronic diseases, depression, or other disorders, the information provided about studying with a handicap is still not as it should be. In fact facilities have worsened. This is one of the conclusions in the annual report ‘Studying with a handic...

Higher education: no money for equality of opportunity

Higher education: no money for equality of opportunity

THE NETHERLANDS. The government is failing to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to providing equal opportunities for everyone, according to students and educational institutions. The budget for the coming year was presented on Tuesday – it is always announced on Prinsjesdag, the third Tuesday of September – with the new pla...
From coal mining to data mining

From coal mining to data mining

MAASTRICHT. Mandela, Einstein, cycling, nature, the physicist Robert Dijkgraaf and finally a shot from space. The intended effect of the promotional film that kicked off the opening programme of the Smart Services Campus in Heerlen may not be immediately obvious, but the link with smart services should become clear soon enough.
Three days of PAS

Three days of PAS

Maastricht University, celebrating its fortieth anniversary last week, went all out with an art and science tour, the PAS+ festival, boasting 150 activities. The wonderful weather helped; the performances in the gardens were very popular. As far as the lectures given by scientists were concerned – one spoke of Sjeng Tans’ legacy, anothe...

Extended BSA definitively scrapped

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT.Universities may not force second-year students with negative binding study advice (BSA) to leave their study programme, confirmed education minister Jet Bussemaker in a letter to parliament. Last academic year, the Maastricht psychology faculty considered introducing a so-called ‘extended’ BSA.

Both top students and average students to receive more attention

MAASTRICHT. More co-operation across faculty, department and discipline borders, and students being introduced to research from day one. These are the two most striking resolutions from Maastricht University’s 2017-2021 Strategic Programme, presented this week.
Towards empathic health care

Towards empathic health care

MAASTRICHT. More empathy in health care. That is the ultimate aim of medical student Matthijs Bosveld and health sciences student Sjim Romme, who received the Student Award 2016 last Monday. Their project ‘Mens Achter de Patiënt’ (MAP, the Person Behind the Patient) connects fellow-students to patients, who are given the opportunity to ...
Opening of the academic year: drum rolls and fanfare

Opening of the academic year: drum rolls and fanfare

How do you organise an opening of the academic year where the audience doesn’t fall asleep? When students proposed organising this year’s programme themselves, Maastricht University president Martin Paul, never a big fan of these sorts of festivities, jumped at the chance. That would liven things up, he figured. He was right....

“Europe! Practice what you preached!”

“Europe! Practice what you preached!”

Reconciliation and empathy – these were the driving forces behind the unification of Europe. And these are precisely the values that can pull Europe out of  its crisis today, said Professor Mathieu Segers in his speech during the official opening of the academic year.
Tribute to a ‘disobedient’ Maastricht native

Tribute to a ‘disobedient’ Maastricht native

Without him there would have been no university, no hospital, perhaps not even a city to gradually awaken from its provincial slumber. So if any Maastrichtenaar deserves a statue, it’s Sjeng Tans. He was a true daredevil, a Labour Party (PvdA) politician who fought for a university in Limburg. The statue was created by the artist Caius Spr...

Psychology tutorial groups reduced to twelve students

MAASTRICHT. The psychology faculty will reduce the size of its tutorial groups from fourteen students to twelve. Last year, the high number of new students meant the first-year groups were larger than usual. As a result the Problem-Based Learning system worked less well, according to tutors and lecturers surveyed before the summer. Doable but no...

“A ballerina who literally rises to great heights”

“A ballerina who literally rises to great heights”

Just one more week to go until PAS+ kicks off. The three-day Parcours of Art and Science, in which UM shows off all it has to offer, is slated to be the highlight of the university’s 40th anniversary.
Psychology students also want recorded lecturers

Psychology students also want recorded lecturers

MAASTRICHT. Students in the Psychology faculty council want lectures to be recorded in the future. They have written a proposal on the matter that will be dealt with on Thursday afternoon in the faculty council meeting. “There is a need,” says Hanne van Kasteren, one of the authors of the proposal, which will be discussed in the faculty...

Birthday party with trapeze in hall MBB

Birthday party with trapeze in hall MBB

MAASTRICHT. PAS+ is slated to be the highlight of the university’s anniversary celebrations: a three-day Parcours of Art and Science in which UM, now 40, shows off all it has to offer. When: during the week of festivities on 8, 9 and 10 September. Where: between the Zwingelput, Kapoenstraat and Minderbroedersberg. For whom? Everyone. In Dutch...
“Maybe there’s just nothing wrong here”

“Maybe there’s just nothing wrong here”

Last week, Maastricht University held the 2016/17 elections for its Faculty and University Councils. But standing for election (or simply voting, for that matter) are not the only ways to get involved in student politics. Maastricht boasts a whole range of political activities, if you know where to look. But do students know where to look? And, mor...

Evening tutorials at Psychology

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology is going to introduce evening tutorial groups on a voluntary basis. From the next academic year, students who register for a block may indicate a preference for morning, afternoon or evening sessions. If there are enough students to fill a group (12-14), the faculty will find a tutor. Other faculties, such as L...

Graduation stress: Three students on what to do next

Graduation stress: Three students on what to do next

Maximiliane Kolb, 23, Bachelor in International Business, Class of 2015 “The biggest struggle for me was that I didn’t know where to go and what to do. Of course Maastricht University offers things like the Business Days, which help you orientate yourself to some extent, but what I was missing was a career centre where you could go a...

“Help, I’ve almost graduated. What to do now?”

“Help, I’ve almost graduated. What to do now?”

What can I do with my qualification? What do I have to offer? Today’s students are under severe pressure and hardly have time to think about themselves and their future. It is the university’s job to help them, to ensure that no talent goes to waste and that future academics can enter the labour market with more self-insight and confide...
Library access restrictions

Library access restrictions

MAASTRICHT. Until 8 June only UM cardholders will be permitted to enter the University Library in the inner city. Students who don’t have a UM card can gain entry on presentation of their ID and certificate of registration. “We are working hard to guarantee that UM students have a study place during the exam period”, say the libra...

“You are going to experience exciting things with me”

“You are going to experience exciting things with me”

She didn’t believe it, when Ursula Nelles, a member of the supervisory board and chairperson of the advisory selection committee, called her on 18 March. “Ha ha, I asked if she was sure she had the right number.” Yes, Nelles had the right number. Rianne Letschert (39) “was completely taken by surprise, had never thought abou...
www.maastrichtuniversity.nl is live

www.maastrichtuniversity.nl is live

MAASTRICHT. “You will see, we are about to go live and five minutes later the shit storm will break loose.” It won’t be nice, all that criticism, but “they care”. Bernadette Jansma addresses the audience in Brasserie Tapijn on Wednesday morning, 18 May, just before Maastricht University’s new website is launched....

Microwaves in the student cafeteria, all exam dates listed and free sports

Microwaves in the student cafeteria, all exam dates listed and free sports

Communication could be much better, tutors should receive more standard teaching hours and exams should be checked beforehand for mistakes. From 23 to 26 May, students can vote for the new members of the University Council and the faculty councils. Observant asked three student parties about their vision on PBL, exams and facilities.
“Whoops, sorry for that kick”

“Whoops, sorry for that kick”

They had to conquer obstacles, run, raft and race, but eventually the School of Business and Economics (SBE) successfully defended its title and won the Faculty Fight 2016. This interfaculty sports competition is organised for every fifth anniversary of Maastricht University. Last Thursday, it was held for the second time.
Fresh input expected from new rector

Fresh input expected from new rector

According to the chairman of the supervisory board, Truze Lodder, there is “delight all around” and “congratulations were pouring in” after the announcement of the appointment of a new rector, professor of Victimology and International Law Rianne Letschert from Tilburg.
"The rector should actively listen to students"

"The rector should actively listen to students"

This is the last episode of the series on the new rector magnificus. The process is rapidly reaching its climax. A recommendation has been submitted to the University Council. What do students expect from this manager?
UM sounds the alarm for house parties

UM sounds the alarm for house parties

MAASTRICHT. “What if a fire were to break out in a house where two hundred people have gathered,” says Pascal Breuls, director of Student Services. The police regularly receive reports about illegal house parties, in particular at the end of block periods. Maastricht University makes students aware of the risks.
“I thought: I have to get away, things are not going to get better here”

“I thought: I have to get away, things are not going to get better here”

The UM also has employees who are refugees or children of refugees. In this Observant series, a number of them will tell their story. About their escape, their lives before and after, about the Netherlands and Europe, about the refugee crisis and the debate on this topic. This week: Salwan al-Nasiry from Iraq.

Lots of enthusiasm for Employees’ Council FS

MAASTRICHT. For the first time in years, there are candidates for a seat in MUO’s (Maastricht University Office) Employees’ Council.  Also for the other employees’ councils of the various service centres and the student fractions of the faculty councils, lists have been submitted for the university elections that will be held...

“Set requirements for landlords, agencies and managers”

“Set requirements for landlords, agencies and managers”

MAASTRICHT. A liveability test, better enforcement by the city council, the introduction of a quality mark, the arrival of the International Student Club, and especially ‘open communication’: measures to curb the proliferation of students rooms and the disturbance, as experienced by some inhabitants of Maastricht. The Maastricht La...
“She should be aware of the tremendous dissatisfaction among academic staff”

“She should be aware of the tremendous dissatisfaction among academic staff”

Rector magnificus Luc Soete is leaving. On 1 September, his successor will take over. Who should that be? And what should he/she do especially? Observant will ask students and staff this question in the coming weeks.

Soete: “Have papers corrected in India”

MAASTRICHT. Have student exams, specifically papers, corrected in India from now on. That would release the pressure on our already overburdened lecturers. Rector Luc Soete made this suggestion last week. It is already being done in the US, and he feels that the results are promising.
“After the explosion, there were screams everywhere”

“After the explosion, there were screams everywhere”

German master student Ediz Rehberg, doing a Master’s degree in European Public Affairs at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, was in Brussels last Tuesday. He slipped into the metro at 9:01 just before the doors closed. At Maelbeek station, he witnessed the explosion of the carriage in front of him, about 20-25 meters distance. In a...

Possible delay for extended BSA at Psychology

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty Council at Psychology and Neuroscience does not support the extended Binding Study Advice (BSA) as currently proposed by the Faculty Board.
“Was that easy?” “A bit”

“Was that easy?” “A bit”

“It’s irregular.” It’s Tuesday afternoon at the Maastricht University Language Centre, and the students sound resigned. They may have only just started this Dutch course, but they already know all too well that Dutch grammar is teeming with exceptions. A few weeks ago seven Syrian refugees joined the course; five in one grou...
Four female deans at UM

Four female deans at UM

MAASTRICHT. Female deans will be in the majority at Maastricht University as of 1 June 2016, when Professor Anita Jansen starts her term as the new dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. She succeeds Bernadette Jansma, who will take the reins at the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences. This brings the total number of female deans at UM ...
UPDATE Attacks in Brussels, UM Campus closed

UPDATE Attacks in Brussels, UM Campus closed

MAASTRICHT/BRUSSELS. Maastricht University’s campus in Brussel has been closed for the time being because of the attacks at Zaventem Airport and Maalbeek metro station, Tuesday 22 March. School children from the Montessori Lyceum in Zeist, who were to visit the premises tuesday, turned back while they were on their way, says Vivianne Hei...

"No one of deans, who know each other so well that chances of new ideas are slim"

"No one of deans, who know each other so well that chances of new ideas are slim"

Rector magnificus Luc Soete is leaving. On 1 September his successor will take over. Who should that be? And what should he/she do especially? Observant will ask students and staff this question in the coming weeks.
“Down with the lecturer as process supervisor”

“Down with the lecturer as process supervisor”

MAASTRICHT. The university is not always working on urgent social issues, there is not enough mutual co-operation, and passion among students and staff is less than in the past. These were the first ideas from the ‘education think tank’ to reach the outside world on Monday.
“The New University wasn’t overly relevant down here”

“The New University wasn’t overly relevant down here”

MAASTRICHT. During his last meeting as chair of the University Council, in late February, he was given a framed print of Maastricht’s St Servatius Bridge. “Herman builds bridges”, explained the university president Martin Paul, who presented the gift. This is indeed how Professor Herman Kingma (65) has approached the role over the...
“Hildegard Schneider is good, but I don’t want to lose her as dean”

“Hildegard Schneider is good, but I don’t want to lose her as dean”

Rector magnificus Luc Soete is leaving. On 1 September his successor will take over. Who should that be? And what should he/she do especially? Observant will ask students and staff this question in the coming weeks.
UM in second place in Keuzegids Masters

UM in second place in Keuzegids Masters

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht has had to relinquish its leading position as best ‘broad master’s university in the Netherlands’ to Tilburg, according to the Keuzegids Masters 2016. The UM is now in second place. At the same time, one Maastricht study is in the national top 22 of best master’s studies: Management of Learning.
 “He should be around forty, not someone about to retire”

“He should be around forty, not someone about to retire”

Rector magnificus Luc Soete is leaving. His successor will start on 1 September. Who should that be? And what should he/she do most of all? Observant will ask students and members of staff in the next few weeks.
“There is more to life than a cum laude”

“There is more to life than a cum laude”

MAASTRICHT. Pressure on students has increased in the past few years, claim Maastricht student advisers and counsellors. The list of possible causes is long: from binding study advice to parents who have (too) high expectations of their children.
"About time the position went to a woman"

"About time the position went to a woman"

Rector Luc Soete is stepping down. His successor will start 1 September. In the following weeks Observant will ask students and staff: who is supposed to take over? And what should he/she work on most?
Wanted: intellectual with managerial experience

Wanted: intellectual with managerial experience

MAASTRICHT. The next rector should be “an intellectual” and “a team player who likes to work with others”. This is stated in the profile description for the rector magnificus that was made public by the supervisory board at Observant’s request.
“He was paying €625. Based on the point-score system we came up with €280”

“He was paying €625. Based on the point-score system we came up with €280”

No hot water, a bad smell, a plague of mice, ridiculously high rent, agency fees or a bust-up with a flatmate – whatever their housing question, students can now turn to Maastricht University’s Housing Helpdesk. Established twelve months ago, its six students and coordinator, a law graduate, now have almost two hundred cases on their bo...
Vrow Wielemösj is back in town

Vrow Wielemösj is back in town

MAASTRICHT. Prince Bastiaan 1st and his Tempeleers put Vrow Wielemösj on the stage at Student Services last Thursday. In doing so, the landlady from the Platielstraat, the symbol of student Carnival, is back where she belongs. For the past two or three years she had remained in storage with the Maastricht Carnival Association, because the annu...

University Council students against selection for masters

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht students have also signed the recent ‘pressing letter’ from the Interstedelijk Studentenoverleg ISO (national student union) to the education minister and university association VSNU. That is, some of the students - those representing Dope, the party that is linked to ISO.
“I know what Wilders’ rhetoric can lead to”

“I know what Wilders’ rhetoric can lead to”

There are also refugees, or children of refugees, working at the UM. In this Observant series, a number of them tell their stories. About their flight, about their lives before and after, about the Netherlands, about the refugee crisis, and about the debate on this issue. This week we talk to Bakir Bulić from Bosnia-Herzegovina: “I thought lo...
"All the options are driving me crazy"

"All the options are driving me crazy"

MAASTRICHT. How many people are they expecting tonight? Luc van den Akker, coordinator of the International Desk and refugees contact person at Maastricht University, isn’t sure. But that’s precisely the purpose of this first information evening organised jointly by Maastricht University and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences at the Ma...
UM 14th in THE ranking of Most International Universities

UM 14th in THE ranking of Most International Universities

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is the highest Dutch university on the latest Most International Universities ranking, published last week. The British Times Higher Education (THE) journal places Maastricht in fourteenth position – last year it was in 88th place. THE bases its ranking on the percentage of foreign students and employees and...

Praise for medical anthropologist Krumeich

Praise for medical anthropologist Krumeich

MAASTRICHT. It is already seven years ago since the winner of the Wynand Wijnen Education Prize came from Randwyck. At that time, it was Gerard Majoor and Ton de Goeij who were put in the limelight. Monday afternoon, during the celebrations of the 40th anniversary, senior lecturer Anja Krumeich received full praise from rector Luc Soete for he...
Every bit of this is true

Every bit of this is true

MAASTRICHT. A lecturer at the School of Business and Economics made his debut on national television just after 2000, in a controversial sex programme, surrounded by beautiful naked women in a bubble bath. Much earlier, in the first years of the university, a furious dean of Medicine switched off the lights during a meeting and left. A jurist who m...
Dutch only

Dutch only

MAASTRICHT. They were some of the first foreign students to attend Maastricht University. They have at least two things in common: they learned Dutch in no time and they took to Problem-Based Learning like ducks to water. 
“Suddenly I realised: I belong to a group. I’m a refugee too”

“Suddenly I realised: I belong to a group. I’m a refugee too”

Among the ranks of UM staff are a number of refugees or children of refugees. In this new Observant series, they talk about their lives before and after their flight from their home country, their views on the Netherlands, and their take on the debate about the refugee crisis. This week we kick off with medical doctor Chahinda Ghossein-Doha from Le...

MPs call for flexible approach to funding degrees

THE NETHERLANDS. MPs from the ruling VVD and Labour coalition say students should be allowed to pay tuition fees for their university or college degree on a subject-by-subject basis.

Psychology maintains numerus clausus

MAASTRICHT. From the next academic year, seven of the ten university bachelor’s programmes in Psychology will no longer have a numerus clausus. Maastricht University will maintain the restriction because of the huge number of applications and the wish to provide the small-scale education. The universities of Leiden and Groningen are still dis...
Running for resuscitation training

Running for resuscitation training

MAASTRICHT. Resuscitation training for secondary-school pupils is what UM runners will be sweating for on 17 January during the ‘Zweit veur Leid’ run. It is the third time that the University Fund/SWOL participates in a sponsored run with their own good cause. “It fits in well with our knowledge institute,” says Charlotte Gr...

Walking 9 km for the kids

Walking 9 km for the kids

MAASTRICHT. ‘The next generation’ is the theme of this year’s Serious Request event, during which three popular radio DJs are locked up for six days in a small, temporary studio. Donations will go to children in conflict areas. “The university just had to be involved”, said Ellen Breevoort of the UM working group, who ...

The Netherlands scores many starting grants again, one for the UM

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands secured no less than 32 European starting grants for young researchers this year. Only the United Kingdom and Germany received more. Maastricht obtained one grant; this will go to Dr. Anna Harris, who works at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
“Young researchers aren’t panicking – that came as a surprise”

“Young researchers aren’t panicking – that came as a surprise”

Twenty-eight days to go. Will the Dutch universities manage by 31 December to reach an agreement with the publisher Reed Elsevier? The arduous negotiations have been going on for months. Universities are only prepared to keep their wagons hitched to the publisher if it takes steps towards open access, making academic articles freely accessible. &ld...

Who does education, who does research; the board wants to know

MAASTRICHT. “Let the faculty councils put pressure on their boards to come up with the figures. We are waiting on the figures too.” It was not a radical student party that launched this appeal last week during the University Council meeting, nor a dissatisfied employees’ collective; remarkably, it was the Executive Board.

Bonuses maybe made public

MAASTRICHT. The highest bonus was awarded to an employee at the ‘Berg’ last year. And most of the bonuses went to the Finance department. The topic of bonuses – who, what, to be made public or not – is on the agenda again.
Avoid high-heeled shoes at a standing table

Avoid high-heeled shoes at a standing table

A standing tutorial: is it healthier, better for group dynamics and learning? Experiments are being carried out at University College Maastricht and in the Maastricht Science Programme. “Sometimes I have classes from eight to half past six in the evening. Standing between sessions keeps me awake.” A tip: kick high-heeled shoes under the...
Torchlight procession for Serious Request

Torchlight procession for Serious Request

MAASTRICHT. Walking nine kilometres for a good cause. On Tuesday 8 December at 18:30hrs., a torchlight procession for employees and students will start from the Minderbroedersberg. The procession will pass the Sint Pietersberg and continue on to the Cannerberg and Louwberg, pausing for hot chocolate and glühwein in the courtyard of Chateau Neercann...

FASoS: no more than one exam a day

FASoS: no more than one exam a day

MAASTRICHT. At the moment, there are often too many exams and resits in one week, says the student fraction of the faculty council of Arts and Social Sciences. Sometimes there are even two in one day, a situation that requires a solution.

Arbo Unie contract under pressure

MAASTRICHT. The contract with Arbo Unie, which provides company medical care for the UM, will only be extended for one year. Arbo Unie started in 2012 and the contract was until 1 January 2016, with an option of an extension of two years before a public call for tenders would be issued again. The UM directors, however, felt that this period was too...

External advisor to bring peace back to Facility Services

MAASTRICHT. An intended plan to organise the reception services differently at this university has led to upheaval within the General and Technical Services. The Executive Board has now hired an external advisor to map out the situation within the department “objectively and with the proper degree of subtlety”.
‘Yes’ to The Student Hotel

‘Yes’ to The Student Hotel

MAASTRICHT. Tuesday evening, the Maastricht city council said ‘yes’ to the plans for the establishment of The Student Hotel in the Eiffel building at the top of the Boschstraat. The following morning, Gerdo van Grootheest, the alderman concerned, twittered that he was “very happy”. He had a tough time these past few weeks. ...

Questions about BISS education

Questions about BISS education

MAASTRICHT. The technical universities of Twente and Eindhoven have raised concerns about the study programmes at the BISS institute Business Intelligence and Smart Services (BISS) institute in Heerlen. The institute, established by the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and partners, will focus on transforming big data into services. The techn...

“Supporting France doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the rest of the world”

“Supporting France doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the rest of the world”

MAASTRICHT. “The attacks on the Russian aeroplane, or Beirut last week, are just as barbaric as the one in Paris last Friday. But I know the neighbourhood in the French capital where it happened, I lived in Paris for a number of years when I was young, and I was there for UNESCO only last week. It is difficult to find words for the pain you f...
Rearranging money and powers

Rearranging money and powers

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics (SBE) has changed course: future decisions on education will be made not by the departments, but by special project teams. Powers will be transferred from the departments to these teams, and the departments will be expected to invest their ample savings. These changes should remove major barriers to ...

Website delay

MAASTRICHT. The launch of the new Maastricht University website has been delayed. The site will not go live in December, as Manon Gorissen, head of digital communication, reported a month ago in Observant, but after New Year. No new date has been fixed yet.
“Somaliland’s constitution is beautiful, but mostly theoretical”

“Somaliland’s constitution is beautiful, but mostly theoretical”

MAASTRICHT. What is more important: targeting poverty or human rights? This is the question that occupied Guleid, chairman of the Somali Human Rights Centre and participant in Maastricht’s Shelter Programme, at the Somaliland Human Rights Info Night last Tuesday. Leonie Eilers, a first-year student of European Public Health, heard about th...

New FHS dean: “Deans aren’t all that important”

New FHS dean: “Deans aren’t all that important”

From incumbent dean of one faculty to dean of another: this type of transfer is virtually unheard of. Not at UM, though. What inspired Professor Bernadette Jansma to trade in the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences (FPN) for the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS) as of mid-2016?

Prize for Maastricht Green Office model

MAASTRICHT. RootAbility, the organisation behind the Maastricht Green Office movement, last week received the UNESCO–Japan Prize for education in sustainable development. This is the first time the prize has been awarded. The $50,000 award will be used to further spread the Green Office model and strengthen the Green Office movement...

Faculty of Law goes to Aruba

Faculty of Law goes to Aruba

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht Faculty of Law is going to work together with the University of Aruba. From the next academic year, they hope to welcome the first students for the double degree programme, an American Specialisation, within the existing master’s programme of International and European Tax Law. Eventually, the participants will...

Jansma appointed dean of FHS

MAASTRICHT. Professor Bernadette Jansma (50) will be the new dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS). Currently dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences (FPN), she will take up the new role in mid-2016. Professor Franz Palm will remain in place as interim dean until then.
Six FASoS yellow cards most likely dropped

Six FASoS yellow cards most likely dropped

MAASTRICHT. Five of the programmes at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences that were issued a ‘yellow card’ by quality watchdog NVAO in 2013, seem to have received the go-ahead. The Qanu committees that assess the quality for NVAO, are satisfied with the changes that have been implemented. This means that the ‘yellow ca...

Dutch government initiates animal-free testing fund

Dutch government initiates animal-free testing fund

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government wants to set up a new investment fund which will put money into developing animal-free research.
Students help refugees

Students help refugees

MAASTRICHT. Students from the Refugee Project helped to receive new refugees in the Netherlands last week. On 13 October, the Maastricht city council decided to accept hundreds of additional asylum seekers in the Limmel refugee centre. “I received a phone call asking if there were volunteers from the Refugee Project who’d be willing to ...

The Run of the Germans

The Run of the Germans

I get to the library around 8:15 and there’s already a huge queue waiting at the centre of the glass windows. As its namesake would suggest, the Running of the Germans is a Maastricht phenomenon in which German students line up before the opening of the library to vie for the best study spot. If you’re an exchange student, like me, or j...

Education goes on, even in wartime

Education goes on, even in wartime

MAASTRICHT/YEMEN. What do you do when you’re working with lecturers from a country where war breaks out? When half of your students flee the city and go into hiding with friends and family, and the dean, in Malaysia for work, can’t get back in the country? You carry on, as best you can.

Wind of change blowing through communication departments

MAASTRICHT. The marketing and communication arm of Maastricht University is in for a change. “Student recruitment is something we are good at,” says director Fons Elbersen, “but we are vulnerable in reputation and crisis management. And not just there.”
New UM website online in December

New UM website online in December

MAASTRICHT. It will finally go live in December: Maastricht University’s new website. After a year-and-a-half of discussions, writing, designing, and constructing, the worst irritations have hopefully been dealt with. No more rambling, a search machine that works properly, and a lot of images and videos.
“For years the Netherlands has had its back to Germany”

“For years the Netherlands has had its back to Germany”

MAASTRICHT. Five thousand German students in Maastricht, against three hundred Dutch students in Aachen. Where does this difference come from? This was the theme of a discussion held in the Feestzaal at the Faculty of Law last Monday.
MOOC UM about to start

MOOC UM about to start

MAASTRICHT. Next Monday will see the start of the Maastricht University’s first MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). A internal pilot project was run in May. This course is unique in its set-up: where MOOCs are normally set up according to a traditional education model, this is the first one to apply problem-based learning – which is also...

500 euro to work on yourself

MAASTRICHT. Fewer temporary staff, better career policies, fewer differences between the faculties. These are a few of the outlines of Maastricht University’s new human resources policy. And everyone is to receive 500 euro for ‘personal development’.
“Munich of the Netherlands”

“Munich of the Netherlands”

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht was once a fortified town. Left to depend on itself and inward looking. The city didn’t become any more open even when the walls were pulled down at the end of the nineteenth century. It did not have the grandeur of a provincial capital, some concluded during a mini conference in Centre Céramique last Sunday.
UM will meet (almost) all performance agreements

UM will meet (almost) all performance agreements

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University will soon fulfil practically all performance agreements made with the education minister. This was confirmed by Vice-President of the Executive Board, Nick Bos, in a University Council committee meeting last Wednesday.
Law staff flex and stretches too little at their desks

Law staff flex and stretches too little at their desks

MAASTRICHT. A large number of employees at the Faculty of Law sit at their computer for longer than six hours a day and many end up with painful or fatigued fingers, wrists, shoulders or neck. This was the outcome of the ‘risk inventory’ survey, held last summer. It asked questions about the workplace and the work carried out in front o...

Sleeping in a hostel due to lack of suitable rooms

Sleeping in a hostel due to lack of suitable rooms

MAASTRICHT. There are dozens of, mainly foreign, students who cannot find a suitable room in Maastricht. True, there is not a lot on offer, certainly not in the city centre. Belgium? Rather not, too much administrative red tape, they say. Stayokay, the hostel on the Maasboulevard, is doing well due to this student accommodation shortage: students h...
Spot the difference

Spot the difference

MAASTRICHT. The lecture hall of the School of Business and Economics has gone through some significant changes over the summer. Gone are the long benches; they have been replaced by individual chairs with their own folding table and power point. Also, a hundred extra seats were added to the hall.

“Bad English still problem”

“Bad English still problem”

“SBE is a cool place to study”, several students said reassuringly during the first of a series of debates with the Faculty Board. But that’s not to say things are perfect. The students criticised the level of English, the lack of reflection, and the absence of a sense of community.
Hazy HR policy at SBE

Hazy HR policy at SBE

MAASTRICHT. The male-female ratio among PhD candidates is balanced, but of all the lecturers, only one in five is female. This dropout is typical for SBE in Maastricht. The Service Science Factory tried to identify causes and solutions and presented its findings on Tuesday.
The time is right: 31 men are retiring

The time is right: 31 men are retiring

MAASTRICHT. “A mind-shift is needed, and in certain cases it may be necessary to appoint an external female candidate, even when suitable internal male candidates are available.” That is what the memo about Women in Academia by the Executive Board states. During the opening of the academic year, it was announced that the Board would dra...

Is it really that bad on the Grote Gracht?

Is it really that bad on the Grote Gracht?

MAASTRICHT. What is going on with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, a.k.a FASoS? Within a year, seven 'yellow cards' were issued by the national inspectorate NVAO ("a beating, we were terribly shocked," says an employee) and then the stories come out. Some are told in all openness and some literally pushed under the door of...