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Entries for November 2020

FASoS tents too noisy for hybrid education

FASoS tents too noisy for hybrid education

MAASTRICHT. The two large tents at the back of the Turn hall on the Grote Gracht that have served as extra classrooms since the beginning of this academic year, are no longer used for this purpose on a regular basis, says Cerien Streefland, director of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. The walls of the tents are too thin to be used for hyb...
Keuzegids 2021: not much new under the sun

Keuzegids 2021: not much new under the sun

MAASTRICHT. Keuzegids 2021 has been published, but it doesn’t contain much new information. The rankings are to a large extent comparable to those of last year, because the guide was based on the results of the National Student Survey from 2019. The survey was not held this spring because of COVID-19. The question is what all those figur...

Covid-19: Where does internationalisation go from here?

THE NETHERLANDS. How will the Covid-19 pandemic impact internationalisation in higher education and research? To get the discussion going, Nuffic has mapped out four future scenarios.
“Good education is important, but you also need to be ‘street smart’”

“Good education is important, but you also need to be ‘street smart’”

“Don’t wait for that ‘million dollar idea’. It could be a long wait. An entrepreneur is something different than an inventor. A mere one in five businesses is innovative. So, you want to start your own business? Then do it!” It is one of the tips from the French philanthropist and social entrepreneur Alexandre Mars. La...
From Readings to 300 Christmas Cards

From Readings to 300 Christmas Cards

It was exactly one week ago when I started my third and last reading for the next tutorial of one of my courses. The topic? Bystanders. The reading? Why and how do we as individuals morally disengage from the atrocities, pain, and suffering in the world, not even lifting a finger to help aside from commenting the praying emoji on a friend's Ins...

Internships during COVID-19: medical interns in action

Internships during COVID-19: medical interns in action

MAASTRICHT. Next Thursday, medical interns throughout the country are going to post selfies of themselves wearing facemasks or maintaining 1.5 metre distance. With the hashtag ‘#CotijdensCovid they want to appeal to their fellow students to continue to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations and give them a glimpse of what their lives look like at...

Temporary contracts still widespread at universities

THE NETHERLANDS. Little progress has been made at Dutch universities when it comes to reducing the number of temporary contracts issued to staff. Over half of all teaching staff still have a contract that runs out on a specific date.
Abuse of power in a small world

Abuse of power in a small world

THE NETHERLANDS. Bullying, abuse of power, sexual harassment: many researchers have to deal with undesirable behaviour over the course of their careers. Trade unions have been calling attention to this lack of social safety for years and the Dutch Network of Women Professors also sounded the alarm last year.

“Every complaint is one too many”

MAASTRICHT. Fewer complaints from students about undesirable treatment while student numbers are rising, how is that possible? The confidential advisor for students looked into 36 cases last year, ten less than in 2018, while the university has expanded by approximately a thousand students. This raised questions in the University Council.
It is so good to hear your voice

It is so good to hear your voice

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of voice messages I have made and received has increased substantially. They have helped me to keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues, despite being physically distanced from one another. Moreover, after sitting behind the computer all day, the last thing I want to do is send emails and text m...

The Faculty of Law invests a million euro extra

MAASTRICHT. Until 2025, the Faculty of Law is going to invest a million euro, in particular in education, by appointing more (temporary) lecturers. The money comes from the faculty’s reserves, which will amount to more than 6.5 million in 2021.
Students help lecturers with online education

Students help lecturers with online education

In spring, when education suddenly had to become digital, many block co-ordinators at the Faculty of Law found themselves scratching their heads. Periods five and six were on the way – how could they ensure that everything would run as smoothly as possible? How do you record knowledge videos? And how do Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Zoom w...
Sitting all day long but still feeling healthy

Sitting all day long but still feeling healthy

Spending eight hours a day on your desk chair and then flopping onto the sofa in front of the TV in the evenings. It’s not good and we’ve known that for a while. It increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and can cause muscular and articular complaints. It doesn’t do you much good mentally, either. People who sit a lot, ofte...
Ombudsman puts finger on UM’s sore points

Ombudsman puts finger on UM’s sore points

MAASTRICHT. Poor or no communication, managers who are not capable of doing their jobs, unfair  treatment. These all contribute towards a work environment that feels unsafe and unpleasant, Maastricht University’s ombudsman concluded in her first annual report. Between February 2019 and August 2020, she received 85 cases from UM employees...

Slower advancement of female professors

THE NETHERLANDS. It may take until the year 2043 until there are as many female as male professors. The rapid increase in the number of female professors hired appears to have slowed down again.
"At 7.30 in the morning I'm already on my mountain bike"

"At 7.30 in the morning I'm already on my mountain bike"

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is here. How are staff members at Maastricht University doing? Mark Govers, associate professor at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) and member of the University Council on behalf of the academic staff, misses his colleagues and work environment. At the same time, he is enthusiastic ab...

Graduation ceremony postponed after students' petition

MAASTRICHT. Because of a petition from master students of medicine, their graduation ceremony will be postponed to March 2021. At least, for those who want to. "We are very happy that we can now choose."
Number twelve in the world, but at the bottom in the Keuzegids

Number twelve in the world, but at the bottom in the Keuzegids

MAASTRICHT. Rankings – some see them as a necessary evil, others as a helpful way to sift the wheat from the chaff. But where to start? What exactly is the value of the Times Higher Education ranking, which recently published the list for each discipline, for those who want to know what study programme to choose? Or the Keuzegids? And why do ...

Illegal student party on Tongerseweg

MAASTRICHT. The police ended an illegal student party in the former Bonnefantencollege on Tongerseweg last Friday evening. The caretaker, who works for XIOR (a real estate company and lessor of the more than 250 self-contained student apartments in the complex), contacted the police himself.
Six times higher tuition fees for British students

Six times higher tuition fees for British students

MAASTRICHT. British students who are studying in the Netherlands but who do not officially live here, will have to dig deep into their pockets from January. Because of Brexit they will pay the high ‘institutional tuition fee’ instead of the much lower statutory tuition fee as of 2021. Whether it will be a hard or a soft Brexit makes no ...
About Hitler, Taylor Swift, and cryptomnesia

About Hitler, Taylor Swift, and cryptomnesia

Not only researchers but also students need to have the devastating effect of fraud and plagiarism impressed upon them. That was the tenor of an online ‘teach-meet’ by education institute EDLAB last week. Should students be given insight into the  scores of antiplagiarism software or not?
Student House Kitchen Conversations

Student House Kitchen Conversations

Sunday, 16:30h - I slowly creep upstairs and enter the kitchen. A quick look at the stove tells me what I already suspected: everyone else came before me and cooked for both lunch and dinner, leaving half of their delicious-smelling pastas in the pans. That will leave me the choice between the incredibly scratched pan and the one that has who-knows...

"My grandfather was a great writer, I'm proud to be related to him"

"My grandfather was a great writer, I'm proud to be related to him"

“I can tell that you’re Dutch from the way you say ‘yes’,” says first-year student Alina Timosenco (19) from Moldova. Although new to Maastricht, she is already becoming quite adept at identifying both international students and Dutch people. “At first, I thought, ‘How will I know whether or not someone is ...
A Relationship Therapist’s Advice for Academia

A Relationship Therapist’s Advice for Academia

According to the world-renowned relationship psychotherapist, Esther Perel, we are seeking from our romantic partner today what “an entire village” once used to provide: We want reliability and comfort, but also adventure and transcendence. This seemingly conflicting expectations of romance is creating dissatisfaction and unfulfilled de...

Green light for UM exchange programmes

Green light for UM exchange programmes

MAASTRICHT. Second wave or not, Maastricht University is allowing its exchange programmes and work placements abroad to take place this academic year. Contrary to Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam, who feel that the uncertainty is too great. The UM’s foreign plans will have to meet certain requirements, says Martin Paul, presi...
“Senior General Secondary Education is often the highest possible option in their home country”

“Senior General Secondary Education is often the highest possible option in their home country”

Some (potential) students from outside the European Union acquire their secondary school diploma with flying colours, but don’t have quite the qualifications needed for a study programme at Maastricht University. For those who nevertheless want to do so, there is the Foundation Programme. In this one-year study programme, participants are pre...

Enough is enough, give me that iPad!

Enough is enough, give me that iPad!

The aim of the Care and Constraint Act, which has been in existence since January, is to reduce ‘involuntary care’ for the mentally handicapped and those suffering from dementia. The South Limburg Academic Collaborative Centre on Care for Older People is going to draw up a national guideline for nurses and carers, but it has first condu...
“I miss the chats before and after class”

“I miss the chats before and after class”

MAASTRICHT. She has a debate in the Lower House today and it almost feels like an outing with all those online meetings, says minister Ingrid van Engelshoven on Thursday morning at half past nine to eleven UM students. They were invited – every faculty asked one or more students – to speak with her for an hour or so about the quality of...

The Young Academy: “Flying academics should stay on the ground more often"

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities need to do more to reduce their CO2 emissions from air travel, says The Young Academy. In a new report, they recommend learning from everything that has been achieved during the coronavirus crisis and investing in digital conferences and good webcams.
People at Maastricht University take the test: which coffee is the best?

People at Maastricht University take the test: which coffee is the best?

MAASTRICHT. There is a queue at the coffee vending machines next to the university cafeteria inside Universiteitssingel 40 this Tuesday morning. Not just because people want to start their day with a shot of caffeine; important work is going on here. As of 1 March 2021, all coffee vending machines at the university will be replaced. Today, students...
“Why would I not be able to finish my studies while raising a child?”

“Why would I not be able to finish my studies while raising a child?”

MAASTRICHT. How do you combine studying with having children? It’s a familiar question, laughs Dutch Iris te Boome from the Netherlands. She’s a sixth-year Medicine student at Maastricht University who decided to become a mother at a young age. Never for a moment did she consider quitting her studies over it. Marie Rys from Germany, a m...
“Some aspects of Trumpism are here to stay”

“Some aspects of Trumpism are here to stay”

Joe Biden will bring back a degree of internationalism to the U.S. foreign policy, but the Democratic Party has shifted to a more Trumpian view of the world, says Roberta Haar, professor of Foreign Policy Analysis and Transatlantic Relations at UCM, in this opinion piece.
Dear Professor, how honest are you?

Dear Professor, how honest are you?

THE NETHERLANDS. In the Netherlands, the largest ever study of scientific integrity and sloppy science is being conducted across all disciplines. Or that was the idea, at least, but most universities and teaching hospitals are withholding their cooperation.
If My Plants Were Zoom Students

If My Plants Were Zoom Students

It's Sunday morning. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining into my room, and the construction noise that has woken me for the past days finally fell silent. Yet all of this, as beautiful as it may seem, does not bring me as much joy as the first thought that comes up in my head: it's Sunday again - time to water my Amaryllis and Schlumberg...

“Abolition of BSA is an example of a cheap score”

MAASTRICHT. The Lower House wants to get rid of the binding study advice. The House voted in favour of a motion by GroenLinks last week. The minister will have to talk to the education institutes to no longer make this advice ‘binding’. Student unions are enthusiastic, but education experts in Maastricht were not immediately convinced. ...

Student wellbeing at risk in coronavirus era

THE NETHERLANDS. New research shows that the coronavirus crisis has had a profound impact on students. They feel lonely more often, struggle to concentrate and are increasingly worried about study delays.
Update: About unethical experiments and algorithms

Update: About unethical experiments and algorithms

MAASTRICHT. Deep brain stimulation is hot, and can help with compulsive disorders, depressions, epilepsy, and in particular in patients for whom there are no more treatment options available. It may seem like a brand-new technology, but it’s not. American neurologist Robert Heath experimented with it in the nineteen-sixties, even though his e...

Female scientists slipping behind during the coronavirus pandemic

THE NETHERLANDS. Scientists have been strikingly productive since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but a clear difference can be seen between men and women. This could be the result of the fact that care duties are imbalanced and more often than not fall on women.
"I feel there is more space in the day"

"I feel there is more space in the day"

We are into the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. How are things for Maastricht University employees? Working from home actually suits Jessica Alleva, assistant professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences (FPN), very well. After her father-in-law spent weeks in the intensive-care unit with COVID-19 last spring, she realised wh...
Pluck and Luck

Pluck and Luck

The more that I advance on this life journey, the more that I have become interested in decision making. Why do we do the things that we do and how do we make decisions? Why does it seem that we often make irrational choices and engage in risky behavior?   One book that gave me insights into my own decision making was Michael Lewis’ b...

“Miss, you shouldn’t forget that we’re foreigners”

“Miss, you shouldn’t forget that we’re foreigners”

She made hours of audio recordings during her fieldwork at a secondary school in Venlo, Limburg. Pomme van de Weerd, who will receive her PhD from Maastricht University on 18 November, did research on its students’ language use. Most of them were teenagers with a migration background who regularly label themselves and others as buitenlander (...
“I don’t set much score to status or fame, for me it is about the subject matter”

“I don’t set much score to status or fame, for me it is about the subject matter”

MAASTRICHT. “I am sweet until people are unkind or don’t listen. Then I can be hard and nasty.” “I am an unorthodox type of person; I like to stray from the beaten path and I don’t hold my tongue.” “I can be a bit of a hothead.” “The adolescent in me is never far away.” A random selecti...
Problems Proctorio cause chaos for some UM exams

Problems Proctorio cause chaos for some UM exams

MAASTRICHT. The most recent exam week at Maastricht University turned out to be chaotic on some days due to technical problems with anti-cheat software Proctorio. Students were thrown out of the system on one or more occasions and were therefore unable to complete their exam, or could not take it in peace. It is unclear how many students are affect...

Stagnation in the implementation of sustainability plans

MAASTRICHT. Five definite plans came from ‘Green Impact’, a competition held last spring in which teams of students and employees could submit a project for a more sustainable Maastricht University. There was a ceremony where a winner was chosen at the beginning of July, and there was a lot of praise for the participating teams. Since t...
Three Vidi grants for Maastricht

Three Vidi grants for Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Deep brain stimulation, cardiac arrhythmia, and motor disabilities. Three Maastricht researchers have received a Vidi grant of 800 thousand euro from research financer NWO. A total of  81 researchers had their proposals accepted.
Trial with Maastricht COVID-19 breathalyser

Trial with Maastricht COVID-19 breathalyser

MAASTRICHT. The ministry, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Area Health Authority (GGD) are going test three ‘noses’, devices that can smell COVID-19 in exhaled breath. One of those is the ‘e-nose’ into which Maastricht scientists have carried out extensive research. Shoul...
That drop of golden fluid time and again

That drop of golden fluid time and again

Addicts, what kind of people are they actually? Why can one person just have a beer, a joint or a pill, while the other goes a step further every time? Also, how susceptible to addiction are you yourself? This was the subject of discussion during an online edition of Let’s Talk, the recurrent talk show by Studium Generale. Together with stude...
“What is the penalty for not wearing a facemask?”

“What is the penalty for not wearing a facemask?”

MAASTRICHT. A lot of obscurity, so there were many questions in the University Council about the Covid-19 security protocol. The latest version was discussed during the University Council meeting last Wednesday afternoon. What is the penalty for not wearing a facemask? Who is going to monitor this? And is this legally watertight?

Sizeable additional costs because of cyberattack and COVID-19

MAASTRICHT. The faculties are spending less money this year, but at a central level and in the service centres, Maastricht University is spending a great deal more, or is losing income. This has to do mainly with the effects of the corona pandemic and the cyberattack, said financial director Ruud Bollen to the University Council last week.
Care homes are doing their best to stay open as much as possible

Care homes are doing their best to stay open as much as possible

A complete closure, never again: that was the general sentiment in care homes after the lockdown in March. The measure had much too negative an effect on inhabitants, their loved ones and employees. Some described it as ‘inhuman’. Now that the second wave is in full swing, the collaborative academic elderly care work places (Samenwerken...
Confusion is in the Air

Confusion is in the Air

I reach out my hand, almost touching Maastricht's iconic city wall as I walk past it on my way to my tutorial room at UCM. Each of my echoing steps sounds like a melody - a truly unique one that can only be heard when walking through UCM. The air smells like the faint memory of Waffle Wednesdays, intense discussions, and new friendships. Though...

“Those scammers are so cunning”

“Those scammers are so cunning”

MAASTRICHT. Two master’s students from Portugal lost two thousand euros to a rental scam. On WhatsApp, a man posing as a landlord had promised them a two-bedroom flat in the centre of Maastricht. It turned out to be nothing but a lie. Although the summer rush on student housing is over, posts about scams are still popping up on Facebook. Inte...
A phosphorescent autumn

A phosphorescent autumn

Does it feel to you like there was something particularly poignant about autumn this year? Was the light different, almost phosphorescent? Or was it just a soothing contrast to my demanding computer screen? And the leaves, so many of them! Falling through the air, thrown back up again in bundles released from four-year-olds’ fingers. I did th...

Greta has shown: everybody can make a difference

Greta has shown: everybody can make a difference

In response to the new documentary I am Greta, UM professor Pim Martens, specialized in sustainability, calls his peers to climb the barricades, to become ‘scientivists’.