“This is better than the chaos at the law faculty”

UCM programme starts a week later


Next Monday, a week later than planned, University College Maastricht will start its study programme. “I'd rather start a little later than end up in a chaos like the one at the law faculty”, says a student.

“We did not want to create a chaos”, says UCM managing director, Anouk Cuijpers. So when problems with the Maastricht University Student Lifecycle (MUSL) automation system kept cropping up – this time with the timetables – they decided last Friday to cancel the programme for this week. “We have a different type of curriculum. Our students choose their own blocks and create their own programmes. Our timetables are quite a bit more complicated than those of most other facilities. Moreover, most of our lecturers come from other faculties. They could not see if there was an overlap in the schedules last week.” 

Could UCM not have seen this coming? Both staff and students who attended a demonstration of the online registration system in MUSL, expressed their doubts at an early stage, says Cuijpers. “We saw problems, they were dealt with, but the next day there were new problems.” When parts of courses disappeared from the system on Friday, UCM decided to throw in the towel. A new timetable will be drawn up this week using the old system (“bought at one time for 400 dollars”).

The students were informed immediately on Friday and received answers to all their e-mails throughout the weekend. An e-mail containing answers to most of the queries was sent out last Monday. Second-year student Katharina Schnurpfeil was not surprised at all. “The whole change of system was a mess. We got wrong emails that data was missing. They told me that I hadn’t paid my tuition fee, that I hadn’t provided my bank account. It was all incorrect. The same thing happened to my friends. So when I heard the rumours that the timetables were not ready yet last week, I was not surprised.”

Most people won't mind too much, she thinks. “It’s an extra holiday. But what will happen with the tasks that we have to do? What about the extra workload?” The dean of the faculty of Humanities & Sciences, Louis Boon, can put her mind at ease immediately: “We will take this into account.” Third-year student Willem de Haan doesn’t blame UCM nor the UM. “These are just teething troubles that are inherent to the introduction of a new system. It is not an ideal start to the new academic year, but if everything is up and running next week, then that is okay. I'd rather start a little later than end up in a chaos like the one at the law faculty. Hundreds of students without a timetable were queuing up for special consultations on Tuesday.”


Riki Janssen

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