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05/04/2020 The magazine by Communication Science students of the UvA

FSR-FMGxMEDIUM: Making progress

In this article, adapted by Jade, Viktoriia from the FSR-FMG gives a run-down of the student council’s progress and their goals for the remainder of the year. The new preventive measures imply the student council will have to adapt to work remotely, but this won’t stop them from making our voices heard!


Even in times of the Coronavirus, the FSR-FMG works on important files, meets with the dean and tries to make sure everybody feels at home on campus. How do they do that, you ask? In this article, Viktoriia explains the FSR-FMG’s progress and their goals for the remainder of the year.

The first semester has passed

After working intensively on different files and matters for five months, the student council has an evaluation weekend. This is considered a half-year meeting, which is traditionally held outside the city in a different location for two days. Everybody comes together to discuss our successes and failures, what could have been done better and what we want to achieve during the rest of the year. 

Much of the evaluation is held on the council level, but it is also held on the individual level- what were the highest and the lowest points throughout the year, what have we contributed and what would we want to continue doing in the near future. We don’t only analyze our working progress, but also share our sentiments with each other. It is also a time for us to do some team-building activities to strengthen the bonds we share with each other and have a good time!

Achievements

In the past half-year, the council had to keep up with a lot. We started the year by getting used to each other’s work rhythm, learning how to communicate with each other and sorting out our priorities to discuss with the dean.

One of our most significant projects this year was the ‘Let Me Tell You’ exhibition. You might have seen some of the stories on the walls of the A-hall of the Roeterseiland campus. The artworks are meant to illustrate and honor the diversity of all walks of life. We are really proud this project took place and we are really thankful to the FSR of 18-19 for starting the initiative and to the council members of 19-20, who continued working on it. 

We have also started working intensively on a file that strives to establish regulations outlining the procedure in case of sexual harassment. After a series of reported sexual misconducts across the UvA, we want to formalize and include explicit regulations in the code of conduct, beginning at our faculty. To do so, we have proposed that these are included in the institutional plan (instellingsplan) via the Central Student Council and our faculty office. Secondly, because the institutional plan is not something that everyone looks at, we are currently working on proposing that it is included in the course manual and UvAQ. This was supposed to be discussed in our fourth meeting, however, the meeting has been postponed due to the Coronavirus.

The Day of Representatives (DoR), was another event that we are really happy with. DoR is an event where the FSR invites all student associations and other student representatives to join us for a conversation on different topics such as student engagement, sexual harassment, and others. This helps us gather more insights from other parties and brainstorm on possible problems and solutions together.

Desired goals for the remainder of the year

When discussing our goals for the next semester,  there were three main points we would like to prioritize. Firstly, we have finished gathering data for the student involvement survey, for which we received around 200 responses. Once the findings have been analyzed, we intend to publish them and investigate ways in which we can increase student involvement at the faculty provided our findings. We are hoping to yield interesting results and implement them to help fellow students feel more at home. 

We also discussed organizing more events and collaborations with the student councils of other faculties. This would strengthen the bond between faculties but also between the university’s administration and students. 

“We would be really happy to see students voicing their opinion”

Last but not least, we would like to accomplish a 20% turnout at elections. Compared to last year’s turnout, this would be a great improvement and we would be really happy to see students voicing their opinion, taking part in discussing who they want to see in the council, and what values they care about. 

TER/OER

Teaching and Examination Regulations (TER) or also referred to as the ‘Onderwijs- en Examenregeling’ (OER) are published annually for every program.  They outline all rules and guidelines regarding teaching, admission, examination, credits, the content of the programs and learning objectives -anything you need to know about the program. When someone has any questions about teaching and examination of the program, they should refer to this document to check for information.

FSR-FMG reviews the TER of each program at the faculty, including Bachelors, Masters and Research Masters. After we review them all, we have several meetings with the program committee of every program to discuss their comments as well. After all the information is gathered and we have it structured and organized for each TER, we select the most important comments. After everything is agreed on and decided, the file holders of TER, write advice on TER to send to the education directors. This file is one of the most important tasks of the FSR. 

As this document outlines the main guidelines for teaching and examination, it is crucial for students. Every time there is a complaint from a student concerning the examination board, this is where they should take a first look for answers. TER lists the tasks and responsibilities of examination boards and thus, all faculty members have to adhere to it.

Corona, Now What?

Since UvA has closed its spaces due to national preventive measures, this has made it increasingly difficult to perform our duties as most of our work consists of meetings, discussing and voting. Though there are still some files that allow us to work remotely. From now on, we’ll have weekly meetings with the dean, which aren’t mandatory, to keep up with what is going on. The other meetings will continue online, via Zoom. This way, we’ll still be on top of every change and progress!

 

Cover: FSR-FMG

From left to right: Sid, Agneta Fischer (Dean), Sterre Minkes (Dean’s Policy Advisor), Artem, Marc, Teun, Alex, Birgit, Viktoriia, Tom
In front from left to right: Robin, Minou, Ana Mar

 

If you’d like to read more about what the student council of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has been up to, check the rest of the FSR-FMGxMEDIUM collaboration!

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