News of the Week: 27 Nov. – 3 Dec.

What's happened in week 49? Erik Deenen has been found, theft in Nijenborgh4, criticism of learning communities and more.

Erik Deenen reports to police

thumb-erikdeenenRUG student Erik Deenen, who had been missing since Thursday, 20 November, has been found. On Wednesday, 26 November, he reported to a police station in Hengelo, according to family spokesperson, Esther Dob.

Erik, a research master’s student in Regional Studies at the RUG, went missing without a trace after an exam at TU Delft where he was also taking classes. He had last been seen in camera footage in Hilversum. Through Dob, Erik’s family thanked everyone who had looked out for him.

Theft in Nijenborgh4

thumb-NijenborghIn early November, a laptop and a mobile phone were stolen from Nijenborgh4, according to an email sent to employees and students. Edwin van Burum, head of faculty affairs, asks everyone to remain alert: ‘We have requested that they secure their belongings, lock up rooms and be aware of suspicious people in the building.’

Dick Veldhuis, resources manager for the faculty, says it’s a difficult problem to address. ‘Everyone can come and go in every university building without being noticed. That makes it tricky.’

Criticism of learning communities

thumb-learningcommunitiesFirst year medical students have criticized learning communities, saying it’s unclear what they are supposed to learn and tests are unconnected to the material. Only 56 percent passed the last component of their exams.

In learning communities, students should know what they need to learn without being given page numbers to study. That led to some students studying the wrong material – from now on, first year students will be told which pages to study like normal. However, students should be able to study without page numbers by the end of the bachelor.

MH17 therapy

thumb-mh17Together with the University of Utrecht and American professors who counselled survivors of September 11th, RUG professor of complex mourning and psychology Jos De Keijser is developing a special sort of grief counseling for relatives of the victims of the MH17 disaster.

The therapy will focus on the fear, anger and uncertainty that effect survivors. ‘All at once, 1,600 people were left with all this sadness and anger. They share the same sorrow, the same collective grief. That is interesting to research and for the development of therapies.’

Scientific vision: Work harder for the same price

thumb-BussemakerThe university council is unhappy with the scientific vision presented by the education ministry. President Poppema’s summary: ‘You have to work harder for the same amount of money.’

Among other cut backs, the 90,000 euro bonus that universities receive for completed PhDs will be reduced by 5 percent. Poppema sees that as necessary: since the medical faculty has hundreds of PhDs, they earn the lion’s share of available funds, leaving little over for other faculties. Scientists should also collaborate more with each other and businesses, ‘but what is lacking in this ambition is enough money to achieve it.’

Korea Corner at UB

thumb-KOrea-CornerA Korea Corner, financed partially by a grant from the Korean embassy, is coming to the UB on 18 December, according to Tjalling Halbertsma, director of the Centre for East Asian Studies Groningen. The goal of the corner, which will have Korean books and other materials, is to promote Asia at the RUG.

The staff faction in the university council questions why space was reserved for the corner in the overly-crowded UB. Poppema says it comes down to money: if the university can get funding from somewhere, then it is their responsibility to see how they can implement it.

China funding Chinese Language and Culture chair

thumb-Chinese-chineesThe arts department will be getting a chair in Chinese Language and Culture paid for in part by Hanban, a Chinese institute that promotes Chinese as a foreign language abroad.

With the chair, a programme for training teachers of Chinese at the HAVO and VWO level will be developed, as well as a possible bachelor in Chinese. Whether it’s possible to get accreditation for the bachelor programme is yet to be determined. Hanban also finances the Confucius Institute in Groningen, which promotes Chinese language and culture.