News of the Week 37

What's happened so far this academic year? Master's programmes to become stricter, ACLO prices rise, business influence in Yantai and more.

Master’s programmes to exclude ‘sixes’ students

thumb-collegeMore master’s programmes in the Netherlands will begin so-called selection at the door, even if the students have a degree from an affiliated bachelor programme. In principle, students whose marks are a seven or below on average will no longer be accepted into a master’s programme.

The RUG will also become more selective in its master’s admissions, according to RUG spokesperson Riepko Buikema, but what those measures are and which master’s are involved is not yet known. However, there is talk of the movement sciences being impacted, as well as Economics & Business, Mathematics & Natural Sciences and Medical Sciences.

New ACLO location drives up price

thumb sportThe price of membership at the ACLO sports facilities has risen by 15 per cent due to opening a second location in the city centre. Students paid 52 euros per academic year for an ACLO Card in the past, but the price was raised to 59.95 in August.

The price has not been updated for years. The higher price has everything to do with the new location in the city centre, according to chairperson Reiner Sombeek. ACLO Station, the name of the new location, is scheduled to open in mid-September.

Research for industries in Yantai

thumb-yantaiBusinesses investing in Yantai will be able to influence the research done at the branch campus but not the curriculum. When questioned by the personnel faction about that assertion, president Poppema told the university council that a party who invests one million euros can ‘safely assume’ that a professor will do research in that field.

A deficit of 65 million euros exists in the Yantai budget. The city of Yantai has promised to pay 40 million of that, but those funds have not yet been definitively allocated. The remaining 25 million is meant to be covered by businesses.

RUG appoints population decline professor

thumb-bettina-bock-krimpprofessorBettina Bock has been appointed to an endowed professorship in Population Decline and Liveability to study shrinking populations in the northern regions of the Netherlands. Bock’s background is in sociology with specialisation in rural development and renewal.

One of her goals is to examine how not all issues are related to population decline, such as the ability for women to give birth at home due to decreasing health care availability in rural areas. How people who live in areas heavily impacted by population decline cope with such limitations is also a subject she intends to research further.

New fund for university spin-offs

thumb-science-wetenschapTogether, the RUG and UMCG have created a new investment fund of 16 million euros for university spin-offs. The money is intended for start-ups whose work focuses on the prioritised research themes of the university and hospital: healthy ageing, energy and sustainable society.

Previously, the province said it would contribute 7.5 million euros to the fund. Carduso Capital was set up because financing the spin-offs directly was too risky for the university, according to Marnix Pool, director of the RUG holding company. The fund will officially come online this Friday.

‘Pay raise’ for student assessor

thumb-uraadA ‘pay raise’ for the student assessor, an advisor to the university board, is being absorbed by the profiling fund: money used to compensate student board members of organisations for study delays incurred as a result of the work. One month’s pay for a board member is 444.20 euros.

The staff faction of the university council objected, arguing the assessor should not be covered by the fund if other positions such as members of the KEI committee do not receive a similar raise. President Poppema said the discussion was unnecessary as he had the student members on his side.

Self-assessments will change little

thumb-keuring-checklistResearch and applied sciences universities want to liberate themselves of external assessments. All institutes will participate in the ‘institutional accreditation’ pilot that minister Bussemaker has created, where the accreditation commissions will now be brought in through their own institutions instead of NVAO.

The idea behind the change is to have more faith in the institutions themselves and to cut down on bureaucracy, but according to Anne Flierman, chairperson of the accreditation organisation NVAO, instructors won’t be the ones enjoying the fruits of their labours: the changes will do little to decrease their workload.

VUmc flooded

thumb-overstromingA broken water pipe caused serious problems at the Free University (Vrije Universiteit) in Amsterdam. Several streets in the Amsterdam-Zuid area were flooded on Tuesday morning and cars were washed away by the waters.

The nearby VU academic hospital was partially flooded and all patients were evacuated to other local hospitals due to unreliable electricity. The leak has been stopped and pumps have been brought in to remove the water. The adjacent university buildings were not impacted by the flooding.