The News of the Week: 4 – 10 December

What's happened in week 50? UB shutting out hbo students, arts faculty needs money, criticism of Zwarte Piet and more.

UB shutting out hbo students

thumb-UB-UniversiteitsbibliotheekHbo students will have limited access to the UB from now on. Headcounts conducted in the library in November revealed that roughly 20 percent of the library visitors were students of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

The UB will now implement three restrictive measures to ensure that the library has enough room for RUG students. During the four exam periods in the year, study spaces will be reserved for RUG students. The possibility to reserve study desks will only be extended to RUG students and employees, and access gates will be built where an ID card is required to gain entrance.

Arts department needs more money – fast

thumb-Letteren-HarmonieTwo years after reorganization which led to heavy cuts to smaller language programmes, the arts faculty is still financially unstable. In the coming three years, the arts faculty will still be in the red with a shortfall between 200,000 and 500,000 euros.

The faculty has to be profitable again by 2018, but that won’t happen if it can’t attract more students. The faculty had hoped that the European Language and Culture bachelor and a new Media Studies programme would draw in more students, but those have fallen short thus far.

Criticism of Zwarte Piet in arts faculty

thumb-zwartepiet2Journalism lecturer Chris Peters wrote an open letter in de Volkskrant last week which he also sent to the Faculty of the Arts, wherein he wrote that he was concerned by the presence of the traditional Zwarte Piet at the Sinterklaas party in the faculty.

According to Peters, it would have been better if Dutch universities had seen the discussion surrounding the character as an opportunity to come up with a creative solution. Arts dean Gerry Wakker says that next year, there will be discussion with the staff about what form the Sinterklaas party will take.

Roughly 700 students complete first MOOC

thumb-moocAround 13,000 people signed up for the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the RUG, and around 700 students completed it. Joeri Schasfoort, one of the MOOC initiators, says that having 12 percent of the participants finish the class is quite high for an online course.

The free interactive online class, taught by professor Lex Hoogduin, was launched in September by the Faculty of Economics and Business. Students received video lectures, background literature and were able to discuss the material with their fellow classmates. Eventually, they received a certificate as proof of their completion of the course.

Math and Sciences department moving to Gmail

thumb-GmailThe Faculty of Math and Natural Science, despite protest, has to switch over to Gmail next month. Since May, nearly everyone at the RUG has been using Gmail except for this faculty. They submitted an official complaint after 60 percent of employees objected to the move.

They feared they could lose business contracts worth millions due to the lack of security through Gmail, but their objections were dismissed. However, staff will take a mandatory class about how to encrypt their email and how to use Unishare, a Dropbox-like programme developed by the University for sending files.

University College Groningen more expensive

thumb-university-collegeThe tuition fees for the University College Groningen will be increased by 200 euros. That was stated in the new Regulations for Registration and Tuition fees for the academic year 2015-2016. The full time enrollment fee was 3,800 euros and will be raised to 4,000 in the upcoming year.

Earlier, it was made known that the University College was much more expensive than expected. The legal standard for tuition fees will also be increasing from 1,906 euros to 1,951 for a full-time student.