News of the Week 5: 22 – 28 January

What's happened in week 5? A new University College in Friesland, philosophy is too western, a second Sportcentrum and more.

RUG wants second University College

thumb-UCFThe RUG will open a second University College in collaboration with the eleventh faculty in Leeuwarden, scheduled to start in September 2018 under the name University of Groningen/Campus Fryslân. With a three-year bachelor programme in politics, philosophy, psychology and economics, the second UC aims to attract 600 students to live and study in Leeuwarden.

It has been 200 years since university-level education has been available in the province of Friesland. A regional fund of 100 million euros is needed to fund ten master’s programmes at UCF, and the province has already provided 14 million euros for the University Campus.

‘Philosophy is too western’ 

thumb-filosofiePhilosophy courses at Dutch universities are too western, according to RUG student Joke van der Ven. During her master’s thesis, she examined the curricula of eight philosophy programmes at Dutch universities – all of them offer almost exclusively Western European or North American philosophy teachings.

She is calling on her fellow students to ask their professors why that is and to share their responses on her Facebook page. Five Dutch university philosophy department deans agree that different schools of thought should be considered. The RUG faculty has one course that covers non-Western philosophies: Asian Philosophical Traditions.

Second Sportcentrum in city centre 

thumb sportThe Sportcentrum at Zernike will have a second – temporary – location in the city centre starting this summer. The facility will eventually be a part of the new University College Groningen housing near the Ebbingekwartier. Once the UCG and Usva definitively relocate to the area, a more permanent facility for the Sportcentrum will be sought nearby.

In 2014, 19,000 students and 2,000 staff members were signed up to use the Sportcentrum facilities, and ACLO expects up to 21,000 students to be enrolled within four years. The Zernike location will also be getting a facelift in the coming years.

Earthquake risk for RUG buildings 

aardbevingSafety has to be guaranteed for students and staff at the RUG, so the University is looking to hire a project manager for researching the risks of damage caused by earthquakes to University buildings. Based on the inspections, new regulations will be developed and adopted.

Last month, the RUG asked for more funding to make University buildings earthquake-proof, but NAM recently stated that they would not be paying for it. In the coming years, the RUG will likely have to invest hundreds of millions of euros for upgrading buildings to withstand the ongoing quakes.

Digital student files

thumb-papier-dossierSoon, the RUG will be saving student information exclusively digitally and all in one place. Grades, study advice, addresses and job details – all of it is kept track of by the RUG, both digitally and on paper, and the information is often shared among departments. Paper files will soon be discontinued.

However, staff members are worried about privacy. ‘It’s easier to spread digital documents and for prying eyes to get access to them’, says Antoon de Baets. President Poppema seeks to assuage those concerns. ‘The Board of Directors is very aware of the need for privacy. That will absolutely be taken into consideration.’