University College takes a beating in Keuzegids
According to the editors of the Keuzegids, the students at the University College are dissatisfied with the lack of cohesiveness of the Groningen programme. The programme provides too little information, its content is not up to standard and the course load is too high. The University College scored 62 points and is ranked near the bottom of the list, only beating the University College in Rotterdam which also began in 2013.
‘On the right track’
Dean Hans van Ees recognises the criticisms from student evaluations that were conducted at the beginning of the year. ‘And I think that we as the UCG have to take that seriously, and we do. That is why the freedom to choose in the first year has been increased and the cohesion between the disciplines and the projects has been considerably improved. One of the important organisational changes we have made in response to the student’s experiences is the appointment of so-called block coordinators in the first year. Those are staff members who monitor the cohesion and organisation of the disciplines and projects, as well as providing guidance to the students. There is also more clarity about the set up of the second and third UCG years.’
Furthermore, more guidance is being provided to the students and communication has become better organised, Van Ees says. ‘There are two student focus groups where they can have a say in the content and supervision. And finally, we are organising at least two evenings per semester where we ask the entire student population about their experiences. In other words, I think we are on the right track, and the student’s opinions have provided us the opportunity to better develop the cohesion of the content and improve communications.’
As an institution, the RUG scored well in the Keuzegids. With 62 points, Groningen came in second place among classic universities, placing behind Nijmegen. The RUG had an average score in virtually all fields of study, but was awarded a plus mark for Economics & Business and Earth & Environment. Among the fourteen Dutch universities, Groningen stands in seventh place.
Several bachelor programmes from the RUG scored exceptionally well. According to the editors, six programmes belong among the absolute toppers: archaeology (82), astronomy (80), applied mathematics (78), theology (76), philosophy (86) and mathematics (78).
But aside from the top programmes, there were also a handful that did especially badly. European languages and culture may be a popular programme, but it only scored 46 points in the Keuzegids. The study also received a minus mark for content, information, the extent to which students feel prepared for their scientific career, skills, and facilities.
Another remarkably low score was for history (44), which is one of the academic programmes that had previously received a negative accreditation. The students say that they have to do too much work for too few study points, according to the editors. ‘They are difficult programmes. That is also clear based on the high number of first year students who drop out so soon.’
The final student that was given a major insufficient is international relations and international organisation. The programme received 48 points. The instructors are below standard, according to Keuzegids, and the content and communication of necessary information also leave something to be desired.
Beste in hun categorie
To end on a positive note: nine studies at the RUG were deemed the best in their category. Those programmes include archaeology (82), human movement sciences (64), econometrics & operations research (70), English language & culture (64), pharmacy (68), computing science (72), information science (70), life science & technology (68) and astronomy (80).