Programme committees at Radboud university have a double function. They are obliged to execute their three primary tasks, but also serve as a ‘go-to’ point for students who find fault with something regarding to the programme. Both are explained below.
Three primary tasks
In accordance with the Dutch law on higher education, every study programme (or group of similar studies) must have a programme committee. This committee has three responsibilities over the course of the year:
- To advise the faculty assembly on (proposed changes to) the OER;
- To evaluate the effectuation of the OER;
- To provide solicited and unsolicited advice on all matters relating to the programme’s educational affairs.
The Education and Examination Regulations (Du: Onderwijs- en Examenreglement, OER)
The OER and its effectuation are among the programme committees primary tasks. The OER is a mandatory document which contains, among other things:
- Curriculum of the programme
- types of exams and rules for taking exams
- number of resits
- course load (number of European Credits)
- courses’ period of validity
- admission requirements into first year’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s programmes
- language of instruction
- maximum marking period
- the use of mandatory attendance
As you can see, almost everything with regard to your study programme can be found in the OER. It is highly advisable to take a look at your own OER. A number of OER’s are in English. It is up to the programme committee to make sure the OER is actually put into practice.
Once per year, the programme committee must provide advice on possible changes to the OER, the OER as a whole, and if it is effectuated properly. This advice is sent to the faculty assembly, which uses the advise to make (or unmake) certain changes to the OER before officially enacting it for another year.
The programme committee as ‘go-to’ point for students
When students encounter a problem which is related to the quality of education, or related to the OER, the programme committee is usually the first to be told. Such problems could be, among other things: poor instruction, the marking period being exceeded, mandatory attendance, or a faulty course syllabus.
Because some students will not always want to inform their instructor directly, the programme committee can sometimes mediate, or at least take note of the situation.
Instruction day in August
All student members of programme committees are invited for a full day of courses on student governance before the academic year starts. This day is usually held in the last week of August. Student members who are appointed later in the year (usually Master’s students) are invited for instruction in December.
If you have not received an invitation to attend such instruction, please contact the student affairs office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Planning the year
After the instruction day it is important to meet up with the committee and make a planning, and a timeline, of all important events of the year. These include going over the various course evaluations, and providing advice on the OER.
Difficulties and problems
Every programme committee (member) can run into certain difficulties throughout the year. While it is quite uncommon, it is possible for staff and students in a single curriculum committee to clash, or for students to feel like they’re not being taken seriously. Should this, or something else, confront your curriculum committee there are several parties you could approach:
The student assessor: Every faculty has a student assessor. The assessor has a seat on the board of the faculty, advises the board on the student affairs, and generally supports the student council. They are usually experienced students, who have a broader overview, and can often advise on difficult situations.
The faculty’s student council: just like the assessor, the students of the student council can often advise, or assist with any problem you encounter.
The university’s office for staff and student governance: this office is made up of three people. Their function is to assist students and staff who are engaged with governance at Radboud University. They are highly experienced and very knowledgeable, so should you have a very complex question about rules or regulations this office is a good choice.
Student members on programme committees are entitled to a €225 payment from the Graduation Fund, on the condition that they meet the requirements set (see the regulations of the Graduation Fund).