Onderdeelcommissie 2023-2024 van FSW
Onderdeelcommissie 2023-2024 van FSW

A glance at the Faculty of Social Sciences Representative Council - May

During the Faculty Joint Assembly on April 4, 2024, various important topics were discussed such as the internationalisation of education versus the Herzberger motion, appointment procedures, the BKO pilot, and the conflict in Gaza. Read the full update from the Representative Council of the Faculty of Social Sciences here.

The Representative Council (RC) was very interested in what the board could explain during the Faculty Joint Assembly (FGV) regarding the internationalisation of education and how it relates to the Herzberger motion. Kasper Gossink, the new head of research and education policy, provided an update on the current situation. Although we as the RC regret that Radboud University has relatively few international students compared to other universities, under the current circumstances, it means that we as a faculty probably need to make a few adjustments. It is expected that the current English-language tracks/programs (AI and Psychology) can continue to exist and that by not actively recruiting, the number of international students will automatically decrease. Therefore, no changes are currently being considered for the English-language programmes. We are pleased and relieved that English-language programmes may still be offered at Radboud University. Of course, we are not happy with the government's educational vision.

A second important agenda item concerned the BKO pilot. As mentioned in the first RC update, the BKO pilot is being discontinued. The RC asked the board if a solution could be found for the more than forty colleagues on the waiting list. The RC also mentioned that new colleagues are often promised the opportunity to obtain Basic Teaching Qualifications. The RC asked the faculty board whether it would be possible to maintain the old system in the meantime, as completing the BKO portfolio is mainly done independently, requires little to no guidance from others, and only requires manpower in the evaluation phase. Although the faculty has some autonomy in this regard, the faculty board indicated that there remains a capacity issue. For the RC, this remains an important agenda item to follow up on.

In our previous update, we also discussed the definitions and framing of appointments, as these have been inconsistent and non-transparent in the past. We formally advised the faculty board in advance, and we are pleased to report that the faculty board agrees with the majority of our suggestions and will create more clarity and structure, making this information publicly accessible.

Lastly, and also an important agenda item for the RC, we, along with the Faculty Student Council (FSR), pointed out to the faculty board that we wanted more openness and communication regarding the terrible violence in Palestine. This is a situation that deeply affects many Radboud colleagues and students. The RC pointed to the university-wide petition set up by employees (many from FSW) and students to boycott Israeli universities and asked the board for their opinion. We asked the faculty board the following questions:

  1. What is the faculty board's position on the petition calling for an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions?
  2. What is the faculty board's position on issuing a statement condemning the potential genocide of Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli state?
  3. How does the faculty board plan to engage with the petitioners and address their concerns?
  4. What factors will the faculty board consider when deciding whether to support the academic boycott?
  5. How does the faculty board plan to ensure transparency and inclusiveness in the decision-making process regarding the petition?

In response to our questions, the faculty board sent us the statement from the Executive Board (CvB). However, this response did not answer all our questions. During the meeting with the faculty board, we emphasized that our questions were not fully answered. The faculty board indicated that this topic is being discussed at the central level and that they are not taking further positions to avoid polarization. The faculty board endorses the response of the CvB, which was also sent to the FGV, and confirmed that both the CvB and the faculty board condemn the violence but do not take a stance. We had emphasized that the board could condemn the violence without taking a stance. The faculty board took our request seriously and has since published a new statement. The agenda for the next FGV now includes finding ways to engage in dialogue about the conflict within the faculty together with the RC and FSR.

The RC is the voice of all employees within the Faculty of Social Sciences. Do you have an issue or suggestion you would like to discuss? Email to OC [at] socsci.ru.nl (OC[at]socsci[dot]ru[dot]nl)

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