You can learn from the things going on “behind the scenes”
Could you please introduce yourself?
I am Jordy. This year I am an Education Policy Committee student member. I am 24 years old and I am busy with my master's degree in Medical Biology.
Why did you choose to become an Education Policy Committee student member?
I was already quite involved with student participation in my earlier career. I have been in the Program Committee for two years, and I was a member of the board of a study association, where I was responsible for the study and education part; so I have already been quite interested in this. I stopped being in the Programme Committee and in that year I kind of missed student participation. Then I started to think about things I could do that weren't the PC. I considered joining the Faculty Student Council, but then I found out about the education Policy Committee. It is less well known and you have to know about it to realize that it is there. I was quite intrigued by the committee. I liked the programme committee, but it operates more on the lower end of the hierarchy. I would say that the EPC is more on the higher end of the hierarchy, as you can have more influence. As a student member, you can really think about education and policy. That attracted me, and then I contacted the, back then, current EPC member, who I knew. I asked her some questions and said that I would like to join.
You said you had experience in student participation before, is that a prerequisite for joining the Education Policy Committee?
No, definitely not. I think it is usually the case that people who have done student participation before end up in the EPC just because it is less well known. But you really do not need experience. Everyone is welcome. Even if you are a first year student now, who wants to do the EPC next year, that's totally fine.
How do you combine the EPC with your regular studies?
It is not that much work, so this is why I am able to combine it well with my internship at the moment. You have one meeting of two hours every month, that is the main EPC meeting. In addition to that you have a few meetings and you have to prepare the documents beforehand. So basically, in the week of the EPC meeting itself you work like 5,5 or 6h, but in the other weeks you have to spend barely any time.
Can you have an impact on the policy that is being made, and can you maybe name an example where you have had influence successfully?
Yes, so like the name says the Education Policy Committee is concerned with policy that is either being made at the moment, or with giving feedback on some discrepancies or unclairites in policy at the moment. One example that we talked about this year is Bring your Own Device. This is a policy the faculty might want to implement, where students are encouraged to work on their own devices instead of the computers present at the university. Obviously, that's gonna affect many students and not everyone likes it that much. So we talked a lot about if it is going to happen, if so, how it is going to happen, and what some compromises might be. Also, at the start of the year we talked a lot about Corona, the livestreams and about whether we should make education purely physical again, or if the option for hybrid education should always be there. My role in these discussions is to represent the students' opinion. We are also supported by the student assessor.
Do the EPC students also work together with other student participation organs?
Yes. Sometimes we work together with the Faculty Student Council and join their meetings. We also work together with the Institute Assessors. Each institute has their own Assessor, and once a month we also have a meeting with them, where we update them and ask them what is going on in each institute.
What soft skills have you improved most on during your year as a Education Policy Committee Student?
I learned the most about how to feel the vibe, and what the opinion is of the other members of the committee. Also, if you have a different opinion, you do have to bring it up in a diplomatic way, which I think is kinda fun.
I have heard from the student assessor that you have not found successors yet. Do you have a message to students that still doubt if they should join the Education Policy Committee?
I personally think that it is a fun thing to do and you can learn a lot from it. I think it is very nice to have a meeting with the “higher up people”, so to say; so the directors of education of each institute, for example, who are also present during the EPC members. It is very fun to get to know them in a different way. Actually, they are also humans, quite fun and very nice to talk to. You also really see that they value your opinion in these meetings, so that is fun but it is also just good to represent students and that you actually can have an influence on policy. It is nice to learn from the things that are going on from the things “behind the scenes”. In addition, the workload is quite doable. I think joining the EPC is definitely something you should consider when you are thinking about joining student participation.