Stronger representative advisory bodies, recommendations by three committees, transparency in finances and allocation, education renewal and greater involvement of staff and students in policy decisions – since the launch of the Ten-point Plan two years ago, a lot has happened. Please find an update below.
The Ten-point Plan was published by the Executive Board on 10 March 2015, during the Maagdenhuis occupation. Over the past two years committees have been hard at work, task forces have been created, new policies have been formulated and new methods and procedures developed. So what has been achieved, and what remains to be done?
Concerted efforts have been made to strengthen participation in decision-making. The representative advisory council now has a greater say in appointments to the Executive Board, and faculties that appointed new deans in the past period also did so in close consultation with their own representative advisory bodies. The Executive Board has begun engaging the representative advisory council earlier on in various planning and policy processes. A student assessor has also been appointed. First to hold this post was Lianne Schmidt, who was succeeded as from 1 January 2017 by Linda van Exter.
The Finance and Accommodations Research Committee concluded that the UvA is financially sound and has pursued a responsible accommodations strategy. Nonetheless, there are a few points of concern which are currently under discussion with the banks. Major steps were also taken in the recent period to improve financial openness, increase transparency and provide insight into complex information, for example by means of infographics and animations. Key financial documents are now being posted on a single central page on the website where they are open for comments before being adopted. UvAdata Monitors containing information about teaching and research, personnel matters and finances are now also being made available online.
The Executive Board and representative advisory council drew up a joint action plan which has now been implemented for the revision of the allocation model. Staff and students were invited to provide input, which the task force then used to formulate a proposal. The new distribution of government funding (budget neutral) is expected to be introduced by way of the 2018 Budget Framework Letter.
In response to the consultative referendum organised by the Democratisation and Decentralisation Committee, the Executive Board expressed its desire to further strengthen the involvement of staff and students. Executive Board President Geert ten Dam has said, ‘Strengthening the Boards of Studies and academic leadership are two key means to achieve this. To increase the academic community's involvement we are working on an interactive policy website where staff and students can provide feedback that we can take on board in our decisions. We are also preparing a charter and a new senate structure’.
Following the findings of the Diversity Committee, a new position will be created for a diversity officer who will work with a network spanning the faculties and service units.
On 16 March consultations will start on the construction of a new University Library on the Binnengasthuis grounds. Input from staff and students will be taken into consideration in the deliberations.
In the past two years a large number of steps have been taken to renew education and learning at the UvA. ‘We have drawn up an action plan for blended learning based on input from many people. The faculties are now all working out their own strategies, and we'll be setting up a knowledge centre to help them implement it’, explains Rector Magnificus Karen Maex. ‘At the institutional level, we are staking out a new vision on teaching and learning. At present we are working with a task force to identify issues and dilemmas that need to be addressed, which are being gathered through various channels within the organisation.’ Another effort now under way is the evaluation of the Study Success programme, to result in practical guidelines and stepped up measures for student talent development, knowledge sharing among lecturers and student engagement. The UvA has also submitted an application to the Ministry of Eduction, Culture and Science to take part in the Flexible Learning pilot in the 2017-2018 academic year. The ministry's decision is expected in mid-March.
Extensive efforts have been taken in the recent period to strengthen the UvA's HR policy, most notably by drawing up an agenda and action plan for the years ahead. The new HR agenda consists of five priorities: (1) an appropriate balance between permanent and temporary employees, (2) strategic staff planning, (3) further development of the academic careers policy, (4) improvement of the annual consultations and (5) targeted focus on leadership development. Three of the five policy memoranda have already been elaborated and will be submitted to the representative advisory bodies this spring; the other two are expected to follow before the summer.
Read the detailed version of the Ten-point Plan: