Report faculty meeting 13 March
Steps towards more participation and say within the Humanities Faculty
How can participation and co-determination processes at the humanities faculty be improved? That was the central theme for the first faculty meeting, last Friday, 13 March in the Bungehuis. The meeting, led by Jaques Bos, was organised by the Faculty Staff Council in cooperation with the Faculty Student Council, Rethink FGw and Humanities Rally.
The meeting started with a quick recapitulation of the most urgent issues currently debated on within the UvA; the hierarchic management culture, the focus on profitability, the personnel management (the vulnerable position of temporary staff), the problematic collaboration with the HvA and the VU, and the tight structure research and education is being forced into. These issues are also on the agenda the coming couple of weeks for the Debating Marathon organised by the Central Staff Council and the Central Student Council.
Participation and say
Next, problems concerning the democratic structure and the decision-making processes within the Humanities Faculty were being discussed. The Staff and Student participation within the Humanities Faculty in the current situation is being frustrated by delays of advisory applications or requests for approval, and advisory reports are often neglected. The Faculty Staff Council should have the right to directly communicate with the staff, without mediation by the communications department, just like the Faculty Student Council can with the students. This will most likely increase participation and involvement of the staff. The public support will further increase when more staff members run for a place in the next Staff Council elections and when the turnout rises. Also, there has been a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of the implementation of a Faculty Council, where students and staff are united in one body.
Regarding the actual say of students and staff, the new faculty management model is believed to be ‘top down’ despite the fact that the faculty board had promised at the time of implementation that the responsibilities would be placed at the lowest levels possible. It seems the faculty board is solely focussed on further uniformity, neglecting the large diversity within the Humanities Faculty. The Educational Programme Committees should get more say and departments should not be confronted with the Graduate School of the College of Humanities as being ‘fait accompli’ without being thoroughly consulted.
Lastly, the meeting concluded that staff and students are going to assess how decentralisation of say and participation can be further promoted within the Humanities Faculty. What are the possibilities within the current structure and in what way should the new management model be adjusted? A Contact Group will be formed in which all different initiatives will be united.
Register for Contact group
Staff and students who would like to become part of the Contact Group are invited to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A second Faculty Meeting to discuss the first results is scheduled on the 10 April, 11:15.