This past academic year it has been a hectic period in which we have had to deal with the Cyberhack and COVID-19. Our student representatives have worked hard during these periods; critically and constructively they thought along in how we could design and subsequently improve education. Here we have emphasized equal opportunities for every student and smooth transitional arrangements. We were very committed to the adjustments for proctoring and online testing, ensuring that the transition was as pleasant as possible for the students.
In addition to critically assessing the plans and implementation for education and research, the University Council has also been involved in the management of all the consequences of these crises. This includes student welfare, communication policy and the continuation of salaries for PhD students and (student) staff.
The Quality Agreements are an annual recurring theme. These agreements describe what part of the budget, which used to be the student grant, is spent on within certain pillars. SHAPE strictly monitors that this money is well spent; this amount is also increasing every year, leaving room for new initiatives. Because of the experience and vision of the SHAPE members, we can adapt well to this and ensure that new plans are pursued.
Some new developments are the developed extracurricular courses, PBL training for master students without UM background, language courses for non-Dutch speaking students, developing knowledge clips and establishing educational apps.
At Randwyck, renovations are underway in UNS40 and UNS50. SHAPE has contributed to the developments of these renovation plans up to their design and implementation. During the UNS40 renovation, we paid specific attention to ensure sufficient study places, informal meeting places and a bar in the faculty in order to enhance the campus feeling.
In UNS50 new lecture halls will be built, in which we have paid attention to ensure that these halls would have sufficient capacity for the current student body.
The Black Lives Matter has confronted many with the inequalities within our society and academia. In response to this, the UM emphasizes that there is no room for racism and that we strive for an inclusive environment for everyone. SHAPE strives for a renewed and broader diversity policy at the UM. An inventory is being made of where the issues are and how these can be tackled. There will also be further efforts to create equal opportunities for talented women in regard to reaching top positions within the university.
In the year 2018-2019 we worked hard to make the Toilet newspaper possible. In 2019 it was finally time; the first Toilet newspaper could be read in the toilets in UNS40 and the toilets at the University Library! During COVID-19 we continued with the Toilet paper and they were released online. We do this to give students a better view into the world of student representatives.
Finally, in the past year, we have been passionately involved with recurring themes such as the faculty budget, education and examination regulations, professor appointments and other current events.