- Encourage personal development
- Involve international students
- A sustainable university
ONS Leiden is a Student party at the Leiden University and represents the active student who wants to do more than just studying. Our members are part of the University and Faculty councils. Is there anything that has to change at Leiden University in order to accommodate the international student in his study? Send us a mail: bestuur[@]stemons.nl
Faculty of Law
- More spots for independent study at the KOG
- Decent prices of the study material
- Connection with the faculty
- Good insight into the job market, broader than what it is currently
- Reducing plastic waste
In the Faculty of law we focus on, as we always do, the facilities that help an active student to make the most of his or her study. Next to that we find it important that the students will have enough room for developing themselves and participating in extracurricular activities. To reach this goal we are looking into the needs of the students and the needed improvements. These improvements we take then with us to the Faculty council to find a solutions together with the board of the faculty.
The coming year we want to mostly focus on the following five points:
More independent study spots at the KOG
Not having enough room for independent studying is a wide problem for the students in Leiden University. This could be read in the Mare and the same problem occurs every exam period again and again. At KOG this problem is experienced not only during the exam periods but every day: both computer spots and normal study spots are full by 10:30 in the morning.
This is a big problem especially for those students who have a lecture or a workgroup during the day and they come back to a full library.
The council members of ONS have already brought this up in the council meeting and we are working hard to write a notion where we want to find a solution together with the Board of the faculty. One of the possible solutions is building gates by the library so that the non-students cannot use the library of KOG anymore.
Decent prices of the study material
The students are often confronted by the high costs of the books and other study material. Taking into consideration the amount of books bought each semester these costs are so high that students consider overwegen af te zien van de aanschaf hiervan. We understand that these costs of the books are not in the hands of the board of the faculty but we would like to look into the possibilities to lower the costs of the study material, including the readers and law bundles.
Good insight into the job market, broader than what it is currently
At the KOG you do not come across advertisements for law firms, business courses, office visits and inhousedays. Study associations, committees and offices meant for this purpose however organise and advertise these things a lot, which we find important as well. By participating in these activities you can learn a lot of practical skills and even get to know your future employer during your study. The university plays the less active part in promoting specific firms or business courses which is good for its independent position. However because of the lack of promotion from the university, the small and less popular work possibilities are often forgotten. We would like to see the faculty broaden its insight into the job market which would include the less common possibilities for the future lawyers. For driving this matter we want to use our position in the council of the faculty.
Reducing plastic waste
ONS finds sustainability important also in the University. The Faculty of Law is definitely not left behind when it comes to sustainable and environmentally friendly development. Each year it will be checked in which parts the costs and use of energy can be reduced and where possible pollution can be contested. However, there is always room for improvement. The board of the faculty has stopped recycling plastic because the environment factor processes the plastic together with the residual waste. This is because the production of plastic is cheaper than recycling plastic at the moment. Cheaper but not more sustainable, and this will only support the production of more plastic. All this, while the plastic is becoming larger and larger problem in the environmental pollution. One solution could be reducing the use of plastic in the faculty by offering less plastic things. No more bottles out of the drink machines and building taps for water so the students can easily fill their own bottle with water or use paper cups in the coffee machines.
Faculty of Social Sciences
More room for personal development
- Audio recordings of the lectures and the lecture slides online
- More attention and support for internships
- Resitting passed exams
By recording the lectures and placing them on Blackboard the students get two options: to attend the lecture live or watch it back later. The teachers often disagree with the recording of the lectures because of the privacy or copyright. Therefore we think it is understandable to start by recording only voice and placing these records on Blackboard with the lecture slides. To keep the students more motivated to attend the lectures we suggest that the recorded lectures are put online few weeks before the exams.
We think there should be more attention directed on the internships because it is important to get some practical experience during your study. This way you learn to use the learnt knowledge in practice. This way you get a better picture of what kind of work you are studying for. We find this important and want to increase this desperately.
Also, we think it is important that one can resit passed exams. In the light of the new trend of higher expectations for the masters degrees this can give the students a chance to increase their average grade just enough to be applicable for their dream master’s degree. Next to that sometimes you just have a bad day and underperform in the exam, this way that mistake can be fixed.
- Lectures in one language
- Higher level of english language by the teachers
- The international and dutch students more in contact with each other
For the sake of internationalisation we find it important that the lectures (especially in psychology) are given in one language. What often happens is that the teachers switch from english to dutch and back to english which makes it difficult to follow. By improving the level of english language of the teachers makes it easier for the international students to fit into our faculty. Also by dividing the students randomly into the groups makes it easier to get to know more people from your study and bring the international and the dutch students together at the FSW.
- Less unnecessary printing of readers
- Handing in assignments through turnitin or e-mail instead of printed out
- Sorting out the waste
By reducing the printing of readers and other materials for the lectures and workgroups we work towards a more sustainable University. Less paperwork leads to less waste and more trees are saved in the world.
The same happens when the assignments are handed in through turnitin and e-mail. Could be that the teacher decides to print out the assignment anyway because she prefers to read it on paper but this way the amount of printing will be reduced at least to some point.
Also sorting out the waste is important for a better processing of the waste, but it is important that the sorted waste is also processed separately.
- Better opening times of the Student Service Centre
A complain that a lot of the students at FSW experience is the poor opening times of the Student Service Centre. A simple solution would be increasing the opening times. The possibilities for the solutions will have to be discussed with the board of the faculty.
Faculty of Humanities
More room for personal development
- Recording the large sized lectures
- Recording the workgroups
Large sized lectures should be recorded regularly so that the students have a chance to watch them again at home. The lecture should not be available online every week to avoid the empty lecture rooms. Placing the lectures online few weeks before the exam is preferable. In the large lecture rooms 0.11 and 0.19 there is required equipment for recording the lectures and this should be used. In the smaller lecture rooms the possibilities for recording equipment should be looked into.
In some workgroups it would be useful to be able to look back what the teacher said. At the faculty of Law this is possible for some workgroups. The board and the council of the faculty have to discuss about the possibilities of recording the workgroups and decide what the best solution is.
- Better English markings in The Hague (International Studies)
- More courses in English
- Activities between the Dutch and international students need to be facilitated
In Den Haag the international students of International Studies get too often only a Dutch explanation in different facilities for example the restaurant. This needs to be improved because not every international student knows what ‘prei-soep’ is. All the Dutch information should therefore also be found in English.
From the international perspective it is useful for the Dutch students if they already have some courses in English. For example if they want to do a master’s degree abroad. Also the international students can then follow the same courses as well. Different bachelors are already developing English programs and the board of the faculty should discuss with the boards of the different institutions about the possibilities for more courses taught in English.
Usually in the international studies the international students hang out only with the internationals because the Dutch students are often members in Dutch student associations and have their family and old friends close by. By bringing these two groups together one can create respect and friendships between the internationals and the Dutch. Instead of the bubbles where they often live. This way the international students get closer to the Dutch culture and the Dutch students can broaden their view of the world. There needs to be more events organised where the internationals can meet the Dutch and vise versa.
The Dutch courses could be offered for the internationals to make it easier for them to mix with the Dutch students in the university community.
- Solar panels on the roof of the faculty
- Recyclable cups for the drink machines
- Sorting waste
The faculty can produce sustainable energy for its own use with the solar panels. For the new humanities campus there are already plans for a sustainable building, although it will take few years before the campus is finished.
Therefore it is important to look at the options for the Lipsius building and other parts of the faculty of humanities.
In the Lipsiuscafé the recyclable cups are already in use but not in the drink machines. Even though most of the drinks are bought from the machines. The possibilities to use recyclable cups in the machines should be looked into. If this is not possible then the option of placing new drink machines should be investigated.
Using recyclable cups at Lipsiuscafé is great but the cups often end up in the common garbage can with plastic and other not recyclable waste. Therefore we need to place garbage cans that are used for sorting waste and make sure that the sorted waste is also processes separately.
Faculty of Science
More room for personal development
- Higher quality of the courses that focus on communication skills
- Recording the lectures
- The study and computer rooms accessible also in the evenings
The quality of the courses concerning communicative skills, should be elevated without an increase in the burden of the course. At the moment, students of our faculty are following the course OBAS. Although this course touches upon important subjects, the time which is set for the course is absolutely unnecessary since the actual knowledge which is discussed, could be covered in a much shorter amount of time. We find communicative skills important, this is only covered in a small part of this course. We do not want to discard such courses, but we want to improve them. We would like to accomplish this by getting in contact with the tutors and the board of examination who want to keep the quality of the education at a high level. After all, it is a waste to follow less useful courses when they could be of a much better quality.
Concerning the lectures, we find it a shame that all lecture rooms at Gorleaus are equipped with the right equipment to record lectures, but are not used. After all, lecturers have to give permission for this. We want to move towards a joint solution between the tutors and the students. Therefore, we think it is wise to start with the recordings of lectures and to upload the sheets online. This will give the student space to recap the subjects which he or she did not understand quite well, subsequently, this will create an extra chance in case of sickness or for space for secondary activities. In this way, the courses can still be followed
Besides, we find it important to work on wider openings hours of the Science Library and the Library for Math and Computer Science, which are regularly open until 18:00 or 19:00 O’clock and are both closed in the weekend. The University Library is often full, certainly during the exam periods. To lighten the pressure on the University Library, we would like to widen the openings hours of the libraries of our faculty. To decrease the cost of supervision, we think it is a good idea to only let the study halls open later on the day.
- Reduction of the student inflow at courses who qualitatively suffer under this
- Procedure around review term of exams sharper
How it is now, there are too many people accepted at for example the study biopharmaceutical sciences. This leads to too large groups during practical classes and this results into qualitatively worse education. How good it may be that many people would like to follow a study at Leiden University, the education may never suffer under this. The idea is to implement a numerus fixus on the study, or create a select number of available places for a study, on the basis of demonstrable motivation.
At for example Mathematics, physics and astronomy the fact is that resist sometimes can be taken before the actual exam has been graded. It is supposed to be so that the student takes the resit, irrespectively if he/she passed the exam. This is utterly unacceptable. At the faculty of the Humanities the grading term is set in the Education and Exam regulations. This should also be the case for the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. Not only does the current structure cost the students extra work, time and stress, but also the tutors who have to grade the extra resits are being bothered by this. This can not be promotional in any way for the quality of the education.
- Year schedule available certainly before the start of the year of study for all studies
- Personal schedules available for personal digital agenda
- More clarity on and around USIS and Blackboard
At for example the study biopharmaceutical sciences, the schedules are only known a month before the start of the course. This creates an impossibility to know on time where you are as a student or tutor. Consultation with the schedule makers should help to solve this. If, at the beginning of the year, all schedules of all studies are available, is is clear when rooms are available. Because of this, the schedules can be created much earlier.
At the moment, the schedules are only available on the internet via USIS or Blackboard. The students must put them in their own digital agenda themselves. However, it may not form a large problem to make these schedules compatible with the digital agendas of the most used operating systems. In this way, the faculty will be up to date with the current modernities and the process will simply be simplified.
There should be a mandatory first year course on USIS and Blackboard. Moreover, there should be study specific information available on Blackboard for all studies. The first year course on USIS and Blackboard exists at most studies, but this is not mandatory. However, this should be, wherefore everyone understands clearly how affairs such as enrolling for exams and how to find study requirements on Blackboard for courses and the catalogue of the libraries work. Moreover, there should be more study specific information on Blackboard for the studies Mathematic and Physics, which are not there at the moment.
For a sustainable University
- Invest in outdated buildings
Invest in outdated buildings by means of new techniques such as motion sensors for lighting and faucets. Besides, improve the isolation through double glassed windows. At the moment, much power is used to keep the buildings warm, lights who are unnecessary on and bad isolation. Therefore, we find it useful to install motion sensors for lighting and faucets and to ensure better isolation by using double glassed windows. This is simply better for the environment, but the investment will cost less money on the long term due to the lower cost for gas, water and light.
More room for personal development
- Promoting the possibilities abroad
Going abroad for example for an internship is not only fun but also a great learning experience. LUMC should put more effort into organising internships and courses abroad. Especially for the minors abroad there is a lot of room for improvement. It is possible for the students to search their own minors abroad but this is usually communicated to the students too late when there is not enough time to organise it anymore.
- To help internationals better and get them more involved
At the moment there is not much attention for the international students and they are thrown into the deep sea without instructions. Finding a place to live and getting in touch with Dutch students is difficult. By promoting programs like housing everywhere could also help the international students of LUMC to find a place to live in Leiden.
- More work space for independent study
- Plugs for electronics (laptops and tablets) in the lecture rooms
- Better seats for lecture room 4
There is not often enough room for working on group assignments. In the Walaeus there is room for independent study but you cannot discuss about the assignments there. Also, the workgroup rooms are often fully booked during the day.
During the lectures a lot of students use laptops and in some lectures it is even mandatory to use a laptop. Therefore it is important that all of the lecture rooms have enough plugs to be used during the lectures. At the moment only the lecture room 6 fulfils the need for plugs, all the other rooms have only few plugs.
The chairs in the lecture room 4 are not good enough at the moment. They are uncomfortable and there is not enough room for a notebook or a laptop. By replacing these chairs with the similar chairs as in the other lecture rooms the problem can be solved easily.
Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs
More space for self-development
- Passing grades redoable
- Information extracurricular activities
- Record lectures
- Possibility to follow extra courses in first year
More often, a certain grade average is required for master within and outside of Leiden University. Therefore, the possibility to meet these requirements should be offered. Resitting a passing grade can help students to meet the requirements for the master of their own choosing. Besides, every student experiences once in awhile that he or she is sick on the day on an exam. Certainly students who score many high grades, and score low on these “off days” can really use this opportunity to resit a passing grade.
There is not much clear information available about extracurricular activities which a student can follow. Individual information possibilities by older students, who for example have traveled abroad, followed an internship at a certain organization, who followed a certain minor, or did a double bachelor could help for many students. Hearing something from a fellow student makes it automatically more attractive and more reliable.
This however, does not say that information from the university itself is useless, on the contrary. A painful example which can easily be improved, is the information about internships abroad who students can do in their third year. These information markets are taken place too late in the second year for students to apply for it. Actually, first year students should have a clear insight on the possibilities, so that they know where they can work towards.
The recording of lectures remains, like at almost every faculty, an important issue. The possibilities are there, at several locations, but are not used. This is a shame because the recording of lectures, and the making available of lectures in the right way, creates many benefits. In the end, university revolves around good education, the possibility to rewatch points which you did not understand the first time is extremely helpful. Also, it creates the possibility to watch the lecture, if you have missed it for some reason, and this gives way to self-development outside of the study!
Internationalizing and inclusion
- Start an active buddy-program
- Make tutorials available for internationals
The Faculty Governance and Global Affairs offers an enormous range of students of different backgrounds via Leiden University College and Public Administration. This means that there is a lot of potential to get to know each other! Once the students get to know each other more and mingle, this creates many new perspectives, but at the same time this helps international students to feel more at home in Leiden and The Hague. The idea is to start a program where Dutch and international students are matched and are going to explore the cities. This will of course be on a voluntary basis.
Besides it is important that internationals get the opportunity to follow tutorials. Many of them do follow a minor or extra courses at the study Public Administration. At the moment, they make an extra exam question which should replace the missed tutorials. This is a weird construction. The tutorials should be available for everyone, after all, these are important components of the education. Moreover, this construction does not improve the connection between both the Dutch students and the international students.
For a sustainable university
- Actually separate waste
- Submit papers via Turnitin
Although the waste disposal is done university wide, it is not unimportant to give attention to this at our faculty. When there is attention coming from different angles, it will be easier heard and empowered. Also, at FGGA, waste is not actually separated, this should be happening in the future.
If we would only submit paper via Turnitin, this could create an enormous decrease in paper use. This will create less waste and more trees that will not have to be cut down, but surely also a decrease in the cost when this is taken care of in a careful way. Of course, we are aware of the fact that submitting via Turnitin will not mean that tutors will not print it themselves, but there will certainly be less printed.
Faculty of Archeology
More space for self-development
- Record lectures
- Encourage extracurricular activities and programs
- Attention for requirements of masters in the first year
The recordings of the mandatory courses, without specialization, will help students to divide their time much better, so that doing a management year or other extracurricular activities will become much easier. The possibility to record is already available in one lecture room. This is sadly not used very often. This should become available for more courses, for example to place cameras in more lecture rooms.
Besides, it is of importance that the possibilities to follow two bachelors or two masters are highlighted and brought to the attention to students during bachelordays, masterdays and mooringdays. This also counts for the benefits of participating in committees and managements during the studentship. A lot of people often do not know about these possibilities, and this is unfair.
The requirements for masters become stricter each year, this is mainly the case for research masters, and many students are not aware of this fact in their first year. This should be addressed early during information days, so that students can have an easier transition from their bachelor to their master.
Internationalization and inclusion
- Higher level of English of the tutors
- More attention for exchange programs and long term studying abroad
Since the bachelor Archeology, aside the courses of choice in the first year, a complete English spoken program is, the professors should adjust to the international students. TO assure that international students can follow the curriculum in a better way, the level of English must be increased through the means of English courses. Besides, it is also quite unpractical if it turns out that there are no international students in the lecture room and the professor tells his story in Dutch while all other courses are taught in English. One line creates clarity. The same goes for the master studies.
The faculty of Archeology has good ties with several international universities, but this does not get promoted very often! A semester studying abroad is very beneficial for your personal development and for your CV. This should be addressed earlier and more often to bachelor students. It is a shame to not use these possibilities.
For a sustainable university
- Use less disposable materials in the cafe
- Submit assignments via Turnitin
- The heating a degree lower
There are not a lot of disposable materials used in the cafe. Instead, much china must be used, so that paper use will decrease. This will create less waste and more clean air.
Submit everything on Turnitin/Safeassing instead of hard copies will create the fact that less paper will be used. The modules already exists and are often double submitted, a hard copy version and an online one. It is better for the environment to only submit assignments online, and to also let them be corrected by professors online. Of course we can not obligate the professors to not print the assignments themselves, but this will surely be decreased.
Also it is often too hot at the faculty, when we put the heater a degree lower, this will not make a large difference in the feeling temperature but it will be a large difference in the emission of CO2. Besides it decreases the energy bill, which yields money which can be invested in education and research!