During the previous week, students and staff members at the University of Groningen were promoting their campaign for the Faculty Council. This is an important decision-making organ at every faculty of the university. Also at University College Groningen, faculty of the University of Groningen, multiple students were campaigning for a position in the Faculty Council. Four students were running for only three positions. Posters were made, argumentative speeches were held, and smiles were given. The Faculty Council is one of the three most important decision-making organs at UCG, so it’s understandable that students are enthusiastic about obtaining a position. The results just came in on Monday the 22nd, so this is a good time to look at the different decision-making organs at UCG and how students can influence those decisions.
At University College Groningen, students have quite a lot of influence in the decision-making process. You can run in the elections to have influence in the Faculty Board, Faculty Council, and the Educational Committee. To begin with, students can run for an advisory position for the Faculty Board, namely the position of Student Assessor. The Faculty Board is the highest decision-making organ in UCG, with the two positions taken by the Dean and the Academic Director. The Student Assessor is the main advisor of the Faculty Board and is always performed by a second-year student. The Student Assessor is elected by the Faculty Board and the former Student Assessor through selection and interviews. Students can choose to run for the position of Student Assessor at the end of their first year, and it’s a very fruitful and highly respected position within the faculty organisation.
Another way to influence the decision-making in UCG is running for a position in the Faculty Council. The Faculty Council is the main advisory body of the Faculty Board. It is composed out of three student representatives and three staff representatives, who deliberate on the decisions of the Faculty Board and give their advice or approval. As a student, you can run for the Faculty Council through democratic elections where your fellow students can vote for you or one of the other candidates. You can run for the Faculty Council at the end of the first year and will start in the beginning of the second year. The special thing about the Faculty Council is that the official positions are taken by the student representatives. So, as a student, you get the opportunity to be the Chair, Vice-Chair, or Secretary of the Faculty Council. This is a good way to gain experience in the procedural decision-making process in an organisation through really taking the responsibility of a position like that.
Lastly, students can also influence the decision-making in UCG via the Educational Committee. The Educational Committee reviews the evaluations of the courses, and also gives advice on the general quality of education, the exam regulation, and other important decisions taken by the Faculty Board. In the Educational Committee, three student representatives and three staff representatives can voice their opinion, and Faculty Council members are also welcome to join the Educational Committee meetings. Students can take a position in the Educational Committee in their first year already. This is great to gain experience in the procedural process in UCG, if you have the ambition to continue in the Faculty Council or to become the next Student Assessor. It is also very fruitful if you just want to influence the decision-making or improve the quality of the education at UCG.
As you can see, students can influence a lot of influence within the decision-making process of UCG. Of course, there are also other ways to influence the course of UCG, namely by being an active student, initiating things personally to the Faculty Board or other staff members, or trying to improve UCG in your own way. Nevertheless, the official bodies are a very fruitful way to gain experience in this procedural process and enhance your skills, knowledge, and professional work experience. If you would every like to run for any of these positions, you now understand how the decision-making works through this quick introduction of the student influence at UCG!
By Josien Scholing – First year student at UCG