Student - October 15, 2015

Students chair the education commission

Text:
Linda van der Nat

It is unique in the Wageningen University history: two students as chairmen of the education commission. Master students Wim Bosschaart and Bart Steman were both chosen as chairman on the 12th of October for the education commission of Landscape Architecture and Planning.

It is unique in the Wageningen University history: two students as chairmen of the education commission. Master students Wim Bosschaart and Bart Steman were both chosen as chairman on the 12th of October for the education commission of Landscape Architecture and Planning.

The students reacted a bit surprised when, in February, the programme director and at the time chairman of the education commission Jan Philipsen approached them for the possible chair position. At that moment Bart and Wim had already been members of the education commission for a while. They spoke up during discussions about education changes of the Landscape Architecture and Planning bachelor and master. Wim: ‘It felt as a reward for our involvement, but it is a lot of responsibility that they are putting in the hands of students.’ Bart: ‘I was taken by surprise, but at the same time I also thought, this is a chance that we have to take. When do you get the chance to have such an influence on your own education?’ For students studying Architecture and Planning it is an ideal testing ground, according to Wim. ‘In our future jobs we will also have to lead and weigh the interests of different actors. There are not many other places where you can quickly learn the competences that we will learn here.’

The guys wanted to do the job together. ‘The responsibility is too large to do it alone’, says Wim. Above all, the students know each other very well. They were in the board of the student association Genius Loci together, they worked on several projects together and they cycle together. ‘We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,’ says Bart. They think that having this kind of trust is going to be very important in taking this step. ‘The learning effect will be greatest if we can fall back on each other and reflect together.’

We will be two guys of 21 years old working together with experienced, university teachers. You are allowed to make small mistakes.
Wim Bosschaart

As chair, the two will lead meetings and keep track of the agenda, among other tasks. They will also generally determine what will be discussed during the meetings. They see this as a chance to increase the involvement of the students in their education. Wim: ‘Before we could offer topics for the meetings, now we can form the framework of topics discussed during the meetings. Students can tip us during lunch break with complaints or suggestions, and we can get that topic in the agenda of the meeting the next day, or so to speak. The gap between what is happening among students and what is being discussed in the education commission has decreased. It would be great if this would lead to an open and more active culture.’ Bart: ‘Students easily complain about their education, but they do not take action. This might be because they do not know the right channels, or because they do not believe that they can really participate. Our chair position shows that students indeed have influence.’

The education commission is made up of four teachers and four students. That the students need to listen to their teacher during lectures and that the roles are reversed during meetings does not bother the students. Wim: ‘In the meantime we have grown our credibility and the teachers mainly think this is a nice experiment. They gave us the mandate to intervene during meetings. Nevertheless, we will have to prove ourselves.’ Bart: ‘There is a lot of mutual
respect, but at the start we will have to try and find the right attitude. We might still make mistakes at the start.’ Wim adds: ‘We will be two guys of 21 years old working together with experienced, university teachers. You are allowed to make small mistakes.’

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  • OpCielid

    Leuk artikel en absoluut goed om een keer aan te kaarten. Het is echter geen unicum voor studentvoorzitterschap (tenzij het duale karakter bedoeld wordt) Enkele jaren geleden nog was er een masterstudente die zelf ook een tijd lang het voorzitterschap op zich heeft genomen bij een andere Opleidingscommissie. Een goed voorbeeld is het echter weer wel. Succes heren!


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