News - March 13, 2014

Study advisors speak up for BSA

Linda van der Nat

The binding study advice (BSA) is a good way of motivating lax students. This is the emphasis in a letter from study advisors to the WUR Council. The study advisors are concerned about the rejection of the proposal for a BSA.

In mid-February, the Student Staff Council, part of the WUR Council, voted out a proposal by the executive board for a binding study advice. According to the SSC, it was not clear what the university was aiming to achieve by such a measure.

The study advisors say they are ‘surprised’ by the rejection. They had already spoken up at an earlier stage in favour of the introduction of a binding study advice. They believe a BSA requiring a minimum of 36 points to qualify to continue is a good way of stimulating first-year students to take their course seriously and work hard. Lazy students who ignore their problems need protecting from themselves, say the advisors. ‘What we see   happening in practice is that those students muddle on for two or three years,’ says Anja Janssen,  study advisor at Food Technology and chair of the study advisors’  circle. ‘They don’t show up for meetings and they stick their heads in the sand. We as study    advisors can’t do anything about it. A BSA would be a good ‘stick’ for these students to be aware of.’

According to the advisors, a connection is being made in the discussion between the BSA and the pass rate target. But they are unrelated.  ‘There are other measures for achieving the desired pass rate. As far as we are con­cerned the BSA is an instrument for making sure students are in the right place. That argument has not come to the forefront.’