The Faculty of Arts at the University of Groningen organised a kick-off week, and according to the former chair of the Faculty Council, there is room for improvement.
The kick-off week, which was mandatory for every first-year student, and some master and pre-master students at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen, was organised for the very first time.
This week included introductory lectures by the individual study departments, but also faculty-wide activities, lectures, and workshops.
The University of Groningen could not organise the accustomed introduction day because of a large conference in the city, which occupied all rooms in the Faculty of Arts.
Hans Jansen, study advisor within the Faculty of Arts and former chairman of the Faculty Council, told The Scoop that there were several problems with the kick-off week this year.
Firstly, while first-year students were involved in their kick-off week, second and third-years had already begun their full-time studies. The first-year programme is now one week behind the rest of the students, making it very complicated for teachers and second-year students redoing a first-year course.
The second problem, Jansen added, is the increase in workload for first-year students because the first week of exams had to be cancelled. The workload from this exam week, which entails 40 hours of studying, now has to be spread over the other 7 weeks.
The one positive, according to Jansen, is that they have much more time to do the introduction with the new students. The kick-off week gave the lecturers more time to explain their programme, and it created the opportunity for the mentors to do individual meetings. Doing these talks in the kick-off week ensures that initial problems can be sorted out before the start of the academic year.
Vincent Hazelhoff, public relations officer from the Faculty of Arts, was positive about the faculty’s achievements. Although project coordinators were pressed for time, faculty-wide activities such as the Arts lecture and the CV workshops were a success, as shown by the amount of people that signed up. Hazelhoff adds that the central activities were especially useful for international students, because they were introduced to the faculty buildings.
The University will conduct a formal evaluation later this year, together with the study departments and the communications office.