‘We want everyone to be able to realise their ambitions'

| Rense Kuipers

Crisis or not, the elections for the University Council are scheduled for next week. This year, students have a choice of four parties for a seat in university politics. In this mini-series, the leading candidates take turns to present their respective parties. This first episode: Dirk Koelewijn, on behalf of DAS.

First row, second from the left: Dirk Koelewijn

Face and voice of the party

DAS stands for anyone with ambition. Whether you're from this region or from the other side of the world. We want everyone to be able to realise his or her ambitions, inside and outside education. In my opinion, that is also the main difference with other parties: we have a much broader perspective than education alone. We don't just make our voices heard within the university council; the informal conversations we have outside with staff and students are equally important. It's fine to enjoy a beer and discuss important themes within the university. We prefer to proactively gather the voice of the community'.

Three focal points

1. 'Students come to this university to study, so we stand for education that should just be very good. Now that education is becoming somewhat more flexible with TOM 2.0, we want to make sure that programmes implement this properly. The professionalisation of faculty boards and programme committees is important in this respect. In addition, we want to prevent overpopulation of the campus. Student numbers have grown in recent years, but this should not be at the expense of educational quality. We are - of course - against evening lectures and in favour of more study places. And the command of the English language isn't your cup of tea everywhere. The UT must offer more room for employees to master the English language.’

2. 'Whatever your ambition, from an honours program to setting up your own start-up, it is important that the support is good. Hopefully the board minor will return and with the arrival of Incubase there will be more support for entrepreneurship. But across the board, there must be sufficient facilities for student organisations, as the UT continues to grow. Look at sport and culture You shouldn’t have to start your training at 11 o'clock in the evening.’

3. 'The UT has said in its vision that it wants to be the ultimate people-first university of technology. We like to see that reflected in the policy on student welfare. For example, the study load - which should be 28 hours per EC - is very skewed in a number of courses. And wellbeing is related to integration. More courses for language proficiency in both English and Dutch promote integration, but it is of course more than language alone.'

Role of the corona crisis?

There is no doubt that the University Council has an influence on UT policy; in corona times, the role is all the more important. The crisis gives extra priority to making education more flexible: making more lectures available online, providing enough room for retaking exams and focusing on extra support. This applies in particular to prospective students, so that they can find their place properly. As long as corona is there, it is difficult to introduce new students to the student organisations, but it would be nice if a major introduction event could take place later in the year.'

Facts and figures

  • Party: DAS (The Ambitious Student)
  • Established: 2015
  • Number of seats in the University Council now: 3
  • Number of candidates on the list: 15
  • Link to full party program