Cyclus update!

Consultation meeting UGV/OR/USR with Executive Board, March 22nd, 2021

In this update, the USR dwells on the main points that were identified during the Consultative Meeting. In the Consultative Meeting, the Works Council (OR) and the University Student Council (USR) enter into discussion with the Executive Board (CvB). The agenda included the follow-up memorandum on Proctorio and the User-Owner Model (GEM), with the first topic dominating the discussion. 

This meeting was also the last one with the current composition of the Executive Board: vice-chair Wilma de Koning became general director of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) on June 1. Daan Willems, president of the USR, thanked Ms. De Koning on behalf of the UGV for her commitment to Radboud University in recent years and wished her good luck in her new job.


An eventful cycle in which the predominant vote was Proctorio. Last cycle the UGV was allowed to vote on the framework for the deployment of Proctorio. In preparation, the UGV was allowed to ask the rector and a number of policy staff questions about the documents provided during a committee meeting earlier in the month. During the Consultation Meeting, the emphasis is more on policy questions. For the UGV, a number of issues were not yet (sufficiently) clear, for example, on what exactly we had to agree to: is the use of Proctorio only possible in individual cases or should it be used on a large scale? In addition, the timeline for the Faculty Joint Meeting (FGV) was not sufficiently elaborated. Given that the FGV is responsible for the actual granting of Proctorio and they also have to agree to including Proctorio in the OER, it is important that this is clear beforehand. In addition, the question of whether lecturers/examination boards were actually using Proctorio as a last resort could, in the opinion of the majority of the UGV, not be sufficiently answered. 

On the basis of the documents provided and the discussion during the Consultation Meeting, the UGV was not sufficiently convinced that Proctorio serves a legitimate interest. That is why a small majority of the UGV voted against the use of Proctorio on Monday, March 29. More information? Then click here.

User-Owner Model (GEM)

Due to the extensive discussion on Proctorio, only written responses to the UGV’s questions on the GEM have been received. The GEM is primarily about the distribution of housing costs. The objectives are (1) efficient operation of the buildings on campus, (2) sustainable and optimal use of the buildings on campus and (3) common burden sharing. During the preparatory committee meeting, questions were asked about any adverse effects on working and teaching spaces. The document was now before the GV for information only. The final version will be discussed in June, including our input. 

Cyclus Update!

Consultation meeting UGV/OR/USC with Executive Board, January 25, 2021

In this update, the USC reflects on the main points that were identified during the Consultative Meeting. In the Consultative Meeting, the Works Council (OR) and the University Student Council (USR) discuss with the Executive Board (CvB). The Executive Board sends a number of documents for information, advice or assent. To arrive at a well-considered advice, the Works Council and USC have the opportunity to ask questions. In this update we will consider the following points: Directive Temporary Reduction BSA, the Governance Model, Green and Car-Free Campus and the results of the employee survey.

Directive on temporary lowering of the BSA

On January 11 several parties and student councils from all over the Netherlands, including the USC Nijmegen, wrote a letter to the Executive Board to consider lowering the BSA given the current circumstances. The Association of Universities (VSNU) has jointly advised to lower the BSA 10 to 15%. In this way each university can give direction on how they want to implement it. The USC sat down with the rector and gave advice on what is most workable. Eventually it was decided that the BSA will be lowered by 6.5 EC for current first year students. Students who received a maintained recommendation last year also have to obtain 6.5 EC less. As USC, we are very happy with this outcome: students have less stress to pass the BSA since there is one subject less to pass and also they do not have to walk around with the same stress the next year.

Governance model

The Executive Board has had the governance model of the university described and has had a proposal made for more harmonization of the organization and governance. This document describes what certain functions entail and what the tasks of a certain body within the university are. With the co-determination we were generally positive about the document. However, there were questions about the implementation and we tried to make it clear that a good plan of action is also needed to implement it all. The UGV gave a positive recommendation.

Green and car-free campus

Within ‘Duurzaam Bereikbaar Heyendaal’ work is being done on keeping the campus sustainably accessible. In this document we looked at how to reduce the number of cars on the campus. In an exploratory study we looked at whether it is feasible to actually create a car-free campus, taking into account the consequences of the physical and mobility measures. As USC, we are a supporter of this project to ensure that the university becomes even more sustainable. We have raised questions about the timeline and feasibility. It is known that certain traffic points around campus will now become busier. The CvB will also discuss this with surrounding neighborhoods and districts to see how the plans can be implemented in good consultation.

Staff survey results

An additional staff survey has been conducted to see how employees of the Radboud University are doing. Due to the corona crisis many staff have to work (more) from home and the workload has further increased. The survey shows that corona has considerable consequences for health and work perception. Physical and especially mental health has deteriorated in comparison to before the corona crisis. There is also less solidarity with Radboud University and colleagues and it also has a negative effect on work-life balance. About the communication the staff is reasonably satisfied. Another issue was the work pressure. The survey revealed that 50% of the staff had worked from home in the past 6 months. Positive experiences included more flexibility, no travel time and costs, and more peace of mind. On the other hand, there were also obstacles. (Too) little contact with colleagues/supervisors, (too) little change in the environment and a poorer work/life balance. 65% of the employees want to work at home for at least 25% after coronation time. The Works Council did have some questions about this point. For example, the only option was to fill in that you could work 0-25%. If you did not want to work at home at all, i.e. 0%, you could not indicate this properly. A new survey will be carried out shortly in which the 0% and 100% options will also be added.


Finally, the work pressure. Even before the corona crisis, the workload, especially among academic staff, was already high. Due to the crisis, the many working from home, hybrid education and personal circumstances, this is only reinforced. Also in comparison to the previous personnel survey, the difference between experienced and desirable work pressure has increased. The Works Council receives many complaints about this and employees are looking for solutions. Soon the USC, OR and the CvB will sit down together and see what is possible to offer both short and long term solutions. As USC, we see this problem. Yet we hope that the measures will not be at the expense of education.

Daan Willems, as chairman, issued the following statement on behalf of the USC: “We see the concerns of the teachers and would like to know what the CvB is going to do to solve these cases and prevent them in the future. This is a very undesirable situation not only for teachers, but also for students. Although we understand the decision, we as USC cannot support this, because this ‘solution’ for teachers has major implications for the quality of education. This shows how complicated and urgent the reduction of workload in higher education is. We understand the need to prioritize the distribution of workload, but the USC believes that education at a university cannot be cut in such a way. Does the college also believe that reduction of workload can no longer be a long-term vision and must be solved in the short term?”

Cyclus Update!

Consultative meeting UGV/OR/USC with Executive Board, December 7, 2020

In this update, the USC shares the main points identified during the Consultation Meeting. In the Consultative Meeting, the central co-determination has the opportunity to ask questions about policy documents in order to then make a good and well-considered recommendation and/or vote. This meeting focused on the budget and the reorganization of the HOVO.

Budget 2021

In the Annual University Budget Plan, the university indicates what it plans to do with its finances in the coming year. The UGV (Works Council + elected members of the USC) has the right to advise on this document, which means that they must advise the Executive Board and the Board may only deviate from this with good reason. Both the USC and the Works Council had a number of questions about the budget in advance. The underlying documents for some of the plans had not yet been submitted to the USC, which made it difficult to ascertain whether the expenses were justified. Essential policy documents that were missing included the Campus Plan, the iStrategy and the Housing Vision.

In addition, a number of assumptions were made that the UGV also questioned. For example, it has been said for years that the intake of students will decrease, but this is (still) not the case. However, this is budgeted for. It is also included that the vision is that there is a greater need for hybrid work.

All this together has made the UGV decide to issue a negative recommendation. This indicated that we needed the essential policy documents, on which the board based its choices, in order to be able to give an actual advice. On January 4, an extra GV took place at the request of the Executive Board to consider the advice. It was promised that in the future the employee participation body would be shown the policy documents at an earlier stage. The Board also promised to provide the four-monthly and eight-monthly reports in addition to the Annual Accounts. Following this, the UGV changed its advice to a positive one.

Reorganization HOVO

The HOVO training institute organizes courses at the academic level for interested people over 50 years of age. Last summer, the college made the decision to pull the plug as of January 1, 2021, to the disappointment of many course participants and also the co-determination. Due to a price increase in 2016, because VAT had to be levied on the courses, the number of registrations dropped significantly. On top of that, there was also the corona crisis, which meant that course participants did not register for the new courses. We are now looking into the possibility of giving the HOVO a place in the Radboud Academy. In the future there must be a suitable offer for this group.

During the GV it was asked whether it is possible to monitor whether former HOVO students actually make use of the replacement offer. The Executive Board has indicated that it is willing to do this.

Anonymous assessment

Last year, the USC wrote a memorandum requesting that, where possible, all forms of assessment be administered anonymously by using only a student number. The board indicated that in testing periods 2 and 3 it would start a pilot with anonymous grading of a number of tests where this might be easy to realize, such as exams with open questions, exams with multiple choice questions and the assessment by the second grader of graduation papers. The college still had reservations about anonymous assessment of all forms of tests. “Education, in addition to qualification, is also about socialization and formation of the person.” In period 4 of this academic year, the pilot will be evaluated with students and teachers. Based on this evaluation, it will be considered whether or not it is possible to introduce anonymous assessment more broadly.

Student wellbeing

The first month of the new year is already over and we can all agree: it has been a dynamic period where the light at the end of the tunnel is still too small at this point. The coronacrisis makes us all think. During this crisis, more attention also came to the wellbeing of students. Because during this crisis, it turned out that not every young adult has a carefree student life. We write this letter for those students. Are you not feeling good about yourself? That’s okay! Even the members of the USR sometimes lose track. Therefore, in this letter we tell our own stories. Maybe they offer recognition, hope and inspiration. The goal is to encourage you to look out for and support each other.


The year should feel like an express train, but sometimes I feel like I’m standing still. I tried using the corona crisis to get answers to questions. Eventually I found them and that means change. I find that quite exciting. Making the right choice and following your own heart is not always easy. I used to be incredibly good at portraying negativity unto myself. In recent years I have made an effort to accept my own imperfections and to focus on my talents. The perfectionism may be a little less. With some help, I have learned to get happiness out of myself and trust my own resilience. In addition, I have come to realize how much I can count on my circle of friends. I wish every student, nay everyone this same investment. We need to take the time to listen carefully to our own needs.


In the first lockdown I did the cliché lockdown activities, I made about 10 jigsaw puzzles, and went for a walk every day. In addition, I watched web lectures and wrote my thesis. Of course I followed the news closely, the numbers were my common thread through the days. What still felt relaxed during the first lockdown is now completely different: studying in times of corona is just not fun. Sitting at home behind your laptop feels lonely and the lack of social contact while studying is a huge miss. Despite all the efforts of teachers who try to make the best of it in all sorts of ways. As annoying as it is, the fact that we are all in the same rotten situation means that you can draw support from each other. By taking a walk together, organizing fun activities online, or simply just having a good time whining uninhibitedly. Know that you are not alone!


In the first lockdown, things didn’t go too well for me for a while. During a Skypecall with my project group, I was sad, but I didn’t tell them that I was troubled by anything. After the meeting I got a message from a groupmate: “Hey, are you okay? You sounded a little down just now”.

When I think back on this, I mostly remember how surprised I was. Surprised that someone took the time to listen to my story sincerely and without judgment, and that someone was curious about how I was doing. That makes me sad. Shouldn’t that be the norm? Investing in each other, taking the time to listen to someone’s story? It’s such a small effort to ask someone to take a walk together or send a message to ask how things are going, but it can mean so much to that person! Who are you going to send a message to?