Dossier: New investments
With the introduction of the new student financing system, new financial resources will become available which are intended for extra investments in the quality of higher level education and related research. These financial resources, however, will only become partially available in 2018. The size of the additional funding will increase until 2030, when the new financing system will be fully operational. Dutch students starting their studies between 2015 and 2017 will be financially disadvantaged by the new student financing system, and will also not enjoy the additional investments in the quality of education. To compensate for this cap, the TU Delft will yearly invest 6 million euros out of their own reserves to improve education. This investments are called ‘the upfront investments’ (in Dutch: voorinvesteringen).
In an open letter of Jet Bussemaker (minister of Education, Culture and Science) about the new student financing system, desirable subareas of investments are suggested by the Association of Universities and Association of Universities of Applied Sciences. Both associations suggest investments in the quality of education, education related research and (modern) infrastructures. Within these subareas, the associations suggest that the investments should go to more lecturers, more academic counsellors, more face-to-face contact and better study facilities. The height and direction of the investments per university may differ.
This year, the Central Student Council gained veto rights on the basic outlines of the yearly budgets. The Executive Board of the TU Delft discussed with the Student and Works Council to define what these basic outlines are and how detailed the outlines should be. One of the outcomes was that the outlines of the ‘Voorinvesteringen’ are included in the veto right. This means that the Student and Works council got insight in the projects financed with the ‘Voorinvesteringen’.
Mid 2015 the Executive Board requested the faculties to hand in proposals to improve the education in order to divide the 6 million of financial resources. In total, the faculties appealed for 15 million euros. By the end of September, the best plans were selected based on the following criteria:
- Plans may not be based on overdue or regular curriculum maintenance
- Plans may not be based on internationalisation
- Positive view on plans that decrease work load
- Positive view on plans that improve small scale education and service education
- Positive view on plans on the area of online/blended learning to improve bachelors and masters education separated from professional education.
The 6 million was not divided among faculties in accordance with the number of students. The student staff ratio however, was held in mind. The effectiveness within named subareas and the Strategic Agenda of the TU Delft also played an important role in the selection of plans. Below an overview on what plans will be implemented per faculty.
Arch: The yet existing project to improve the quality of lecturers will be stretched over four years instead of three years to make the project more continuous. The online software tutorials will be improved, online courses on core competences of the faculty will be developed and the faculty will put effort in (professional) blended learning.
CE: 2,5 fte lecturers and 9 student assistants will be employed to enhance small scale education for first year students especially to improve the workshops and lab sessions. 2 fte lecturers and 4 student assistants will be employed for the development, maintenance and usage of blended learning. 6 fte associate professors will be employed to reduce the overload in the masters Offshore Engineering, CIE and Rail Engineering and to make additional growth of these studies possible.
EEMCS: Many mathematics lecturers of the EEMCS faculty teach at other faculties. Therefore, EEMCS is only partly compensated financially. With the additional funding these activities will be fully compensated. Furthermore, plans to improve mathematics educations at other faculties will be executed. In order to do so, 2 fte lecturers will be employed.
3mE: A severe increase of Master applicants is predicted at the faculty 3mE and the curriculum is strengthened. These two developments will lead to a high work load of lecturers. To decrease (future) work load, new research areas will be started: Energy storage in fuels, Offshore/Deep Sea/Maritime and Opto mechatronics/nano scale production.
IE: The faculty will employ an additional 5,5 fte lecturers in order to form smaller workgroups, more individual assessments/feedback and lower the workload of current employees.
AS: The faculty will use the additional financing to directly lower the workload of the organisation. 3 fte will be employed to improve the technical aspects of lab sessions, education for design and online education. Also 4 fte will be employed to support the Education and Student Affairs department in the faculty.
AE: An additional 2 fte academic staff will be employed for each of the four departments to offer more individual guidance in the master studies and to create smaller groups in other parts of the education. Also 1 fte technical staff will be employed to support lab sessions.
TPM: To decrease the workload, and to be able to give more individual care for students, 4fte lecturers will be employed in the departments ESS, MAS, VTI and ITAV. Also a small amount of the additional funding will be spend on more student assistants.
E&SA: The Education and Student Affairs department will invest in higher quality working places. There will be investment in an institute for teachers to improve their education. And investments in the participation of Delft student in the Delft student/study associations will be executed.
As described above, a significantly large part of the assigned plans is intended to improve the workload and small scale education. For the student this means smaller workgroups and practicum groups, more individual attention and more individual assessments. Additionally, there will be many investments in digitalisation of education for instance blended learning and online education.
The Student and Works Council believe the selected plans are without any exception good plans and the formed criteria are in line with their thoughts. There was however one disagreement on whether a significant number of the plans satisfied the first criteria. Some plans were found to be based on overdue or regular curriculum maintenance. The Student and Works Council found it to be of importance to have an additional round of ‘Voorinvesteringen’ to compensate the plans that did not meet this criteria.
Additionally, the number of students increases, and the disadvantages by the new student financing system will rapidly increase as well. More investments would be logical. In December the Executive Board agreed to an additional 2 million euros (yearly) as ‘Voorinvesteringen’ on the condition the TU Delft stays financially healthy.
Summarized, in the future the TU Delft will spend yearly an additional 8 million euros to improve the quality of education. These so called ‘Voorinvesteringen’ are investments additional on the already existing investments in education of the TU Delft. The additional financial resources will lead to more small scale education and better and more digital education. In the end, the financing of the investments will be covered by financing from the ministry of education.