It takes two to Tango – Current status
For a while now there has been little news about the measures that emerged following the publication of the It takes two to Tango report. That doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. So, what’s the situation at the start of 2020? Time for a quick update.
Let’s start with a recap. In early 2018, the Faculty Board held talks with both academic and non-academic staff about the way in which the faculty was organised following the publication of the ‘It takes two to Tango’ report. Based on these rounds of discussions, the Faculty Board then formulated a number of areas for improvement and action points.
One of the main measures to emerge from this process was the Programme Standards project, which encompasses many of the solutions for the three main goals: reduce workloads, create a better balance between teaching and research and guarantee the faculty’s future financial health. The Programme Standards project identifies the resources and tools that we as a Faculty can use to strike a balance between teaching and research, and aims to reduce the workload by improving efficiency.
In addition, as from the first quarter of 2020, training sessions will be organised for programme chairpersons (among others) so that they are prepared for the tasks and responsibilities associated with this position. The topics to be covered during these sessions include the role and position of the programme chairperson, trends in higher education, finances, the vision on teaching and learning and quality assurance. Programme chairpersons will play an active role in the training programme through case studies.
Greater attention has also been paid at faculty level to the issues of diversity and inclusiveness; as an example, a sounding board comprising lecturers and non-academic staff has since been set up.
The aim of the Programme Standards project, which is divided into two subprojects, is to ensure that curricula are organised and structured as efficiently as possible and to gain a better insight into how hours are distributed between teaching and research tasks. This will then make it much easier to compare the various curricula. This knowledge will guide discussions between the faculty, departments and institutes with a view to boosting efficiency. The project also seeks to achieve a better overview of the balance between the faculty’s income and expenditure, so that it can be (and remain) financially healthy – both now and in the future.
In 2019, the plans for the Programme Standards project were fleshed out further and submitted to a sounding board. This group, consisting of representatives from all sections of the faculty, has met a number of times and, at the request of the Faculty Board, is preparing an advisory report.
Only once the fundamental principles of the Programme Standards project have been established will things really get underway. What do these guidelines actually mean for departments, lecturers, institutes and students? How will the structure and organisation of the curricula change? Throughout the year, the Faculty Board will be holding talks with departments and institutes to see what can be done to improve the organisation of degree programmes. If fewer teaching hours are required for a particular programme, there will be more scope for research. By working together across the faculty, from the perspective of our own roles, to critically assess the scale of course units, working methods, the number of electives and group sizes, we will be able to organise our education more efficiently.