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'Even if you don't say a word, the fact that you’ve got a seat at the table is already significant.'

The Student Assessor: a student who is a member of the Faculty Board and, as such, participates in all important consultations and projects to make sure that students, one of the most important target groups within our faculty, are represented in all administrative decision-making processes. On 1 September 2023, Assessor Julie Külsen will hand over the baton to Edo Crommelin for the upcoming academic year. What were Julie's experiences and what ambitions does Edo have? Time to take a closer look at the assessorship.

What does the assessorship entail?

Julie: 'You’re a full member of the Faculty Board. You attend an awful lot of meetings - faculty board, education board, programme committee - to make sure the student perspective is heard and to have a student at the table in administrative decision-making processes. Of course, you’re also just one student, which is why I try to gather as much information as possible from students. Even if you don't say a word, the fact that you’ve got a seat at the table is already significant.' 

Was there a specific goal you wanted to achieve?

Julie: 'Over the past year, I made sure I was present whenever I could to highlight the voice of "the student" in as many areas as possible. I was actively involved in restyling the KOG. Certain facilities weren’t functioning as they should, and I worked to change this. There’s now a student living room, additional study areas, and we’re getting a green façade for our building. We also now have a diversity & inclusion working group on well-being which includes peer support students. Students can easily approach them to ask for help.'

Julie Külsen and Edo Crommelin

Do you have an example you are really proud of?

Julie: 'I’m very happy with the student living room. And I’m also proud that I've been able to be involved in the Kernvisie from the beginning [Ed.: a faculty project aimed at making our legal bachelor’s programmes future-proof and preparing students for the rapidly changing (inter)national labour market]. Every four years, there’s an education external audit in which the quality of our programmes is assessed. This audit will take place this coming academic year. During my time as assessor, we organised a mid-term review to prepare for this external audit, during which we looked critically at our education ourselves. For example, we considered issues such as study success and alignment with the labour market. An advisory committee was set up as a result of the mid-term review to look at future-proofing our bachelor's programmes. This advisory group, in which I also took part, was responsible for developing the Kernvisie. Meanwhile, I also participated in the Kernvisie task force which is now working on the implementation. Edo will continue to work on this next year. So, I’ve been involved in this from day one and I'm proud of the steps we’ve taken so far.'

Every four years, Leiden University's educational programmes are assessed by the independent Netherlands Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO). These independent assessments (accreditations) ensure that students, employers, and civil society organisations can have faith in the quality of education. Accreditation is a government certification. During an education audit, a panel of external experts evaluate the quality of education. This audit is prepared by the programme itself by writing and submitting a comprehensive report in advance. During the audit visit, questions are asked on the basis of this report.

Can you hand over your duties with confidence?

Julie: 'Absolutely, Edo has already been actively involved with the faculty in recent years as an ambassador, information officer, and member of the education committee. I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job.'

Why did you apply for the position of assessor?

Edo: 'I worked as a student ambassador for a year and a half, where I mostly worked on recruiting bachelor's students. I was also a student member of the programme committee. That’s also a form of student participation. Within that committee, I followed the whole process of developing the Kernvisie. From explaining its purpose to what it’ll mean for students. As an ambassador in the communication department, I noticed that we were preoccupied a lot with "what do we convey to the outside world". As a result, I started talking to many people about "what we actually stand for as a faculty" and "what we want to convey in our education". I had some ideas about that myself. As assessor, I can put those ideas into practice.'

What do you think is important for the faculty?

Edo: 'I actually have a few points that I think are important and that I want to focus on next year. Among them are the education audit and to continue working on the Kernvisie. As a matter of fact, for the education audit, together with the student member of the education board, I'll be working on the chapters for students that will then be tested. For this, I want to engage with as many students as possible to get a good picture of what they think of their degree programmes. In addition, I think sustainability is an important aspect that could do with some more attention. That’s something I’d like to focus on.'

Do you have any specific plans for that yet?

Edo: 'I ‘d like to look at opportunities to create a kind of Green Point at the KOG. One place where information is available about sustainability, events being organised in this area, but also the place where you can hand in your cans for deposit. I also want to explore what the faculty has already been doing so far, where it can do more for students, as well as what students can do themselves.'

More information about the Kernvisie, what it entails, its background, and what it means for undergraduate education can be found on the Kernvisie website: Kernvisie BRUIST

What is your biggest challenge and when will you be satisfied?

Edo: 'I’ll be satisfied when I can get students even more involved with the faculty. At the same time, I think this is also the biggest challenge. Many students are already very willing to participate in projects and initiatives within the faculty, such as the Kernvisie. But there are also many students who, for one reason or other, don’t participate that much. So, I especially want to make sure that not just my efforts become more visible, but also what’s going on within the faculty and beyond. Like what can students contribute themselves? For example in the field of sustainability, which I think is an important topic, but also concerning other issues. Luckily, it's easy for me to be available at the KOG. It's important to me that students know they can approach me for any questions, and to pass on their comments and ideas.' 

And how do you plan to do that: making things more visible?

Edo: 'Well, I understand that the student newsletter is getting a makeover soon. Once that’s been done, I’d like to make monthly contributions so that I can keep students informed about what’s going on at the faculty. I’ll be at the KOG most days, so people can always come to me. You can also find me sitting in the Living Room every so often. Be sure to come up and talk to me or make an appointment to have a cup of coffee together!'

On 1 September, Edo will start as Assessor. If you have any questions for him, would like to contribute to the education audit, or have other plans or ideas you would like to discuss, please feel free to contact Edo via e-mail: 

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