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Assessor talk: Nova Verkerk succeeds Anne Wellink as assessor

For the past year, Anne Wellink represented students' interests on the Faculty Board. As of September, Nova Verkerk will take over. In this interview, the two of them look back and ahead to the future.

What does the assessor do?

The Faculty Board runs the faculty and manages the education, research and organisation portfolios. The assessor sits on the Faculty Board as a student member and is the link with the students. They can go to the assessor with complaints, and for suggestions and ideas. Besides Student Affairs, the assessor also has Labour Market Orientation, Diversity & Inclusion and Student Participation  as portfolios. 

Anne Wellink

Working carefully

In her year as assessor, Anne learned a lot about the university, but perhaps even more about herself. 'It was special to see that you are taken very seriously and actually influence faculty policy. It’s an influential job where you can achieve a lot because there is a short line of communication with the Faculty Board,' she says. 'But if you want to get something particular done, there are often a lot of obstacles, so I have learned to take care how I approach things.'

Anne sees the final results achieved mainly as the legacy of the assessors who came before her. 'It’s hard to say that I did this or that, because I took over a lot of initiatives started by previous assessors,' she says. Anne has also been involved in a number of projects herself, such as the student common room and a general and grants manual for student associations. 'That’s how I have been able to make my mark on the assessorship.'

Nova Verkerk

Taking important steps

Prospective assessor Nova is more than familiar with what an assessor can do for students. Last year, she held the role of president in the Historische Studie Vereniging Leiden (HSVL), the study association of History, and was in regular contact with Anne. 'We benefited a lot from the handbooks Anne created for the student associations. That's the beauty of being an assessor: you can mean something to your fellow students by making them feel heard and seen.'

To achieve that, Nova plans to focus attention mainly on diversity and inclusion, and student welfare. 'There have been a number of initiatives in both areas in recent years, but important steps still need to be taken. For example, some students are not aware of what is possible because they are hard to reach. I want to try to get through to students better,' she says. She is therefore going to focus, among other things, on student participation. 'I want students to know that they can have a lot of say and that they will be listened to. For example, students can become members of the Faculty Council or they can be in advisory groups on important issues.

Anne en Nova

Golden tip

Although the baton was not officially handed over until the start of the new academic year, Nova has already spent some time before that in her future office to get a feel for all the work. 'It’s nice that I am already a bit settled in. Then I can make a good start in September and immediately mean something to the students,' she says.

Anne also has every confidence in her successor. She does have one more golden tip for Nova: 'Above all, you have to have confidence in yourself. You are the only student in the Faculty Board, so you are the expert on student affairs. When students raise the alarm, they feel that issue is important.'

'That's a good tip,' Nova responds. 'There will always be a certain barrier to reporting a problem or other issue anyway, so if students report something, it’s important that something is done with it. I will definitely take that thought into account in my role as assessor.'

Do you have a question for Nova or just want to have a chat with her? If so, send an email to assessor@hum.leidenuniv.nl. Of course, you can also speak to her anytime you bump into her in the corridors.

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