Customised support for the OCs; the HU and Fontys explain how helpful that is

Utrecht University of Applied Sciences and Fontys both have equipped all OCs with support at a central level. The service is fashioned to support the OCs and management with their work and cooperation in a demand-oriented fashion. We offer training sessions higher education-wide and customisation in the form of coaching, consultation, training and process guidance.

From training to platform with useful documents
Subjects of training sessions may be: contact with your constituents, effective meeting practices, the fulfilment of chairmanship, cooperation, task fulfilment, OER. Topics for consultation may be: powers and duties, arrangement and positioning of the study programme committee, set-up programme of meetings. Furthermore, we support the OCs through facilitating familiarisation and exchange during the Day of Participation (Fontys) or dialogue sessions with the management (HU). We also offer both a platform on which OC-members may find formats, roadmaps and manuals.

Group training for OCs and their manager
Apart from training sessions for individual members of OCs, we offer training sessions to the OC together with their manager. Quite often, we observe there is a mismatch in the interpretation of the role the OC fulfils, and that it is considered difficult to express the expectations regarding the cooperation. Every training session is different and is customised to specific needs, but they all prioritise the following: the reinforcement of the cooperation and the establishment of working arrangements. During such a training session, we reflect on ‘the meaning’ of an OC, but also on (common) priorities and what is needed to create a pleasant way to cooperate. Think for instance about the mutual expectations and the meeting structure. In most cases, a training session takes place for the OC prior to the OC/manager-training session, in which the OC learns to formulate its own priorities.

Dialogue sessions with the management
The executive board of Utrecht University of Applied Sciences pays an annual visit to all study programme committees.  Through dialogue sessions, they talk about how the OC is doing, which goals have been achieved and which limitations the OC is confronted with. The quality of education too is a permanent item on the agenda. The OCs consider the administrative focus on the study programme committees to be positive and stimulating. The management too considers these meetings to be constructive and inspiring.

Day of Participation
Fall each year, Fontys Universities of Applied Sciences organise the Day of Participation. During this seminar day, students active in administrations, staff and management of participation councils and study programme committees gather in order to share their knowledge and experiences.  In the afternoon, a number of workshops to choose from are offered. Each  year, the Day of Participation is dedicated to a specific theme. In 2016, the day is dedicated to hands-on participation.