Elsevier’s number 1 organizes JOOP each year. What can we learn from this approach?
All Political Science students and teachers are welcome to attend the JOOP, the annual consultation for political science education. The OC organises the JOOP with the goal to initiate a debate about education on the basis of certain statements. Besides the debate, there is a lecture, which, in 2016, was about the societal role of the university, to conclude with some closing drinks.
Challenging statements stimulate participants|
The JOOP attracts about sixty students and ten teachers, whom all participate actively in a lively debate about the statements. Examples of statements that we introduce are: The programme is too Western-oriented; due to weblectures on Blackboard, lecture halls are emptying; the bachelor Political Science needs to be taught in English; an increase in the number of master specialisations blurs the identity of the political scientist masters program. Of course, Political Science almost automatically attracts a group of people eager to engage in debates. However, we believe that also other OCs are able to stimulate their students and teachers by organising an annual event that provides the opportunity to debate views and express opinions. Challenging statements can provoke people, and deal with controversial issues. The collaborative nature of teachers and students make this event successful. The outcomes of the debates will then be discussed by the staff. That is the kind of impact we are looking for.
Quality assurance in practice
Through JOOP, a broader group of students than those active in the OC can contribute their ideas on important decisions regarding education. This is how we define the term ‘quality assurance.’ The accessible and open nature of JOOP provides, experience shows, new points of view which may benefit our education programme. During JOOP, we are able to show what the OC has worked on in the past year. We also discuss issues of which we know will play a role in the coming year. An example is the plan to increase the amount of courses taught in English in the coming academic year. By bringing forward these issues for debate during JOOP, we discovered the thoughts of students and teachers on these issues. Later, when we as the OC submit our advice, it is based on the opinions and views of the people we represent. After Joop has taken place, students and teachers are more aware of how to approach the OC.
Meta-evaluation in the annual report on education
The OC considers it important to not only take a critical stance towards the programme, but also towards ourselves and our work. A way in which we do this is dedicating a chapter to us in the annual report on education of the Faculty of Management Science. In this year’s report, the key numbers are listed per programme; the development in enrolments and yields, the information on evaluations and possible modifications in the education programme. We, as the OC, have our own page in this year’s report. This page is also available on this web-based platform, please go to ‘useful files’ shown alongside.
Going through list of action points of last year
The substantive preparation for this page creates the possibility for the OC to reflect on past year’s relevant points, what action we have taken and what points for improvement have been established. An appropriate instrument for this annual ‘meta-analysis’ is the list of action points that we draw up and discuss each meeting. This way, we keep trace of long-term action points. Each meeting, we go through the action points and check whether action was actually taken.
Number 1 in the Elsevier
Generally, students as well as teachers are content about the work of our OC. The small-scale setup of the educational programmes allows for largely informal and direct communication between student representatives and regular students, as well as between faculty representatives and regular faculty. This involvement in and awareness for education by students and teachers have brought many benefits to the programme: for six consecutive years, the BA-programme Political Science has been rewarded the first position. On top of that, the BA-programme was titled ‘top-programme’ by the higher education catalogue of 2016.
“Challenging statements can provoke discussion of controversial issues”