Struggle with position? These OCs get support to grow into their role.

Constructive cooperation is an important factor in a successful functioning of OCs. They work together with other OCs, the participation council and other bodies within the institution like the work field committee and the examination committee. We observe that OCs quite regularly struggle with the task perception and the positioning within the organisation.

A good positioning and a clear perception of the tasks make it a lot easier for the OCs to successfully fulfil their tasks.

Fontys’ motto is: ‘affiliate and connect’
When the Centre for Administrative Activities (Dutch acronym: CBA) of Fontys advises OCs about their organisational culture, the following two movements are almost always considered of principal importance: affiliate with and connect with. By this, we mean that the OC needs to affiliate with the ways in which the organisation is structured: organise your voice in line with the element you, as OC, would like to exercise influence on.  And then, find out who has the control there: the director or the programme manager. Please see the example in the next paragraph. Added to that, it is important that the OC connects with the existing quality initiatives within the organisation and with other forums or persons with which the OC should exchange information. Insight into the system of quality assurance is needed. If the OC and the manager do not adequately think about this and act on it, the OC will become a spider in the organisational web that is oriented on quality improvement.

Example from practical experience
Once, an OC met with the director every six weeks and advised the director on operational education matters. Both the OC as well as the director increasingly noticed that they could not engage in the dialogue they wanted to have. The director wanted a dialogue about the vision of the OC on the renewal of education. But the OC wanted to engage in a dialogue about the content of study guides. Together with the CBA, the OC and the director looked at the positioning of the OC. Ultimately, they decided that the director mandates the team leader, since the team leader has the say about the topics the OC will formulate advice on. Besides that, the OC has an annual meeting with the director and a delegation of other OCs to discuss the vision on education.

The HU strives for ‘OC-ambassy’
Within Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, an OC-ambassador has been appointed per organisational unit.  This is a student that supports and forms the collaboration within the organisational unit in which the OC is active. For example by organising consultations among different OCs, also inviting representation from the participation council and the  study association. The OC-ambassador may also help OC-members with the shaping of the collaboration, or with redirection within the organisational unit. The OC-ambassadors have regular consultation with the student participation team; there, they can address their questions and exchange experiences. In these consultations, staff of HU-services is invited to elucidate and discuss policy changes or practical problems that obstruct OCs.