Quality of Education: Pillar Introduction
As a party committed to improving our university community, 020 strives to guarantee quality education at the UvA. Education is a right that should be accessible and fair to every student regardless of their background. Although UvA ranks amongst the best European and global universities for its variety of programs and quality of teaching, 020 believes there is much room for improvement. In this article, you can find an outline of what policies 020 is advocating for to ensure an inclusive and stimulating learning environment.
Firstly, UvA already uses standardized grading criteria for most of its courses. However, students complain that professors may still be biased when grading. For this reason, we believe that blind grading should be introduced for all courses when evaluating written assignments. By removing the name and identifying information of the student, the assessment becomes based on performance only and this guarantees a grading process where everybody is equal. Moreover, having multiple graders ensures that the assessment is consistent and that the evaluation rubrics are respected, while also providing diverse feedback to the student.
Secondly, 020 encourages the decolonization of academic literature. The reading material that professors use in their courses is very often white and Western-dominated. Even though some classes are designed to focus on different and specific perspectives, the majority of courses show a conventional way of teaching that leaves little room to divergent opinions or debates. By diversifying the literature taught, we can provide a broader representation of the world's authors and cultures.
Thirdly, adopting a hybrid system for classes would allow flexibility for students. The COVID-19 pandemic forced education to rely on technology and we at 020 do not see why we can’t use the same advantages (like Zoom and online recordings) now that it is over. Needless to say, this would help many students who may be struggling with mental health have an alternative to physical attendance so that they can take care of themselves and still be caught up with all their classes.
Finally, 020 fully supports the course evaluation surveys that UvA has developed. Students have the opportunity to express their opinion on every aspect of a course that they have taken and leave feedback on its content, structure, assessment methods, etc. This helps the university identify areas of improvement and tailor them to the students’ needs. Do you need another reason to fill out those forms? Just think how fun it is to grade your teacher for a change!
By focusing on these four points, 020 is determined to continuously increase the quality standards of education at the UvA and aims at creating a welcoming and invigorating academic environment where equality and mental health are prioritized.
Article by Vanessa Toraldo