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Point 02: Commitment to further democratisation

Important decisions, such as the one to build a new library or on the allocation model, are now submitted to the academic community for consultation. At the suggestion of the Democratisation and Decentralisation committee, the UvA also launched an interactive platform, set up the University Forum and appointed a chief diversity officer.

Submitting decisions to the academic community

The UvA has recently started submitting important decisions to the academic community for consultation during both the preparation and the decision-making phase. Specific examples of such decisions are the UvA's Vision on Teaching and Learning, the allocation model, the decision to build a new library and the collaboration with AUAS. The Vision on Teaching and Learning was initially published on to invite comments by students and staff, after which it was presented to the representative advisory bodies. The allocation model was submitted for consultation, discussed and submitted for approval at various stages (see below). With regard to the new library, a special consultation round was organised in which all students and staff were invited to participate (see point 05). Finally, the UvA's administrative collaboration with AUAS was submitted to the representative advisory bodies following an evaluation of the results in the past decade.

Interactive policymaking:

Following a consultation of CSR and COR representatives, the platform went live in April 2017. This platform allows all members of the academic community to give their feedback on plans and proposals. Based on the principles of transparency, discussion and the gathering of input, the aim id to provide a pltform where students and staff can comment freely. At the time of writing, 419 students and staff had registered as users. Details of each project are available in both Dutch and English. Announcements about consultation opportunities are made on student and staff websites, in the UvA newsletter and on the narrowcasting system.

Past proposals for consultation on have included the Vision on Teaching and Learning and the allocation model. A consultation on the adjustment of the Strategic Plan is scheduled for the second quarter of 2018 (10-30 May).

Democratisation and Decentralisation Committee

After the publication of the Democratisation and Decentralisation Committee's report, the UvA organised a consultative referendum on its recommendations. The referendum questions roughly addressed three issues: a new senate structure, a charter of core values and four governance models. Student turnout was 11.7% and staff turnout (excluding AMC-UvA) was 37.4%.

In a nutshell, the referendum showed that many of the participants were in favour of a new senate structure and a charter. As regards the desired governance model, staff and students gave varied responses. None of the four proposed governance models gained a clear majority among the participants. Several of the report's recommendations have now been implemented, such as an interactive policy website in order to gain feedback from staff and students, the reinforcement of the Programme Committees, the reinforcement of academic leadership and a new senate structure (as a supplement to the current advisory councils and representative advisory bodies).

University Forum

The University Forum (i.e. the new senate structure recommended in the Democratisation and Decentralisation Committee's report) comprises 61 members, drawn at random from faculty and unit contingents, members of the Executive Board and faculty deans. Its objective is to provide input for the development of strategies and long-term plans prior to their scrutiny by the standing advisory committees and representative advisory bodies. In other words, the University Forum is not intended to replace participation in decision-making.

Its first meeting focused on the UvA's core values, with a view to a potential charter. In 2018, the University Forum is scheduled to hold three public meetings (on 25 January, 24 May and 27 September). Subsequently, its operation will be assessed and a decision will be made whether to turn this experimental arrangement into a permanent University Forum.

Diversity Committee

Anne de Graaf has been serving as the UvA's first chief diversity officer as from late 2017. Together with the faculty diversity officers, she is working towards a more inclusive, equal and socially just UvA. Specific proposals will be developed for each faculty to improve the inequality between men and women, stimulate ethnic diversity, assist people with disabilities, support the LGBT community and further the progress of people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

A long-term disability plan has been launched to improve physical, mental and digital access to UvA facilities for people with disabilities. Another proposal that has been mooted is for the diversity officer to investigate the career prospects of female scientists at the UvA. With regard to students, she is looking into a possible peer-to-peer mentor system where senior students supervise first-year students.