More and easier study opportunities in Utrecht University Libraries

The University Library in De Uithof has eighty study spots available twice a day. Photo: Maarten Hartman/DUB

This news is written in the Executive Board’s corona update that was sent to all employees and students on July 2. The board members have heard that students are lining up to study in the Public Library at the Neude, despite the fact that students can also study in the two University libraries. There are a total of 137 study spots available, 57 of which are at the Drift location. Not all study spots were booked this past week.

Students do still have to reserve their study spots. They can choose one of two blocks of 3.5 hours: from 9 am tot 12.30 pm, or from 1 pm to 4.30 pm. The restriction of one block per week, per student, will be lifted. Students will then be able to reserve more than one block per week. From noon on July 4, booking a spot will also be easier, via Resource Booker.

Teacher support and more money for PhD candidates, PostDocs, and education
The board also states that it’s established Teaching Support for teachers. This helpdesk, part of the Centre for Academic Teaching, is available for teachers looking to improve their online education. Teachers say they miss the interaction with students during their classes. Not only do students ask far fewer questions, it’s also harder to let students answer questions online, and teachers regularly face a black screen because students don’t turn on their webcams. To make students participate more, Teaching Support has collected all known tips and tricks to encourage interaction. Teachers can also receive assistance in creating online exams.

Earlier this Thursday, it was announced that the university has established a 6-million-euro Covid Fund to extend contracts of PhD candidates and Postdocs. At the urging of the University Council, the Executive Board has also reserved an extra 2.9 million euros to relieve teachers’ workloads. Some faculties already have plans to hire extra student assistants for the next academic year to help reduce teachers’ workloads. In its update, the Executive Board says it supports this idea: “it reduces the workloads of teachers, and students can gain additional income.”

In the Geosciences faculty council meeting of June 30, Dean Wilco Hazeleger noted that a plan has been created for Geosciences to hire additional student assistants. “They’re extra pairs of hands to help provide quality education,” he says. For the first period, he’d already found budget, but he still had to look for funding for the second educational period.

Working at your own workplace
Starting next week, more and more UU buildings will start to reopen. Even though they often only allow 20 to 25 percent capacity, employees will at least be able to work there, and hold meetings. Since Wednesday, the UU’s flagship location is also open for PhD ceremonies and other events. Graduates will probably have to wait a little longer before they can receive their diplomas in the University Hall.

Feestelijk moment! Na drie maanden hangt de universitaire vlag weer! @UniUtrecht #universiteit #Utrecht #Academiegebouw

— Sandy van Heerde (@SandyvanHeerde) July 1, 2020