(part 2/5) Why the executive board will try to push evening lectures through despite growth projections and capacity calculations

The main argument for evening lectures is all about efficiency. But how much would the University gain? And is the capacity gain proportional to the damage caused to the student life in Wageningen? We went through the internal documents of the WUR, and we concluded that that balance far out of reach.

Previous policy documents have evaluated four measures to address the capacity problems. These are better scheduling, Bring Your Device (BYOD), education innovation and evening lectures. In the best-case-scenario these yield 2265, 220, 24 and 1065 m2 of education space. To put these figures in perspective, the Orion has 9000m2 of space education. So evening lectures would in the best case provide us with an additional floor of Orion or in the worst case only 600m2. If we were translating these numbers into students, we could house just 200 to 370 additional students, as we need 2,88m2 education space per student. This is just or 1,8 – 3.4% of the current student population. The capacity yield for the University is, therefore, negligible, while the university let us believe that evening classes are the solution to the capacity problems.

Despite the low capacity output, the university will still try to implement this ridiculous measure. Students have already expressed they oppose the measure, and the various reports highlight the negative impact in students, teachers and facilitative staff. Evening lectures provide a decrease in concentration (79%) and an increased workload. It also disrupts the rhythm, planning, and dinner of the student. After the pilot, most student associations were even more negative towards evening classes than before. Due to activity attendance decline, less active members and more meetings that have to be canceled, resulting in a loss of the organizational capacity of the associations affected.

With the figures from the teachers, this picture is not much better. Two-thirds of teachers were negative towards evening classes and a quarter became more negative after participating in the pilot, while the participation of teachers was voluntary. Teachers experienced difficulty providing the same quality education as during the day. Besides that evening classes also takes a personal toll: extra stress, little time for dinner and giving up other activities because they could not exchange a part of the day for an evening lecture.

In a nutshell, we can only conclude that if this debate were a cost-benefit, the pointer would be off the scale. For only a few little percentage points the entire student life is put upside down, the organizational capacity of associations is sacrificed, and teachers get an increased workload. It is astonishing to see how the university holds on to this measure that has such an enormous negative impact and delivers so little capacity yield. It illustrates the University’s attitude towards the students: “efficiency before student”.

ID 5209 14-CvB0497 Enclosure_Report Accommodating the Growth