Universiteit Leiden

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Programme Committee 2020-2021 student candidates

5 October 2020

Dear students in the bachelor’s programme Political Science: International Relations and Organisations,

Your Programme Committee (PC) plays an important role in maintaining and improving the quality of the education offered to you. The PC

  • advises the Institute’s Programme Board with regard to education policy and practice,
  • actively monitors how courses are being organised and taught, and
  • offers advice, both solicited and unsolicited, on all issues regarding education within the programme (education execution, planning of education, study advising, course evaluations, etc.).

Obviously, student representation in the PC is very important. Half of its members are students, to make sure that the PC can operate as a liaison between faculty and students.

The PC’s student members serve a one-year term. There is one PC for all bachelor’s programmes in Political Science (IRO in The Hague, Politicologie and Internationale politiek in Leiden); both ‘cities’ will have at least one representative. At the beginning of the academic year, all students currently enrolled in these programmes can nominate themselves for one of the four seats in the PC. If there are more nominations than seats, elections will be held.

The candidates

For 2020-2021, the situation is as follows:

  • Politicologie/Internationale politiek: one candidate, who will take the ‘Leiden seat’.
  • Political Science: International Relations and Organisations: eight candidates compete for three seats. These candidates present themselves (1) with a video on the Brightspace platform and (2) with a brief message below.

Please take your time to familiarise yourself with all candidacies; the voting takes place next week (see below).

Petra Jarvima

Petra Järvimaa (IRO)

I am Petra Järvimaa, a third-year IRO student from Helsinki, Finland and I am running to be part of the Programme Committee. I want the student input to be greater and more significant when it comes to the decisions about your education. Therefore, as your students representative in the Committee, I will make sure you all can influence the decisions about your education.

I believe that during these uncertain times the students' opinion and feedback are more crucial than ever. I have a broad student network both in The Hague and Leiden, amongst both international and Dutch students. I believe this offers a great possibility to improve the Political Science programmes in both of the cities, but also to improve the connection between students in Leiden and The Hague.

Marco Langgartner

Marco Langgartner (IRO)

If I was elected as a member of my programme committee, I would act as a point of reference for students and actively work with staff to refine online education and fortify our learning experience. My contribution to the student council in the latter half of my high school years provided an avenue for the growth of my communication skills and will enable me to work more effectively with the programme staff and the institute board of political science in terms of quality and planning of education.

Additionally, I look forward to working with university staff in order to diversify an already international course such as ours and work to create a more inclusive and diverse curriculum. One idea that could be implemented for online education is holding certain lectures live while simultaneously recording them for later use. This would capture the interaction between students and lecturers that is currently sorely missed while also leaving the video option open for students unable to attend the live lecture. Ultimately, I believe streamlining student feedback and ensuring a high level of education is particularly important with the less-than ideal system brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and thus, I would be thrilled to be a committee programme member.

Oscar Laviolette

Oscar Laviolette (IRO)

I apply to the Programme Committee as I believe that a good programme should not only strive for academic excellence but should also ensure a good student life. This is especially important now that many of us study from home which blurs the distinction between university and personal life. As your representative, I will promote concrete measures that give the Board a better understanding of our needs and make the programme more inclusive. For instance, I will encourage the creation of more electives at the Wijnhaven campus. Currently, out of the 75 electives our faculty offers, only 1 is taught at Wijnhaven. This seriously limits the potential of IRO students and excludes us from most of what the faculty offers. I would also like to implement a survey to understand where students study from, which will help schedule exams at times reasonable for everyone, including those far from Europe.

As your representative, I promise you that I will do everything I can to work as a channel between you and the board, and will work to propose concrete measures that can answer your concerns and substantially improve our student life.

Maria Massironi

Maria Massironi (IRO)

My name is Maria and I come from Milano.

I would like to become a member of the student committee because I want to be in charge of my own education. I have had some experience in a similar role before as I was the class representative during my last year of high school. Personally I think I have the right determination to advance the interest of the students. I am direct and straight to the point but I am also propositive when it comes to problem-solving. Moreover, I consider myself very easy-going and forthcoming which will hopefully make it easier for anyone to come forward if an issue was to arise.

If I were to become a member of IRO’s committee I hope to be able to help create a 'transparent bridge' between students and professors and keep high the quality of education. I am a first year so I still may not know everything there is to know about the university but I am also extremely hardworking and I enjoy having responsibilities so I think I will be up to the task.

Paulina Medek

Paulina Medek (IRO)

Our voice is louder than ever, even though Leiden University might feel to be far away for some of us. All the changes over the last months demand for more feedback between students, professors and the university. Since each of us is challenged differently, the new study environment might be perceived as gain of freedom or as cause for the loss of motivation. Thus, I am convinced that it is crucial to find the best balance between more interaction in lectures, less time-consuming replacement tasks and fair assessment. By this, I hope to contribute to an atmosphere in which you can find yourself the best individual path to grow with the challenge. Online teaching gives us a great opportunity to gain new abilities, but only if we are able to communicate our struggles mutually and efficiently. Changing study habits and trying new teaching methods should happen reciprocally. Your mutual, thankfully respected voice is needed.

I feel up to represent the needs and demands of you. I would highly appreciate to have the possibility to take an active part in forming our environment by mediating your interests. Give me your voice today and/or with a chat in the future.

André Moreno

André Moreno (IRO)

In a world where challenges are more often a constant rather than an exception, positive action is needed to tackle indifference and alienation. This is especially true when regarding the academic training of our future decision and opinion-makers. Thus, ensuring an effective, updated, and encompassing curriculum for the Political Sciences is crucial. However, the coronavirus outbreak proved that adaptability is no easy task. At the university-level, it led to the interruption of classes, the return of many students to their home countries, the distress of uncertainty, and in a quick transition to online education.

Many issues went unaddressed in this process, such as regarding time zones differences for exams, planning more dynamic and relatable activities, and equilibrating the course workload while maintaining its quality. Creativity, commitment, teamwork, and integrative thought are mandatory to achieve such goals. During my life, I had the opportunity to develop mediation, negotiations, and problem-solving skills through many personal initiatives and leading positions. Furthermore, I learned the importance of diversity and empathy in an inclusive environment. My name is André Moreno, and I would be delighted to contribute to our community while representing your concerns before the Programme Committee. Let’s build a strong path forward together!

Theodoros Roulias

Theo(doros) Roulias (IRO)

IRO is a fascinating yet also particularly challenging programme. The pandemic and the transition to online education has put the students in an extremely challenging position. Being a new programme, IRO already suffered from various problems, which the outbreak brought even more onto the spotlight. This is particularly evident with the decline of the quality of both lectures and workgroups. Fortunately, the university allows us, students, to voice our concerns about the curriculum through the Programme Committee. Now, more than ever, it is very important to elect people in this committee, who will express the general will of students and help tackle the demanding situation in which we are all in.

Having served as president of the student board for the last two years of high school, I have managed to gain experience in mediating between the views of the teaching staff and the will of students. Furthermore, I am currently pursuing a second bachelor's in Political Science and History and have valuable insight into alternative curriculums and teaching methods. For these reasons, along with my passion for improving IRO, I hope that I will be a trustworthy candidate for this position as I have been in the past.

Maurice Wedner-Ross

Maurice Wedner-Ross (IRO)

My name is Maurice and I’m a 23-year-old second year IRO student. I’m applying for a position on the programme committee because I believe there are many ways in which our education could be improved. Given the COVID-19 induced circumstances, our input and feedback into the new way our programme is being brought to us has become even more important. Now that nearly everything is online, it has become easier to feel like just another number rather than a valued student.

If elected, I would work to improve the contact flow between us students and the programme staff, be this through live lectures or more exchange with our professors, as I believe it is crucial that this link is strengthened. Furthermore, I think it would be of great value to us if a writing lab was set up, which already exists for the International Studies programme. This would provide us with the opportunity to get feedback on our essays from experienced students before we have to submit them. In short, I will do everything in my power to represent your ideas, your issues, and your feedback to the programme coordinators.

The election

As an IRO-student, you can cast your vote for one of the above candidates,

Voting outside the specified time frame is not possible; you will need your student number (you can only vote once, of course).

The candidates’ video presentations can be found on Brightspace.

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