More staff is the best marketing
Lijst Calimero made the following suggestion to the Board of the University in the Council of December: is the Board of the University willing to decrease the marketing expenses, willing to use these marketing expenses to attract additional staff, instead of more students? In this article you can read why we think this is a good idea.
The student-staff ratio of the University of Groningen is a constant point of discussion. It is also one of the reasons 5 million was added to the funds of the faculties last year, so they could hire additional staff. However, this appears to be difficult for a number of faculty’s. Besides the fact they needed more money to be able to hire extra staff, it is also hard to find qualified personnel willing to come to Groningen. However, the Board did not agree upon this proposal. they stated they do not think it to be wise to change these expenses without making policy on it and really think it through. Although we really agree upon the importance of policy making and thinking that through, we still felt this was a pity, since the UG keeps growing.
At the first of October 2018 31.115 students were enrolled at the University of Groningen. 7.081 (or 21,7%) of which are international students. The UG voiced the ambition to increase this percentage to 30%. This would be around 10.000 students. With an equal number of Dutch students, this would mean our University would need to grow to 34.334 students. This gives rise to the question whether attracting that many students this fast is improving the quality of education and research the UG offers to their students.
When you have a look at the increase of students studying at the UG, it is obvious that the amount of students is clashing with the maximum of students our University and city can handle at this moment. There are housing issues in the city, the University struggles with it’s student-staff ratio and there is a serious deficiency in the amount of lecture halls and rooms for working groups. Irregular scheduling, a shortage of lecture halls, exams in the evenings and weekends, all disadvantages of the fast growth of the university. Besides that, the percentage of 30 is somewhat trivial. The UG is not necessarily and international university when this number is reached. The inclusion of international and Dutch students plays a major role in this. Also some programs have an international character way easier that other programs, whom for example are strongly connected to the Dutch culture, or of whom the students will pursue a career in The Netherlands.
Lijst Calimero therefore thinks the University should have a critical look at their marketing expenses. In 2014, the University reserved 31K for the Bureau to spend on international marketing, and 75K for marketing in general. This amount was raised to 248K on international marketing and 272K on marketing in general in 2015. The amount of money that was already spent can not be found in any public document. How much the University spends on marketing in general, is therefore not clear. Whatever this amount may be, it sure is effective. Effective to such major account, that we should think about the question whether it is to be desired to grow this fast. This is a discussion Lijst Calimero is willing to start, in the financial framework, as well as in the discussions the UG will have when thinking about it’s new strategic plans. To us it is very clear: lower the amount of money spent on marketing, or spend it another way, so you can attract more staff. In the current situation, this is the best way to guarantee the quality of education, research, and life, at the UG.