New Science assessor is ready to bring on change
Initiatives like the Leiden University Green Office and the Career Service might not sound familiar to every student. If it is up to Bernice, this will change from this academic year.
Last September, Bernice succeeded Maxim Allaart as assessor of the Faculty of Science. As student member of the faculty board, Bernice stands for the interests of all students within the faculty.
Before the interview Bernice has trouble getting up from her chair. For four days she has been struggling with muscle pain due to her first five running kilometres ever at the Leiden Science Run. By doing this she raised money for fugitive students, together with her three predecessors. So, no worries about her commitment to every student of the Faculty.
In 2011 Bernice started her bachelor in Biology. During this study she became interested in the underlying processes of nature and why things do not go as you would expect them to from an evolutionary perspective. Later this fascination for the underlying processes extended to education itself. ‘I was sometimes frustrated about a course and curious how the education programme was built up. That is why I became assessor education of my study association, the Leidse Biologen Club.’
Last year she finished her research master in biology. ‘But I was not yet done learning and being challenged enough. I wanted to learn more about processes and decisions in organisations and that is why I am now doing the master Science Based Business. Being the assessor of the faculty is a good extension of this master. Now I can experience and learn in practice how things are managed within an organisation like the University.’
The activities of an assessor are mainly attending meetings, knowing what is happening among students, and providing feedback to the faculty board. Bernice has meetings with institute councils, boards of study associations, education directors, and scientific directors. Also, she attends university wide meetings. For example, about redesigning learning spaces, where students and teachers study how the University can optimally use educational spaces.
'I contribute to the policies and initiatives and I arrange students for these meetings. Via the study associations I can contact students the easiest. That is why I regularly go to activities. There I can also experience the ambiance and keep updated about what is happening. For example, dissatisfaction or ambiguity about faculty affairs.’
After a few weeks of orientation Bernice knows where she wants to pay attention to this year. ‘There are a lot of initiatives for and by students. For example, the Leiden University Green Office and the Career Service. But too often these are unknown to students. I want to improve this by creating a special place at the Science campus where these initiatives can get together. Think of flex desks where an organisation can be present half a day per week.’
Bernice also wants to commit to diversity among students. ‘With the other assessors of Leiden University, we will organise diversity training for the boards of the study associations. We want to improve their awareness of diversity among students. For example, when you organise a barbecue and want to attract international. If you make posters with beer and meat, that is not so inviting for every culture.’
The faculty wants to improve their commitment to sustainability and wants to challenge students to think about this. That is why a Student Challenge will be organised. More information will follow soon on this website.