While Eindhoven is celebrating the first (and probably the last) real week of summer, I’m writing this column in similar weather conditions in Barcelona. I’m visiting a colleague of mine for a few weeks to work on my international experience.
You arrived late in class and although you managed to sneak in via the door at the back, the teacher spotted you and shouted at you “Make sure you are on time, next time” while you were trying to mumble some excuse. As a result, you felt excessively individualized and ashamed, and experienced a loss of face for this unexpected feed-back. Indeed, in your culture you would have been able to enter the classroom unnoticed.
PhD student Elles Raaijmakers always tries to see the funny side of things and reproduces this in cartoons and comics. This time: Ronnie has a somewhat drastic resolution for the university's capacity problems.
I think I'm a pretty kind person - I care about others, sympathize with them, and try to help them however I can. But not always. Sometimes I have too little patience with others, think they are whiners, and cannot (don't want to?) be there for them.
We are all coaches. Good parents coach their kids in a way that they become more friends than parents; inspiring leaders and collaborative managers coach their employees into being responsive and responsible team players. At the TU/e, versatile teachers now coach their students in their educational and personal development, and some Dutch students at TU/e also coach their international peers to help them integrate more quickly and better into our community. And let’s not forget that 17 million Dutch people often act as the coach of the national soccer team. Incidentally, it’s rather quiet in this respect at the moment…
After spending quite some time in The Netherlands, it must be acknowledged that bragging about (Dutch) openness is commonplace here. My response to that is very subtle and spontaneous: OK, so tell me something about yourself that I feel like ‘Ow, OMG, these people are so open!’. I am yet to be surprised.
PhD student Elles Raaijmakers always tries to see the funny side of things and reproduces this in cartoons and comics. This time: Starbucks comes to campus!
My wife was recently waiting to be served at the bakery in Erica in the province of Drenthe, where we sometimes go on weekends. She asked my wife if we planned to go to the Giants Gala. My wife looked at her in astonishment. We are pretty familiar with the summer festivals, but this one had slipped under our radar. It turns out that the Giants Gala (organized by Giant FM) is a parade of Dutch-speaking artists. Giants like Jannes, Frank Rocks, and Henk Wijngaard all do a turn. Not forgetting Eric Mesie from the band Toontje Lager. It had passed us by.
Transparency is a beautiful word with a positive connotation - think of transparency in management - the pursuit of providing insight into starting points from which decisions are made, and persons involved in this pursuit.
Have you ever asked yourself whether your study advisor is functioning well? Are you really able to evaluate the advice that he or she is giving you? Do you feel like there is enough support for your course selection, study direction or master selection? The ESR believes that a good evaluation of your study advice is essential.
About five years ago, our university recognized students’ hunger for choice and made this a fundamental part of its design. Through coaching, we help the students to make the right choices for majors, elective packages and courses and if, inadvertently, students make the wrong choice, they are offered many possibilities to correct them. This model for the Bachelor College has proven successful given the increase in student numbers over time. But does it also work for the Graduate School?
With the opening of the Spar in Flux, a step was taken last year to introduce greater variety in the offering of breakfast, lunch and dinner. But as yet the dinner options are limited: a microwave meal, a main-course salad or an expensive meal supplied by Eurest. The late-night presence of Domino pizza delivery staff on campus is evidence that our restaurant options are insufficient. What went wrong?
"Les 12 points du jury français vont à la Chine!" France’s maximum points going to China in the Eurovision song contest is still fiction. But as we just saw last Saturday with Australia as a guest participant, there’s already some opening to globalize this annual mega-show. This year’s vintage largely turned into a platform for predominantly Anglo-American loud music again supported by swinging and swirling dance, and flashing and sparkling light shows, next to a few bizarre solo national(istic) performances. And again, the results proved to be a mix of predictable attitudes by countries casting their votes based on (past) political or cultural affinity, and of more objective and only artistic considerations.
Shortly after I had left my parental home (a long, long time ago) I regularly paid a visit to my parents. They would be watching The Bold & The Beautiful, an endless soap - and I really mean endless - in which the actors struck up relations in any and every conceivable combination and permutation. The reason I know this, is to do with the fact that the TV set was seldom switched off during my visits. When after a cup of coffee I would then stand up to leave again, my mother often said: “Strange, I feel as if I’ve hardly spoken to you at all”. That was usually a fairly accurate assessment.
“We all need symbols in life. Whether animals we venerate, monuments we admire, or real or fictive characters we worship”, I wrote in a previous column when I was trying to identify the Dutch symbol par excellence: the fiets.
Like Niels Bohr said: Predictions are difficult, especially when they concern the future. Fortunately I am in possession of a crystal ball that I have dusted down in honor of this TU/e lustrum, and I am posing the question: What will TU/e look like in 60 years?
TU/e has no plans to merge with the other technical universities. Executive Board President Jan Mengelers emphasized this on Monday afternoon at a meeting of the University Council.
We are approaching our birthday! By way of festively opening our 60-year jubilee we are going to throw a number of management leaders down from our Vertigo building. Fully secured, of course, although this hardly helps to reduce the initial fright - particularly of the people concerned. In order for all of us to enjoy this ‘Dare’ to the max, the brave deans will be wearing a stress meter. This way their anxiety will be visualized in a peaking heart frequency, a gasping breath, and the breaking out in a cold sweat.
“Do you have anything else other than milk?”, I cautiously asked looking at the range of milk but also cartons of fruit juice and of course the standard coffee and tea displayed on the table in front of me. “Oh yes, sir, we also have butter milk”. I silently sighed and ventured to ask for just water with some sarcasm in my voice. “Oh I’m sorry, but we don’t have water”. No water for lunch? After insisting a bit, I finally got some water from the faucet in the nearby pantry, along with lots of apologies. Probably a recognizable situation for many internationals in the Netherlands.
Do you know the best predictor of the success of a heard of elephants? The age of the oldest cow. Elegant experimental research conducted by animal psychologist Karen McComb and colleagues in Kenia, shows that older females respond far more adequately to a genuine threat from the environment than their younger antipodes. The older the oldest cow, the better the chance of survival of the herd as a whole.
Best read In my opinion
At this university there are students who are not taking any classes, but they are still forced to pay the full sum of their tuition fee. How is that? When you take a look at what they are doing instead of following courses, their reasons become clear. They form one of the most important cornerstones of the TU/e, they are the student board members and part of student teams.