Concerned University Council agrees to raise intake limits

A further increase in work pressure and less small-scale education. These were the issues the University Council expressed its concerns over now that the Executive Board plans to cancel the ceiling on student intake numbers for three programs as of next academic year, and raise the intake limits for two of the three programs to which a ceiling on student numbers continues to apply. Nevertheless, the board issued a positive advice after a short break during yesterday’s council meeting.

photo Shutterstock

“Your concerns are our concerns as well,” rector Frank Baaijens told the members of the University Council yesterday, after they had expressed their objections to the plans to raise intake limits for Computer Science & Engineering (from 275 to 325) and Architecture, Building and Planning (from 275 to 325). Next academic year, a ceiling on student intake numbers will continue to apply for these programs, as well as for Industrial Design, for which an intake limit of 180 first-year students does remain in effect. The University Council found it strange that the ceiling for student intake numbers for Mechanical Engineering will be withdrawn after a year already. According to an overview, the scientist-student ratio at that department was 1 to 26 in 2018, making it the highest student-staff ratio of all departments at TU/e.

Baaijens said that the above-mentioned steps are made possible nevertheless by several factors. According to the dean, the revenues from the first flow of funds increase faster than expected as a result of the growth during the last few years. In addition, extra means have become available from the sector plans for technology and hard sciences, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science allocates extra money to the four TU’s, following the advice of the Van Rijn Committee. The money, Baaijens says, will be invested in “people, bricks and ICT facilities.”


Baaijens: “Naturally, these decisions were made in close consultation with the departmental boards in question, and they assure us that they are able to handle a possible growth in student intake.” He also pointed out that Computer Science & Engineering has recruited 17 new scientists, which has raised the number of staff members at that department from 104 to 121. Mechanical Engineering supposedly recruited 14 new people. Baaijens had the following to say about canceling the ceiling on student intake numbers for this last program: “We thought that we could expect a serious growth in student intake now that the Bachelor is English-taught this year. That hasn’t happened and therefore, the decision to cancel the ceiling on student intake numbers was made following close consultation.”

In the future, Baaijens wants to put even more emphasis on the study-choice check, “and really make sure that people who are advised not to start studying here, actually don’t register. We will continue to insist on this more emphatically and collaborate closely with Fontys to make people aware of alternative programs.”

Roel Bloo, member of staff faction PUR, pointed out that the growth in the number of first-year students could present a risk to the Master’s phase. “Will the quality of education continue to be guaranteed, and will Master’s students still be able to choose their preferred supervisors?” Baaijens acknowledged that choices have to made as far as this is concerned, as was done already at Mechanical Engineering. “If we were to cater to the wishes of the Master’s students there, we will end up with the department Maarten Steinbuch.”

Share this article