When people matter


It was an ordinary business day. We were enjoying our lunch when suddenly, someone came rushing up to our floor with the message: “I need you right now." A few minutes later, we received the news that the exam questions for the Data Analytics for Engineers course had been leaked.

That simple message triggered a massive crisis organization. As we all know, the result was that the Computer Science Examination Committee decided to declare the entire exam invalid. Over two thousand students fell victim to the impulsive act of a single person. These students are taken care of as best as possible, but they’re not the only victims in this case.

The teaching team, most notably Dr. Natalia Sidorova, the people in Education & Student Affairs who arrange the logistics of exams, and everyone else involved are equally the victims here. All of a sudden, they are faced with a huge challenge. New exams have to be made. Rooms have to be arranged to allow two thousand students to take exams, and exam monitors and subject matter experts are needed.

Such an operation is difficult under normal circumstances, but the TU/e has been in a constant state of crisis for years now. The workload is enormous (if I read the latest Employee Experience Survey correctly, it’s at least 110 percent for everyone) and many employees continue to work when they’re sick. And yet, we give the TU/e a rating of 7.6 out of 10 as our employer; that’s how committed we all are.

However, we’re stretched to the limit right now. People don’t want to be called in to do extra monitoring work on Saturdays because their families object. Employees already have to put in more than 110 percent to make the extra exams, and it’s simply too much. Still, I know that together, we’ll be able to make it happen. And in a few months’ time, everyone will have forgotten about it because we will already be rolling into the next crisis.

Changes in the financial systems, of the support services, the reforming of the Bachelor College, and after that, the Graduate School, of course. It never stops. There is an infinite list of things we’re going to change that will require additional effort from people who are already structurally overworked. When will the TU/e finally realize that for the next few years, its first and only priority should be the enormous workload: ‘When do people matter?’.

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