Third TU Delft talk show: several subjects, and criticism too

The third TU Delft streamed talk show covered four subjects: the strategic direction, social safety, IT security and #BetterTUgether. There was criticism in the chat.

A still from the video stream of the TU Delft talk show. (Photo: Stream TU Delft)

“There is a need for more technical people so TU Delft needs to grow to 40,000 students,” said Rector Magnificus Tim van der Hagen, while opening the third TU Delft talk show on Thursday 17 November. The talk show concept started during Covid and can only be watched online. Growing to 40,000 students is challenging, continued the Rector. TU Delft does not want to compromise on the quality of research and education and space in Delft is limited. Some of the extra students will therefore have to study in Rotterdam and The Hague.

While the final decision will only be taken after a consultation round, the plan is sparking a lot of responses in the chat session of the talk show. To many chat users, the arguments for TU Delft’s plans remain unclear.

‘How can we grow in Rotterdam and The Hague while these cities are trying to reduce the number of students?’ asks Robert. ‘I hope Delta’s questions will be answered.’ There are also concerns about the mental health of students. ‘Why do we need to grow if we are even unable to support students adequately now?’ asks Jan.

‘Why do we not follow WUR’s strategy?’

Wageningen University (WUR) has taken a different approach, states TU Delft teacher Astrid. ‘They are focusing on improving the quality of education instead of on growth. To my mind we are already unable to give much personal attention to students. Why do we not follow WUR’s strategy?’

Apart from the Executive Board’s growth strategy, the talk show also looks at social safety. One aspect of this is not only mental health, but undesirable behaviour. ‘How do we keep an eye on ‘dirty’ professors, such as at the Catholic University of Leuven, and protect students from them?’ asks Arjan. Vice-rector Rob Mudde answers this question. ‘You need to make it clear that there is absolutely no place for people like this. What makes this difficult is finding out about an incident when it happens.’

During the discussion about the security of IT systems later in the talk show, Chief Information Security Officer Jérôme Zijderveld picks out the dangers of hacking and free software. He also says that you need to be careful what you put in the cloud. The talk show closes with a story from Executive Board member Marien van der Meer about collaboration at TU Delft.

While the chat questions go largely unanswered during the sessions, they will be brought to the attention of the Executive Board, says the chat’s moderator. However, it appears that some of the chat users would rather see a different form of contact than the talk show. ‘There are too many subjects in a short space of time without interaction with the participants online’, writes Ernst. Should you want interaction with those interviewed, Joost has a tip: ‘Also send your questions directly to them.’

The show can be found on the TU Delft YouTube channel.

  • Some of the teachers are critical about the growth plans. Read their suggestions.
  • Also read this interview with Executive Board Chair Tim van der Hagen about the plans.
  • TU Delft could have opted for other growth scenarios. Read them here.
Science editor Rob van der Wal

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