[Works Council elections] Marleen Keijzer: ‘Some buildings really need to be replaced’

TU Delft staff may vote in the Works Council elections on 3 and 4 November. But who to vote for? The nominees introduce themselves in this series. Part 3: Marleen Keijzer.

Marleen Keijzer: "An issue is the huge workload that emerged from the employees monitor." (Photo: Mark Prins/TU Delft)

Marleen Keijzer (Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science) obtained her doctorate at TU Delft, left for a while but has now been a mathematics teacher ‘for a long time’. And that for someone who did not want to be a teacher. “I explicitly did not want to study at Leiden University because graduates there almost always then work as teachers.” Ultimately, Keijzer did become a teacher.

She enjoys working on mathematics, teaching and research, but a couple of years ago she began to get restless. So she decided to stand for nomination to the Works Council. “It is interesting and completely different from what I normally do. I work on finances, policy and HR in the Works Council, and work with a large group of people. I have really learned a lot.”

‘Evasys questionnaires do not measure the quality of education while everyone thinks that they do’

You are standing for the Academisch Belang party. What does this party stand for?
“Independence. Academisch Belang is a small party with three members that has a clear opinion. An important target for us was to have an ombudsman and luckily we have one now. We recently worked with other parties to organise the finances and we are now working on an analysis of the Graduate School and have signalled the problems around Evasys questionnaires. These questionnaires are done with the best intentions, but they do not measure the quality of education while everyone thinks that they do.
The questionnaires are shared through a public link and can be filled in by anyone anonymously, even by people unrelated to TU Delft. It doesn’t make sense that TU Delft teachers are evaluated by a tool like this.
We brought this up with the Executive Board and, after an explanatory letter and a presentation, Rob Mudde took the issue up with the Student Council. It is not a fun subject. It may not be a good system, but as there is no alternative, everyone is just pushing it aside. But we really do have to discuss it.”

What subjects do you want to put your efforts into in the coming years?
“The finances, and in particular in real estate. Some buildings really need to be replaced. Take Applied Sciences for example, which is bursting out of its seams. But building a new big building is very expensive. The Works Council’s task is to check that not all the money allocated to real estate goes only on maintenance. This is needed of course, but some money has to be kept for new builds. This will be a big challenge.

Another issue is the huge workload that emerged from the employees monitor. The monitor’s outcomes have led the faculties and services to make plans to reduce the workload. The Works Council will check to see that these plans really are being put in place and whether the situation is improving.”

What do you believe is the biggest challenge for staff participation at TU Delft?
“That you can’t do everything. You need to set priorities. It is therefore important that the Works Council looks at the issues where we can make the biggest difference. 

I love techies and think nerds are wonderful so I’m completely at home’

Further, some groups are under-represented in the Works Council. We don’t have any young scientific staff members and no doctoral candidates, for example. That’s understandable as they have so little time. Luckily though, some of the Personnel Committees do have doctoral candidates on board and we have close contact with Promood, the TU Delft doctoral candidate network.”

What is your image of an ideal TU Delft?
“A flourishing campus at least. The novelty of working at home has faded. Teaching online is not that much fun. I miss the contact and the interaction with the students. If I give a lesson now on campus, I come home completely buoyed and happy.

For me TU Delft is pretty much ideal. I love techies and think nerds are wonderful so I’m completely at home. Everyone is also terribly opinionated and while it can be a little wearing at times, it’s good as academic staff should and must be autonomous.
That said, TU Delft has a huge challenge in its real estate. A lot is being done already, such as Pulse and Echo and the maintenance of CEG and I really want to move back into the renovated floors of EEMCS, but still more needs to be done.”

How can you make sure that you know what issues staff are facing now that almost everyone is working at home?
“Normally we hold regular drop-in Works Council lunches for employees. We tried to do this online but it didn’t go that well.

As I am in the Works Council’s Executive Committee, I pick up a lot of information. We receive a lot of emails and employees know how to reach us. Apart from this I am regularly approached in my own Faculty and we have close contact with the Personnel Committees. Working at home has not really limited us. And as the Works Council is a big group of people, we hear a lot.
It would be good to come together more often in themed meetings with the Works Council and Personnel Committees during this Works Council’s term so that we can jointly set the priorities for staff participation.”

News editor Marjolein van der Veldt

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