Inspectorate: AMFI working to restore social safety

27 Jun 2023 08:00 | Communication

The Education Inspectorate finds that Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) has taken sufficient and appropriate measures to ensure social safety within the Fashion & Textile Technologies department. This is the main conclusion from the investigation conducted by the inspectorate at AMFI in spring 2022. The dean of the Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries and AMFI's degree programme manager are satisfied with the results of the investigation.

Background information

The inspectorate's investigation follows a review of the social safety at AMFI that the faculty commissioned from Bezemer & Schubad in spring 2021. This resulted in a critical report with recommendations that were adopted by the faculty. The AUAS informed the inspectorate about the implementation of the report's recommendations.

In June 2021, the inspectorate called for people to report instances of social insecurity within the arts and fashion sector in higher education. This generated a lot of response. In autumn 2021, the inspectorate held exploratory discussions with art and fashion schools within higher education about social safety. The inspectorate then decided to conduct a thematic survey on social safety within art and fashion programmes. This research was published in June 2023. To get a better picture of the situation and the approach to change at AMFI, the inspectorate also decided to do a follow-up investigation at AMFI.

Outcomes and recommendations of the investigation

In spring 2022, the inspectorate conducted an investigation at AMFI. Interviews took place and documents were analysed. After the summer, the data were processed and in February 2023 the draft report was shared with the AUAS executive staff officer's board. The final report is public as of now. The inspection concludes that the board is working in a focused way to restore social safety at AMFI. This has ensured that problems no longer persist and that problems are likely to be prevented in the future.

The inspection has two recommendations. First, it stresses that to ensure the restoration of social safety, obstacles such as workload pressure and information provision must be addressed.

The inspection reports that reducing workload pressure for students and staff is a prerequisite for a socially safe environment. We are working on structural adjustments such as the educational reform already initiated. In addition, clear job descriptions, combating overtime and further professionalisation contribute to reducing work pressure. The inspectorate feels that the provision of information to the degree programme committee (OC) could be improved. We have invested in this in recent months. The OC is now operating at full strength and will soon receive official support.

Secondly, the inspectorate feels that quality assurance in AMFI interim examinations and exams could be improved. We have therefore initiated several actions and started to review the assessment policy.

In addition to the recommendations, the inspectorate points out that steering for the restoration of social safety could be improved by a structured approach to planning and implementing measures around social safety. We endorse this and will elaborate on the objectives and monitor the results. In 2024, the inspection will assess what progress AMFI has made. We look forward to this visit with confidence.

Response of Frank Kresin, Dean at the Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries (FDMCI)

"The report confirms the recovery of social safety within the degree programme. Absenteeism is decreasing, people are calmer and the culture has improved. The examinations board and education committee also indicate that they feel more heard. This is confirmation that AMFI is on the right track. The inspection's recommendations and remedial assignment are already somewhat integrated in the Transformation Plan we adopted in September 2022. We are continuing to implement the plan, prioritising actions in line with the inspectorate's recommendations. We are also in close contact with our fellow art and fashion universities of applied sciences to continue working on social safety within our profession."

Response of José Teunissen, degree programme manager at Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI)

"I have great appreciation for the AMFI staff who kept the degree programme running during a very difficult period which had a major impact on everyone involved. I look forward to setting our sights on the future with my team of lecturers and staff. We are working hard, but we are not there yet. The inspectorate's recommendations will further help us to make AMFI even better and achieve our ambitions."