I often like to joke to my colleagues that my only qualification for my job is to be a native English speaker. While I mean it in jest, it is the true.
The top requirement for the job as International Editor for Delta was to have native-level fluency in English.
My skillset is one of many required by a university as large and as diverse as TU Delft. With an institution of this size, resources abound.
Unfortunately, the downside to working for an institution of this size is that very often, as we say in English, the left hand doesn‘t know what the right is doing. It's not a criticism of TU Delft per se as nearly every large organisation I’ve ever worked for has had a similar problem. My colleagues and I are often unaware of many of the boundless resources offered by the university and our colleagues who work in it.
A few years ago, at an after work borrel, a colleague from IDE mentioned that she was excited that her department had just gotten a 3D printer. Another staff member remarked that his department had also recently purchased one, followed by yet another colleague expressing the same sentiment. In tthis small gathering, there had been three purchases of 3D printers in a matter of months. As I doubt those printers are constantly in use, these resources likely spend much time sitting by idly.
And it's not just resources. Numerous times, someone has told me that they are initiating a buddy or mentor program to help new international students integrate. Various fraternities, faculty organisations, the Central International Office, HR, even a few religious organisations. And frankly, there are not a lot of religious organisations around.
I have seen various initiatives over the years to improve the internal communications at the university. All the project management software, social media, newsletters and disruptive technologies have not fixed this very basic problem. Large institutions everywhere struggle with it.
My fellow colleagues at Delta, who are also English-language editors, and I frequently share with one another what we consider hilarious blunders of the English language published around the university. Considering there is a pool of native-English speaking professional editors and writers here at the university, the resources are available to prevent these mistakes before they happen.
There's no need to refer to a grant recipient as an "it" as one faculty did in a press release. Or refer to your "passionated" colleagues. Or to claim that you "made" a picture.
There‘s no 3D printer in my office (and honestly, how do those things even work?) nor am I starting a buddy program for new students. But, I am a native-English speaker. So are my colleagues. And we’re here for you.