MAASTRICHT. Professor Bernadette Jansma (50) will be the new dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS). Currently dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences (FPN), she will take up the new role in mid-2016. Professor Franz Palm will remain in place as interim dean until then.
Jansma will cut short her appointment at the FPN partly to help the FHS out of a tight spot: the search for a new dean proved to be no easy task. This is due to some extent, in Jansma’s view, to the unorthodox character of the faculty, with autonomous units including the Teachers Academy, the School of Governance and the Department of Knowledge Engineering.
Also falling under its remit are the sustainability institute ICIS, University College Maastricht and the School of Sciences. Jansma has collaborated with different units over the past eight years and is keen to foster cooperation “beyond the borders” of these units. Which is not to say that everything ought to change: “I always start by asking, what can be retained from the present situation? If things are going well, you shouldn’t change it. But if things can be improved, if you can continue to grow, that’s an option.”
Jansma is looking forward in particular to giving a further boost to the recently established science wing. “There’s a lot of potential in this area in various UM faculties. When you look at what’s going on here with systems biology, with biobased materials at Chemelot, UM has a lot more to offer than people realise.”
She waves away the obvious question of whether Sciences should be given its own faculty. “I’m not interested in governance structures. And anyway, the Netherlands no longer needs another new science faculty. In Germany or Belgium it would have been in place long ago; here you need to get consensus for everything, look into micro- and macro-efficiency and all sorts of things. But who cares? It’s about the content.”
Whether Jansma will seek the usual reappointment after the initial four-year period remains an open question. “After four years I’ll be wanting a quiet moment. I can’t say whether or not I’ll carry on at that point. Put it this way: there’ll need to be good arguments in favour.”