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Wanted: intellectual with managerial experience

Wanted: intellectual with managerial experience

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

MAASTRICHT. The next rector should be “an intellectual” and “a team player who likes to work with others”. This is stated in the profile description for the rector magnificus that was made public by the supervisory board at Observant’s request.

The profile was drawn up because the term of office of the present rector, professor Luc Soete, comes to an end in September. The new rector is by definition an internal candidate: he or she will be appointed from the body of professors, as is laid down in the administrative and management regulations of this university. Current professors have the opportunity to nominate themselves or a colleague. Those who want to do so, receive a copy of the profile; until now the rest of the institute was never given the opportunity to see the profile. Minister Bussemaker of Education, however, announced that this kind of document should be made public in the future. This was reason enough for the supervisors at the UM, “in anticipation of the expectation that this will become standard practice,” to already do so now, says chairperson Truze Lodder: “We feel that there should be openness about the process.”

Until now such openness did not exist. Even the University Council, which recently advised on the rector’s profile, did so behind closed doors.

It must be said, though, that the University Council’s involvement has increased. For the first time, chairperson of the council’s nomination committee - currently UCM lecturer Roberta Haar - has been included in the selection advisory committee. Chairperson of the latter committee is Ursula Nelles, member of the supervisory board. Other members are fellow supervisor Marc Groenhuijsen, President Martin Paul and (interim) dean of FHS Franz Palm, as a member of the board of deans.

A remarkable aspect for a document that focuses exclusively on internal candidates, are the two pages filled with familiar statements about the UM from the PR brochures and the strategic programme: “leading in learning”, “unique research profile”, “situated in the heart of Europe”, “a young, stimulating organisation”. Equally unlikely is the fact that the new rector would not know that there are six faculties.

At the top of the list of ‘desired qualifications’ are the managerial qualities: a broad managerial experience within the university world, but preferably also outside, is required. Furthermore: a solid reputation in education and research, an intellectual with an honest style of management, open for debate, accessible to students, with strategic qualities. He or she also plays an “initiating role” in the contact with the outside world. Another remarkable item: the new rector will fill in the details of the UM’s ‘profile characteristics’, including “educational innovation”. The latter task, however, was explicitly put in the hands of Harm Hospers, who was appointed vice-rector of education by the present rector.

The profile ends with an emphatic appeal to women to put themselves forward as candidates, as part of the policy to appoint “more women to high positions”.

In the meantime, speculations are running high at the UM about possible names. As the UM has never had a female manager, fingers are being pointed at the dean of the Faculty of Law, Hildegard Schneider, as a likely candidate. The present dean of Psychology, Bernadette Jansma, is less likely now that she has recently been appointed as dean of FHS, a post for which suitable candidates were sought for a long time. In the men’s category, some expect vice-rector Hospers to possibly take a step up, others are fairly sure that such a move was ruled out when he was appointed in his present position. Lastly, a name mentioned by many is that of the dean of FHML, Albert Scherpbier. At the time of his appointment as dean in 2011, Observant wrote: “He is well-known as a friendly but resolute manager, who listens well to what is said on the ‘work floor’ and is then capable of taking the final decision.” Little seems to have changed in his reputation over the past few years.

 

 

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