Photographer:Fotograaf: archief UU
MAASTRICHT. He studied political science, holds a PhD in history, worked as a researcher at Oxford and Harvard, is now associate professor of European Integration in Utrecht and a member of the national Scientific Council for Government Policy, writes columns for Het Financieele Dagblad and hosts a weekly Europe-themed spot on Radio-EenVandaag – not to mention the fact that he was born and raised in Maastricht. As of 1 June, Mathieu Segers (1976) will take the reins as the new dean of University College Maastricht.
Segers is keenly aware that he is taking on the role at a time when UCM is leading the Keuzegids rankings and can rightly count itself among the best-rated bachelor’s programmes in the Netherlands. “Doing well in the rankings – in fact, topping them several times – doesn’t happen just like that”, he says. “But maintaining that kind of level is just as much of a challenge as getting there. I see it as my task to make sure we hold on to the good – and there’s a lot of good here. That said, there’s room for improvement too. Fortunately for me, nothing at UCM is in need of an immediate overhaul; we’ll be working from a position of strength. There’ll be time to take a good long look at things and figure out in what areas we can spread our wings further. Things like forging closer collaborations with existing partners within UM and with new partners, but also taking a more active role in society. I’d like to see UCM become a meeting place for public debates on social issues.”
During the application procedure, Segers was pleasantly surprised that UCM proved to be a “genuine academic community, where both staff and students are strongly involved in education and research.” He had the chance to get acquainted with many students over the course of one “very intensive day in January”, when he gave a lecture and a question-and-answer session was organised between himself and the staff and students. “I consider that to be important. They can be of real added value when it comes to the content of the study programme and the structure of the organisation. That day gave me a much deeper insight into UCM, which was very positive.”
He will take the baton from Teun Dekker, who succeeded Harm Hospers after the latter was appointed vice rector in early 2015. In addition to serving as dean, Segers will be appointed professor of Contemporary European History and European Integration at the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences. Time will tell whether he’ll have much room in his schedule left over for research, he says. “I’m definitely aiming to continue doing research. To my mind a good administrator also needs to be active in research and teaching, and the staff and students share this view. So yes, I’ll be teaching too, although not as much as I am now in Utrecht.”