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“I would find it interesting to see a physicist appointed"

“I would find it interesting to see a physicist appointed"

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

Who should succeed rector Luc Soete?

Rector magnificus Luc Soete is leaving. On 1 September, his successor will take over. Who should that be? And what should he/she do especially? Observant will ask students and staff this question in the coming weeks.

According to Mirjam oude Egbrink, professor of Physiology and scientific director of the Institute for Education of FHML, the next rector should definitely be a woman. “There are three people on the Executive Board, one at least should be a woman. I have just returned from Portugal, where we met with the female director and vice director of a university and the female director of a large hospital. We could learn something from that, I thought. There are enough good women. Mariëlle Heijltjes has already been mentioned a few times, and she seems an very good choice to me. I don’t know her that well, but I hear excellent things about her and she has leadership skills, which would also be useful.

“I feel that it is very important that the rector safeguards and protects education. That teaching is valued and that this is reflected in personnel policies. It shouldn’t be something that is a burden, because people who focus on research have better career opportunities. Whether a vice rector of education is necessary in that case, the board needs to decide when the portfolios are being distributed.

“The new rector should be powerful and innovative, but also lend a listening ear. It needs to be someone who is visible, someone who can be seen on the work floor and talks to people. The nice thing about Maastricht is that it is a relatively small university and the Executive Board is easily approached. That must certainly be maintained.

“A rector should have an eye for the differences between the faculties. Every faculty has its own problems and peculiarities. We now often see that things are being standardised. If standardisation is possible, great, but it shouldn’t be imposed. The rector should be someone who knows the faculties well, but he or she could also get to know them. As far as that goes, it could also be someone from elsewhere. The President and Vice President are already from our own ranks, so why not have a rector from outside this university?”

“I have a feeling that the appointment of the rector has always been something between FHML, Law and SBE,” says physicist Ronald Westra, senior lecturer at the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering. “I would find it interesting to see a physicist appointed. That is an area where there are a lot of challenges. I have worked here for 26 years, and since the beginning there have been plans for a science faculty. For the past eight years - starting under the presidency of Ritzen - it has slowly been taking shape. The rector should fight for such a faculty in The Hague, although I am not sure exactly about the division of tasks between the rector and the President of the Board. Maybe the latter should do that.”

During the talk, Westra gets another idea for a suitable candidate: Herman Kingma. “He most likely wouldn’t want the job and maybe it is also not possible, because he has already retired, but he is an amicable man, a man of vision and has a scientific background. He has achieved a great deal in the field of disturbance of equilibrium. Not only when it comes to knowledge about this topic, but also practical application. I am not sure about the details, but he designed a device that enables patients suffering from disturbance of equilibrium to walk properly again. Maastricht Instruments produced the device and is very proud of that. Excellent work. As far as I am concerned, selfishly thinking from my department, he would be the ideal rector.”

Cleo Freriks and Maurice Timmermans

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