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Executive Board withdraws proposal for dean appointment procedure, University Council conflict solved

 Executive Board withdraws proposal for dean appointment procedure, University Council conflict solved

Photographer:Fotograaf: archief universiteitsraad

One Executive Board member in the Appointments Advisory Committee as well as internal recruitment first

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board has withdrawn the proposal for a new procedure for the appointment of faculty deans (the highest position in a faculty). In doing so, the conflict with the University Council, which arose at the end of September, has ended. It also means that in the future there will be only one member of the Executive Board on the Appointments Advisory Committee (benoemingsadviescommissie, BAC), and that recruitment for a suitable candidate will first take place internally. 

There was never a formal dispute. Upon the advice of the Supervisory Board, a small committee consisting of members from the University Council and the Executive Board, tried to find a solution and found one. This became clear during the latest meeting of the Local Consultative Body on Wednesday, 18 December. “We had a proposal, the University Council didn’t agree, and after much discussion the whole document was taken off the table. We will return to the Administration and Management Regulation,” said rector Rianne Letschert.

Full Executive Board

With this, two controversial issues have been solved. In the future, only the rector will be on the Appointments Advisory Committee instead of – as the Board’s proposal said – “in principle” the entire Executive Board. The University Council felt that in doing so the Executive Board was unreasonably increasing its grasp on the appointment of deans, to the disadvantage of the influence of the faculty itself. Furthermore, it was pointed out that this adaptation in fact required a change to the Administration and Management Regulation and therefore needed approval of that same Council. The Executive Board, however, saw this whole plan as a ‘further detailing’ of the regulation, for which no approval was required.

Recruiting internally

The second point of conflict was the plan to simultaneously recruit both internally and externally. This did not go down very well with the University Council either. The Council argued that the Administration and Management Regulation states the dean should come from the faculty.  The Executive Board also backed down on this matter: The Appointments Advisory Committee, as the rector told the Local Consultative Body, will first look within the faculty, but should that yield too few or no candidates, it can be decided to immediately recruit externally. “After all, there is not a line of professors waiting to be appointed,” said Letschert. “If there is one lesson I have learned this past while – now that we are looking for new deans for the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Psychology, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences – is that we need to work harder to train talent for the deanship. There is not much supply at the moment.”

Not everything from the rector’s proposal has been squashed. For example, the Faculty Council, which until now was only consulted at the end of the searching process, is going to appoint two members of the Appointments Advisory Committee. 

Appeal

A new initiative by the rector is to send an internal e-mail at the start of a procedure, introducing the members of the Appointments Advisory Committee to the faculty and appealing to everyone to come up with the names of suitable candidates. Or if people have the ambition themselves, they can inform the committee of that too. “We did this at Psychology and it rendered many positive reactions. The e-mail at FASoS will be sent this week.”

In answer to the question whether Letschert was satisfied with the result, she said: “It is a matter of give and take. I would have liked it to have been different, I would have preferred the full Executive Board to have a say in the Appointments Advisory Committee. That would have been more transparent. Now, the Executive Board still has a final interview behind closed doors. Anyway, we all have the same objective: we want to appoint the best possible dean.”

 

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