Procedure for dean appointments “not written in stone”
MAASTRICHT. It is no longer the rector who will carry out the initial selection of job application letters for the appointment of deans. Such letters will again be submitted to the Appointments Advisory Committee as a whole.
This was recently announced by President Martin Paul to the University Council's Strategy Committee. The new procedure for the appointment of deans is not written in stone, he assured. There is still room for adaptations to the document, which was reportedly ‘determined’ by the Executive Board after consultation of the deans in the management team.
The note stirred up a considerable commotion in the University Council the past few weeks. Questions were raised in particular about the fact that in the future not only the rector would sit in on the Appointments Advisory Committee, but “in principle” the entire Executive Board. This was an amendment of the UM Administration and Management Regulation (Bestuurs- en beheersreglement UM), the Council argued during both the plenary September meeting and the committee meeting at the beginning of October. And not, as the Executive Board suggests, a further specification. In the first instance, approval from the Council is required, in the second instance, the Council need not be consulted.
Sjaak Koenis, Council member on behalf of the academic staff, felt that it was strange that the Executive Board intends to give advise to itself. After all, the Appointments Advisory Committee puts forward two candidates after which the Executive Board as a whole makes a choice.
Another point of discussion was whether the dean should or shouldn't actually come from the faculty? In the eyes of University Council member (academic staff) from the law faculty Raymond Luja, this should be the case. This point - requiring the recruitment of both an internal and an external candidate - would also constitute an amendment of the Administration and Management Regulation and thus need the University Council's approval.
The University Council stated that they would seek legal advice and provide a letter that would be discussed in the plenary meeting on Wednesday afternoon, 23 October, after Observant had gone to print. The Executive Board will also submit documents. President Paul emphasised again that he and his colleagues would like to discuss this subject and are not looking to cause a “dispute”. They want to prevent this. A dispute would have to be put before the supervisory board, which would then investigate whether an amicable settlement is possible. If this is not possible, the case goes to the national arbitration board.
Paul promised that no irreversible steps would be taken with regard to the recruitment of deans until the next meeting.
The new procedure for the appointment of deans also received criticism during the Faculty Council meeting at Psychology and Neurosciences (FPN). This faculty is looking for a successor for dean Anita Jansen, who is about to leave. The council concluded that the majority of the Appointments Advisory Committee would in the future consist of the Executive Board and members they have put forward. While a dean is there primarily for the faculty, they said. There were also comments about the recruitment of an external candidate. A dean must be able to work together with everyone within the faculty, a council member argued. “That is why it should not be someone from outside the university. They don't know how exactly things work here and discovering that would take a lot of time.”