Splitting up the faculty - formerly Humanities & Sciences - is an interim step towards a large science faculty. Data Science and Knowledge Engineering, as well as a few institutes and education programmes, will fit in seamlessly, but other sections have little to do with science. Setting up a new faculty for these units was another scenario, says dean Thomas Cleij. “But such a minute faculty didn't seem to us to be a sustainable solution.” At the same time, the UM has always had a ‘hotchpotch’ faculty - once called General Sciences – in which a variety of units were able to go their own way to a certain degree.
Bart Verspagen, director of UNU/Merit, including the School of Governance, would gladly have signed up for that, he says. Verspagen, who originates from the Tongersestraat, say that there are quite a few uncertainties attached to the integration with SBE. “Firstly there are differences in research culture. We focus on social relevance, while SBE concentrates on publishing in top journals.”
The master's programmes also have their own signature, says Verspagen. “The UNU/Merit programme is about public policy, SBE's is mainly about business. Is it possible to integrate them? And what are the consequences for the faculty's Triple Crown mark of quality? Will it be endangered because of this, and should we then adapt? According to SBE, it is not so bad, but we will see, talks still have to commence. I do feel that SBE as a faculty is the obvious choice.”
The master's programme is also a point of concern for the ICIS institute (International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development). “Things are going very well with fifty enrolments per year,” says director Ron Cörvers. “We would prefer not to change that. The same applies to our research programme, for which we have managed to acquire a considerable number of projects. Anyway, if feelings are mutual, then we look forward to the integration with confidence.”
Mutual feelings; according to Cörvers that means that the theme of sustainability will end up more clearly in the spotlights. “As far as I'm concerned, this is an opportunity to create a hub or centre of expertise, which researchers from other faculties can join. At the moment, we have that somewhat hidden away.”
Finding a place for the three Colleges - UCM, Venlo and Science Program - is more complicated, says Cleij: “We need more time, because the Colleges have the same registration, sharing a so-called Croho code, and the process involves several other faculties.” However, the place for the Science Program seems clear. “I would be surprised if it did not remain with the Faculty of Science and Engineering.”