Rector: Dismissing non-functioning leaders must become easier

Dies Natalis 2020


MAASTRICHT. More must be done to train and support leaders in the academic community and it must become easier to remove non-functioning leaders from leadership positions. Rector Rianne Letschert argued this in her welcome speech to the 44th Dies Natalis last Friday. She also proposed to remove the distinction between academic staff and support staff.

The latter idea was inspired by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which no longer makes this distinction, according to Letschert. She didn’t go into specifics about how to implement this idea. The LSE website does still distinguish between “professional services staff”, “academic staff” and “research staff”.

Letschert is one of the driving forces behind a project to modernise the system of recognition and rewards in academia, which proposes that academics should no longer be assessed primarily on their research achievements. She believes there is an urgent need for universities to update their HR policies and announced a proposal with concrete steps to do so, written by herself and the six UM deans. “What we need is a culture in which quality is recognised in all the domains in which we work, but also a culture in which the lack of quality is freely discussed and dealt with.” The proposal will be presented in mid-February.

Rector: Dismissing non-functioning leaders must become easier