Less work pressure, more work pleasure

Less work pressure, more work pleasure

Chapeau: New FASoS strategic plan


MAASTRICHT. Support staff with education tasks, a gown for the associate/assistant professors who sit on the “corona” during a PhD ceremony. Two resolutions from the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences’ new strategic plan in which it is all about the well-being of staff and students.

How can we let our members of staff and students flourish? How can we stimulate mutual co-operation and at the same time reduce work pressure? It appears to be a conscious choice to devote the first chapter of the 44-page strategic plan, entitled Keep on moving forward together, to personnel management. In the next two chapters, about education and research, reducing work pressure and improving work pleasure are mentioned too.

“People make our faculty, they constitute the basis,” says dean Christine Neuhold. “It’s true that human resources are very important, but besides clear rules that make life within the faculty easier, we especially want to inspire our staff and students to work together.” Because teamwork is important, says the plan, in teaching as well as in research. All of our employees contribute to this, both academic and administrative and support staff. Neuhold would prefer to abolish the distinction between the two groups. “We are one FASoS team, we just have different roles.” And even that could change in the future. The faculty is thinking about giving administrative and support staff who want this, a role in education. “Many of them have academic training. I am thinking, for example, about tutorships or giving lectures.”


The fact that it is all about teamwork in the faculty should be more visible during a PhD ceremony. At the moment, there is a clear distinction between professors and associate/assistant professors who sit on the “corona” as supervisors. The former wear a robe, the latter civilian clothing. “That is not the same everywhere in the world,” says Neuhold. “I know that this might sound super revolutionary – the gown is a kind of class symbol – but by allowing all members who sit on the corona to wear a gown, you show that you are a team. It is recognition for all the work and the expertise carried out by associate/assistant professors.”

Work pressure

The faculty wants to tackle the high work pressure by among others, having more periods without teaching, fair standard hours and a shorter academic year. This is in accordance with the plans at university level. Dean Neuhold is to become chairwoman of a UM working group that is looking into a shorter academic year. At the same time, there will be space, in conformity with the national Recognition and Rewards project, for different career paths, for example, in the field of teaching.  

Research in education

In education, specifically in certain master’s programmes and some bachelor’s specialisations, the staff’s research could be given a place, it says in the plan. For example, through the introduction of interdisciplinary elective courses that go across the programmes.

This works both ways: the lecturer teaches about the subject that he or she knows very well, the student receives a taste of things in the research field. Neuhold: “I do the same in the research master’s myself. It is very inspiring for both parties.”

A thousand flowers

Let a thousand flowers bloom is the motto when it comes to faculty research. It is very diverse at the moment – divided into four research programmes – and that will continue to be the case. Neuhold: “We discussed this plan with many parties. The conclusion is clear: it is a matter of strengthening the existing, diverse and interdisciplinary research at FASoS.” Research that was classified as ‘good’ by the latest accreditation committee. “Although the committee did add a note of criticism: ‘Why does the world not know that?’ We will have to display our research more than we do now; show others what we can do.”


Author: Riki Janssen

Image: Fasos, Gertraud Liesenfeld

Categories: News, news_top
Tags: fasos,strategic plan,gown,teamwork,recognition and rewards,neuhold

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