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Rector Joke van Saane opens the new academic year: ‘Let us conduct a dialogue on the core value of the university’


Opening Academic Year highlights the nationwide project ‘Recognition and Rewards’  


1 September 2020


A greater emphasis on quality rather than quantity, more attention for differences in the qualities of university lecturers and team work, and an open connection to society. In the nationwide project ‘Recognition and Rewards’, collaborating universities and research institutes seek a new balance between stimulating and rewarding staff members. For the University of Humanistic Studies, the Opening of the Academic Year marked the kick-off to a process to concretely implement this important endeavour.


“Our goal is to be an outstanding university that seeks to contribute to building a society that serves and benefits all its members, based on the inspiration of its humanist values”, said rector Joke van Saane in her opening address. “This demands much of all our staff members. Before we know it, we might be flustering each other in the pursuit of publication numbers and large research grants. Of course that’s part of being a university, and it is important. But how can we nonetheless remain focused on the wider value of the university? How can we keep our identity alive, and contribute to making the world just that little bit better?” 


In November last year, the collaborating universities and research institutes VSNU, NFU, KNAW, NWO and ZonMw published the position paper Room for everyone’s talent; towards a new balance in the recognition and rewards of academics, in which they set out the endeavour to more broadly recognise and appreciate the work of academic staff. This includes reducing the emphasis on publication numbers and focusing more on the other domains in which the scholar operates, such as education and societal impact. This wider form of recognition and appreciation is better suited to the current core tasks of knowledge and educational institutions and what society expects of them.


At the University of Humanistic Studies, too, a project has been launched to implement this new approach. Joke van Saane: “We are very positive about this broad national movement, since it fits so well with our own mission. In this movement we are teaming up with other denominational universities, which are obviously very different to us in certain respects, but in other respects very similar. It is important to go beyond drawing up a memorandum setting out attractive policy proposals – but then this really requires a dialogue within the university. What is a university’s core value? What do students see as an ideal university? How does the university contribute to society?”


This dialogue was inaugurated during the Opening of the Academic year. Femmianne Bredewold interviewed Professor Roel Kuiper, Chair of the Executive Board of Theological University Kampen. Next, Professor Doret de Ruyter introduced the project by which the University of Humanistic Studies joins other denominational universities in making good on the position paper. Using Mentimeter, a number of questions were put to the audience, both live and online, to whom rector Joke van Saane subsequently responded. Finally, recently graduated Bachelor student Fenna van Dijk presented a column about the ideal university. The various programme components were alternated with music by duo Manouche and dance by Nahir.

Look back (in Dutch)



Programme


  • The opening address by rector Joke van Saane
  • Assistant Professor Femmianne Bredewold interviews Professor Roel Kuiper, Chair of the Theological University Kampen
  • Professor Doret de Ruyter introduces the project at the University of Humanistic Studies, in collaboration with the partners of the Netwerk Levensbeschouwelijke Universiteiten (Network of Denominational Universities)
  • Using Mentimeter, a dialogue is held with the audience (live and online) about important values for a university and where there is room for improvement.
  • Recently graduated Bachelor student Fenna van Dijk presents a PDF filecolumn about ‘The ideal university’

With music by duo Manouche and dance by Nahir.
Photo: Jos Kuklewski

In the nationwide project ‘Recognition and Rewards’, collaborating universities and research institutes seek a new balance between stimulating and rewarding staff members. For the University of Humanistic Studies, the Opening of the Academic Year marked the kick-off to a process to concretely implement this important endeavour.