Universiteit Leiden

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LUC The Hague: A Message from the Dean #3

26 June 2020

I would like to start by thanking the entire LUC community of students, staff, and alumni for their continued engagement in the recent conversations on racism, and for helping to move us forward collectively in a spirit of what I feel is now an optimistic and honest endeavor to make LUC a better place. As promised, a summary of the series of 3 Town Hall Meetings convened by the College Board is now available via this link

The next step is for the College Board and the staff community to reflect on everything that has been brought to the table during the Town Hall Meetings, and to formulate an action plan that addresses the issues that were raised. Of course a solid action plan cannot be made in just the weeks that we have left before we all leave for summer break, but we can certainly make a strong first step for those points that are most urgent. We will keep the community updated about the progress of the action plan via this newsletter, and organize a way to receive input where possible. Most importantly: we’re on it!

Given that the academic year has come to an end for most, and (almost) all assignments and exams have been handed in, and grading has finished, I would also like to take this opportunity to give a big shout out to our academic and support staff who have worked incredibly hard to keep LUC afloat during the lockdown. I know many of them have put in far more work hours to make this happen than anyone could reasonably have expected. A big big thank you to all of them! We have also all learned a lot from this experience: we know that some things worked better than others, that some experiments were great and some did not go how we’d hoped. We will take all of these lessons on board for next academic year, to make whatever we need to do online the best experience it can be. 

It was not just staff who had to work hard to adjust to the online situation. This was also a highly challenging period for students of course, with people scattering across the globe, the loss of a physical community, failing online platforms, and time zone issues. Nevertheless, I have heard so many stories from staff (and students themselves) about the amazing things that students have managed to do during these times, that I can only be once again hugely impressed by what our community is capable of. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Indeed!

So now we relax. A little at least. Working on the anti-racism action plan, organizing graduation, getting a new cohort admitted, preparing for courses after summer, and tying up all sorts of loose ends will keep many staff busy for a few more weeks. But we do so knowing that we are investing in a new generation of thinkers and doers who are worth our efforts. And when those called to teaching meet those called to learning in a place of mutual respect and understanding, we all come out enriched! 

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