Universiteit Leiden

nl en

LUC The Hague: A Message from the Dean

2 September 2020

We are now all fully engaged in the Block 1 program and I am hearing some wonderful stories from staff and students about their first experiences in this new academic year. As promised in the last newsletter, I will use this message to given an update on the draft Action Plan inspired by our conversations about racism and related issues before summer.

Student Awareness and Skills

The first point on the action agenda referred to student awareness and skills. Specifically for the first-year students, we have planned three webinars in block 1 on inclusive communication (week 3), the active bystander (week 4), and online citizenship (week 6), each of which explicitly addressing the issue of racism, but also other phenomena that hamper inclusive community building. Our experiences with these webinars will inform plans for block 2 as well as ways of also making these sessions available to all students.

Staff Awareness and Skills

The action plan also addresses staff awareness and skills. We just had a very inspiring staff seminar on promoting open and respectful dialogue in class. Staff shared their own strategies and resources with their colleagues, asked questions to learn new approaches and best practices, and reflected on how to deal with classroom diversity. We will devote the next two staff seminars in Block 1 to related topics to really engage with these topics more deeply, and to discover what type of involvement of external experts would be most helpful to this process in Block 2.

Handling Student Complaints

Following item 4 on the draft action plan, the College Board is working on an overview of current procedures in place for handling student complaints. This will be the starting point of community-wide conversations about potential gaps in these procedures and how we can improve them. We plan to share the overview next week and open up avenues for discussion later on in the first semester.

Students in Minority Positions

In the area of support for students in minority positions at LUC, we have first focused on the BIPOC community. I am happy to report that we have hired an excellent Student Life Counsellor of color, have  planned three meetings with expert speakers on the topic of dealing with racism in a community setting, and will make sure to keep in close contact with the Race  Ethnicity committee so that we keep up to date of relevant developments in the BIPOC community. This semester, I will also make sure to talk to the chairs of the other Diversity subcommittees to find out what other support mechanisms may be needed.

Content of the Curriculum

Regarding content of the curriculum, four research clinics are in the starting phase of examining the challenges and opportunities that come with attempts to decolonizing the curriculum, including an examination of what decolonizing a curriculum actually means. I am looking forward to meeting with the professors running these research clinics and the convener of the decolonization working group in week 4 to discuss the process and timeline for the first report with recommendations for the Program Board.

Recruitment and Communication

Finally, regarding recruitment and communication, we are now forming dedicated academic staff teams for recruitment an admissions who will collaborate with the relevant support staff teams to develop new strategies that are mindful of diversity and different needs for different applicants to the LUC program. In this process, the student perspective will also be included so that we can learn from their experiences and tailor our procedures to the needs of various groups.

In sum: a lot is going on at LUC, and our staff are working really hard to provide all LUC students with a community and learning experience that we can all be proud of. Seeing all of this dedication is extremely gratifying. Paraphrasing a quote from  a bad eighties historical comedy: It is good to be the dean…of this wonderful place that is all about growth and learning.

This website uses cookies.  More information.