Universiteit Leiden

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LUC The Hague: A Message from the Dean

16 September 2020

So last week I was complaining about September weather, and this week it is so hot it feels like the midst of summer all over again! I thoroughly enjoyed a few hours at the beach, and my youngest daughter even went for a swim in the sea. So I will hold off complaining about the weather for a while until it gets really dismal.

The Launch of the Community Building Challenge Series

Last week, we had the very first webinar in the Community Building Challenge series for first-year students, in which Halil Karaaslan from ECHO talked about inclusive communication. The webinar was very well attended and elicited some insightful contributions from students who responded to some of the discussion points. Speaking of student contributions, this week I had my first coffee/tea meeting with students at Douwe Egberts, who were real LUC enthusiasts and had interesting insights to offer about our program and their experiences with online teaching. I will be sure to take their points to the staff and Program Board to help us make the best of the current situation. Do look out for the invitation for the next Coffee/Tea meeting that will take place on Oct 1 in the afternoon!

Transparency & Action

There is always a lot going on behind the scenes at LUC. Students often only see the implemented final result of a decision-making process that consists of months, and sometimes years of discussions, preparations, and bureaucratic hoop-jumping. It is tricky to communicate ongoing developments that do not have a final decision yet, without causing confusion or false expectations. Yet, I have learned that some transparency about what goes on behind the scenes is useful, to show that the wheels of LUC are always turning.

Bringing More Interdisciplinarity

One of the discussions we’re having now is about making room for more courses with a clear Humanities signature in the first year, as well as for more interdisciplinarity. There is a lot of support for these ideas, but making this change is not an easy process because adding a new course means another course has to go, and every course change means changes in staffing, and sometimes further changes in other parts of the curriculum so that the program’s learning outcomes are maintained. And there are of course many stakeholders that need to be consulted in this type of decision-making process. Definitely to be continued….!


Another project we have been working on is recruitment strategies, and in particular ways to make our recruitment materials more informative for a larger diversity of applicants. One of the things that we are doing right now is translating all our recruitment materials in Dutch, because even though our prospective students are expected to be proficient in English, their parents may not necessarily be comfortable reading English materials, whereas they do often have an important voice in program selection. It is not always easy finding the right Dutch words to describe the LUC program. The most challenging phrase to translate for a wider audience of parents is actually our program title: Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges. We would love some (Dutch) student input for this, so we have a little competition set up for you to participate in to help us come up with the best translation. You can find the details here. Input more than welcome! And other languages may follow of course…

So a lot of food for thought, but let’s not forget food for stomachs. As I am writing this there are lovely smells coming from the kitchen, and they remind me of a video with Top 10 culinary music hits. Enjoy!

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