Universiteit Leiden

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Join the discussion on the university's future direction

What should our education and research look like in 2027? How can we make the university more sustainable and achieve greater impact? The new Strategic Plan will set the direction for the coming years, and the Executive Board wants students and staff to provide as much input as possible. Would you like to join in the discussion?

Before the coronavirus made its presence felt, the university had already started work on developing the new Strategic Plan. Students gave their input at a student conference and discussions were held with stakeholders from outside the university to help us reflect on our proposed plans. The preparations came to a sudden halt due to the lockdown, but fortunately we have now picked up again where we left off and will, of course, be incorporating the many insights we have already received. The development process has been given the title ‘LDN FWD’ (pronounced ‘Leiden Forward’).

Different ways to give your input

‘There are a lot of important decisions involved in developing the Strategic Plan, so over the coming months we are hoping that students and staff will play an active part,' commented Annetje Ottow, President of the Executive Board. 'We also realise that this is a very unusual time, when a lot is being asked of everyone. We will make sure that students and staff who want to take part are able to do so in as simple and easy a way as possible. We will also be making use of existing initiatives to gain inputs. In March, for example, we started the Executive Board on Tour series, where we meet groups of staff almost every week. We'll be including these discussions in the preparations for the plan.' 

A new Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan sets out the direction our university will take in the coming years. We define who we are and who we want to be, those things we believe are essential and what our aims are. We have to make choices and it is important that we explain the details of these choices so that we can actually achieve our goals. The Executive Board will present the new Strategic Plan at the next Dies Natalis on 8 February 2022. 

Online dialogue in May

In May we will ask staff and students via an online tool what they believe is important for the future of the university. Shortly after that, via the same tool, the points raised will be examined in greater depth: staff and students will be able to contribute questions and statements and respond to one another's arguments. This accessible dialogue format will allow everyone to make a contribution simply and anonymously. ‘You can take part whenever it suits you,' Karin Horsman, director of Strategy and Academic Affairs, explains. 'Also, you can read about issues raised by other (anonymous) staff and students, and give your reaction. This is a good way for everyone to enrich their knowledge and broaden their insights.' 

The path to the Strategic Plan
The path to the Strategic Plan.

Theme meetings in June

As well as using this tool, we will be organising a number of theme meetings in June where students and staff will be able to discuss issues together. The outcomes of the online dialogues and meetings will form the building blocks for the  new Strategic Plan. 

Strategic conference in July

We will discuss the first outline of the Strategic Plan at the Strategic Conference in early July. Ottow: 'We are also continuously in discussion with the University Council, and we have university-wide working groups who are developing a vision on such themes as sustainability, internationalisation, open science and recognition and reward.' 

Follow-up after the summer

After the summer all the input will be incorporated into a single document. This will be followed by a series of refinement rounds based on broad consultation with staff and students. All this will culminate at the Dies Natalis on 8 February 2022, when the Executive Board will present the new Strategic Plan for the coming years. Ottow: ‘Students and staff have so many ideas for the future of our university. We hope very much that we will be able to include these ideas in the Strategic Plan. I want to encourage everyone to make use of the opportunities offered to let their voice be heard. This way, together we will give shape to the future of our university.' 

Forthcoming consultations in May

In May, staff at Leiden University will receive several mails asking them to share their ideas and experiences. Besides the request about the strategic plan via the online dialogue tool among staff and students, on 17 May all staff will also receive an invitation to take part in a survey on such themes as pressure of work, social safety and working after corona. At the end of May, academic staff will also be asked for their input on the themes of differentiation in academic careers, transparency and leadership.

All these different consultations will provide valuable input for developing the strategic plan for the future of our university. We realise that we are asking a lot of all of you who are part of our organisation. Nonetheless, we hope to receive your input because your views are very important to us.

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