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Faculty Strategic Plan 2022 – 2027 finalised

Tuesday 7 June saw the finalisation of the new Faculty Strategic Plan 2022 – 2027 by the Faculty Board. A PDF of the Faculty Strategic Plan (FSP) will be available in Dutch and English for the faculty community in July. A number of members of the FSP Steering Committee look back on a far-reaching and productive project.

At the start in October 2020, the programme to arrive at a new Faculty Strategic Plan was already known. It had already been decided that this would be an iterative process. Especially during the corona period, the FSP Steering Committee wanted to  take the time to work this through step by step. From the development of a mission and vision, discussions with stakeholders and SWOT analyses to drawing up draft ambitions, objectives and policy intentions. At each step in the process, as much coordination, input and feedback as possible were sought, mostly online, but fortunately also in person in the last few months.

Now that the Strategic Plan has been finalised by the Faculty Board, the project has come to an end and the Steering Committee will be disbanded. ‘The enthusiasm of the group and the way Sybille, Iris, Gilles, Carin and first Tim and then Pui Chi puzzled things out together was a bonus in this process,’ says Dean Mark Rutgers.

Pride and engagement in the faculty

Giles Scott-Smith, a member of the Steering Committee and programme chair and Professor by Special Appointment in History until 1 July, looks back at the project. ‘We saw a real sense of pride in the quality and scope of Leiden Humanities, and many people wanted to see that reflected in the FSP. There was also a strong call for clear goals, improvements and ambitions, which would reflect colleagues' need for a clear direction and purpose.’

Mark Rutgers, chair of the FSP Steering Committee and dean of the faculty, also observed a high degree of openness and engagement. ‘I found the discussions with colleagues extremely positive. The faculty community had a lot of questions and came up with some very valuable ideas. At the same time, we also saw that because many members of staff were not continuously involved in the decision-making and developments on faculty issues, they were less aware of the latest state of affairs. There were, for example, suggestions for matters relating to national policy or for which a facility was already in place that was simply not known by all our colleagues,’ Mark explained. ‘It’s a pity that there wasn’t enough time (or resources) to explain all the feedback we received on the draft plans. This is another reminder that you can never communicate enough.’

Pui Chi Lai, BBO, supporting member of the FSP Steering Committee, concludes: ‘It was a real learning process to talk with different groups of people and different organisations within the faculty about their visions on the ambitions of the Strategic Agenda. The different perspectives, expertise and interests stress the complexity and challenges of the faculty.’ 

Five ambitions for the coming seven years

The Faculty Strategic Plan mentions five ambitions we will be working on in the coming years. All five ambitions are important, but Mark emphasises: 'it is obvious that especially the ambition to increase well-being for all staff and students is paramount for all of us to feel good, to develop and to flourish. Reducing the pressure of work, more research space, clarity about development opportunities (including for non-academic staff), careful recruitment and the proper introduction programmes for colleagues, to name but a few issues, should help create a good, safe and pleasant working environment for everyone.

Finally, Mark Rutgers commented that it has often been said that we want too much. 'I understand that. However, there is also a lot going on inside and outside the faculty. And we have to go along with those things. But we also have to make choices, some of which mean spreading actions out over time, and re-evaluating our ambitions in good time. One effect is that the number of policy intentions mentioned is considerably less than in our previous strategic plan. In the end, we were able to achieve almost 90% of that plan. The joint effort of the whole faculty to make this happen shows our strength and is a positive sign for the plan's  implementation.'

When the FSP will be available

In July, a PDF of the FSP in Dutch and English will be available online. This will be followed after the summer by the practical implementation of the FSP and its embedding in the organisation. An abbreviated version of the FSP will then also be available to all employees.

If you would like to read about how the FSP came into being, please click here.

FSP 2022 – 2027: Five ambitions with strategic goals for the Faculty of Humanities

Ambition A.  To strengthen our position as a leading international university for research and education in the humanities 

  1. To consolidate our strong disciplinary identity and also strengthen our multi- and interdisciplinary approach 
  2. To collaborate with other partners, both within and outside the University, to maximise the vision and input of the Faculty of Humanities in joint research on global themes 
  3. To create recognition of the Faculty of Humanities within society and to become more successful in the acquisition of funding 
  4. To consolidate and strengthen the links between education and research

Ambition B.  To provide a challenging, sustainable and dynamic learning environment 

  1. To offer a wide and dynamic range of educational tracks
  2. To implement sustainable educational innovation

Ambition C.  To optimally prepare students for a wide range of career options in their future working life

  1. To equip students to envisage and shape their own future as critical citizens and professionals within society
  2. To enhance awareness and skills in the area of Digital Humanities in all study programmes

Ambition D.  To strengthen the culture and operation of our Faculty 

  1. To intensify interinstitutional collaboration, integrated operational management and leadership
  2. To encourage career development

Ambition E.  To improve the wellbeing of all staff members and students 

  1. To intensify interinstitutional collaboration, integrated operational management and leadership
  2. To encourage career development

The process of arriving at the Strategic Plan was the responsibility of the Faculty Board. The day-to-day progress was entrusted to a Strategic Plan Steering Committee, with three management/ academic staff and three support staff members. The management/academic staff members were Mark Rutgers (dean and chair of the Steering Committee), Sybille Lammes (professor of New Media and Digital Culture and Scientific Director of LUCAS) and Giles Scott-Smith (until 1 July Programme Chairman and Professor by Special Appointment in History, subsequently Dean  of Leiden University College in The Hague). They were assisted by the department of Management and Policy Support (Iris Rahusen and Tim Lamers, later succeeded by Pui Chi Lai) and Communication and Marketing (Carin Gelpke).

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