Universiteit Leiden

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Jasper's day

On January 1st Jasper Knoester started as our new dean. How is he finding it? What kinds of things is he doing and what does his day look like? In each newsletter, Jasper gives a peek into his life as dean.

Tuesday 6 September

‘Tuesday, that means a board meeting. Today is special because the working group "Management model" comes by for consultation. They’re preparing an advice within the framework of the Faculty transition. The group, guided by Van de Bunt Advisors, has worked hard on this in recent months. On 27 September, we will discuss it with a large group of directors and people involved in the Faculty. Along the route, the working group will consult a number of bodies, including the Faculty Board. We have a good discussion, in which we try to keep the focus on the big picture and not drown in the many details that will cross our path further on in the process. The board meeting continues with some decisions on staff positions in our institutes and a discussion on starters grants, a new national instrument for which the University will receive a lot of extra money.

The next meeting is with Carey Batenburg, who has the important and sometimes ungrateful task of keeping my agenda in order and keeping track of my mail and e-mail. We go through my agenda for the coming weeks, see which new invitations I shall or shall not accept and look for time for some activities that I consider necessary. The latter is not easy; the coming weeks will be busy. We go through some more correspondence and I sign a few documents.

After the lunch meeting with the Steering Committee for Transition, in which we discuss ideas for the transition meeting on 27 September, I have a few more conversations about HR matters before I go to the Faculty Opening of the Academic Year. It is a very animated reception in the Atrium of the Gorlaeus Building. Lots of staff and students standing group together for a chat and a drink. How different from last year, when there were about 30 people in the Gorleaus Lecture Hall. How different for me as well, because I was a guest then and hardly knew anyone. Much more fun this year! What strikes me is that people are being happy and radiating energy. It's nice to see and it's important to be able to tackle everything that's going to happen in the year ahead: transition, strategy, sector plans, etc. Thanks to the people from our communications department for organising this successful opening!

After the reception the evening lecture by our brand new Spinozist and Scientific Director of the Leiden Observatory Ignas Snellen takes place in the Sitterzaal. He holds a beautiful and accessible story about exoplanets and the search for extraterrestrial life. It is enjoyable and beautiful to see how many disciplines come together in that research. The discussion afterwards is lively, always a sign that the audience is well engaged.

Presents are being given and suddenly I find myself in a group hug.

I finish off the day on the campus with a visit to the constitution drink of the 100th board of De Leidsche Flesch. In my student days, I was active on boards and attended many such get-togethers. In the cauldron of the Foobar that memory quickly returns. Together with Ava Bauer, the new student-assessor of the Faculty Board, I congratulate the new board members and wish them a successful and instructive year. Presents are being given and suddenly I find myself in a group hug. Who would have thought that this morning? Corona seems far away...

I go home quickly, where some homework questions are waiting, while I eat a late meal. The last hour of the day is spent going through the pieces for tomorrow, a day that will also be interesting but a little less multi-faceted.


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