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.

Monday 12 December

'It is still freezing when I cycle to the station and the cold wakes me up quickly. Once in Leiden, I start my day at the Rapenburg with a meeting of the China Region Group. This is the interfaculty group of people who deal with collaborations with China. From across University, we collaborate with China, in both education and research. The country has a huge "pool of talent" and there are many Chinese universities and institutes that are highly regarded worldwide. The programme that allows students and PhD students to continue their studies with us is popular, especially within our Faculty.

At the same time, we need to consider the increased focus on knowledge security. So today we have a visit from Bastiaan van Vliet, recently programme manager for knowledge security at the University. It is a useful visit on a subject on which we need to further develop expertise and experience in the coming years.

'How incredibly spoilt we are with so much involvement and commitment to the community in and outside our Faculty.'

After this, I quickly head to our campus, where Faculty Board introductory visits are scheduled with the boards of the Rino Foundation, the Beta Job Market and the Leidsche Flesch. All three turn out to be very nice conversations, and we are impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of these student boards. How incredibly spoilt we are as a Faculty with so much organisational talent among students and so much involvement and commitment to the community in and outside the Faculty. Something to be proud of and cherish!

After that, I enjoy a rare gap in my schedule. I spend it walking around a bit, catching up with colleagues and writing a few e-mails. Then I first have a meeting about my agenda with Carey (Batenburg, Jasper's management assistant, ed.) and a meeting with one of our scientific directors.

The last appointment of the day is the icing on top of the cake: as Board, we are given a tour of the construction site by Tessel Linders and Leon Beeke. We get to take a look at the new building, see where the various institutes will soon be located, where the reception will be, the cafĂ©, our offices and the lecture halls. The construction is enormous and in my mind I can already see hundreds of staff and students walking around. It will be great to be closer to the action! I am quite happy with our current workplaces, but we are far away from the traffic and we don't often run into people by chance. Students we don't see very often at all. It will be good to see that change in 2024. After a very interesting visit, we leave the construction site at five o'clock. Chilled from the cold, but deeply impressed and already proud of our new building.

After one last meeting, I hurry home. Kamiel got sick at school and it is time to take care of him. I cook and eat with the children and spend the evening in the usual way: watching a bit of TV (finally without football again), preparing documents for tomorrow and helping with some homework. In between, I show my children pictures of the new building. Who knows, maybe one of them will be walking around here one day.'

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