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Connection central during first brainstorming session faculty strategy

What is the mission of our Faculty? How do we view diversity and inclusion? And how do we think about the growth of our Faculty in the broadest sense of the word? These themes were the focus of the first brainstorming session for the new faculty strategy. Some 65 staff and students from all levels of the Faculty gathered in Corpus to have their voices heard.

'Ten years after the last strategy, it is high time for a new version,' Dean Jasper Knoester said during his opening speech. He was therefore pleased that so many staff members turned up for the first meeting. 'Connection is important. We all need to look beyond our borders and ask ourselves: how can we contribute to the greater goal of our faculty?'

Networking university

Chair Annetje Ottow of the Executive Board also made it clear how important a strategy is for our faculty. 'As Leiden University, we used to focus on education and research, but now we are moving towards a networking university. That means we have to start collaborating. Within your institute, but also outside it.'

Table discussions

After the plenary part, staff continued the discussion in groups. Eight different themes were reviewed on the basis of a proposition, with everyone indicating to what extent they agreed or disagreed. Each for and against was written down, after which the discussion leaders shared their conclusions with all present.

'I belong, so I must contribute'

Positive reactions to the brainstorming session included LIACS associate professor Max van Duijn. 'I do not have a STEM background, but a language background, and at first I felt a bit of an outsider at the faculty. Now, with the development of AI and thus changing computer language, I do feel that I belong. That's why I feel I should contribute to the new strategy.'

'Giving voice to teaching support staff'

Lisann Brincker, education development officer, is present to give a voice to education support staff. 'Many staff have an institution behind them, but some of us do not. I sometimes feel that there is a gap between research and education within the faculty and that teaching support staff are sometimes overlooked. While we are crucial when it comes to our educational programs.' Brincker felt after the session that she was heard. 'I am very curious to see if I will soon see my input reflected somewhere in the strategic plan.'

Useful afternoon

Scientific coordinator Federica Burla of the Lorentz Centre is also glad she attended the brainstorming session. 'I didn't know much about the strategic dilemmas of the faculty. This afternoon was useful to get insights on this, and I learnt a lot from the interaction with others.'

Two more meetings

Two more brainstorming sessions will take place in Corpus on Tuesday 21 February and Tuesday 7 March. On 21 February, they will discuss education and the campus; on 7 March, opportunities for cooperation will be the topic of discussion. Staff and students are welcome to join. You can register here.

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