Universiteit Leiden

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Jasper’s day

Jasper Knoester is the dean of the Faculty of Science. How is he doing? 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 23 October

‘The first day after a holiday week. It's still dark and foggy as I cycle to the station. For the first time, I realise that it's truly autumn now. The first train is out of order, so I’ll be arriving at the office a bit later. Fortunately, I still manage to handle a promised phone call before the first appointment."

The day looks quite diverse from here. I begin with an online meeting of the four national domain chairs (Science, Technology, Social Sciences & Humanities, and Medical) with representatives from the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science to discuss their experiences with the new sector plans. I represent the Science domain. All four sectors appear content with how we've initiated the new sector plans, recruited new positions, and engaged with the monitoring committees. However, we do share our concerns regarding the budgetary pressures that nearly all faculties across the country are facing due to the significant increases in salaries and prices.

After this meeting, I participate in an evaluation discussion with Saskia Vogelaar from Birch Consultants about the process of creating our facultys strategic plan. We acknowledge that the process, in general, has gone well, also because we involved institutes, services, and groups of employees at various points. Naturally, we see areas for improvement, but we are pleased to conclude that the end result has been well-received both within and outside the faculty. The role of Saskia and her colleagues has been significant in this regard.

After a phone meeting, I wrap up the morning with yet another discussion with the domain chairs, this time with a delegation of university administrators from the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL). We discuss how the domains can contribute to the self-regulation that the Ministry of Universities is seeking regarding foreign intake in bachelor’s programmes. It’s a challenging and contentious topic in which politics seems to play a more significant role than reason. We agree to continue discussions within the domains, making use of the data collected by UNL.

‘That takes time I don't actually have, but hopefully, it will heolp me gain a deeper understanding.

In the afternoon, I have several internal meetings, and I conclude the day with a preparatory meeting for a Una-Europa gathering, an international network of European universities. At the end of November, we will be discussing research strategy in Brussels. I’ve been serving as the co-chair of Una’s Research Strategy Group for a month now. it takes time I don't actually have, but hopefully, it will help me gain a deeper understanding of the ongoing dynamics and contribute positively to the alliance and our university.

In the evening, the Faculty Board gathers for a farewell dinner with Ava Bauer, who served as our student assessor last year. It's a delightful evening, providing an opportunity for us to relax together and give due attention to this farewell. Every year, it’s truly remarkable to witness how one of our students takes on this role and goes through a steep learning curve. It's a fantastic developmental opportunity for the student and crucial for the faculty to have direct student representation on the board.

At home, I spend some time working on my presentation for the Faculty Board conference on ‘Recognition and Appreciation’, which we will have at Corpus tomorrow. This national movement towards a new way of recognizing and motivating employees’ talents and performances is one of the top priorities in the execution of our strategic plan. I’m looking forward to the discussions we will have. Tomorrow’s discussions will be within a relatively small group, but later in the year, we will undoubtedly involve more employees, much like we did when developing the strategic plan. It will take time, but I have confidence that the end result will be equally successful.’

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