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 27 November

‘After a very wet and cold trip to Leiden, the working week starts with a meeting on Recognition and Appreciation with the faculty members of the Young Academy Leiden (YAL). During our administrative conference on 24 October, they were unable to participate because of a YAL meeting and we make up for it this morning by talking to them about what motivates them in their jobs, what satisfies them and what they would like to see changed. It's a fun conversation, time flies and Elice (head of HR) and I learn a lot.

After this fine start, a varied day followed, including administrative consultations (AC) with two of the institutes. As a board, we are in the tail end of the autumn cycle of ACs, which is dominated by finances. Although challenges lie ahead, so far all discussions have been in a good atmosphere and constructive: we all realise that we are in this together.

Besides these ACs, I have work meetings with the scientific directors of two other institutes. These meetings take place every four to six weeks for each institute, but in urgent matters things are obviously moved much faster. As always, new appointments and promotions are important topics of discussion today, as well as strategic choices for investments and research initiatives.

In between, I deal with some e-mails and meet with Pieter (head of AZ) about some urgent ongoing matters. Around 15.00hrs I cycle to the Rapenburg. Just like this morning in heavy rain. I am glad to have rain trousers with me. This afternoon is the Cleveringa oration by Frank van Vree, Emeritus Professor of History of War, Conflict and Memory at the University of Amsterdam. His wonderful speech, entitled "The past as ritual: On the 'lesson of history' for the present" is food for thought, especially in the turbulent times we find ourselves in.

The reception after the oration is, as always, a good networking event, but I cannot enjoy it for very long. I have to return to our campus, unfortunately again through the pouring rain, to receive the almanac of the student association Aesculapius in the Snellius building. It turned out to be a beautiful book, the almanac committee can be proud! In my talk, I tell them how happy the faculty board is with the study associations and the connections they make between students and between students and the faculty. I also encourage students to use their membership partly to learn how to work in committees and boards, important skills for post-graduation. It is a very successful meeting and I am glad I made the trip through rain and cold.

On the way home, I endure the day's fierce weather conditions again. I am not a fan of autumn and today has not helped improve my relationship with this time of year. The hot meal with the family makes up for a lot, after which the evening is filled with reading the remaining papers for tomorrow, a visit to the gym -happy the rain has finally abated- and final help for a probability calculus test. And so the day ends as it began: with young talent.’

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