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Conclusion of Joanne van der Leun’s deanship

At the Happy Holidays drinks on 19 December 2023, former board members Ton Liefaard, Stefaan Van den Bogaert and Mirjam Sombroek-van Doorm were put in the limelight to thank them for all their work and commitment to the faculty during their board term. Joanne van der Leun was unable to be there as she had commitments abroad. Special attention was therefore paid to the conclusion of her own term as dean at the New Year’s reception on Thursday 11 January.

Joanne van der Leun held the position of dean at our faculty from 2016 to 2023. New Dean Suzan Stoter says, ‘It’s an honour to build on everything that the former board – consisting of Joanne, Ton, Stefaan and Mirjam – has achieved. I have very large shoes to fill and I’m going to do my very best for the entire faculty and all staff.’

Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl (left) presents former dean Joanne van der Leun with the dean’s figurine of Leiden University

Hester Bijl on behalf of Leiden University

Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl thanked Joanne on behalf of Leiden University for all her dedicated work.

‘You held this post since September 2016, and with such passion! For a long time, you were Leiden University’s only female dean and personally, I have really valued your support

Connection and innovation played a major role in your deanship. Your management style can be described as connecting, open, though sensitive to positions, roles and procedures. There was lots of innovation among the new team of Academic Directors you appointed. You have also shown a huge level of commitment to PhD students and as Chair of the Council of Deans in Law, where you made an active contribution as part of the SSH Council. And let’s not forget that you served as dean for both academic staff and support staff. You championed diversity and inclusion, which is something we need to continue to focus on across the whole university.

Sustainability is now also embedded in policy at Leiden Law School. It’s – quite literally – much greener at the Kamerlingh Onnes Building!’

Jan Adriaanse on behalf of Leiden Law School and the interim Faculty Board

‘There’s so much to say after a term of no less than seven years. It’s been quite an extraordinary time just think back to the corona pandemic…

During this period, you showed what ‘leadership’ really means together with your fellow Faculty Board members and support staff. You’ve really been there for people, taken decisive action, trusted the professionalism of all colleagues at the faculty and university and trusted the faculty’s students as well…

Thanks to you, we managed to break old habits and we began to view the faculty from a different perspective – in a way that is more focused on the future and more as part of the university and society as a whole. And you always did that in an accessible manner: you were committed, interested, authentic, diplomatic, not averse to risks, and all that with a great sense of humour as well…’

Janine Bakker on behalf of the faculty’s students

‘Whether directly or indirectly, students have got to know you in a very positive way – especially for your warmth and approachability. I was privileged to work for you as a Student Assistant and you were also my thesis supervisor. You were always honest, giving constructive criticism and good advice. Whether in your role as dean, thesis supervisor or Professor, I know that everyone experienced you in that way. On behalf of all students: thank you.

A word of thanks from Joanne van der Leun

On behalf of the faculty, Suzan Stoter presented Joanne with an album of photos taken during her deanship from 2016 to 2023. Lastly, Joanne had a few words of gratitude for the assembled company:

‘Dear all, it’s been a wonderful time and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the past seven years. It’s been intense yet fantastic, and our staff’s dedication has been tremendous…

I’m glad that the themes I have focused on are receiving recognition. Thank you for all your kind words, for your faith in me and your intensive collaborations. Thank you also to my fellow deans in Leiden and beyond, the teams of Academic Directors, board members, the Advisory Board, staff support departments, assessors, the Faculty Council, study associations, Reception and Security staff and administrative staff.’

Finally, Joanne presented two gifts. One was for the students – a sum of money to be spent on furnishings for the Student Living Room and an escape room game. The second gift was a miniature replica of the KOG building for new Dean Suzan Stoter: ‘This won’t be an easy board term, but the faculty is in good hands – both literally and metaphorically.’

Dean Suzan Stoter and former dean Joanne van der Leun with an album of photos from her deanship
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