The University of Amsterdam (UvA) will set up a committee to develop proposals for modernising the way the UvA is governed. In addition, a committee of inquiry will look at the UvA’s finances, together with its real estate policy. In a letter to all staff and students, the Executive Board explains how these committees will be appointed and elaborates further on its approach to the 10-point plan.
In response to the 10-point plan for a new direction for the UvA, many discussions have taken place with students and staff. These addressed, among other things, the allocation model, the creation of a faculty advisory council, reforming participation in decision-making, restoring confidence, the administrative burden created by the accreditation system, finance, real estate and temporary contracts and appointments. These discussions will form the basis for further action.
A committee with an independent chairperson will be established to make proposals for modernising the way the UvA is governed. With regards to strengthening participation in decision-making, democratisation and decentralisation, the possible solutions vary widely: from a change in culture to major structural reforms of the current governance system. The committee’s assignment will be formulated by the Executive Board and the faculty deans in partnership with the central representative advisory bodies. The committee will be formed after meetings have been held with the representative advisory bodies, but also (if possible) with the different (action) groups. The committee’s assignment and composition will require approval by the central representative advisory bodies.
Regarding finance and real estate, the representative advisory bodies will create a committee of experts, including external specialists, and formulate an assignment for this committee in which questions raised within the academic community (including Rethink and others) will be included. This relates, among other things, to the financial aspects of the Real Estate Plan 2005-2020 (Huisvestingsplan 2005-2020), the UvA’s financial policy and the balance between the costs of real estate and the expenditures on research and teaching.
The Executive Board is trying to reach an agreement with the occupiers of the Maagdenhuis but they have so far not responded to invitations for discussion. This is a matter for concern because of the increasing damage to the Maagdenhuis. The aim is to keep the hall of the Maagdenhuis available for debates.
Regarding policy from The Hague, the Executive Board will begin by attempting to ensure that there will be no new performance agreements. In addition, a discussion will take place soon with Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and the parliamentary standing committee about reducing the regulatory burden.
Regarding personnel policy, an important topic in the discussions, agreements were made on steps to be taken in the next few months to improve the legal position of employees and decrease the number of temporary contracts and appointments. Whether research-intensive teaching and the equal valuation of teaching and research is adequately included in personnel policy will also be looked at, as will the measures needed to allow implementation in accordance with the agreements made.
The proposed approach to the 10-point plan also touches on the quality of teaching and research, attention for renewal and space for study programmes and faculties to make their own choices.