15 januari 2018

The Adventure 2018

During my New Year’s address to the VU community last year, I referred to the words of the late Sumantra Ghoshal, and expressed my ambition to work together to change ‘the smell of the place’.

What does this mean? In short, it means creating a context of trust that allows us to give and take responsibility and to build an environment that inspires us to stretch ourselves. Over the past year we’ve taken many steps together towards creating this context. Perhaps the most important element has been involving the VU community at the beginning of new initiatives, listening to your feedback, enthusiasm, and criticisms, and fine-tuning ideas and processes as we go along, in an act of co-creation. I look back with gratitude at the many constructive discussions this past year.

Changing 'the smell of the place' is a long-term enterprise

But we’re not there yet. Changing ‘the smell of the place’ is a long-term enterprise, and requires perseverance, keeping our eyes on the ball, and not losing sight of the ultimate goal. In that sense, 2018 will be a year of consolidation – of steadfastly completing projects we have started, of fixing things that are broken, of fine-tuning processes that are not yet optimal. Our resources are not unlimited, so we will have to set priorities. Our annual plan for 2018 details where we will focus our attention, but strengthening the quality and robustness of our educational programs and research activities, innovation in education and the required infrastructure, talent development, the concept of ‘Gross Academic Value’, community service learning, internationalization, and tackling the work-load of VU colleagues feature prominently on the list.

2018 promises to be a dynamic year. Besides external developments including a new national government and the accompanying new policies, impending elections for the city council in Amsterdam, the VU will also soon embark on a new journey with our new president, Mirjam van Praag.

I look forward to the adventure that 2018 certainly will be, both professionally and personally, and wish the VU community a happy, healthy, and inspired year!

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