Even though we are only half way through the period covered by the UvA's Strategic Plan for 2015-2020 there is plenty of reason to revisit the plan. The project team for the mid-term Strategic Plan invites students and staff to contribute their ideas via round-table sessions and the platform ‘Denk mee met de UvA’ (‘Have your say at the UvA’).
Every university has its own multi-year Strategic Plan. The UvA's 2015-2020 Strategic Plan is entitled ‘Boundless Curiosity’ ('Grenzeloos nieuwsgierig’): a good title, but now we're halfway through its period of validity there is every reason to revisit the plan. Since its introduction, there have been countless campaigns and committees, new executive officers have arrived, not to mention the Dutch National Research Agenda, new legislation on enhanced governance and student finance and even a prospective new city government. And these are just some of the new developments.
Arne Brentjes, head of the Strategy and Information Department and mid-term Strategic Plan project leader adds: 'What's more, the Central Student Council (CSR) and the Central Works Council (COR) were promised from the outset that some of the targets would be subjected to a mid-term review and possibly adjusted.'
Since 2015, much of the policy in the Strategic Plan 2015-2020 has been further developed in dialogue with the representative advisory bodies and stakeholders. This includes the HR policy, the amendment to the allocation model, the research priority areas and internationalisation policy. The latest ideas on these will be taken into account in the mid-term review of the Plan. However, on some of the targets included in the Plan, very little visible progress has been made.
Brentjes: 'That is why five themes have been chosen that the Plan does covers to some extent, but on which more input is needed from the academic community and from outsiders.'
These themes are innovation and impact, the educational portfolio, academic talent policy, good research practice and – partly in view of the upcoming City Council elections – our relationship with the Amsterdam city and region.
Between 24 January and 5 February, round-table meetings were held with stakeholders and experts from across the University on each of the themes, with one or two external introductory speakers to initiate the discussion. All addressed the same question: are the contents of the Strategic Plan still relevant and are there grounds for upgrading our ambitions for the rest of the period covered by the plan (or after it)?
To supplement these inner-circle discussions, on the afternoon of Monday 19 March, an event will be held in the ‘muziekzaal’ of CREA, at which every employee and student is welcome to come and put forward their vision and ideas on one or more of these themes. To ensure effective round-table discussions, fifteen people can apply per topic.
The results of this open event and the round-table meetings will then be brought together with the analysis and any necessary adjustments to the other targets in the Strategic Plan in a document that will ensure that the Plan remains effective for the second half of the planning period and paves the way for the next Plan. That document will be presented to the academic community via denkmee.uva.nl and the usual committees and representative advisory councils before being adopted, probably in early July.
In this way, the project group hopes to be able to make use of the wide-ranging knowledge and ideas available in the University. Brentjes emphasises that everyone can make a contribution: 'You don't need to be a particular expert on a theme. A question or opinion from someone who is less involved in a subject can sometimes result in really interesting insights. However, we can imagine that employees and students who would like to attend the public event will also wish to prepare by acquainting themselves with some of the issues.'