28 november 2018

Design the Future

The institutional plan of the university articulates our goals and dreams and serves as a beacon to guide our policies and processes towards achieving our collective ambitions. Our current institutional plan runs through till the end of 2019, which means that it is time to work on our strategy for the years following. We’ve made a start on this in conversations with the university leadership, but let’s be clear - this is a process that involves the entire VU community, and we want, and need, your inputs to create a plan that enjoys broad support and commitment.
Thinking about, and articulating, an institutional plan is an attempt at designing the future of the VU by posing, and trying to answer, the question “What sort of university do we want to be?”
In her speech at the opening of the academic year, Mirjam van Praag spoke of three directions that we will focus on as we strive to combine academic quality and societal relevance: The university as a place to become “someone”, not “something”. That is, the university as an environment where you can develop yourself as an academic citizen, where you can broaden your mind and horizons, and not just be trained in a specific discipline or profession. The university as a bright and diverse community, that is active and responsible. And the university as a community that steps out of its own bubble into the world, and is engaged in service to, and learning from, the society around us.
Since our founding in 1880, the VU has had a sustained commitment to high academic quality, to societal relevance, to embracing inclusiveness and diversity, and to being a beacon in providing equal opportunities to all those who seek an academic education. These are important ‘design principles’ but there are undoubtedly many more that we could include in our institutional plan.

What sort of university do we want to be?

On November 5, the Board spoke with a cross-section of student representatives about student wellbeing in our traditional Griffioen meeting. We asked them to share with us what they expected from the VU, to dream about initiatives should the sky be the limit, and then to drill down to formulate tangible, executable plans. We ask the same of you. Share your dreams and ambitions for the VU with us! What must be an integral aspect of our institutional plan, what can we do better, what could we stop doing? Help us design the future of our VU.

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