What are the values that identify the University of Amsterdam (UvA)? What should be our strategic course and what does the future of the university as a whole look like? These questions form the starting point for the UvA’s University Forum.
The employees and students of the UvA, who have been invited at random to join the University Forum, are shaping the intellectual discussion about the UvA. The discussions within the forum are intended to provide the Executive Board (CvB) and the faculty deans with input on the development of strategies and long-term plans, which will in turn be discussed by the standing advisory committees and representative advisory bodies. In other words, the University Forum does not serve as a replacement for the representative advisory bodies.
The University Forum was founded in January 2018. The pilot phase will run until the summer of 2019 and will be followed by an evaluation, at which point the Executive Board (CvB) will decide if the University Forum will be given a permanent status. The pilot phase will experiment with the format: roundtable sessions, plenary discussions, guest speakers and a chamber arrangement.
All members of the University Forum are equal, and open and honest discussion are of prime importance. The members have been invited at random in order to grant both the employees and the students a voice that might otherwise remain in the background. The meetings are open to the public, and anyone may attend as an observer.
Three meetings were held in 2018, and two more have been scheduled so far for 2019, after which the evaluation will take place. The first meeting of 2019 took place on 18 March and addressed the subject of diversity. The next meeting will be on 5 June.
At the end of 2016, one of the recommendations from the Democratisation & Decentralisation Committee was to start a ‘broad-based deliberative forum’. After making an inventory of the possibilities, a 'town hall’ style event was held on 31 March 2017. The results of this discussion were placed on the denkmee.uva.nl website to give everyone the ability to contribute input. After sending the proposal for a University Forum to the representative advisory bodies for consideration, the Executive Board made a final decision on establishing the Forum.
The University Forum consists of 54 employees and students (from the various faculties and service units within the UvA), Executive Board members (CvB) and faculty deans.
All sections of the UvA are represented. The delegation of each faculty includes a professor, a doctoral researcher, an academic staff member on permanent contract, an academic staff member on temporary contract, three students (two from ACTA) and a member of the support and management staff (OBP). In addition, six staff members from the service units were added.
Each seat was assigned by random selection to a person from the relevant rank and faculty (or service unit) who has been active in the UVA or AMC (including AMC Medical Research, AMR) since 1 February 2017. Only full-time students and employees with a contract for a minimum of 19 hours a week could be selected. The random selection was performed in November 2017 based on the records in the staff and student data system (SIS).
In addition to the aforementioned staff and student representatives, the Forum also includes ex officio members. These include the UvA’s diversity officer and the chair of the (University of Amsterdam) Ethics Committee (AIEC), as well as the Executive Board (CvB) and the faculty deans.
The University Forum is led by an independent chair, namely Jan Rath, professor at the faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. The position of secretary to the University Forum is filled by Arne Brentjes, Head of the Strategy & Information (S&I) department at the UvA.