Both excellent research and education, connecting faculties and multidisciplinary research, and more internationalization. These are the key points of the new rector Huib Pols.

Tuesday November 12th, the new rector was a guest in talk show Studio Erasmus, his first public appearance since he was appointed rector during the centennial. The EUR must become ‘less dependent on our fickle government’. The national contribution to scientific research is declining, so the university needs to look for support elsewhere.

The game in Brussels

Support can be largely found in Brussels, Pols argues. Keywords are multidisciplinary research and internationalization. Therewith, scientists enlarge their chances of successfully obtaining an examination fee. Pols wants to play a facilitating role in that process. “Bureaucracy plays a big part in presenting a research proposal, which makes you go crazy. As rector, I want to make people familiar with the rules of the game in Brussels.”

Second day

Pols didn’t want to burn his hands on the question what is going to happen to the fields that are having a tough time, like Philosophy or History. “This is only my second day in my new position.” According to the rector, the EUR offers a good mix of scientific fields. “How to organize that in a new way, that’s the question. But in any case, it must benefit science, not management.”

Nominal is normal

Tuesday night, Pols talked nearly as inspired about ‘Nominal is normal’ (the new measure that requires freshmen to retrieve all 60 points in the first year, and allows compensatory tests) as his predecessor Henk Schmidt, who introduced the measure. “Just get on with it and obtain all 60 points in your first year. It will help you your entire life.” On secondary schools and American universities, a grade point average is completely normal, the new rector emphasizes. “We’re absolutely not educating dumber people.” That means no huge changes in education. Pols added that he sees no benefit in more stringent progress requirements in the remainder of the bachelor. “We will not continue with a binding study advice in the second or third year. I don’t believe in that.”


Something Pols does believe in, is the application of ICT in education. “I want to invest in MOOC’s”, he said. More specific, that should happen in the niches in which the EUR excels, preferably in conjunction with Leiden en Delft. That’s where, according to Pols, the focus should be. “We must not think we can do better than Harvard or Stanford.” TF