Two members of a Department Board and a programme director from the Faculty of Social Sciences  have left in recent months in response to the reorganisation plans. Over the past two years, around eleven researchers have been appointed professors at other universities. Some of these departures are clearly related to the uncertain situation facing the faculty and the promotion freeze.

At the end of 2013, staff were told that the faculty would have to reorganise. This was followed by the announcement at the start of 2015 that this would involve a merger of capacity groups. Dean Henk van der Molen plans to merge Public Administration and Sociology, as well as Psychology and Pedagogy. According to the plan, the faculty will lose around 10 FTEs from its support staff after 2017.

Public Administration will lose around 10 full time jobs, with Sociology losing 3 staff members. Four of these jobs have already been accounted for by natural turnover. “Sadly, these are necessary moves”, says Van der Molen. Pedagogy will actually grow (the programme is still receiving starter funding) while Psychology will retain more or less the same number of staff. Due to the growing number of Bachelor students, there is even the hope that more staff will be recruited in the future.

Chairman of the Faculty Advisory Board, Jacko van Ast, is certain that three people left because of the lack of prospects offered them by the faculty. Five people have retired or will be retiring soon. “This has largely resolved the issue of redundancies among FTEs. But it also means a considerable increase in the workload”, according to Van Ast.

Feyenoord style

Dean Van der Molen about the exodus: “We’re a bit like Feyenoord: we train them and then they leave. Suddenly a whole team has gone. But seriously: it’s obviously good for them, because they’ve been able to become professors somewhere else and thus improve their personal position. But it’s a shame for the faculty.” Van der Molen denies that these departures are related to the reorganisation. “At least, they never told me so in any of our conversations.”

According to Faculty Advisory Board chairman Jacko van Ast, it’s important that the recruitment and promotion freeze is reversed as soon as possible. “I certainly realise the advantages of such a freeze, because it means we won’t have to make so many people redundant later on. But staff need to have prospects and their workload must be reduced. The Faculty Council wants to have the freeze abolished as soon as the reorganisation plan is ready, or by 1 June 2015 at the latest.”

Executive Board Pedagogical Sciences resigns

Two staff members who did leave because of the plans are Adriaan Hofman and Lyanda Vermeulen. The chairman and programme director of Pedagogical Sciences resigned when they heard that the reorganisation plan involved a merger of their capacity group with Psychology. This went against an earlier written undertaking from Van der Molen that a merger was not an option.

“I did say that at the beginning of 2014. But I never said that the situation couldn’t change in the future”, says Van der Molen now. ‘Progressive insight’ is how he calls his later decision to announce the merger. “Other plans did not produce sufficient financial results. We need to ensure a financially healthy future for the faculty, which as we move towards 2017 involves further focus on cooperation and internationalisation of the education programmes. Merging capacity groups ensures cross-fertilisation between the different disciplines.” He regrets the decision of Vermeulen and Hofman to leave. “I don’t want to say too much about it as that wouldn’t be appropriate.”

Vermeulen was not available for further comment about her departure. Hofman responded by e-mail. “My resignation was related to the reorganisation of the FSW, particularly the takeover of Pedagogical Sciences by Psychology. At the moment, I have no further comment”, he writes.

Transition team

A third director resigned in the middle of January. Frans-Bauke van der Meer left his post as programme director in Public Administration. “I was chairman of a steering group which was responsible for developing a new programme for Sociology and Public Administration. A ‘transition team’ was subsequently set up to manage the merger and given responsibility for the programme. There was no consultation with me at all. So I said that if I wasn’t involved in the programme, I couldn’t take any further responsibility for it either.”

The dean is unwilling to say much about the departure of Van der Meer. “It is incorrect to say that we relieved him of his duties as programme director. I appointed two people from each capacity group to join the transition team, in good consultation with the respective boards.”

The faculty board expects to present a reorganisation plan in February. In April, individual staff members will be informed about their future in the faculty. ES