What is the result of the consultation sessions for the Rector Magnificus job opening? The vacancy has been published online and compared to the draft text, the word diversity is mentioned much more frequently in the published job application text.

In September the university invited all ranks of its community to provide input for the profile of Huib Pols’s successor. Pols will be stepping down as Rector Magnificus at the end of this year. “It’s an unparalleled event for us to receive so much input,” says Ann O’Brien. As secretary for the Executive Board, O’Brien organised the sessions. “It was a complex task to organise the sessions and coordinate meetings with all the deans, programme directors, research directors, professors, employees, alumni and students, but it was definitely worth the effort.”

Four mentions

Even after all these sessions, the job application text was not radically amended. It did, however, lead to a few additions. The word ‘diversity’ is now mentioned four times, as opposed to only two instances in the draft text. O’Brien’s impression is that: “You notice that diversity is an important aspect. It was even mentioned five times in an earlier version, but you have to be careful not to overstate it.” Ultimately, the University Council approved the profile.

The vacancy has been circulated using various media. “But don’t think that the headhunter is just getting started now. The Chair of the Supervisory Board shared the profile text with all EUR professors and invited them to look for a suitable candidate in their immediate surroundings. And of course these professors can also step forward as candidates themselves.” At the end of the process, the headhunter will present the selection committee with a longlist.

No quota

During the sessions some students advocated hiring a ‘young, internationally oriented woman’, but the vacancy text does not contain a stipulation for a gender preference in the event two or more candidates are considered equally suitable for the position. “Women will definitely apply,” says O’Brien with certainty. No quota has been set for nominating candidates. “What really matters is whether the person meets the criteria of the profile and is considered by the selection committee to be the most suitable candidate to fill this important position. And if that turns out to be a woman from Mars, so be it! In any case, the person must have a certain presence and personality, because just like previous Rectors, he or she is a standard-bearer representing the university.”

The selection committee is comprised of two Executive Board members, two Supervisory Board members, two deans and two members of the University Council. The committee is expected to propose a candidate in late 2017 or early 2018. Candidates interested in the job have until 15 November to submit their application.