Huib Pols’ successor as Erasmus University’s rector is named Rutger Engels. Engels (born 1968) currently serves as the Chairman to the Trimbos Institute’s Board of Directors. He also works as a Distinguished Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at Utrecht University’s Faculty of Social Sciences. In Rotterdam, Engels will be appointed to a position with the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. EM asked several people within the EUR community how they felt about Engels’ appointment to the rectorship.

Clemens Festen, members of the University Council

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Clemens Festen. Image credit: Levien Willemse

Personally, I was hoping for a woman. Judging from the photo, they obviously didn’t choose a woman. Of course I don’t know yet what Rutger Engels stands for, and everybody deserves a fair shake, but it is a pity. I said beforehand that it would be a good idea to look beyond the EUR community, in which case it should be possible to opt for a woman in the event of equal qualifications. They did look beyond the EUR community, but they did not opt for a woman. She would have been a great role model, and we would have seen more female professors appointed as a result. We still have too few of those at EUR.”

Hanneke Takkenberg, Chief Diversity Officer

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Hanneke Takkenberg.

“The Diversity Officers are looking forward to collaborating with Engels to make our university a more diverse and more inclusive place. We hope he will take the movement towards a more diverse and more inclusive university, which Huib Pols kicked off with great passion and enthusiasm, to the next level. Since diversity and inclusiveness were key elements of the new rector’s profile, we have high hopes for Rutger Engels in this respect. What with his being from outside our community, perhaps his new insights and fresh perspective will help us.

“Personally, and speaking as the chair of the EUR Network of Women Professors (ENVH), I would have appreciated the novelty of the appointee not being a middle-aged Dutch man for once. On the other hand, I do trust that the committee selected a rector who aspires to diversity and inclusiveness in words and action, so that a few years from now, we will actually be able to state that diversity is in our DNA, and our leadership will reflect the diverse society we – the university – serve.”

Victor Bekkers, Dean of the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)

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Victor Bekkers.

“I think it’s a very pleasant surprise. With his level of experience, I think he will be able to help our university further on its way, particularly with regard to collaboration with social institutions and between the various disciplines, and with regard to commercial knowledge transfer. In his capacity as a professor, Engels will be part of my faculty, and I bid him a warm welcome. He works on the interface between health care and social sciences, which fits in beautifully with the interdisciplinary approach this faculty seeks to take. I was not personally involved in his recruitment and selection, so it’s rather fortunate that he fits so well into ESSB’s profile.”

“As far as I know, EUR has never recruited a rector from elsewhere before. But at the end of the day, the main thing is to ensure that you have the right people in the right places, and to achieve that, it’s a good idea to recruit both internal and external candidates.”