According to Frijhoff, the unrest this merger has caused among staff is at least as disturbing as the merger itself. “In my experience, staff members’ lack of motivation under such uncertain and critical circumstances is one of the main factors undermining future success.”
In his letter, Frijhoff reminds the Board that he was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of an independent History faculty at EUR in the 1980s. The then Minister of Education wanted Leiden’s History faculty to absorb the Rotterdam programme. Working together with his colleagues, Frijhoff was able to turn the Social History department into an independent faculty, the Faculty of Historical and Art Studies (FHKW). After the addition of the Media & Communication department, this faculty was rechristened Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) in 2011.
EUR’s History department celebrates 40th anniversary
EUR did not establish a History degree until forty years ago. And establishing the degree…
From 2002 to 2006, Frijhoff served as dean of the Faculty of Arts at VU University in Amsterdam. After his retirement, the VU Board decided to merge this faculty with its Faculty of Philosophy. “This merger evidently wasn’t a success – despite the illusion of a more robust faculty. The faculty’s image and appeal was greatly diminished, and today it is once again in crisis due to a severe decline in student numbers.”
Innovation and internationalisation
In Frijhoff’s assessment, the merger between ESHCC and Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB) will not result in a more robust faculty. In fact, he fears the exact opposite. “Support ESHCC in the path it has been taking these past few years, with a commitment to the innovation and internationalisation of education and research,” he calls on the Executive Board. “Cherish this dynamic and inspiring faculty!”
The Executive Board is expected to announce its decision regarding the merger later this month. First, it will be giving ESSB dean Victor Bekkers an opportunity to share his views on the matter.