Interim dean Frank van der Duijn Schouten, who succeeded Dymph van den Boom after her sudden departure, spent the summer drafting a plan for the university’s future. This has resulted in four scenarios that can be considered by the faculty: a merger with ESSB, a merger with ESPhil, continuing as an independent faculty, or dissolving ESHCC altogether.

On Tuesday morning, the interim dean went into these scenarios during a well-attended meeting of the Faculty Council in the Theil Building. In his view, continuing as an independent faculty could jeopardise ESHCC’s future. Not on account of its financial situation, as feared by Van den Boom – because suddenly this turns out to be hunky-dory. Rather, in Van der Duijn Schouten’s view, the faculty lacks a modern administrative model and sufficient leadership capacity. “I have quite a few points of criticism in this area,” stated the dean during the meeting. And simply dismantling ESHCC and tucking its former researchers into various nooks and crannies of the other six faculties wouldn’t do the humanities much good either. The dean emphasised that in fact, the humanities serve as one of the pillars of the new strategic plans for the university.

Two options remaining

Two down; two to go. The only viable options are therefore a merger with ESSB or with ESPhil. According to Van der Duijn Schouten, we shouldn’t automatically assume that all three ESHCC departments (History, Art and Culture and Communication) have to merge with one-and-the-same faculty. We could also see two departments finding a home with one faculty, and the third with another – or vice versa. “So we basically have 2 to the 3rd power options,” the dean, who comes from a mathematical background, explained to his colleagues from ‘the arts’.

EUR’s Executive Board has already adopted Van der Duijn Schouten’s conclusions and recommendations. The university will be appointing a committee to determine which steps would be best for each of ESHCC’s departments. This committee will be presenting its conclusions no later than December 2019. In addition, Van der Duijn Schouten plans to overhaul the administrative model. This should be rounded off by September 2020.

The Faculty Council only received the plans 30 minutes before the actual meeting, so hasn’t issued its formal opinion just yet. During the meeting, the attendees did have several critical questions for the dean about the financial consequences of a merger with Philosophy. This was one of his predecessor’s main considerations in advising against a merger with this faculty.


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