Voorzitter College van Bestuur
In: Uncategorized17 Oct 2011
On Thursday October 13th, the only red chair at the table of the Executive Board of the EUR was not occupied as usually by Pauline van der Meer Mohr, but by me, Adriane van Houten. Whereas I normally sit in one of the classrooms in the T-building following courses of my Masters program at RSM, on Thursday I was “CEO for one day”. This initiative was an event of the TEDxRotterdam conference themed “Future Leadership”, where 20 students took on future leadership by switching positions with a CEO for one day. Being selected to be chairperson of the Executive Board of the EUR, the weeks and days before October 13th led me to nervously ponder over two main questions. Firstly, what exactly is the role and responsibility of the chair of the university, and secondly, how am I going to take on her tasks with “future leadership” in mind.
Future leadership to me means pushing for cooperation, bringing together different people, ideas and structures. Yet, it also means critical thinking, even more than it does today, in order to prevent resting on past achievements. Connecting universities to future leadership made me realize the influence universities have on future leadership, as future leaders are largely influenced and inspired by their experiences at university. Therefore, I aimed to ask critical questions and learn about cooperation possibilities, in order to support improvement of education and research at the university.
In retrospect, the exact role of the chair only became clear to me during the day itself as I realized that the diversity of tasks go far beyond the description on the right side of this blog. My day started by chairing the meeting of the Executive Board of the EUR, where the black chairs at the table were occupied by amongst others the rector magnificus. Appointments of professors, faculty budgets of 2012, reorganizations, subsidies, university events, collaborations with other parties, and the university´s profile were just a few of the 26 points on the agenda that day. Chairing these discussions was a challenging start of the day, followed by internal meetings discussing collaboration possibilities with other universities as well as the positioning of the university. Even though having thoroughly prepared and brainstormed about the topics, I was baffled by the complexity and degree of impact of the decisions we discussed. The formulation and internal as well as external communication of the strategies of the university were thereby most challenging to me to think of new ideas. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the day to the fullest, having a smile of enthusiasm and fun on my face.
The amazing day as chair of the university ended with a trip to the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, which celebrated its 59th Dies Natalis. After walking in the cortege, I was inspired by the lecture of retiring Professor Ben White, who brought into perspective a whole different challenge to future leadership, namely global issues such as the future of agriculture. It made me realize that future leadership will also need to critically address such large global challenges and should not hesitate to do so.
About one year ago RSM initiated the “I WILL” podium where I chose my personal motto: “I WILL keep learning in order to make a difference”. As this motto is true until today, I want to thank Pauline, the whole Executive Board of EUR, and the organization of TEDxRotterdam for this unique learning experience on the red chair.
Pauline van der Meer Mohr is president of the Executive Board and is responsible for general administrative matters, such as the relationship with the Board of Trustees and the University Council. She focuses on the strategic policy, international affairs and external contacts, including the Rotterdam region, industry and other knowledge institutions.