Universiteit Leiden

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Universitair Belang

Universitair Belang represents the interests of all Leiden University employees. We see quality as a source of inspiration and motivation, especially when it comes to the mutual improvement of teaching, research and operational management. Universitair Belang is committed to achieving this through the University Council.

What are Universitair Belang's priorities?

Universitair Belang is committed to quality: quality of teaching, quality of research and quality of operational management. This requires talented, motivated staff and students and good governance. To promote this, we focus in particular on the following points: 

  • The university is an organisation of professionals. We attach great importance to both professional and personal development. Individual interests and abilities are still not given enough weight in employees’ professional and personal development, despite the fact that it is precisely this diversity that produces the best teams. The current Recognition and Rewards programme presents an opportunity to bring about change, also for support staff. 
  • Professional and efficient operational management is in everyone's interest. But harmonisation and standardisation must not be at the expense of high-quality support for the primary processes.   
  • Internationalisation requires nuance. In some scientific domains, it contributes to the quality of research and teaching; in others, the Dutch context is crucial. In both cases, the provision of information must be of a high standard in Dutch as well as in English.  
  • We expect students to demonstrate academic interest and to take responsibility for their own learning. Treating students like schoolchildren impedes the development of academic creativity. 
  • We contribute to a university that has a clear identity and clearly communicates to its students and staff what is expected of them. As a result, employees know exactly where there is room for them to develop in their roles and can respond flexibly to current organisational demands. 
  • We want to invest in diverse teams which always welcome and encourage open discussions. In such settings, safeguarding each other's well-being is key, because only then can each team member voice their opinions and can everyone work in an environment that ensures academic freedom.  

What distinguishes you from the other parties?

Universitair Belang is for all employees – from PhD candidates to professors, from receptionists to directors. We are independent; we are not affiliated with any trade unions or any other external organisations.  The university is currently contending with high student numbers, underfunding and increasing pressure from society to deliver socially responsible contributions. Against that backdrop, it is vital to safeguard the primary process (teaching and research) and to ensure that it is effectively supported. We are calling for systematic attention to be paid to both issues, as it is the synergy between them that contributes to a healthy academic community.

What are your prime concerns?

The Universitair Belang group in the University Council examines each and every policy document that is presented to it in terms of its feasibility for academic and teaching staff as well as for support and management staff. In the previous period, we focused our efforts and achieved successes in the following areas:  

  • Reduced workload, peak work pressure and the amount of administrative tasks: We believe that quantitative support for decision-making processes is hugely important, because it increases the quality of decisions. Identifying the staffing, financial and organisational consequences prior to policymaking must become standard practice. There are significant differences in implementation between small, medium and large organisational units at the university. 
  • Assessing the feasibility of policy memoranda and regulations: We are not only critical of documents submitted without a framework for planning and budgeting, but we also offer suggestions for improvement. 
  • Diversity and inclusiveness: Both are essential for a healthy organisation. We carefully monitor the Executive Board regarding this issue. 

Why vote for Universitair Belang?

We believe in the need for coherence between the various units and people that make our university. A vote for Universitair Belang is therefore a vote that contributes to the further development of Leiden University and its academic community.


If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch with Floske Spieksma

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