TU Delft Plan of Change

Executive Board: ‘We will share the Inspectorate of Education’s response with the representation bodies’

The Executive Board will share the response of the Inspectorate of Education to TU Delft’s Plan of Change with the Works Council and the Student Council. Rector Magnificus and Executive Board Chair Tim van der Hagen promised to do so at the monthly meeting with the representation bodies.

(Photo: Thijs van Reeuwijk)

The Student Council and Works Council had jointly prepared 13 questions about social safety and had submitted them in advance to the Executive Board. One of the questions was when students and staff members would receive the promised monthly update on the change management plan. And what will the Executive Board do with the other critical reports, such as that of the Netherlands Labour Authority?

Expansion of Integrity Office

Van der Hagen announced a piece of news at the meeting: a so-called initiator has been appointed for social safety. That person is Olivier Sueur. It seems that he has been the Manager of the Integrity Office since the beginning of June and ‘will turn the Plan for change into a plan of action’. The Integrity Office will also get two additional staff members.

Sueur is co-founder of the Governance & Integrity consultancy firm where Van der Hagen and the Executive Board members and deans recently took workshops. The arrival of Sueur was news to the Student and Works Councils. These representation bodies want to talk to him as quickly as possible, says Works Council Chair Ronald Kuil. “We cannot imagine that he will start work without having talked to us.” Van der Hagen agreed to this.

‘It is important that we come up with one integrated plan’

Other recent reports – such as the severe judgement of the Labour Inspectorate about the high workload and undesirable behaviour at TU Delft – should also be reflected in future measures, he said. “All the reports point in the same direction, that social safety is not properly managed at TU Delft.” He continued. “Looking at all the reports, it is important that we come up with one integrated plan and integrated actions that deal with all the reports that we have received.”

Response from the Inspectorate of Education

The Inspectorate of Education will respond to the change management plan that was submitted in mid-May before the end of the month, Van der Hagen added in answer to the representation bodies. He said that they will receive a letter. “We hope that the letter states that our plans will be supported. Should this be otherwise, we will have to adapt it.”

A check with the Inspectorate of Education revealed that the inspectors are working hard on a response, but that they cannot guarantee that the letter will definitely be in the Executive Board’s inbox on 30 June at the latest. “The most important thing is diligence, so it could be that our response takes a bit longer,” said a spokesperson.

It seems that the Inspectorate of Education had spoken to members of the social safety supervosiry committee on Friday 14 June. Student Council Chair Jelle Stap requested a report of that discussion. Confusion arose when Van der Hagen stated that he did not know what was discussed because he was not part of that discussion. But Van der Hagen is a member of the committee, isn’t he?

In response, André Groenhof, the Board’s Secretary, announced a piece of news: the supervisory committee had been disbanded and the discussion had been with some of the members and not with all of them. “Officially, the supervisory committee no longer exists,” said Groenhof. “We are looking for a more sustainable programme structure.” Groenhof also said that the discussion with the Inspectorate may be confidential. After some pushing by Student Council Chair Stap, he promised “to ask the supervisory committee whether they can provide some feedback”.

Distance between the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board

The letter (in Dutch) from outgoing Minister of Education Dijkgraaf to the Supervisory Board in which he urged the members to maintain a crucial distance from the Executive Board, was also covered in the meeting. Does the Executive Board agree with the Minister and what steps are the Executive Board members taking to put this into practice?

‘Monitoring means taking distance, brainstorming means being close’

Executive Board member Marien van der Meer referred to a discussion that the Executive Board had that same morning with Supervisory Board member Manon van Beek. It covered the ‘various roles’ of the Supervisory Board, said Van der Meer. “What we have experienced in the social safety case file is that they explicitly fulfil a separate role.” She believes that there is enough distance. “But it is up to the Minister and the Supervisory Board to answer this,” she added.

Van der Hagen added that “Van Beek mostly talked about creating balance between the role of supervisors and that of sparring partner. Monitoring means taking distance, brainstorming means being close. You need to do both. And further, the Supervisory Board is the employer so they have some complicated roles to fulfil. They themselves need to create that balance.”

And the promised monthly update on the change management plan? Van der Hagen promised that it will be issued next week.

Meeting with the Student Council

On 13 May the Student Council sent a letter to the Executive Board in which it wrote that the social safety change management plan ‘has recorded too few concrete measures’. In the monthly meeting with Executive Board member Rob Mudde on Wednesday 19 June, Student Council member Pravesha Ramsundersingh asked for an update on the measures in the plan. Mudde said that the people involved have not sat still and the list of ‘things that have been done is very impressive’.

He pointed to the workshops that the Executive Board and the deans attended, just as Van der Hagen did at the meeting with all the representation bodies. Social safety was also an issue that was discussed in countless meetings, Mudde continued. He cited the Executive Board’s weekly meeting with the Supervisory Board and the ‘spring meeting with the department chairs and deans’.

An ‘advisor on ethical leadership’ for Executive Board members has also been appointed; social safety has been discussed with the OWee board; the Legal Services department is working on new protocols for complaints; and, two lunch meetings were held with students and staff members.

  • The trade unions will also publicly meet with the Executive Board on social safety on 24 June. This public meeting will be held in the Mekelzaal on the 12th floor of the EEMCS Faculty from 14:00 to 15:30.

With collaboration from Marjolein van der Veldt.

News editor Annebelle de Bruijn

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