On Monday, 17 February, the minister for Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, visited Erasmus University Rotterdam to discuss how to improve the emotional wellbeing of students and academic staff. Van Engelshoven discussed this subject with students and members of the academic staff. EUR’s Rector Magnificus, Rutger Engels, assured the minister that improving staff and student welfare is an important component of the university’s Strategy 2024.
Chatting to the Minister
In the morning the students and staff members in attendance shared their personal experiences with the minister, while at the same time indicating how they hope to give effect to the Student Welfare scheme. For her part, Van Engelshoven explained how she seeks to improve student welfare and to ensure that more students graduate. “We have to switch from competing with each other to collaborating, and we have to keep in mind that students are persons, not numbers, when we discuss graduation rates.” said the minister.
“We have to switch from competing with each other to collaborating, and we have to keep in mind that students are persons, not numbers, when we discuss graduation rates.”
Convergence of academic disciplines required
The minister’s visit revolved around her Strategic Agenda for Higher Education and Research and the positive impact on society EUR seeks to create in Rotterdam and surroundings. For this reason, the Minister received more information on the convergence of academic disciplines during the second half of her working visit, focusing on EUR’s collaboration with Erasmus MC, Delft University of Technology and the Rotterdam municipal government. Rotterdam faces major societal challenges in the fields of health, sustainability, the energy transition, urbanisation and digitisation. It is vital that scientists representing the various disciplines at Erasmus University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus Medical Center collaborate to solve these major societal challenges of our time together.
“The convergence of multiple academic disciplines will allow us to provide solutions to the major societal challenges facing us. This is also why EUR is investing in artificial intelligence and data technology,” stated Hans Smits, the chairman of EUR’s Executive Board.
“Today I got a very nice impression of what Erasmus University is doing and what it seeks to accomplish,” the minister said after the working visit. “We discussed how to improve student and staff welfare, and how the university is seeking to provide solutions to existing issues by means of interventions. It’s great to hear that people on the shop floor are seriously taking up the convergence project, because processes like these should not merely be imposed from the top. They should have some grassroots support as well.” according to the minister.