Social and behavioural sciences and humanities to be merged in one single faculty

Creating a strong cluster of social and behavioural sciences and humanities by carefully merging two faculties: Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Executive Board wishes to merge ESHCC and ESSB into one single, to be established faculty. The creation of such a strong cluster is in line with the university’s new strategy, which focuses on creating a positive societal impact. The preference for a merger is the result of extensive and thorough consultation with the parties involved and will be put to the relevant participatory bodies. Jobs, identities and the special characteristics of the various individual disciplines will be preserved. In addition, significant investments will be able to be made. 

EUR’s Executive Board wishes two of its faculties, the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) and the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB), to merge into one faculty. The Board had already expressed its support for this scenario last March, presented in a recommendation issued by ESHCC’s interim dean on the future of ESHCC. 

The merger of ESSB and ESHCC will result in Erasmus University’s cluster of social and behavioural sciences and humanities being strengthened. The research disciplines of both faculties are complementary in terms of content, and are mutually reinforcing. In addition, both faculties use small-group, motivational teaching methods. The merger of the two faculties will allow EUR to create a strong faculty working in the fields of humanities and social sciences, with an ambitious, factual, interdisciplinary and distinctive agenda and a robust organisation. 

Moreover, the merger fits well within EUR’s new strategy, geared towards creating more impact in tackling complex social challenges through, amongst others, interdisciplinary approaches. 

The ESHCC and ESSB Faculty Councils will be asked for advice on the draft reorganization plan, in accordance with the reorganization procedure. The University Council has also been informed in advance of lodging a formal request for consent which will occur after studying the advice given by the Faculty Councils involved. Finally, EUROPA (staff representation) has been informed, in anticipation of consultations on the staffing plan and the request for approval of the application of the shortened reorganization procedure.

Conditions

The Executive Board came to the decision to pursue a merger after carefully weighing the advice of the interim dean of ESHCC, the views on a merger as expressed by the dean of ESSB and the feedback provided by all other parties involved. 

'A robust cluster of social and behavioural sciences and humanities is in the best interest of all parties involved'

Kristel Baele, President of the Executive Board

The Board has expressed a willingness to uphold or accommodate the conditions expressed by the aforementioned parties to the maximum extent possible. For instance, the discipline specific characteristics in terms of educational concepts or research methods will be preserved and also remain visible. In addition, the Board offers job security (also for those employees on temporary contracts), good professional support and an independent audit will provide an insight into the financial situation. 

In drafting the process leading up to the merger, the Board will continue to take into account all the ideas, ambitions, concerns and conditions with which it has been presented. The transition will be prepared very carefully. 

Two steps

In order to create greater clarity, the first step that will be taken will be an administrative merger of ESHCC and ESSB, which is scheduled to take place before the end of the current academic year. This ‘abridged’ reorganisation procedure will not have any organisational consequences, nor consequences for the research and teaching carried out. 

Once this first step has been taken, staff and students of both faculties will have the opportunity to play an active part in the creation of the new faculty. Together with the new Dean, they will have up until 1 January, 2021 to give effect this transition. During the transition period, a long-range investment agenda will have to be drawn up, designed to result in ambitious, solid and viable plans for interdisciplinary research and education. 

For such an investment agenda, a maximum investment of ten million euro’s will be made available. A significant budget will be available for the transition itself. The new faculty is provisionally called the ‘Erasmus School of Humanities, Social & Behavioural Sciences’. The housing of a merged faculty will be evaluated. 

Kristel Baele, President of the Executive Board, said the following on the merger: “A robust cluster of social and behavioural sciences and humanities is in the best interest of all parties involved, and of both faculties and Erasmus University’s positioning in general. Having one strong faculty dedicated to social sciences and humanities will help us realise our mission, which is to have a positive impact on society. We have many ambitions and ideas, but I also understand the concerns expressed by many employees from both faculties. We will definitely take these into account during the process leading up to the merger. We seek to provide a transparent process, and to allow the parties involved to have a say in the matter. Therefore, I explicitly invite students, members of representative bodies, young scientists, experienced professors and support staff from both faculties to create this new faculty together.”

More information

Press Office Erasmus University Rotterdam, + 31 10 4081216 or press@eur.nl