December is here again, traditionally a month of reflection. A busy month too, in my case culminating in two family birthdays, on December 25 and 26. But it’s also a month to carefully evaluate where we are and look ahead to next year. It is with a heavy heart that I note 2023 will be busy once more.

The past few years at TU/e were nothing short of extreme. Too many students, too little space, too much COVID, too little campus, too many changes, too little justification, too many ambitions, too little realism. Sadly, it doesn’t look like next year will be much of an improvement.

The professional adapters at TU/e have found plenty to adapt again: Bachelor College 2.0 will be introduced next academic year. SQUAD is rolling on and the same goes, we are continuously reminded, for the scale jump. In other words and to summarize the Christmas message we’ve been getting over the past years, we’ll have to do even more work with even fewer people.

The most recent Keuzegids Universiteiten (University Choice Guide) shows that some programs are completely off balance. Students are keenly aware of the fact that both teaching and supporting staff are overworked and exhausted. Through their scores, they’re basically advising future generations to pick a program elsewhere. And if there are no students, you can jump on that scale until the cows come home.

An important moment in 2023 will be when the rectorship changes hands. I hope the TU/e will take this moment to reflect and I therefore advise the new rector to let the dust settle a bit. Take a step back and give it a few years. Allow the organization to regroup. Allow the programs to design their teaching to suit the contents, as well as the needs of the students and the professional field, without the Bachelor College or Graduate School interfering. I guarantee this will result in TU/e once more climbing all of those rankings your predecessor loved so much.

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