The hairdresser’s core values


It’s probably the same for you; ever since it was decided that TU/e’s core values would be reviewed by Rector Magnificus Silvia Lenaerts and Integrity Ambassador Ingrid Heynderickx, the four words have been occupying my mind. Time and again they come up in conversations with family and friends. In a nutshell: “‘Personal’, ‘open’, ‘engaged’ and ‘curious’? My hairdresser has the exact same values!”

Where I eat and celebrate Easter, the subject of the university comes up quite often. My husband’s close colleague, an NXP employee, is also a part-time professor at TU/e, and the two of them enjoy discussing the academic world of Eindhoven by the coffee machine at the High Tech Campus. I get to hear about those conversations over dinner at home.

My son visited us for Easter – he’s doing a PhD at Tilburg University. We like to compare ‘our unis’. Yes, the coffee may be cheaper in Tilburg, but in Eindhoven, graduates enjoy a better MomenTUm. Over the past few days, we discussed Tilburg’s pillars and TU/e’s core values. We turned it into a game during a walk: Can you guess our values?

We already knew that both universities had chosen four words and told each other the first letters of these words. Tilburg has four Cs, and Eindhoven has a P, O, E and C. We took turns guessing. My son started. “The P stands for Proud?” Wrong. Me: “Do you also have Curious?” Yes! He then asked if the P stood for Positive, Precise or Pioneers. All great values, but not what TU/e opted for. I had trouble figuring out the remaining three Cs. Cooperative? Compassionated? Capable? Career? Catholic? Challenge? Cheap? Wrong, wrong. We found more Easter eggs than core values.

My son won our game. He correctly guessed “Engaged” for the E and I approved “Open minded” instead of just “Open”. Tilburg’s Cs stand for Caring, Connected and Courageous.

When we returned from our walk, we told the people back home how hard it is to find those core values. “One of my colleagues didn’t struggle with them at all,” said my husband. “After reading that piece in Cursor, they immediately exclaimed: “Personal”, “open”, “engaged” and “curious”? My hairdresser has the exact same values!”

My husband understands that these four words are difficult to remember, but he came up with a mnemonic for me. “Rearrange the first letters and you get OPEC, the club of oil-producing countries. That’s a nod to the fossil fuel industry and a middle finger to University Rebellion.” Even a hairdresser gets that.

Share this article