UC | Together we stay strong


A well-known proverb says: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. Given the developments of TU/e, we are convinced that each of us should want to contribute to further developments at TU/e. For all of us it is not a matter of ‘to let it happen’, but ‘to make it happen’.

Our university is surrounded by events of uncertainty, complexity, volatility and ambiguity with many dependencies and is regularly confronted with new laws and regulations, new perspectives on the quality of research and/or education, scientific and societal impact, the value of research, internationalization, cooperation with business, social safety, sustainability, new preconditions for funding of research and research infrastructure, new wishes/requirements of students, new wishes of the regional business community, the growth of the student population, a changing labor market, etc.

This has consequences not only for TU/e as an organization, and 'thus' only a responsibility of the Executive Board, but also for the various departments, institutes, schools and services that collectively form the TU/e organization and for the managements or directions of those organizational units and thus also for all employees and students.

Our university can no longer respond (with delay) to developments, but TU/e will have to start anticipating relevant developments much more. We will therefore have to move towards an organization (including governance, management, processes, and procedures) that is agile and resilient, that knows how to achieve a maximum result efficiently and effectively with the available resources, that strives for quality and improvement without losing sight of the importance of and appreciation for the people. TU/e must therefore, even more than now, become a learning organization.

TU/e itself is also a complex organization with departments, institutes, schools, and services that all have their own raison d'être but which have mutual dependencies because decisions in one part of the organization (unintentionally) also have an effect in another. Especially when determining strategic objectives for TU/e as an organization, it is crucial to arrive at a consistent, coherent, and balanced set of strategic objectives in agreement with the various organizational units. These objectives should in turn lead to gradual adjustments of the strategic objectives of the various organizational units.

Just as the Executive Board involves the boards and managements of the departments, institutes, schools, and services as well as students and the relevant employee participation bodies in determining the strategic objectives, each organizational unit should also involve employees and, if applicable, students and relevant employee participation bodies in determining their strategic objectives. Of course, it is not feasible to involve hundreds of employees and students equally in this process, but you too can contribute and not only as a member of a participation body.

In recent years we have seen that our TU/e organization has made progress in formulating and working with strategic goals. As a university, we have previously defined a vision and a longer-term strategy in line with our mission and our values. This strategy has been partially operationalized in a set of strategic objectives with specific prioritizations and in the Institutional Plan 2020-2025. For the coming three to five years, these strategic objectives should be translated within all departments, institutes, schools, and services into more concrete objectives with explicit measures, metrics, targets, and priorities. And this should be done with a human touch. In doing so, each measure should be SMART - specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic, time bound. Ultimately, the measures should lead not only to the expected output, but also to the expected effect of using that output. Theoretically ‘achieving’ a student-staff ratio of 17:1 does not mean that students will receive the intended amount of personal attention.

So, this is not an issue of the Executive Board, but of all departments, institutes, schools and services; an issue of all of us, staff and students. Make sure you are heard!

Main photo | Smile Photo / Shutterstock

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