It is a strange time to draw up a policy plan and campaign. Months of preparation have suddenly been undone by the coronavirus. Public life has come virtually to a standstill. There is a great deal of uncertainty about what the coming months will bring.
At the same time, this crisis shows how important our universities are. We all need nuanced, accurate, scientifically substantiated information, precisely because of these numerous uncertainties. We need well-trained experts upon whom we can rely. On the basis of the information they provide and working together with the experts, governments can set to work formulating policies.
Universities are the best place to learn to deal with major societal challenges. The corona crisis shows this very clearly. Beyond corona however, there are many other societal challenges such as sustainability, diversity, climate change, the democratisation of higher education, globalisation, technological progress, digitisation, and health, to name but a few. According to the Green Deal of the European Union (EU), achieving climate neutrality by 2050 may be the greatest challenge of our time, but also the greatest opportunity. Universities must prepare for these challenges. We must make every effort. We have to be ready as a university.
Together with you, we want to prepare Hasselt University for 2030.
This is why we are putting forward four priorities:
It is time to take a new leap forward. Not just business as usual, but a real leap. This requires a breath of fresh air and new ideas.
Together with my colleagues Wanda Guedens (as Vice-Rector of Education) and Ken Haenen (Vice-Rector of Research), I want to make this a reality. Who knows, perhaps by 2030 we’ll be discussing a UHasselt effect across the board!
Hopefully the corona crisis won’t stop us from maintaining proper communication with you. Don’t hesitate to contact us.
Finally, a word of thanks to our outgoing rector. Colleague De Schepper, together with his successive teams, has made great strides in putting UHasselt on the university and social map over the past 16 years. It will not be easy to follow in his footsteps. If we can focus on a number of things in our policy plan, it is because a lot has already been achieved in recent years and we have already worked so hard on the image of UHasselt. We can rightly be proud of our university.
It is now up to us to make a new leap forward. We’re looking forward to it! We are counting on your support.
13 May 2020