Duo in words

Karin Raeymaeckers

candidate rector

Since 2012,  Karin Raeymaeckers  has been a professor at the faculty of Political and Social Sciences, department Communication Sciences. She is an expert in journalism studies and media structures.

From 2008 to 2004, she was an academic secretary. From 2014 on, she has been a member of the Ghent University board of governors, and since October 2015, she has been the head of departmental of Communication studies.

Karin Raeymaeckers is a member of the international Euromedia Research Group and editor of the Sage ‘European Journal of Communication’.

She strongly engages in qualitative education. One of her major concerns is to lower the access barrier to the university for all students. Within her department, she focuses on a strong team spirit so as to avoid research groups to become isolated islands.

Patrick De Baets

candidate vice rector

Patrick De Baets  is a mechanical engineer and professor at the faculty of Engineering and Architecture. Moreover, he is a guest professor at St. Istvan Egeytem (Gödöllö, Hungary) and at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH Stockholm, Sweden). Currently, he is the coordinator of the Soete Laboratory, a research group with business contacts worldwide.

At the UGent, Patrick performed a large number of administrative functions such as : an 11 years membership of the research council, a 10 years membership of the IOF-council, a six years head of department, academic secretary since 2013, and ever since 2014, member of the Ghent University board of governors. Moreover, he is active in a number of governing boards and scientific committees outside the university.

7 HIGHLIGHTS OF PROGRAM

 

A broad-based Ghent university community

We want to crystallize the rich wealth of expertise of Ghent University into a coherent vision on education and research. An inclusive policy with significant bottom-up input is the real strength of Ghent University.

 

A supporting community

Ghent university is an inspiring environment for each student and for all staff members: for the administrative and technical staff, the researchers, assistants, professors and all the staff of the Ghent University Hospital. We invest in flow-through systems that are beneficial for all stakeholders.

 

Students,  our future

As students are our core stakeholders we offer them excellent education programs, we listen to them, support their participative efforts, encourage and guide them. No talent may remain covered.

 

Ghent University and the city of Ghent: a golden combination

Our university is uniquely linked with the city of Ghent: a historical, lively and future oriented city. The Krook, for example, is a unique show case for collaboration and valorization of Ghent University-research.

 

We all are members of the proud Ghent University

Political affiliation, religion, philosophical identity, age, gender identity, nationality, language, financial situation… do not matter. On the contrary, diversity is a strong asset. We welcome everyone with their unique talents and skills.

 

Investments in research

Ghent University aims to have a leading position in research and innovation, also in high risk research or in disciplines that are less popular. Excellent research and top education are strongly intertwined.

 

Ghent University on a global level

Our university stands strong in Flanders and belongs to the top-ranking of universities in the world. We are proud of this position of excellence but we want to further strengthen this position in collaboration with other top ranking partners.

Vision

One Voice for a Solid UGent

 
Dare to think outside of the box

The academic landscape is part of an ever evolving society that is driven by global and complex elements of transition and change. Academic community is struggling to provide answers to these societal challenges. Research and academic curricula at  Ghent University are highly performant and it is a priority to find sufficient funding to sustain this performance. Top down models of academic management are rather outdated and even a burden for the successful transition to the future.

Discussions about a new governance model for the university with the introduction of 5 extra top management positions (vice rectorships) and a slimmed board of university government are not a top priority. Instead there is a strong need for more bottom-up valorization of expertise, empirical hands-on knowledge and experience. The university needs a governance model that guarantees a strong basis rather than an enlarged top. Therefore we’ll invest in interaction procedures that facilitate communication and consultation between all collaborators regardless of their status in the organization.

An important issue is the integration of the university hospital in January 2018 as stipulated in the decree of the Flemish government. We consider it very important to manage this integration as a process of smooth integration with a lot of attention for information of all collaborators involved. We will focus on the recognition of the specific characteristics identifying the university hospital. In a process of ongoing deliberation these discussions need to evolve into a state of the art Health Campus.

New digital technologies will obviously cause disruptions for traditional processes and fluxes in universities. Digitization carries a lot of beneficial promises for research and education. We have to be aware, however, for the negative side effects of this digitization. We notice e.g. that the assessment tools as provided by digitization are quite powerful and offer quality assessment potential, but on the other hand they also demand a lot of extra energy and administrative handling efforts. We need serious reflection that balances benefits and return on investment.

 
We need all the talent the UGent staff can offer

Ghent University has no direct need for more management functions. In the broad UGent community there is superabundance of expertise and enthusiasm to boost the Ghent University brand. We need to tap this rich source of talent. Today the deliberative process within the university is organised in a complex interplay of commissions and advisory boards. However, the lines of communication between these nodes of consultation are rather weak and also the communication towards the basis is not always fully established. Therefore we recommend the creation of alternative models of deliberation, the introduction of a dynamic structures of bottom-up lines of information. These alternative models are more flexible and more adapted to a swift management in the era of transition. We refer to the possible benefits of formats such as think tanks, chat sessions, webinars etc. as tools for a modern and up to date management in university democracy. Doing so we can benefit from top intelligence and top expertise abundantly available within the organization. As we need all talent available these formats are also accessible for junior collaborators, for pre- and post-docs and for students. In this inspiring and challenging working environment the participants can acquire extra benefits as this deliberation process is also a journey into the development of management skills.

Performant management does not waste any talent. Performant management is not only strong in making decisions but also in communicating those decisions to all stakeholders in an efficient process of implementation. To achieve this goal, management should focus on motivation and on the creation of enthusiasm and leadership through the organisation. We need to think out of the box and we are convinced that the deliberation processes we use today are too much limited to traditional cleavages and segmentations that are not productive to meet the requirements of future society.

We also want to strengthen the policy to involve alumni as powerful ambassadors of the Ghent University brand. Alumni are an intriguing go-between linking academia and the broader society. They are bridging the gap with the economic stakeholders and they act as role models for prospective students as well.

There is also benefit in the enthusiasm of former collaborators often willing to continue their service to the university they are so proud of. These potential benefits at the moment are not explored yet.

To sum up, in our search for talent from within the university, we invite everyone who is willing to share ideas and thoughts on how to make the university an even better place to work, an even more performant academic environment.

 
It is the economy, ….

Research and Education come with a price that keeps going up. Performant educational programs need investments to sustain digitization, research infrastructure needs continuously updating and also data management will need substantial higher resources. Digitization is a buzz miracle word but it does come with a price.

In the budget of Flemish government the bulk of investment is reserved for education. Together with our colleagues in the other universities we will keep lobbying for more ample resources. But let’s be frank: society is facing many challenges that also have impact on the budget of policy makers. In a society characterized with an inverted age pyramid, a growing amount of resources are to be allocated to the elderly and also other evolutions as national safety, migration, justice,  traffic infrastructure…..make the financial riddle quite complicated.

We believe that we have to take all measures to activate the allocation of research money with outmost respect for academic integrity and academic freedom. Ghent University is successful in acquiring competitive funding because many researchers are doing considerable efforts to develop highly qualitative research proposals (FWO, VLAIO, BOF, BelSpo).

Acquiring more funding from those veins of resources can only be realized if the total budget of research money will grow. As stipulated before, this is rather speculative. There is still potential, however, in some European initiatives for research funding. And also collaboration with economical and institutional stakeholders offer possibilities that up to today are not fully explored yet. Initiatives as supported by IOF to establish spin-offs, patents and licences deserve a specific and tailored policy to tap these extra resources. As extra path we think of the potential to strengthen our alumni-links, initiatives of crowd funding, grants and donations.

We are very attentive to develop a UGent policy that sustains the chances of all talented students to have access to academic curricula. Universities are cradles of talent, and talent is available in all strata of society. It is our duty to develop policy measures to develop all talent in society. We will invest in tutoring to groups at risk to build bridges for financial related problems of access into university. It is inadmissible that talent is wasted.

 

Dare to learn

In the Ghent University DNA education philosophy is strongly connected with active participation. Students are trained in analytical thinking procedures, to formulate critical arguments, and next to this they also are prepared to learn practical skills to enter the professional life. Next to theoretical learning methods, students need to experience more practical formats. Specific assignments, internships, multidisciplinary projects, writing clinics etc. are important building parts in the academic curriculum.

Society today needs academics that are technological savvy researchers that think beyond the traditional lines of division as represented by expertise or faculties. A university aiming at future society, should invest in bridging lines of expertise. As an inspiring example we refer to the Krook where researchers from different faculties, different research groups and different fields of expertise work together in multidisciplinary projects on innovation research.

 

International meets global

In the global world we live in, internationalization is a key policy element. In a performant network we have access to specific expertise and infrastructure. We have to further develop the existing networks and to develop performant extra ones. The internationalization benefits are not limited to research, they are also beneficial and necessary for our students.

We see different options to expand the existing networks with thematic extra opportunities. Ghent University is a top 100 university and we are very proud of that position. To strengthen this position we have to invest even more in the creation of strategic alliances with other partners in those top-ranking universities and we have to be proactive in doing so.

 

Diversity

Universities who are full partners in the society of today and tomorrow embrace diversity. Diversity is linked with social stratification, nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion etc. and is to be considered for all collaborators and all students. We also see diversity as diversity in personal characteristics: a vivid organization needs daredevils, great thinkers, star gazers, empathic minds, stubborn as well as funny colleagues, … people that are able to work together, who are creative or on the contrary down to earth: we need them all to be the best organization ever. Therefore Ghent University truly embraces diversity. Embracing diversity also acknowledges the fact that some of us are great researchers, or great teachers, or great administrators…. As professors have to perform in all three categories we need to be able to differentiate to these competencies to get out the most of their specific talents for the benefit of the organization.

To foster the diversity in our model of participation we will develop policy measures to ensure that more individuals will have the opportunity to take part in policy and deliberation procedures. We want the policy representatives to run for limited periods so that as many as possible talented people in the organization will have access to deliberation commissions and policy positions.

Conclusion

We engage ourselves in the mission statement of Ghent University as a full, pluralistic and international partner in nowadays society. We invest in high standard academic programs of education, in top trajectories of academic research, and we take active part in valorisation projects for the society we are embedded in.

To reach this goal we fully invest in a participative model that engages every member of staff and every student who is willing to take part in this journey.

We are consequently speaking up with one voice, a voice that is proud to be part of the Ghent University community. We want to invest all our energy and enthusiasm for this great project, together with the help and support of the broadest possible range of colleagues and students who want to join us in this ambition.

 

Karin Raeymaeckers, candidate rector

Patrick De Baets, candidate vice rector

Duo in the media

Augustus 21th, 2017