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Leadership In Academia

Leadership in academia

These days, in preparation for and during the aftermath of, my interview with the academic career committee, I have been thinking a lot about leadership in academia.

I have read the descriptions of university, and I have an idea of the skills I need to further develop to “tick the boxes” as I will be moving along my career.

But, as all humans, I like stories and examples.

So, I have been looking around for inspiring examples. And, as is often the case, I returned to my alma mater, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, for inspiration.

The VUB is an outspoken university. Compassion is at its core, which aligns with one of my core values. At the same time, the VUB is a university with a strong humanistic background. When it comes to navigating difficult ethical questions, VUB has a long history of supporting and developing humanistic causes. In the light of current events, I found their statement that a university can only be objective, never neutral, very powerful.

So, in thinking about how to navigate questions around diversity, social justice, social safety, international collaborations, and ethical dilemmas, I have returned to the humanistic rhetoric of my alma mater, and its strong moral compass, combined with my personal core values of excellence, creativity and compassion.

How do you navigate difficult questions in academic leadership?

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