Bernard Steunenberg’s years in The Hague: ‘Pioneering and experimenting'

Since the beginning of 2016 professor Bernard Steunenberg is no longer the vice dean of the faculty with the portfolio on education because of a sabbatical. A review on four years ‘The Hague’ in four questions.

What do you consider to be the most important milestone in four years in The Hague?

Professor Bernard Steunenberg

Professor Bernard Steunenberg

In late 2011 the Faculty Campus The Hague had just been created. In January 2012, the Institute of Public Administration, which at the time was housed in the Pieter de la Court building in Leiden, became a part of the new faculty, which still had very little experience with regular education.

Over the past years we have built that up, by pioneering, experimenting and just doing things, by both giving direction and allowing people freedom. That has resulted in quite a varied range of activities in our faculty. Just to mention a few examples, there’s the creation of the current teaching organisation, which includes the faculty-wide Education Service Centre, the introduction of quality control in the faculty with more focus on annual degree programme evaluations, the creation of the faculty’s now quite successful English-language honours track, and the expansion of student facilities, which will soon be getting a new boost with the opening of the Wijnhaven building. And these are not the only activities.

We are also working on the introduction of labour market orientation for our students, which recently held its first event, the revamping of our teaching programmes by tapping into the experience of our Center for Innovation as well as through other measures such as making more use of ICT, and the expansion of our course and degree offerings, including the initiative to create a new BA programme in Security and Global Affairs.

This puts Faculty Campus The Hague and, as of 1 January of this year, the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs on the map with external partners, along with the other Leiden faculties. Additionally, I have done my best to find an attractivespace for study associations and student groups, a meeting place with room for gatherings and debate, as well as for festive events. I hope that with the support of the municipality of The Hague we will succeed in obtaining such a space and make The Hague a fantastic city for students.


What more would you have liked to achieve?

When you put a lot of energy into building up a faculty, that necessarily means that less energy is left over for other great projects.

You took a sabbatical. Why was it time for something else?

Sometimes it’s a good idea to shift your focus, and that’s what I’m going to do now.

How are you going to use your sabbatical?

In the coming period I will be focusing my attention on how the European Union functions and how it influences us. One of the issues that deserves more attention is the implementation of European policy, which requires a particularly large amount of work on the part of regional governments.

That also results in a multitude of problems that are often related to the fact that the policy currently on the drawing board doesn’t take some other policy into account that was designed earlier on a different drawing board. This project includes the production of a MOOC that will be used to gather more information on how European policy is implemented and how that affects citizens.

Last Modified: 10-02-2016