Employee participation as an investment in the future - Column Daniël Wigboldus

A university is a wonderful organisation to study or work at. Together, we make it possible each year for thousands of students to grow into critical, engaged and self-aware scholars, preparing them to make important contributions to the future of our society. Together with researchers and support staff, students not only grow as individuals, they also contribute to the knowledge of tomorrow. What could be better than that?

The basic model of a university is something I firmly believe in. Bring together inquisitive students and researchers, and let them think and learn from each other freely, with professional support. It’s an idea that has worked for hundreds of years, and thankfully has changed very little at its core. At the same time, a university is never ‘finished’; it is constantly evolving and changing. In the hundred years of its history, Radboud University has seen many educational innovations and organisational structures. Some were improvements, some not. More often than not, they were a sign of the times.

Together, we work today to shape the university of tomorrow. We do this through teaching, research, and impact. But we also do it as an organisation, for example by developing plans for major investments in infrastructure for research and education. By creating the safest possible environment and culture. By designing our organisation in the best possible way, primarily so that we do not have to decide ‘from the top down’ about that which is best decided ‘from the bottom up’, while at the same time remaining aware of developments, such as those around cyber security, that really do call for more central control.

We can only succeed in this if we really think about it together. That is why it is so valuable that we have students and staff who look on and think along with us, for example in our programme committees and our faculty and university participational bodies. Who frequently hold up a mirror to faculty administrators and the Executive Board. On a number of important matters, their approval is required before we as administrators can implement a decision. This gives the participational bodies a vital role in shaping the future of our study programmes, our faculties, and our university.

In a few weeks, we are once again organising elections for our participational bodies. As of writing, we have not yet received many applications from students and staff members wishing to stand for election. That really is a missed opportunity. Contributing to the future and mission of our university is also done by taking responsibility and joining the participational bodies to think along and work on the future of our study programmes, faculties, and University. The students and staff members of today, tomorrow, and further in the future will thank you.

You have a part to play!

For more information on participational bodies, see:


Contact information

Organizational unit
Executive Board