In 2021, we started a dialogue on redefining our identity that will result in a new declaration of intent for the university in 2023. Students and staff will contribute to the dialogue sessions, as will alumni and other stakeholders from outside the university. According to Rector Magnificus Han van Krieken, two questions need to be addressed in the sessions: “What kind of university do we want to be, taking into account our roots and our core values of connected, curious and reflective? And how do we flesh out our special status and what is its significance?”
“How do we flesh out our special status and what is its significance?”
Several trial sessions took place in 2021, and students and staff of Radboud University will receive an invitation for a session in early 2022. Each session will involve a group of 15 to 25 people. Participants will be sent information, such as the university’s mission statement and a booklet by university historian Jan Brabers. Annemarie Hinten-Nooijen, director of the Radboud Honours Academy, is heading up the process. In it she refers to French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, who wrote that identity comes from the narrative we tell ourselves and each other, and with which we subsequently identify.
The dialogue was prompted by the revocation of the predicate ‘Catholic’ from Stichting Katholieke Universiteit by the Dutch Bishops’ Conference in autumn 2020. Han van Krieken emphasises that the revocation of the predicate ‘Catholic’ does not detract from the university’s special status, which arose from the Catholic emancipation movement in the early twentieth century. The rector says it is important to interpret this with each other in the new context. “If you’re a special university, you must also have a special identity.”