11th faculty: principle agreement reached

According to a press release published late on Friday afternoon, the province of Friesland, together with the University of Groningen and the municipality of Leeuwarden, has reached a ‘principle agreement’ about establishing an eleventh faculty of the RUG in Leeuwarden.

The agreement, which still has to be discussed for the next three weeks, roughly affirms the structure which dean Jouke de Vries has been describing for months: a master’s college with ten degree programmes, a broad English-taught bachelor programme, and a research school for projects (i.e. PhD and post doctoral work) connected to Frisian economic and cultural themes. The bachelor level is intended to take the form of a residential university college, which would be the second such small-scale intensive programme of the RUG.

University Campus Fryslan (which will be absorbed into the future eleventh faculty), the RUG and the province of Friesland all announced that a working agreement has been reached, but ‘the ambitions, concrete plans and financing’ of the plans will not be discussed publicly until a press conference scheduled for the week of 12 October.


Between now and then, the applied science universities and knowledge institutions in Leeuwarden connected to UCF also have to approve of the plans. It is not known whether or not a postponement of the planned merger between NHL and Stenden applied sciences universities, also announced on Friday, will play a role in their acceptance of the plans.

Predictably, eleventh faculty dean Jouke de Vries, who has held the position since 1 May, was happy with the news. ‘Of course I’m pleased. This is a great result’, De Vries says. De Vries, Jan de Jeu and Piet Bouma were present at the negotiations on behalf of the RUG. CDA provincial representative Sander de Rouwe was also present, and the municipality of Leeuwarden was represented by alderperson Thea Koster and three other civil servants.

No consent

Although the board of directors of the RUG took part in the negotiations, the university council was neither part of the conversations on Friday nor were they informed in advance about a tentative agreement being reached, according to personnel faction member Hilly Mast. During the most recent university council meeting on Thursday, council members still had questions about the status of the eleventh faculty plans.

In a series of tweets on Friday night, Mast said, ‘The board of the RUG has once again concluded an agreement for a campus without asking the university council for consent!’ and ‘Is the university council left once again to check on things after the fact? An eleventh faculty in Friesland appears to be happening.’