FEB creates a Yantai Advisory Board

The Faculty of Economics and Business board has created an advisory board in preparation for the branch campus plans in China.

The group, consisting of three FEB faculty members, includes professor Tom Wansbeek and associate dean of international affairs, Frans Rutten. The third member, Beppo van Leeuwen, is the coordinator for two of the FEB programmes that will be going to Yantai: Economics and Business Economics, and International Economics and Business.

‘Wildly interesting but complex’

Wansbeek says that the advisory board is in the very earliest stages of their work, effectively starting ‘from zero’. Currently, the group is ‘trying to create some initial order for ourselves in this wildly interesting but complex matter’, Wansbeek says via email.

In general, the advisory board’s main responsibility is ‘to actively advise the Board of the Faculty concerning all aspects of the FEB participation in the University of Groningen venture at Yantai’.

The board has several other significant tasks before them, such as applying the university-level ‘vision, strategy and risk analysis’ at the faculty level. The RUG’s supervisory board, according to board secretary Ineke Vugteveen, has discussed a university-level ‘risk inventory’ confidentially. The inventory, which will remain confidential, will be discussed again at the end of June.

Action plan

Another task is creating an ‘action plan’ for what exactly the Faculty of Economics and Business needs to do in order to start its first two programmes in Yantai in 2017.

In September of 2015, the Yantai Advisory Board will either advise the faculty board in favour of or against the ‘go / no go’ decision. ‘If our findings, to be delivered in four months’ time, have no influence whatsoever, we will have failed.’

Although Wansbeek acknowledges the importance of matters such as hiring decisions and labour contracts both here and in Yantai, he says that those are university-level issues. ‘The nature of the risks depends inter alia on the distribution of responsibilities over the partners, and as far as I know – which is not far – major things still have to be sorted out.’

It is not yet known if the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, who will also be sending part of its English-taught curriculum to Yantai, has established a similar advisory group.