The Faculty of the Humanities at the University of Amsterdam is dedicated to the pursuit of learning. The desire to know the past, to explore the present and to speculate about the future is the urge that defines mankind. The humanities investigate what it means to be human. We are human. Think!
The Faculty of the Humanities of the University of Amsterdam is currently facing a combination of indiscriminate budget cuts and poorly conceived proposals for the restructuring of the curriculum that threatens to undermine the very foundation of our university’s strength. We are greatly concerned, because a strong and vibrant Faculty of the Humanities is essential to any outstanding university and especially to the University of Amsterdam, whose public image depends largely on the vital and decisive contribution of the humanities.
We ask the Rector Magnificus and the Dean of the Humanities, who bear responsibility for the quality and integrity of education and research at our University, to safeguard our students, faculty, disciplines and programs from injudicious and irreversible decisions that will harm our leading role. If we undo the Faculty of the Humanities, we will undo the University of Amsterdam, and this is in no one’s best interest.
We therefore urge the Rector and Dean to consider three points:
1) Untangle the budget cuts that require our immediate attention from the long-term strategic planning for the future of education at the Faculty of the Humanities. These are separate issues and need to be addressed as such.
2) Education can always be improved. Take more time to research, discuss and formulate alternative scenarios for undergraduate and graduate education in the humanities. Respect due process when you consider our strengths, challenges and opportunities. Invest in understanding the international context from which you wish to benefit.
3) Trust your faculty, respect your students, recognize that the improvement of our curriculum is a joint enterprise that requires everybody’s full commitment and engagement.
I am human. Think.