Easter with the rector

TU Delft’s Rector Karel Luyben talked education and more with a group of international students. “As far as I’m concerned, the campuses should be merged.”

This recent Easter weekend, Rector Magnificus Karel Luyben spent the afternoon with around a dozen TU Delft international students, walking from the space boxes to the lakeside park at Delftse Hout in order to discuss issues important to the students and enjoy drinks in the sun. The event - sponsored by the Delft International Student Society (Diss) and the VSSD - was an opportunity for students to learn about Rector Luyben’s educational philosophy, while also giving sharing their input and airing grievances about life at TU Delft as an international student. 

Topics ranged from the university’s long-term educational strategy to public transport and international student housing. Similar ‘Meet the Rector’ events happen at least four times a year, and one of these meetings is always with international students. TU Delft’s rector magnificus is head of the Executive Board, the university’s highest governing body.

During the afternoon of conversation, Rector Luyben frequently mentioned his vision of unifying the three campuses of Erasmus Rotterdam, Leiden University and TU Delft, as a way to better offer interdisciplinary studies, a type of education he sees as the future. “As far as I’m concerned, the campuses should be merged,” he asserts. 

The international students present however were chiefly concerned about housing issues, such as discrimination at Duwo, high prices and unfair charges, and security. Other topics included international comparisons of spring time weather, Easter traditions, the history of the university, and rules of thumb when operating in scientific environments, like a lab or university. 

“Always share the credit”, “only hire people smarter than you”, and “get youth on your team” were some of the pieces of wisdom shared by the rector. Rector Luyben took note of the student’s concerns about housing, while working to explain the university’s position. He explained that TU Delft relinquished control of its housing to Duwo in the 1960s, which was unfortunate, he said, but now that it’s happened the rector believes the best strategy is to work with Duwo. Also, although Duwo has been reluctant to work directly with students, the rector managed to get Duwo to meet with Diss), which happened for the first time in late April.

The rector said he’d also like to have more ‘freedom to operate’, such as making admission to TU Delft more selective and having more control over tuition, as means of, for example, keeping education affordable for international students and spreading these unsubsidized costs among the university as a whole. These policies are difficult to change but not impossible, Rector Luyben concluded.

Rector Luyben can be reached at rector@tudelft.nl, but due to high email volumes students cannot always expect a reply. For problems, the best strategy is to contact Diss), on Facebook, at http://www.diss-online.nl or board@diss-online.nl. They have regular contact with the rector’s office.