Universiteit Leiden

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A message from our dean

Dear staff members and students,

Earlier this week we wrote to you to share our concerns and to let you know we won’t sit idly by. This country faces a great threat in the current corona crisis. Our faculty will not wait to see what will happen, we will act.

Today I want to proudly share with you everything we’re accomplishing so far. Everyone is busy getting their life on rails, but in a completely different way than only a week ago. Families are making schedules. Mum uses the study in the morning, dad works in the afternoon. In the mean time, their young ones are getting to grips with remote learning. Research groups are installing new software at record pace, enabling PhD candidate and professor to continue their discussions on organic chemistry, gene expression and network architecture. Doing research from your own house is tricky, but everyone is rolling up their sleeves and doing what is possible.

I ask you to applaud, together with me, all those directors of education, course coordinators and all educational supporting staff. While daily life in this country has almost ground down to a halt, a movement has sprung up under the supervision of vice-dean Bart de Smit, to provide our students with an education. Lecturers and supporting staff have worked tremendously quickly and thoroughly. The whole faculty board is mightily impressed by all the work that has been done so far.

If we succeed in continuing with this core task, if we can have students work on their ambitions fruitfully, then we all can, must, and shall be proud. And from what I hear and see so far, I have full confidence we shall succeed. More and more people are coming forward with creative solutions, such as replacing field work with rapidly put together virtual data sets. These are the kinds of solutions that require thinking outside the usual patterns. We must all get used to and thinking boldly. To facilitate that, we’ve installed task forces to help colleagues with their questions.

I also want to thank you, all our staff members, who are working so hard in these difficult times. Everyone’s home situation is different, not everything will succeed at once, and not all computers work perfectly immediately. That is understandable and fine. All we ask of you is your effort, willingness and flexibility. And that is exactly what we’re seeing.

Lastly: take good care of yourself and the colleagues around you. Your health is vitally important, especially now, so keep an eye out for yourself. If you’re ill, call in sick like you would as usual. The faculty is a social network where, in better times, we can talk to each other and feel connected. Keep talking to each other, even if it is through a screen, be mindful of each other and care for each other, like we always do.

Michiel Kreutzer
Dean Faculty of Science

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