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Program "Governance of the University in the 21st Century" launched!

As part of the professionalisation of university governance and the strengthening of governance, the VSNU will launch the “Governing the University in the 21st Century programme” in January 2020.

Dutch universities have a strong international position. In order to maintain or further expand this position in the 21st century, they face a number of major challenges: increasing complexity, accountability and risk, in a context of increasing competition, expectations, but declining public funding and trust.

Directors are therefore faced with considerable demands in terms of leadership and insights into governance (structure and role of stakeholders), legislation and regulations, mission formation and (inter)national positioning, funding, information, change and risk management.

The programme therefore contains the most up-to-date international and scientific insights into the most important trends in higher education and in the field of public sector governance and leadership.

Dutch universities are international players in an open system. That is why an international dimension is indispensable. At the same time, Dutch legislation and (collegial) governance culture require a specific Dutch approach, with an appropriate concept of shared leadership and a combination of international experts and experienced Dutch (former) directors as guest speakers.

Commissioned by the VSNU/SSPG and Dutch universities, this UGov21 programme is being developed by a Programme Committee, supervised by an International Advisory Council and further developed in co-creation with the first (pilot) cohort of participants at Executive Board and dean level.

The joint development and learning trajectory is realized by means of a challenge (case) that participants bring in from their institution and work out together in teams. This governance lab forms part of the meetings and is jointly explored during a study trip; shared learning for shared leadership.

Focusing on the level of strategic leadership, the programme complements the internal offerings at many universities that focus on the level of personal leadership (effectiveness) and team leadership (management).

Official kick-off and start of first cohort: January 2020

More information is available via:


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Ruben Puylaert


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Liselotte de Langen

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