New Years’ Resolutions: University wants to focus more on wellbeing and digital security

10 Jan 2022 ,

Radboud University wants to hire additional staff in 2022 in order to boost the wellbeing of its students and employees. This was stated by chairman Daniël Wigboldus in his New Year’s speech this morning. ‘We will dip into our reserves to hire a lot more people.’

‘Sadly this gathering is online once again.’ Daniël Wigboldus started his New Year’s speech of 2022 on that note, which took place in an empty auditorium. ‘Like you, I’ve grown sick of my own attic room’, Wigboldus said. ‘We humans are social creatures, and I miss the campus.’ The only others present were rector Han van Krieken and new board member Agnes Muskens.

The corona pandemic still has Radboud University firmly in its grasp, as became apparent during the New year’s speech. This was due to the corona regulations as well as the discussions that followed from it, such as those regarding vaccinations and proctoring.

The university does not have a ready-made solution to these issues. ‘We will have to keep listening to each other’, according to the chair. ‘Listening alone won’t naturally lead to understanding; it can even lead to more misunderstanding. But it is the very essence of coexisting, studying and working.’

Wellbeing and work pressure

Chair Wigboldus elaborated on student- and employee wellbeing in his look back on the past year. National and local surveys showed that the flexibility and extra effort that were required took a toll on wellbeing. Despite this, over the past year – as well as the year before that – there was no significant increase in the number of employees that reported sick for work, nor did overall study progress diminish.

However, according to Wigboldus, right now many people feel worse mentally speaking than they did before the pandemic. ‘I am thinking in particular of those students who started their studies and those colleagues who came to work with us in the midst of the corona regulations, without getting the chance to experience Radboud University and the campus in better times.’

The chair made an appeal to students and employees: ‘Keep an eye out for each other, care for each other, and, if you have the mental energy to spare, spend it on that fellow student or employee who needs it. A sympathetic ear can make a lot of difference.’

‘We will allocate significant funds to improve wellbeing in 2022’

But the university also wants to hire additional staff in order to improve wellbeing and lower the overall workload. ‘As Radboud University we will allocate significant funds to work on this in 2022. We will dip into our reserves to hire a lot more people. Not just in the faculties, but also in Radboud Services (supporting services, ed.).’

Daniël Wigboldus also called attention to digital security. ‘People are working incredibly hard on this issue behind the scenes’, according to the chair. The NWO, the Radboudumc and the HAN were all victims of hackers and data leaks in 2021. The University intercepted roughly 150,000 phishing mails last year. The chair called on students and employees to be especially vigilant, and to immediately report any unusual activities to the helpdesk.

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