4 June 2018

Paul Boselie appointed Head of Utrecht University School of Governance (USG)

Paul Boselie, hoogleraar aan de Universiteit Utrecht

On 1 September 2018, Paul Boselie will take up the position as Head of Utrecht University School of Governance (USG). ‘I want to work with the new board to join forces with our students, alumni, the faculty, the university as a whole and our partners in the Netherlands and abroad in identifying a new “USG project”, something for us to work towards – a new way for us to be a trailblazer,’ Paul says. ‘There’s so much potential and quality in our community. I’m very excited, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to achieve great things.’

Paul Boselie is a professor at the Utrecht University School of Governance (focusing, in particular, on issues faced by public-service organisations). He has taught at Utrecht University since 2009; since 2012, he has also been research director at the School of Governance. He holds the chair in Management Studies, is the co-founder of the UU focus area Professional Performance and a member of the Utrecht University advisory committee on research, as well as being closely involved in the Future of Work hub that falls under the auspices of the strategic theme ‘Institutions for Open Societies’.

In addition, Paul is involved in various joint ventures with the UMCU, including joint PhD projects relating to implementation, quality and safety. He is also on the board of the Dutch HRM Network, serves as Associate Editor of the International Journal of HRM, and is a member of various editorial boards in the field of management and human source management.

There’s so much potential and quality in our community. I’m confident that we’ll be able to achieve great things.

Education, research and impact

Paul Boselie is very passionate about education and research with a social impact.

‘I consider myself very fortunate to be working for the School of Governance and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, where education, research and social impact all come together. One week I’ll be teaching a group of first-year Bachelor’s students; the next I’ll be teaching managers from the public sector as part of the Faculty’s Executive Education programme – and that same week, I’ll be sitting down with UMCU to talk about our joint PhD research.’ Boselie has been involved in multidisciplinary collaboration from the start of his career. ‘Utrecht University’s focus areas and strategic themes provide unique platforms for mutual exchange, inspiration and lifelong learning. It’s important for me to keep learning and growing as well.’

Bringing out the best in people working in public-service organisations (i.e. in education, healthcare and government) is a key topic in his academic work. ‘Over the past few years, I’ve also been able to increasingly put this into practice in my own working life in the various managerial positions I hold. That gives me energy, and it also gives me greater insight into how to organise work in our kinds of organisations.’

Paul Boselie has also made HR policy for vulnerable groups of employees a priority in his work. He recently contributed to a special issue of Human Resource Management Journal on this topic.

Samen bakken we de taart en samen maken we er een feest van. Heel veel gaat goed, sommige dingen kunnen beter.

Impact through connection

During the past administrative period, the School of Governance’s strategy revolved around the theme ‘Impact through Connection’. ‘I’m proud of the fact that the USG management has managed to attract young talent, help talented academics to grow in their careers, and hire more female professors (Eva Knies, Judith van Erp, Barbara Vis, Patrizia Zanoni and Marijk van de Wende). Maarten van Bottenburg (the current head of the School of Governance) and Mirko Noordegraaf (chair) have worked very hard to make this happen.’

The School of Governance’s curriculum has been further expanded and broadened, and a raft of educational innovations have been introduced, both at the Bachelor’s level and in terms of continuing education for professionals – for example the part-time ‘Leadership in the Cultural Sector’ programme and the executive Master’s programme in Management of Public Issues.

‘A lot of the work is done on the front lines by passionate lecturers, researchers, advisers and programme supervisors. We have a fantastic team – and none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the tireless effort of our support staff. We bake the cake together, so to speak; together we make it into a party. A great deal is going well, though there’s still room for improvement in some areas.’

The project and looking ahead

‘The School of Governance seems to be ready for a new challenge. Our building on Bijlhouwerstraat is starting to burst at the seams because of how much we’ve grown. There is pressure on the organisation, partly due to general developments in the academic world. I’m worried about the workload people are dealing with – students and staff alike. If we’re not careful, we’ll stop enjoying the work – and if that happens, we may not be able to do our job as effectively.

But at the same time, we’re doing very well in virtually all areas. I believe in our small-scale approach to education at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and executive levels. Where research is concerned, we’re going from strength to strength – as evidenced, for example, by the Vidi grant that the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research recently awarded to Lars Tummers. Thankfully, social impact takes many different forms – ranging from USG Consulting projects to initiatives such as InclUUsion. We do have to keep looking for the right balance, both at the organisational level and at the level of individual employees. I plan on doing my bit to make sure that balance is achieved.’