My best wishes for a happy and inspiring 2018! My name is Ginette Verstraete, Professor of Comparative Arts and Media, and currently also in charge of the BA and MA programs in Arts and Culture. My new position, as Opleidingsdirecteur Kunst en Cultuur (Director of Education), started in September 2017, when I took over from Freek Schmidt, who is now back to normality (teaching and research). My main responsibility in the next 2 years is to get us through an upcoming external review in 2019. Not very exciting, but alas: a lot of work. In the past months I concentrated on composing a new mission statement for the BA, revising the BA program in Media, Art, Design and Architecture (check us out at https://bachelors.vu.nl/nl/opleidingen/media-kunst-design-architectuur/index.aspx#accept), updating websites, controlling our budget, attending dozens of meetings, and trying to live up to all the demands concerning a 1000 rules and regulations that you do not want to know about (credits, exams, evaluation, admission and graduation systems, HRM etc).
Luckily I have 2 wonderful people around me to help me run the department: Marjan Groot, Associate Professor of Design History and coordinator of the BA. She is my ally and ‘right hand.’ And Juliette Huygen, student assistant and one of the smartest and most creative MA students on campus! She has been crucial to this blog, for instance. And she was nominated for the StudenTalent prize in 2017 (https://www.fgw.vu.nl/nl/nieuws-agenda/nieuwsarchief/2017/apr-jun/170630-juliette-huijgen-verkozen-tot-studentalent-van-het-jaar.aspx). There is a downside to so much talent, however: Juliette just graduated in our Research MA Visual Arts, Media and Architecture and is about to leave us this month. She will sorely be missed! I want to thank Juliette for her support, ideas, energy, and pleasant personality as student assistant in the past 2 years, and I wish her all the luck of the world in the future.
I welcome our new student assistant as of 1 February 2018: Liza Kerlen. She will present herself in a later blogpost.