Dear Prof. dr. ir. Haverkort, from the 1st of January onward you have been appointed as the new Dean of our Faculty (TSHD), congratulations! We, as Student Party Dante, are looking forward to working with you and thus kindly ask you to do this interview with us to introduce you to all the students within TSHD.
To introduce yourself, could you maybe inform the students about who you are as a person?
Yes, of course! My name, as you might know already, is Boudewijn Haverkort. I am 54 years old, married, and have two children, a son and a daughter and both of them are still studying, one of them in the technical field and the other in a cultural field. As you may know, I myself have a very technical background but my wife has a more cultural background.
Although I have a technical background, I would not describe myself as the typical nerdy engineer, since I have a sincere interest in arts, cultures, literature, etc.
In my spare time I enjoy relaxing activities, such as mountain biking, walking my dog, gardening, or visiting a museum.
You have already held various managerial positions at the University of Twente, how did you learn about Tilburg University looking for someone to fulfil the position as Dean of TSHD?
The first time I learned that Tilburg University was looking for someone to fill this position was through the NRC, a Dutch newspaper. However, a while later a company that Tilburg University hired to find someone called me to ask if I was interested perhaps. I was pleasantly surprised about everything that is going on in the Faculty and know some people of the AI department through my managerial positions at a national research and innovation program. What eventually caught my attention and appealed to me is the strong social agility of the university as a whole.
You have a rather technical background and experiences, which suit the ambition of TSHD to strengthen the ‘Digital Sciences’ aspect of the Faculty. However, a major part of our Faculty is of course the ‘Humanities’. How do you envision yourself as a technically oriented professional to ensure that the ‘Digital Sciences’ will not overrule the ‘Humanities’?
To me it is important that the strengths of the humanities and the strengths of digital sciences bundle together to make sure that both sides will bloom from this development. In my opinion, the faculty has a huge amount of knowledge in its teaching staff that can facilitate this. Especially because we have a combination of two interesting fields, the faculty has a great potential in excelling in both fields.
What are your goals and ambition for this Faculty?
As I have pointed out, to me it is important that we combine the strengths of the ‘humanities’ and of ‘digital sciences’. I want to accomplish this by creating space for everyone to be open and honest and to talk and listen to each other so we can learn while working together. Besides that, I would like to explore more strengths of this faculty.
And lastly, what is something you would like to say to the “TSHD’er”?
I would tell the TSHD student to embrace the interdisciplinary aspect of our faculty and to think in an interdisciplinary manner as well. Nowadays it is so important to approach any situation not just from one angle but to investigate and explore what is more to it. Besides that, it is also always important to realise that Dutch students are very privileged to have such excellent education, don’t take this for granted. Work hard and not just for yourself, share your knowledge and wisdom.
We would like to thank you for this interview!